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Author Topic: Help for new GB members Back to Topics
Bruce1224

Champion Author
Cincinnati

Posts:2,904
Points:557,580
Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Dec 28, 2012 5:18:58 PM

There are many forum posts that cover the same or similar topics over and over again. They're not because of dumb questions, but there should be a way to get information out, especially to new members, to reduce confusion and the need to ask for basic information.

I suggest that GB develop a relstively brief set of guidelines (like a "quick start guide") that is automatically emailed to new members. The primary focus should be on the proper use of the site, e.g., encouraging people to post, but take care to do it accurately, changes to the MSL, how to use the forum, buying tickets to win gas cards with points, and refer members to places on the website where they can get more info on particular topics. It could also include some "how to" info on the mobile app, and still leave out the criteria for the awards if desired.

I think the website is excellent, but I know I could have used a quick start guide a few months ago. If there's agreement on the concept and the moderators can program the system to generate the message, members can chime in with suggestions on points to include.
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maddog57
Champion Author Winston-Salem

Posts:148,194
Points:2,994,990
Joined:Oct 2005
Message Posted: Jan 17, 2013 3:06:20 PM

Well most people don't go to the local forums so that really isn't a good way to see who joined. I do look at the local leader board and send notes to those who get to 50,000-100,000..points. It would also be nice just to see who is new and invite them to post on forums if their interests show something like (likes old movies...etc..etc).
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:28,503
Points:3,361,200
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Jan 17, 2013 2:59:31 PM

maddog57:

"I wish there was a list of new gasbuddy members. It would be nice to be able to see who recently joined."

Why? Unless you were intending to contact all the new members (and you didn't say "for your area") to congratulate them for joining Gas Buddy, or intended to add them to your Buddy List to talk outside the discussion forums, why would it be "nice" to be able to see who recently joined?

If it's really important to know who joined, in your area, why not start a topic in your local discussion category asking new members to join the "Hello, I'm new" discussion, or keep a list of who posts prices for your area and note the new screen names. Or, while it won't show all the new members immediately or show those that join and quickly lose interest, check names on the bottom of your local points leaders' board.

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maddog57
Champion Author Winston-Salem

Posts:148,194
Points:2,994,990
Joined:Oct 2005
Message Posted: Jan 17, 2013 11:29:10 AM

I wish there was a list of new gasbuddy members. It would be nice to be able to see who recently joined.

Also on the profile it would be nice to see the last date someone was active, rather than just 0 days.
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Karisholman
Veteran Author Nevada

Posts:452
Points:384,230
Joined:Oct 2012
Message Posted: Jan 1, 2013 11:59:23 PM

I know I have accidentally posted prices for a wrong station and as soon as someone pointed it out I was much more careful. Mistakes happen.
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Bruce1224
Champion Author Cincinnati

Posts:2,904
Points:557,580
Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Dec 31, 2012 9:13:41 AM

I agree, scoutmaster, that a points penalty would be the right approach unless someone is really repetative. Most times just a warning from the mods gets people to pay more attention to accuracy, but some need more incentive it seems.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:90,957
Points:3,581,470
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Dec 31, 2012 5:14:47 AM

I'm not talking about being able to suspend members who post bogus prices, Bruce1224. I'm talking about having members assigned by area who can remove points earned or reward credits for members who post bogus prices.

Here's an example. If a member posts 5 prices and earns 750 points. 3 of those 5 prices posted are diesel prices for stations that don't sell diesel. The member assigned to monitor this area would have the power to reduce the total points earned by this member who posted bogus prices by 450 points.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:16,262
Points:2,685,380
Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Dec 30, 2012 10:00:56 PM

I'll continue to call them as I see them.
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MARIOWERX
Champion Author Vancouver

Posts:17,653
Points:1,967,535
Joined:Oct 2008
Message Posted: Dec 30, 2012 9:56:11 PM

If some members feel ignored and want to whine and criticize the moderators and the site I am sure the powers that be would gladly refund their membership due...... oh wait its free site to members who want to participate.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:16,262
Points:2,685,380
Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Dec 30, 2012 9:03:13 PM

Bruce1224 wrote > Whether the mobile awards encourage people to post 'whatever they want' more than the website points do is debatable.

Not really. You weren't around before the app awards existed. Some people did post bogus prices before, but once the app awards were introduced, it was light a switch was turned on. Ever since then there has been a torrent of posting prices for grades of fuel a station did not sell. My list of reporting members for posting bogus prices in the 1 1/4 years since the app awards were introduced has to be at least 10X what it was in the previous 5 years.

Gas_Buddy wrote > Simply update another persons' recent price post several times and you don't take a chance of getting caught or questioned.

This is horrible advice. I am convinced that many of the people who I report for posting diesel prices for stations that don't sell diesel are doing just this. There are many copy cats out there. If I zero out bogus diesel prices, the number of mis-posts plummets. The advice should simply be, post what you see and only what you see.

Bruce1224 wrote > Your idea, scoutmaster, to appoint local monitors to check price posts (and who have the power to temporarily suspend people from participation) is also worth a try.

I wouldn't trust most of the members who make this suggestion to make the right decisions. However, the moderators have really let us down. If they actually adhered to the 3 strikes and you're out policy, this wouldn't be such an issue. Unfortunately, they simply don't care about bogus diesel prices on the system.

[Edited by: Scrapheap at 12/30/2012 9:07:00 PM EST]
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Bruce1224
Champion Author Cincinnati

Posts:2,904
Points:557,580
Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Dec 30, 2012 9:16:21 AM

The bottom line is I'm suggesting a way for the mods to "get their message out", focusing on new members. It seems it would lower their email volume and could only help them in the long run.

You raise a good point, kwzh, about needing a valid email address. I can't remember if my email address was validated when I joined last summer, but I don't think it was. That too would seem to be a simple step from a tech standpoint.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

Posts:22,284
Points:4,004,505
Joined:Jul 2001
Message Posted: Dec 30, 2012 2:42:28 AM

I'm not sure what fraction of signups include a valid email address, but here's a counter-proposal that doesn't require it.

Immediately after signing up, the user could see some text that says "Welcome to GasBuddy. The FAQ list is under the Help menu. Go read it."
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Bruce1224
Champion Author Cincinnati

Posts:2,904
Points:557,580
Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Dec 29, 2012 11:36:44 PM

Whether the mobile awards encourage people to post 'whatever they want' more than the website points do is debatable. My point is there is no communication sent to new members from the site administrators on how to use the system. Members need to take personal initiative to search the website and forum for guidance and it's reasonable to assume a lot of members don't bother.

An introductory email to new members with some general information and to underscore the need to post accurately shouldn't be all that complicated. It's not likely to eliminate the problem but it should at least help. Nothing will totally remove the temptation for some people to post inaccurately unless all awards and points are eliminated, and I don't think that's a good approach. Your idea, scoutmaster, to appoint local monitors to check price posts (and who have the power to temporarily suspend people from participation) is also worth a try.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:90,957
Points:3,581,470
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Dec 29, 2012 7:38:32 PM

I totally agree with what Gas Buddy reposted by Scrapheap. The useless mobile awards encourage people to post whatever they want to. I'm not sure there is a good way to prevent this. The only thing I can think of is appoint a few people in each area to monitor prices and have the power to take away points and award credits for posting bad prices or prices that don't exist.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:28,503
Points:3,361,200
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Dec 29, 2012 5:34:20 PM

Scrapheap:

"Is a guide really necessary to say 'Post what you see and only what you see'?
Gas_Buddy wrote > Do you think that members are in any way encouraged to input incorrect prices or data?
Yes, for the awards and now the Top Spotter."

Your "Is a guide..." is what I was referring to. I started to write "Is is really necessary that members be told to post only accurate prices" but I thought that what I wrote said that.

I don't disagree that people post flippantly or inaccurately for awards only they know about and for being a "Top Spotter" (for whatever value there is to that). I still, however, believe that it's much easier to post "accurate false postings" than to simply make up prices; as I've said repeatedly, if you want points and not have to go through the trouble of actually seeing prices, simply copy a recent posted price and post it five times. That way no one is the wiser. Simply making up prices that are obviously false leads to being reported (and perhaps banished).

But, if they eliminated the awards (that are known only to the member), and the Top Spotter, I wouldn't have any sense of loss.
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Bruce1224
Champion Author Cincinnati

Posts:2,904
Points:557,580
Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Dec 29, 2012 5:33:51 PM

Scrapheap, yes I do think it would help for the system administrators to tell new members up front to post only what they see - to try to set expectations to post accurately as I mentioned. There seems to be enough of a problem with false or inaccurate posts, and many of the members making them have few or zero posts on the forum - it makes me think they've never read the forum, either.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:16,262
Points:2,685,380
Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Dec 29, 2012 3:20:05 PM

Bruce1224 wrote > The idea is to try to set expectations for the quality of data they submit if they become active in posting price information.

Is a guide really necessary to say 'Post what you see and only what you see'?

Gas_Buddy wrote > Do you think that members are in any way encouraged to input incorrect prices or data?

Yes, for the awards and now the Top Spotter.

[Edited by: Scrapheap at 12/29/2012 3:22:43 PM EST]
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:28,503
Points:3,361,200
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Dec 29, 2012 3:15:47 PM

"I think we would want members to be encouraged but not required to be active in posting prices, but they should only input data they know to be correct. The system depends on a continuous flow of new data, but a lot of complaints we see relate to false prices for diesel or guesses for mid-grade prices."

Do you think that members are in any way encouraged to input incorrect prices or data? Even if you're posting only for points, knowing that the points will get you (eventually) a gas card, there are better ways to get points than making up prices or otherwise intentionally posting incorrect data. Simply update another persons' recent price post several times and you don't take a chance of getting caught or questioned.

As for requiring members to post prices, I don't think that, in any way, people have been lead to believe they are required to post prices, and I think that it's been repeated, perhaps ad nausem, that price information is only as good as members timely and accurate posting. Many of us encourage members to post prices, though we're frequently admonished by others that posting prices shouldn't be a requirement to be a member in good standing or (otherwise) participation.
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Bruce1224
Champion Author Cincinnati

Posts:2,904
Points:557,580
Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Dec 29, 2012 9:08:12 AM

To expand on the suggestion, my thought is not just to provide some basic information to new members. The idea is to try to set expectations for the quality of data they submit if they become active in posting price information. I think we would want members to be encouraged but not required to be active in posting prices, but they should only input data they know to be correct. The system depends on a continuous flow of new data, but a lot of complaints we see relate to false prices for diesel or guesses for mid-grade prices.

A new body of information doesn't need to be created to generate this "welcome letter" since it's all out there already. It just needs to be put together in one message that can be sent automatically to people when they sign up.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:90,957
Points:3,581,470
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Dec 28, 2012 9:26:50 PM

Help is locate in the top menus as well as the bottom of every page.

I wondering what the powers that be at Gas Buddy think of all these wiki's CampKohler is putting out there. I personally think they are pointless!
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maxstar
Champion Author Chicago

Posts:20,774
Points:1,137,520
Joined:Feb 2011
Message Posted: Dec 28, 2012 9:06:28 PM

CampKohler: your idea is to create another reference guide, that new users will not be able to find?
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

Posts:11,464
Points:1,835,720
Joined:May 2007
Message Posted: Dec 28, 2012 8:53:07 PM

This suggestion has been added to the Suggestion Tracking List as a new topic on an existing subject.

Meanwhile, until such guides are developed and distribution achieved, you may wish to contribute appropriate material that would be useful here.
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maxstar
Champion Author Chicago

Posts:20,774
Points:1,137,520
Joined:Feb 2011
Message Posted: Dec 28, 2012 7:32:00 PM

Or make it easier to find the help that is already out there. One thing that would make it easier is to have the "Help" tab at the top of the page take the user to help, instead of a "Contact Us" page. Help should be a click away not buried withing another link. The second set of links at the bottom of the page are poorly placed because it make those who use it scroll to even know they are there, something a new user may not think to do.

[Edited by: maxstar at 12/28/2012 7:34:52 PM EST]
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