Greetings, iggles!

I have a big announcement today regarding changes to our swaps system. First I’ll give you the short version listing all the changes, and then I’ll explain the why and how.

IGGPPC Swaps 3.0 Changes

  • As of April 1, swaps will go back to being forum based. Anyone will be able to host a swap by starting up a new thread for it.

  • The “Swaps Squad” will disband, but staff will run a few official IGGPPC-sponsored swaps for special holidays including: IGGPPC’s birthday every March, IGGPPCamp care packages, Geeky Santa, and proactive holiday greeting card exchanges (Valentine’s, Halloween candy, Christmas/New Year). These swaps will be integrated into the site (the same way they have been for version 2.0).

  • Staff will remain involved in maintaining safety and privacy, but swap hosts will be expected to handle any swap-related issues.

  • The new system will no longer involve Swap Angels, a feedback form, or a check in form. We will also no longer create achievements for swaps-related activities. Remember, swap hosts will be handling any issues that arise. We will ask hosts to contact the staff ASAP if any serious issues arise.

  • Also going up on April 1 will be site updates under the Swaps tab. This will include how swaps work, how to run your own swap, and a new set of safety-related rules we will enforce.

Why in the world are all these changes happening?

As you may recall, we introduced the Swaps 2.0 system in “beta” mode, meaning that we were testing it for sustainability. Our vision was a swaps system akin to how Reddit Gifts is set up, with points and feedback built in to encourage accountability and safety. Unfortunately, the system we tried (with many updates!) over the last six months was less than ideal:

  • An integrated points system would require us to hire someone to develop it for us. That is expensive! Existing, free WordPress points widgets did not meet our needs, and required way too much time to maintain.

  • The Swaps Squad felt an excessive amount of time and effort were required for very little output (imagine five Ninjas scrambling behind the scenes constantly for only three swaps a month!)

  • Overall, the system was really restrictive. While we encouraged you all to submit swap ideas to promote community involvement, quite frankly, three swaps a month really doesn’t cut it! We want all you creative, inspired iggles out there to be able to share your swap ideas with the community freely.

How will the changes happen?

As stated above, on April 1 we’ll re-open the Swaps & Exchanges forum. You will be able to discuss your ideas with your fellow iggles, and open new swaps whenever you want. (The staff won’t enforce any sort of deadlines or calendar.)

Because we’ve learned quite a bit after all our tinkering, I will update the site with pages featuring suggestions on how to host swaps, as well as a list of the new swap rules we will enforce. These rules all relate to safety and privacy, not how to run swaps.

The swaps twitter, @iggleswaps, will remain active. The Ninjas will stay at the helm and tweet out swap updates, advertise your swaps, and showcase all those awesome pictures that you guys share with us!

Our main focus now is to get the forums and site changes rolling by April 1. After that, we’ve got some tricks up our swap-sleeves including: monthly blog posts featuring package pictures, spotlights on ongoing swaps, and get-to-know-your-swap-hosts interviews with organizers who are active on the forums!

Thanks to all you swaps-loving iggles out there for hanging with us while we sort out the best way to go about things. My inbox will ALWAYS be open to any suggestions, concerns, or feedback you might have for us, so don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

Best Wishes,
Swap Master K