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View Full Version : Should there be an "Other" section in For Sale/Trade?



Marco Milazzo
21-Feb-2013, 09:10
The For Sale/Trade section of this forum is a great service to Large Format photographers. But there's so much activity there that a posted "ad" can vanish from the first page in a few hours, and from the second page in a day. One reason is that people love to comment on For Sale items. They endorse the seller, or write that they own a similar item and it's great, etc. IMO, that's all good, but items without comments sink like a stone.

But another reason is that there's a lot of non-LF stuff for sale, and those items also get their share of input. In fact, the non-LF items seem to be increasing.

So my question for Mods is "Should there be a separate "For Sale" section for non-LF items?

MM

Ralph Barker
22-Feb-2013, 07:52
We're discussing options.

Gem Singer
22-Feb-2013, 10:51
There are many websites with classified sections for items other than LF.

IMHO, items for sale on this forum should be limited to LF only.

Pete Watkins
22-Feb-2013, 12:08
It's a good idea. One section for LF and another for "the rest" but I can see problems with some items such as developing tanks that can be used for multiple formats, lenses that cover 4x5 but were not designed to.................
Gem's idea is well worth considering as well, it it's appropriate for LF keep it in.
Only trying to help,
Pete.

rdenney
22-Feb-2013, 15:52
Limiting it to LF would require too much policing, and be subject to a lot of gray area. Plus, the intent of the for-sale forum was to serve the members, many of whom legitimately work in multiple formats. I've certainly appreciated some of the medium-format stuff I've bought through the forum. So, I'm not sure that limiting it to LF is either easy or the best service to the members.

We are discussing options, one of which is to provide two for-sale sub-forums, one for LF stuff, and one for medium and small-format stuff. But saying that much, and even agreeing to it, doesn't mean it would solve the problem or even be workable. First, we have to decide there is a problem to be solved that affects enough people to be worth coming up with something.

So, let's continue to voice opinions, but let's keep it to how people use the for-sale forum. I see no point in saying that how others use it might be wrong. And ideas that require significant moderator activity will be a hard-sell.

Rick "in no rush" Denney

Gem Singer
22-Feb-2013, 16:25
How about separating the catagories:

Cameras
Lenses
Darkroom items

Michael_4514
22-Feb-2013, 16:34
Large Format, For sale
Large Format, Wanted to buy
Everything else.

welly
22-Feb-2013, 16:41
It'd probably be useful to separate darkroom items from cameras and lenses etc. but not sure we need to be selling TVs and cars and houses on here as well. But whatever, I don't suppose it matters that much. Perhaps an "Other" section would be good for everything else that isn't a large format camera or a lens - ie. 35mm gear, books, printers, scanners and so on.

Roger Thoms
22-Feb-2013, 16:48
I like it the way it is, nice and simple, if there were different categories or sections I'd miss stuff. Also never minded the non-large format stuff, heck I've even bought some of it.

Roger

David A. Goldfarb
22-Feb-2013, 17:14
We have an "other" section on APUG, and it does require some policing, but not too much, and it is possible to put any forum (except the administrative ones) on "ignore," so that if someone doesn't want non-analogue-photo classifieds in their feed, they can make it disappear. I don't know if you have that "ignore forum" function over here.

Brian C. Miller
22-Feb-2013, 17:15
What about using tags? I already use the search function for that section, but if there were default links for things based on tags, then you could have both a default view and a sorted view without much fuss. If someone enters the tags wrong, that's not something that needs moderation, just the poster's correction.

Marco Milazzo
23-Feb-2013, 08:16
It would help if people didn't make irrelevant comments like "I wish I had one, but can't afford it." Comments that actually contribute something to the thread are useful, though.

rdenney
25-Feb-2013, 16:05
Okay, guys, we are not really hearing stories about how the current situation represents a real problem worth the extra work that would be required to 1.) see what there is to see for those who want to see it all, and 2.) keep the threads sorted out, including interpreting those in the gray.

We heard several suggestions of how to do it, but not really any stories of what use cases it would serve.

For those whose posts fall off the first page because someone came along behind them and posted a bunch of items, you can always bump the item, within reason. But people looking for things to buy generally see everything, if the title of the post is clear. Many folks use the "New Posts" button and scan the thread titles of everything that has been posted since their last visit. The times I've missed stuff is not because it fell off the first page, but because someone else got to it first. Clear titles and good prices are the best facilitators of good sales, methinks.

We'll keep an eye on it but unless we see evidence of a bigger problem than we are seeing now, we've decided to leave it as it is.

Rick "respectfully submitted" Denney

ImSoNegative
26-Feb-2013, 05:39
There are many websites with classified sections for items other than LF.

IMHO, items for sale on this forum should be limited to LF only.

Agree

IanG
26-Feb-2013, 06:03
Sub dividing the section into a For Sale and a Wanted and possibly further subdivision of the sales into say cameras, lenses, accessories, miscellaneous, would make looking very much easier, it would help cut the endless need to bump posts.

The major issue as I see it (and I've bought many items here) is the way items disappear quickly onto page 2,3 etc making it less friendly to use. However having said that I've sold items month after listing them and with no bumping the posts.

Ian

rdenney
26-Feb-2013, 10:29
Agree

That was not the intent. The intent was to provide a service to LF photographers, many of whom legitimately (if that is a word that can even be considered in this context) work in multiple formats. I've bought lots of medium-format stuff from other large-format photographers here, as have many others. Doing so has certainly not prevented me from also buying lots of large-format stuff.

And there is much stuff that can't be divided up that way in any case.

Yes, sometimes one has to look down a long list of sale posts, and one strategy might be to limit the number of threads one person can start in the for-sale forum to one per day. But then we'd have people making single posts with long lists of equipment, and those are difficult to deal with, too.

I'm just not hearing that people are missing out on items for sale because they fall off the first page. My own experience is that the reverse is true--by the time I see something, someone else got to it first.

Rick "needing use cases, not preferences" Denney

Marco Milazzo
27-Feb-2013, 13:07
Let me point out two of my ads that might illustrate the problem.

I posted an ad for a B&J 8X10 to 4X5 reducing back. It received no responses, and was gone from the first page in about a day. Perhaps the right person didn't see it during it's one-day presence on the first page.

A few days later, I posted an inquiry about selling elemental mercury. That ad got many responses -- 18 as I recall, of which about three were mine. Of the 15 remaining responses, several supplied helpful information. But there were some others -- let's say, five -- which were "humorous," or otherwise contributed nothing. Every one of those five responses bumped my inquiry to the top of the stack, and bumped every other ad, down a notch. I don't remember what other things were being offered, but some of them probably left the first page because a member posted an irrelevant comment on my ad.

So IMO, the simplest thing the Mods could do, would be to ask people to not comment on an ad unless the comment contributes something. I'd be happy to set the bar pretty low on this. "Joe is an honest seller," is helpful. "If I hit the lottery, I'll buy one of these" isn't.

The For Sale forum is "self-policing" where stating a price is concerned. I think people would respect the "No irrelevant comments" policy, too. But it has to be stated first.

Let me just add that I'll continue to buy and sell on the LF forum regardless of what actions you take or don't take.

Kirk Gittings
27-Feb-2013, 13:16
Let me point out two of my ads that might illustrate the problem.

I posted an ad for a B&J 8X10 to 4X5 reducing back. It received no responses, and was gone from the first page in about a day. Perhaps the right person didn't see it during it's one-day presence on the first page.

A few days later, I posted an inquiry about selling elemental mercury. That ad got many responses -- 18 as I recall, of which about three were mine. Of the 15 remaining responses, several supplied helpful information. But there were some others -- let's say, five -- which were "humorous," or otherwise contributed nothing. Every one of those five responses bumped my inquiry to the top of the stack, and bumped every other ad, down a notch. I don't remember what other things were being offered, but some of them probably left the first page because a member posted an irrelevant comment on my ad.

So IMO, the simplest thing the Mods could do, would be to ask people to not comment on an ad unless the comment contributes something. I'd be happy to set the bar pretty low on this. "Joe is an honest seller," is helpful. "If I hit the lottery, I'll buy one of these" isn't.

The For Sale forum is "self-policing" where stating a price is concerned. I think people would respect the "No irrelevant comments" policy, too. But it has to be stated first.

Let me just add that I'll continue to buy and sell on the LF forum regardless of what actions you take or don't take.

I have posted many LF items that got allot of looks but no responses, but I bump periodically. You don't bump your For/Sale ads when they get no response? Actually how many people are looking at your ad is a better indication of exposure than actual comments-positive, negative or nonsensical.

IanG
27-Feb-2013, 13:23
I have posted many LF items that got allot of looks but no responses. You don't bump your For/Sale ads when they get no response?

There's two issues here.

First too many people expect items to sell quickly, it's a small market so patience is needed sometimes. Yes some items are over priced, but often items that aren't get bumped with numerous price reductions.

Second, the current systen of listing mean it's more necessary to bump items.

It's a Catch 22 situation. The real questions are could it be made to work better.

Ian

Marc B.
27-Feb-2013, 14:10
Another frustration...once an item is sold, sellers are not closing/locking their ad thread.
It seems that other sites using the "vBulletin" template are able to split their 'For Sale' header into subsections.

Marc

Erik Larsen
27-Feb-2013, 14:13
I think the for sale section works pretty good as it is and is a good resource for the members here even with the sometimes irrelevant posts thrown in such as - wow, nice lens good price etc etc. The only thing I would like to see handled more efficiently by the posters (not moderators job IMO) is if you have numerous items to sell at the same time put them all in the same thread instead of posting numerous threads for each individual item. This would keep items on the front page longer for all the other members that are attempting to sell stuff. I may be in the minority with this suggestion, I don't know.
Regards
Erik

rdenney
27-Feb-2013, 14:48
So far, I don't see any evidence that these issues are keeping people from selling what is salable and priced to move, or from buying stuff they are looking for.

The forum provides a mechanism to show items posted since the last visit, so most people see what there is to see, if they want to. If a person hasn't visited in too long to make that practical, none of these strategies are going to work for them anyway, and they are going to miss stuff.

A thread receiving a bunch of additional responses does not move everything down for every response. The thread only appears in the list once. If one gets 150 useless responses, it just sits at the top of the list while the conversation continues, which bumps everything else down...one position only.

What pushes things off the first page is when people post 15 items for sale all on the same day, and all separately. So, we should make them put it into one post, perhaps by limiting people to one thread start per day in the For-Sale forum (note: I have not explored whether that is even possible). But is that better? Some of the most frustrating for-sale threads I've seen have me trying to figure out what has and has not actually been sold in a long list of items. The OP is forced to repeat the list in the thread on each significant change in price or availability. Is that better? I'm not so sure.

Dividing it up into smaller pieces will make it harder to see things, not easier. Instead of having to page down until one gets to the end of what has been posted since their last visit, we now expect people to page to different sub-forums. We just didn't see how that actually solved a problem.

Separating FS and WTB posts would be another approach, but there are really very few WTB posts, and I don't think it would address the issue. What would help with that issue is if people followed the guidelines and included "FS:" or "WTB:" in their thread titles.

Some forums do not allow bumping without a price reduction. We don't have that rule. (Hint, hint)

Rick "are we done here?" Denney

Gem Singer
27-Feb-2013, 16:12
Rick,

How about requiring the person who posts a WTB add to include a price range?

A FS add requires that a price be stated

rdenney
27-Feb-2013, 17:39
Rick,

How about requiring the person who posts a WTB add to include a price range?

A FS add requires that a price be stated

What problem is that solving?

Rick "who never sells anything, so is curious" Denney

anglophone1
5-Mar-2013, 13:58
I like it the way it is, nice and simple, if there were different categories or sections I'd miss stuff. Also never minded the non-large format stuff, heck I've even bought some of it.

Roger

+1

eddie
9-Mar-2013, 07:29
i got an great idea. perfect fit for the LFPF .

ONE section for selling stuff......lets call it the For Sale/Wanted section.

BUT i do think it is a very good idea to include some words of caution......i suggest this wording:

"Use of this area is strictly at your own risk. This is a private area open only to those who have been members for 30 days or more. Classified ads are limited to the personal photographic equipment, photography books, and prints of registered users. Posts by dealers are not allowed. The sales price must be clearly stated in the original post. Auctions are not permitted. Links to other auction sites such as eBay or other points of sale are prohibited and will be deleted without notice. Please prefix all post titles to indicate intent: "WTB", "FS" , "FT" (for trade), etc. Readers of "For Sale" posts should refrain from intruding on the thread by making negative comments about the item or the price being requested. Doing so is rude, and thus in violation of general forum guidelines."

when do you think this can be implemented?

please do it fast before Sal stumbles onto the idea of a FS section!! bwah ha ha ha!

rdenney
9-Mar-2013, 12:38
i got an great idea. perfect fit for the LFPF .

ONE section for selling stuff......lets call it the For Sale/Wanted section.

BUT i do think it is a very good idea to include some words of caution......i suggest this wording:

"Use of this area is strictly at your own risk. This is a private area open only to those who have been members for 30 days or more. Classified ads are limited to the personal photographic equipment, photography books, and prints of registered users. Posts by dealers are not allowed. The sales price must be clearly stated in the original post. Auctions are not permitted. Links to other auction sites such as eBay or other points of sale are prohibited and will be deleted without notice. Please prefix all post titles to indicate intent: "WTB", "FS" , "FT" (for trade), etc. Readers of "For Sale" posts should refrain from intruding on the thread by making negative comments about the item or the price being requested. Doing so is rude, and thus in violation of general forum guidelines."

when do you think this can be implemented?

please do it fast before Sal stumbles onto the idea of a FS section!! bwah ha ha ha!

It'll never work.

Rick "skeptical" Denney

goamules
11-Mar-2013, 15:39
Personally, as an old systems admin guy, I see no real reason NOT to organize the For Sale section into a few more categories. People used to bxxx and moan about the horrible, "dealers" who sell 2-3 big ticket LF lenses a month. But no one seems to notice the weeks when people are selling dozens of non LF items. I don't like having to Easter egg hunt for real LF items, or watch my sale item drop off the list in hours for people flipping a bunch of junk. I don't mind people selling any photo item or format, it's just dumb to pile them all on top of each other in the same folder.

Why not bring order and add simplicity to the For Sale?
- LF Lenses
- LF Cameras
- Accessories
- Non-LF Lenses and Cameras

rdenney
12-Mar-2013, 06:02
I look at the for-sale forum frequently and am able to scan every title. Yes, sometimes people have bursts of selling frenzy that results in a pile to sort through. Many enjoy that process. You don't, and I understand your point. That's why we discussed it and explored it. What we moderators would not enjoy, however, since we are not system administrators, is doing that sorting for you. For one thing, wherever we draw the lines will be different from where you or anyone else will. It will also be different than where those who post in that thread will.

For example, where do 8x10 trays fit in your taxonomy? What about a Jobo 2500 series tank with no reels? What about an 11x14 easel? All that would have to do into the accessories group, which will end up being a the big pile that you describe. For the person who is interested in lenses, that's a good thing. For the person who is building a darkroom, however, we haven't done much. And in my own experience, I'm an opportunistic buyer. I don't go to the for-sale forum looking for a specific thing--I look at what's there. I don't make optical enlargements any longer, but I don't mind skipping past posts about enlargers, enlarging lenses, easels, and trays.

As with all software used by real people, especially untrained users, something that is easy to set up isn't necessarily easy to maintain. The use cases and objectives for sellers who post in the thread will surely be at odds with the use cases and objectives of some (not all) who buy from it. Given that it is apparent that there is no one solution that satisfies all use cases, and given that the use cases for making the change have not been compelling, we have determined that doing so would cause more problems than it would solve.

And, with that, I'm closing the discussion, with thanks to those who responded. An idea was put forward, and we heard from lots of folks and explored it, and we came to a decision--that's how it should be even though there is no true consensus. Let's put this to bed, and at least wait a few months (or longer) before reconsidering it. (Garrett, if you think I've been unfair to you, send me a PM and we'll take it there.)

Rick "thanks to all" Denney