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A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO SWAPPING

Organized swaps take place on Craftster in the Craft Swaps board. Swaps come in many shapes, sizes, and forms, but the basic idea is that you make a great crafty package that meets the swap's theme and requirements and takes into consideration your partner's wishes and preferences. You send the package you created to them and they send the package they created to you! Swaps are lots of fun; they can motivate you to create something really great and it's often a fun challenge because there's a certain theme to follow. Plus, you get something original in return!

Swaps are started when a qualified Craftster member decides to take on the task of organizing one according to a specific set of rules. The member who decides to organize a swap (the Swap Organizer) is in charge of that swap. They will create a sign up thread, pair partners, make sure everyone receives a package, start up the Swap Gallery, and give everyone feedback.

Swap Moderators are in place to assure that the swaps are running smoothly. The Moderators are amazing Craftster members who have volunteered to help keep an eye on swaps and answer member questions. Swap Moderators love swapping on Craftster and are here to make sure that the swap rules are followed, that swaps are completed, that feedback is given, and that any problems are worked out as amicably as possible. In every swap, the person who starts the thread (the Swap Organizer) is ultimately responsible for the swap they are hosting. Swap Moderators are in charge of assisting with swapping in general and troubleshooting if necessary.

Swaps do run smoothly most of the time, but here and there we've run into problems with people flaking on their swap obligations, so it's important to follow the rules below.

If you have a specific question, comment, or problem with swapping and need Swap Moderator assistance, the best thing to do is to submit a ticket at the Help Desk. Be sure to mark it as "SWAP-RELATED" and a Swap Moderator will get back to you as soon as possible.

ABOUT BEING A PARTICIPANT IN A SWAP

What are the conditions to be met in order to participate in a swap?

The Swap Organizer will check your Profile to see that you meet all of these conditions:

  1. You are at least 16 years old.
  2. You have been a Craftster member for at least 1 month.
  3. You have posted at least 15 times on Craftster.
  4. You are not signed up for more than the swap limit. If you have never swapped on Craftster before, you may only sign up for ONE swap to start out with. When you complete that swap and get Positive Feedback, you may sign up for up to FIVE at a time.
  5. You don't have previous Negative Feedback. If you've neglected to fulfill your part in a past swap and have received Negative Feedback, you're not allowed to join any more swaps until you fulfill those obligations.
  6. You must be the sole user of the account. This means that if you swap, you cannot let friends or family use your account also. You are responsible for any Negative Feedback that occurs under your username. Shared accounts formed after December 31, 2008 are not allowed to swap on Craftster.

Joining a swap

Swap Organizers can set up swap specific rules about age limits, communication requirements for the swap, etc. The Swap Organizer has the right to choose who may participate in the swap, and may exclude anyone for any good reason such as poor feedback comments, a history of sending late, etc.

In each swap signup thread, there is a list of questions you must answer and send to the organizer in order to join the swap. When you see a swap you are interested in joining, copy the form, fill it out in full, and send it to the organizer of the swap via PM (Private Message). In addition, you must post in the signup thread. The thread is a major means of communication for the organizer and the swap participants.

Please think carefully before you join a swap about whether you will truly be able to fulfill your end of the swap by the deadline that is given. Read through all the rules and make sure you are comfortable with them. If you have any questions, send the organizer a private message or post on the thread to clarify. Make sure you know exactly what's expected of you before you commit.

Items that are not allowed in swap packages

The following items are not allowed in swap packages:

  • Anything that is illegal in the U.S. or wherever you are sending your package to or from.
  • Any items that have a legal age requirement to consume in the U.S. such as tobacco, alcohol, pornography etc.
  • Mixed CDs containing copyrighted music or similar, including copied software, CDs, DVDs, etc.

Mailing your swap items to your swap partner

For packages sent within the U.S., you must use "delivery confirmation" (DC#) or package tracking of some sort when you mail your package. Send the tracking number to the Swap Organizer and to your partner so that they can record it. The DC number is your proof that you actually mailed your package. If your package is lost in the mail or your partner disappears without reporting that they received, you will still get Positive Feedback if you provided a valid DC to your organizer. The DC number is for your protection!

There are two cases in which you are allowed to skip delivery confirmation:

1. Some shipping places (like the US Post Office) won't do package tracking/delivery confirmation on packages that are too thin, such as normal envelopes. Because of this, papercraft swaps are exempt from the DC requirements, BUT participants are required to resend if for any reason their package is not received.

2. If you are mailing to another country, you are not required to purchase a tracking number. However, you must keep the receipt you get for shipping the item. The receipt should have information about where the package is going. Be prepared to scan this receipt and send it to your organizer if your package doesn't arrive. This is for your own protection! Do not discard the receipt until you have received Positive Feedback for the swap!

What if you unexpectedly can't make the deadline?

If for any reason you are unable to fulfill your commitment by the swap deadline, it is crucial that you let the Swap Organizer know via PM as soon as possible. If the swap is still in signup stage and partners have not been assigned, you may withdraw from the swap with no penalty. A swap mod will remove your feedback. If the swap is past the signup stage it is up to your organizer to decide if you can have your feedback removed. If they think the feedback should stay, you may receive Negative Feedback. Keep in mind that Negative Feedback is reversible. Later in this guide, the process for reversing Negative Feedback is explained.

Once you have received a package from your swap partner

As soon as possible, send a PM to both the Swap Organizer and your partner and let them know that the item has arrived. The Swap Organizer will create a separate "Swap Gallery" for this swap. You should then post photos and a description of what you received from your partner. Make sure to thank your partner!

Receiving feedback for your swap participation

After your partner has received the package you sent, the Swap Organizer will post Positive or Negative Feedback, along with any applicable comments about your communication and your participation in the swap. As long as you meet the swap requirements, you will receive Positive Feedback. The Swap Organizer is responsible for including accurate comments about your participation. Poor communication or late sending will be noted.

If you are unable to meet the deadline within two weeks of the stated send date, but are still in communication, you will receive temporary Negative Feedback that will be changed to positive once your partner has received your package.

If you do not meet the swap requirements, either by not sending the proper amount of items or by not sending at all, you will receive Negative Feedback and you will not be allowed to sign up for any more swaps until you either send to your partner or become a swap angel at a later date. Although your Negative will be changed to Positive so that you may swap again, the original comments about your performance will remain.

If the swap has been over for quite some time and you still do not have feedback, please PM your Swap Organizer and ask them to update it as soon as possible. If you do not get an answer, open a swap-related Help Desk ticket.

More information on Negative Feedback

We have methods in place to help people redeem their feedback if they have had trouble completing a swap. If you have past negatives and wish to begin swapping again, the Swap Moderators are more than happy to help you accomplish this, either by having you send to your original partner, or by becoming a swap angel. Negative Feedback can be redeemed at any time.

If you would like to redeem your Negative Feedback by sending to your original partner, please contact your partner and your organizer to see if this is still possible. This is the best option, and the one you should try first.

If you cannot or do not wish to send to your original partner, you can offer to be a Swap Angel. Calls for Swap Angels are listed in this board. There are often only a limited number of angel positions available. Please be patient and wait for an opportunity to arise. If you are angeling to redeem a negative, you must send an angel package that is a similar size to the one that you were supposed to send. For example, if you were originally required to send 1 large, 1 medium, and 1 small item, you cannot angel simply by sending an ATC. If you did not complete a swap where you sent to several partners, or in which you were supposed to send 3 packages to one partner, you will be required to send an angel package for each send you missed.

If you do not fulfill your duties as a swap angel and you are not redeeming Negative Feedback, you will need to angel twice to redeem feedback. If you are angeling to redeem previous Negative Feedback and do not fulfill your duties, you will be banned from swapping.

It IS NOT ACCEPTABLE to create a new account (with a different username) in order to begin swapping again after you have received Negative Feedback. If you are found to have done this, immediate actions will be taken against your account.

  • If you receive Negative Feedback and create a new account and then sign up to swap under your new account, you will be permanently banned from swapping on Craftster. You may maintain your new account name and may participate in other areas of the forum, but you will not be allowed to swap again under any circumstances.
  • If you had Negative Feedback on a previous account and created a new account but HAVE NOT attempted to swap using your new account, your previous swap history will still be moved over to your new account. If, in the future, you choose to swap again, you will be required to clear any Negative Feedback you have previously received. In addition, you will be required to be a swap angel one additional time before being allowed to swap again.
If you have been away from Craftster for a while and cannot remember your previous username and/or password, please contact the Help Desk and choose "Miscellaneous". Jungrrl or sweets4ever will help you find your account. You can also contact them if you would like to change your username for any reason.

More helpful information

What is listed above are the rules for swapping, however, we have compiled a list of helpful hints, tips, and recommendations for being a fantastic swapper. You can view that information here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=6553.0

You can also view the Swap FAQ here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=229624.0

ALL ABOUT ORGANIZING A SWAP

Organizing a swap is a good amount of work and requires someone who is conscientious and has good follow-through. Please don't volunteer to be an organizer unless you are prepared to complete the work described below.

What are the conditions that need to be met in order to organize or co-organize a swap?

  1. You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. You must not have any Negative Feedback.
  3. You must have completed at least two swaps and have Positive Feedback for both.
  4. If it is your first time organizing, you may only organize ONE swap. After you have completed your organizing duties for that swap, you may organize and/or co-organize up to THREE swaps at once.
  5. If the number of participants exceeds 25 members, you must either recruit a co-organizer or contact a swap mod and arrange to send them a copy of your records.

Some special rules for swaps

  1. Unconditional Swaps where participants are not required to send but expect to receive are not allowed. Everyone who participates in the swap must send a package.
  2. Swaps in which all swapped items are sent to the organizer for distribution back to the swappers are not allowed. Swapped items must be sent directly from swapper to swapper.
  3. Swap sign-up periods must not exceed one month.

Propose a new idea for a swap

Go to the "New Swap Ideas" board and see if anyone else has the same idea! If not, start a thread to determine interest and to discuss details with potential participants.

When starting a new swap

1. Start the official thread for your swap.

Using the Swap Thread Starter here, copy and paste that exact text into the thread and fill it in with the appropriate details. Make sure the title is like so:

Hand Bag Swap (SIGNUP 6/1/04-6/15/04 ; MAIL BY 6/30/04).

2. Approve members who want to participate.

Members will contact you via PM (Private Message) if they want to join. Before accepting a participant, check each and every person by opening up their Profile and making sure that these six things check out OK:

  1. The swapper is at least 16 years old. If they are under 16 and have already successfully swapped on Craftster, they will have Swap Moderator approval listed in their profile if they are eligible to swap.
  2. The swapper has been a Craftster member for at least 1 month.
  3. The swapper has posted at least 15 times on Craftster.
  4. The swapper has NO Negative Feedback.
  5. The swapper either has no swaps listed in their profile OR they have Positive Feedback for their first swap. New swappers are not allowed to sign up for further swaps until their first swap is fully complete and Positive Feedback has been recorded.
  6. The swapper is not currently listed as "In Progress" for the maximum limit of 5 swaps.
All of this information is located in a member's Profile. To see a member's Profile, click on their username in any message or PM by that person OR search for their Profile by clicking here.

3. Start recording the swap participants in the locations listed below.

YOUR OWN RECORDS:

Save your own copy of this table to keep track of each person involved:
click here to find Word or Excel formats

SWAP THREAD RECORDS:

List the participant usernames in the first or second post of the swap thread. If you'd like, you can make the listed usernames link to the users' profile. This is helpful for not only your participants and for Swap Moderators, but can also help you find your swappers faster. To do so, select their username (with no spaces on either side) and hit the "member" button.

CRAFTSTER MEMBER PROFILE RECORDS:

Click here to submit participant information to the Craftster Swap Feedback System. At this point, all you need to do is record that each member's status for this swap is "In Progress". This information shows up in each member's Profile so that others can see how many swaps this person is currently participating in at any given time.

You must mark a member as "In Progress" as soon as they sign up for the swap. Do not wait until the sign-up period is over. We need for this to show up in a member's feedback right away so that they don't sign up for more swaps than they are allowed.

Please see this thread for information on how to use the Swap Feedback Form.

After the sign-up period has closed

4. Remove your swap thread from the Swap Signups board.

Click "Move Topic" on the lower left of the page and move your thread to the "ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED" board.

5. Match up and record partners.

To match people up, you will want to consider skill level, interests, willingness to send overseas, and allergies (if applicable). Do your best to make matches that you think will please everyone.

Record partner assignments in two places. First, the Word document or Excel spreadsheet that you started. Second, in the swap thread. Edit the first post of the swap thread by clicking the Modify button and list the partnerships, like so:

Sally -> Suzy Suzy -> Sally Sarah -> Jennifer Jennifer -> Sarah Or

Sally <> Suzy
Sarah <> Jennifer

If you have an odd number of swappers, you can match three of them up in a chain, which would look like this:

Sally>Suzy>Sarah>Sally

If your swap is a "secret swap" where people won't know who they're getting their item from, you must let one of the Swap Moderators know who is matched up with whom. This is to guarantee that should you need to step away from Craftster during the swap, a swap mod can take over the swap and assure that everyone sends and receives.

6. Distribute partner information to participants.

Send a PM to each participant to give them the details (name, address, username, and any other details they included with the signup form) about their partner for your swap.

When packages have been mailed

7. Collect DC#s and track sending.

On or before the send date, participants will PM you and give you the delivery confirmation or tracking number information. Collect this and record it in the Word document or Excel spreadsheet.

As people send and receive please also update the first post of the swap thread. The most popular ways to do this are by color coding the names (Example A) or by writing next to their names (Example B). As long as it is clear to everyone who has sent and received, you may use whichever method works best/is clearer for your swap.

Example A:

Sent = Orange
Received = Green
Problem = Red
Sent & Received = Blue
Crossed through = Feedback given

Swapper 1 - Swapper 2
Swapper 3 - Swapper 4
Swapper 5 - Swapper 6

Example B:

Swapper 1 (sent) - Swapper 2 (sent & received)
Swapper 3 (received) - Swapper 4 (sent)

8. Start a "Swap Gallery" for the swap.

Create a thread for your swap in this board. It is helpful to include a link to the original thread in the first post of this new thread.

When the swap deadline arrives or packages have been received

9. Record Positive or Negative Feedback for participants.

When a participant's package is received, as long as that package meets the swap requirements, they get Positive Feedback. Return to the Swap Feedback Form and fill out the appropriate information. Include any comments that you feel would be helpful for future organizers. For example, if someone was a particularly great swap participant, communicated well, and sent on time, note that. If someone technically fulfilled their obligation but there were issues, such as poor communication or late shipping, please make a note of that as well.

If you feel that someone did NOT meet the swap requirements by sending the proper amount or sizes of items, please open a Help Desk ticket and ask for assistance.

As organizer or co-organizer, you may only give yourself Positive Feedback once 90% of your swaps participants have feedback.

Two weeks past the swap deadline

10. At two weeks past the swap deadline all participants must have either positive or Negative Feedback, unless their package is in transit.

  • If someone failed to fulfill their swap obligation and has not been in communication with you, give them Negative Feedback.
  • If a participant has communicated that they are going to be late but has not shipped, they should still receive Negative Feedback two weeks after the swap deadline if their package has not been received. If they have been in communication and you feel that they will send soon, leave a comment such as: "has not sent, but is in good communication." This feedback is easily reversible once the package arrives. It is only used to insure that the participant focuses on the swaps they are already involved in before they sign up for others. Participants who have provided proof of shipment can remain In Progress until their package is received.
  • If the swapper has sent his/her item to the partner and the package meets the size requirements of the swap, they get a positive, whether or not they communicated or failed to send a DC# to you, etc. These issues should be noted in the comment section of the feedback.

11. If you have a swapper that flaked, find their partner a Swap Angel.

All participants need to receive a package. If someone does not receive a package (whether their partner did not send, or their partner's package was lost) please find them a swap angel. You may do so by posting a request in the Calls for Swap Angels board. Please include all relevant information such as the receiver's location, likes, dislikes, and swap requirements.

Once the angel package is received, please give the angel Positive Feedback and open a Help Desk ticket letting the Moderators know who deserves FOC credit. If someone was an angel for your swap to redeem Negative Feedback, please note that in your Help Desk ticket so a swap mod can amend their feedback.

If someone does not fulfill their duties as a swap angel, they will need to angel twice to redeem feedback. If they are angeling to redeem a negative and do not fulfill their duties, they will be banned from swapping. Please open a Help Desk ticket to report an angel that does not send, especially if they were angeling to redeem Negative Feedback.

12. Move your thread one last time.

Once EVERY participant in the swap (including angels) has received either Positive or Negative Feedback, please move the swap to the board called "ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED".

More helpful information for organizers

What is listed above are the rules for organizing, however, we have compiled a list of helpful hints, tips, and recommendations for being a fantastic organizer. You can view that information here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=47204.0

You can also view the Swap FAQ here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=229624.0


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