Site Talk forum: Swap Software Improvements

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Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Oct 25, 2016 4:53 PM CST
Since nobody else did this, I will make some suggestions for the programmers. I know that some (many?) of these might not be possible due to the programming platform or simply would be too time consuming to program. Also know I am only modestly computer savvy so I might use the wrong words. Here goes:

1- A clickable link or maybe a countdown clock up in the corner of the main page for the swap. This would make much of our confusion go away about when the swap starts for anyone in any time zone, and remove my distress about daylight savings time and how it starts different days in different countries, which could affect the start time. Or maybe a link to a good timezone/time calculator. I was also confused about if "midnight" on Saturday means the moment it becomes Saturday, or Saturday night just before it becomes Sunday. When I say Saturday at Midnight I think of Saturday evening not morning, not sure which is actually correct. Anyway this is an area of confusion, and I think it is an area to improve somehow.

2- I would like to be able to choose if the lists are organized by common name or by scientific name. Especially as some common names I never heard of. I listed what I know as the "Suicide Lily" which is Gladiolus flanaganii, and it comes up as "Gladiola". Some are worse, my "Spanish Snapdragons" (Antirrhinum hispanicum) are listed as "Creeping snapdragons" which is another letter entirely. Actually, although I tend to go by scientific names, some names are in such a state of taxonomic flux and confusion (sedums, chrysanthemums) that we all mostly go by the common name which changes less. So it would be nice if the list could be ordered whichever way we choose, and even go back and forth.

3- It would be nice if there was some way to indicate if seeds are open pollinated or a controlled cross. We have some people who are offering controlled daylily crosses, it seems they type it in so there is not a link to the parents. This method of showing the cross is very clear to me, but the links to the database are lost. I love the links, they are one of the fabulous things in this software.

4- Related to #3, I want to indicate if seeds are the offspring of a named variety, but not that exact variety. I collect seeds from my named varieties, and so they are likely to be much closer to the named parent than ordinary seeds. But if I free type it in there is no link to the named variety. I have been putting them in as the named variety and putting O.P. for open pollinated, and sometimes a warning in the comment section. I don't want people to misunderstand what they are getting.

5- The initial part of joining a swap is pretty intimidating and seems complicated, until one does it. Then it seems straightforward. How about a little video or a general tutorial on how to do it? I think we lost a few potential traders who could not figure it out. I volunteered in one of the chat threads to get on the telephone with someone to talk them through the process. Nobody took me up on it but I think it might have helped.

6- How about allowing my Swap List to show just the ones I have not yet enabled for bidding. Then it would be easier to click on them to put them into the TradeList. Other database programs can do such a thing I think. Also the grey vs green is not very noticeable, and something with a bit more contrast would be good.

7- Lastly, How about a separate section for seeds that don't need bidding on, but will be sent free, as they are experimental. I collected some seeds (maybe they are seeds) from my Grevillea xgaudichaudii but I am unable to sprout them. I would give them to people but don't want them to use up their tickets. Then maybe somebody would do something different to them (heat? cold? smoke? fire? pass through a kangaroo gut?) and report back what works. I doubt this section would be used much, but might encourage some experimentation, and add to the fun. I like the idea of listing them in the swap so people would notice them, and it is super easy to toss a packet in someones baggie.

Well, I came up with a lot of ideas to get this started (no longer a Beta version since it works just fine, maybe a Gamma?). Let's hear from other users...




Name: Elena
NYC (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Winter Sowing Hybridizer Peonies Plant and/or Seed Trader Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Organic Gardener Composter Container Gardener I helped beta test the first seed swap Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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bxncbx
Oct 25, 2016 5:59 PM CST
I'll bite! In general swaps like this one we have lots of different types of seeds. Some people are more interested in vegetables, others wildflowers, etc. Could we have a way of sorting the items listed? Even something as basic as just show me vegetables, herbs or flowers would be helpful. We might need a checkbox when we list an item to designate it into one of these categories.

In that vein, if someone adds an item in the category we are interested in, can we get an alert? This is most important when the swap is close to starting (within 24 hours) and/or is taking place.

Finally, for those of us on mobile phones, can we have the comments people write about the seeds made into a link? I still can't see what is written in my iPhone and I only have access to a desktop at work. If someone adds something right before the swap starts and it has a comment I won't be able to read it. Sad
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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DogsNDaylilies
Oct 25, 2016 6:09 PM CST
Not to thwart the much-needed feedback on the swaps, but Dave had asked that these suggestions be made on the Site Talk forum :
http://garden.org/forums/view/...

I certainly don't mind the discussion being here in the least, but if you would like it to have more impact, I recommend placing it where Dave requested. Big Grin
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
Beekeeper Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Plant Identifier Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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dave
Oct 25, 2016 7:03 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I moved it to the Site Talk forum. Thumbs up
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
Beekeeper Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Plant Identifier Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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dave
Oct 25, 2016 7:04 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Lots of good feedback above. I'll be digesting it, and acting on some of the items, soon.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Oct 25, 2016 8:04 PM CST
So . . . how to put this? There's a swap list and a trade list. And as of yet, there is no 'free' list. Correct?

And maybe I shouldn't offer free seeds b/c I merely collected them but have no idea if they're pollinated, let alone open or cross. Dang! I was fixing to list some.

Oh, well. I'll learn how everything works, sooner or later.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Oct 25, 2016 8:22 PM CST
I liked the "filter by genus" that was available in some list, but I don't see it now. (?) It let me filter on "Phaseolus" or "Brassica". I used that all the time to find things, because alphabetization on common names scattered things all over the alphabet. Often I couldn't guess that (for example) "beans" got listed under pole, bush, common, yard-long and maybe even green or wax.

I also somewhat like the "search term" available in the "full trade list". That sometimes let me filter on a common name like "bean" that spanned multiple genuses, though I can't recall an instance right now where I did that.

Personally, I would love to have both of those filters available on ALL the lists.

For example, searching on "Phaseolus" taught me what the "common name" alphabetization was, so I* could go back to a list that lacked the genus filter, and still find the entry I needd to edit.

This next request probably violates UI principles, and gets hip-deep into issues of who is allowed to edit what. But it would often have saved me a lot of hunting.

Suppose we could edit our own entries, even if we found them in a list other than "My Swap List". Often I see an entry of mine while looking at the whole-swap-tradelist. I see something I want to edit, like a comment or the quantity remaining. If I could just click-and-edit, that would be instant gratification. If instead I have to make a note of the common name alphabetization, then navigate to my swap list, THEN edit it, I often don't get around to the update.

Sometimes I wish I could move more easily between editing one of my items, and getting back into the right place in my own swaplist. But if I remember when to hit "Ctrl-Click", I don't lose my place in my swap list. There's no need to make something easier when it already IS easy! Still, if clicking on "edit this item" always created a new window that floated on top of the swap list, my forgetting to hit "Ctrl-Click" wouldn't get me lost.

In "My Swap List", I really want to be able to filter so I could SEE only, or HIDE only, "Ready", "Not Ready" and "Not Public". If it can't be three check boxes to show or hide each category, the most desirable thing is to be able to hide "Not Public". (Like "hide zero-quantity items", which is a vital feature in the tradelist and wish list screens.)

Dave, thanks for looking into Swap changes again! It's the only such tool I know of, and it already saves a huge amount of time doing bookkeeping during the swap. But you've spoiled us so that we want EVERYTHING to be dead-easy.

"Much better than any other garden website anywhere", I've started to take for granted here.

The home page customization has started me thinking that of course everything here will always be exactly the way I imagine I would wish, for the ways I use the site.

What I'd really like is for the Swap feature to read my mind and fill out all the lists with zero effort on my part, after going through my boxes for me, counting all my extras and labeling the packets. So I'll try to remind myself that not EVERY frill I can think of really has a place in a website that was not ACTUALLY designed from the ground up with nothing but my personal convenience in mind!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Oct 25, 2016 8:38 PM CST
Joan, I'm not sue there is a distinction between "swap list" and "tradelist". Maybe "tradelist" is only used when referring to the COMBINED list made from each person's individual swap list.

I think of there being these lists:
- MY Plant List
- MY Swap List
- The whole group's combined tradelist / swap list.
- My "sold list"
- My "bought" list


in each swap I've been in so far, the daily increase in the number of "tickets" we get has always given me more tickets than I needed by 3-5 days into the swap.

Then I have 2-4 days with a pocket full of unused tickets, deciding whether asking for one more packet would just be wasteful.

Maybe you don't need a "Free List" so much as an easy way of saying: "Oh, go ahead, TAKE them even if you aren't sure you'll get them planted this year!" Maybe a check box that says "Don't be bashful, I've got lots!"

When I see that someone saved their own seeds and is offering ten packets, I assume they have lots ane can get more next year, but really that isn't the same thing as "Take them, please!"

I think it's desirable to include in the comment, if suspected, that: "May be cross-pollinated or infertile or chaff", or "Not sure of the ID". Or "These re-seeded heavily for me" or "May spread aggressively".

But my theory is that, any time you receive traded seeds, you should allow for the possibility that one or more of those might be true but the trader did not realize it. For example, some "aggressive, invasive" varieties in one region may be so marginal in another region that they are hard to keep alive.
Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
Fruit Growers Permaculture Hybridizer Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Daylilies
Region: South Carolina Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Photography Herbs Region: United States of America Composter
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ediblelandscapingsc
Oct 26, 2016 6:03 AM CST
I love the count down clock Idea, that would be great.
I also like the thought of having videos for not only the swap but letting members upload their own garden related videos directly to the site. We already have the largest plant database why not have a nice catalog of our member videos as well.
­čî┐A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered­čî┐
Name: Leslie
Chapin, SC (Zone 7b)
Keeps Sheep Daylilies Hybridizer Garden Photography Cat Lover Hummingbirder
Birds Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2 Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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Lalambchop1
Oct 26, 2016 8:48 AM CST
Count me in on the count down clock. It would be nice to have that for each day of the swap.
Leslie

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Oct 26, 2016 8:23 PM CST
@RickCorey, I was sitting here skimming all of this without my glasses on and I saw where you said that you liked the "filter by genus". Whoa! Yes! Filter by genius. Oh, dang it. Guess I should wear my glasses altho it can be more entertaining when I don't.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Oct 27, 2016 12:34 PM CST
Yes! Dave, Joan identified exactly what we all want, and have. "Filtered by genius!"

Maybe that could be a tagline for the whole website.

Thumb of 2016-10-27/RickCorey/06c908

Thumb of 2016-10-27/RickCorey/85660c

Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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DogsNDaylilies
Oct 31, 2016 11:26 AM CST
I love the idea of a countdown clock. I never even though of that, but that would be so much fun, and extremely useful!

A few other things:

1) Retain plant links in 'recent events'
When viewing recent events, it would really help to have the "Affected item" column retain the links for the plant so that we don't have to Google-search the newly-added items in a separate link. (An alternative is to have an option on the full tradelist to "Show only activities from the last ____ hours.") This is important so that people can easily look at and rate items that have been added since they looked through the entire tradelist.

2) Greater ability to move between swap pages
I'm frequently ending up on a page that requires me to go back to Tools & Apps and re-enter the swap just to move in-between pages within the swap...maybe this is more of an issue for the host when working with the host control panel?) More navigation links would save me a lot of time and unnecessary clicks between pages. In the seed swap forums, you have a link back to the seed swaps's main page (in my case, a link that says "DND's ALL SEEDS SWAP (Int'l) - #3") in the link menu just above the reply field. Maybe simply putting that link on each of the pages in the swap (including the host control pages) would be a simple fix to the navigation issue?

3) This might be a bug?:
When I click on the "Swap Host Control Panel" and then click the link at the bottom of that page that says "Return to the Swap Host Control Panel", it throws me into a page to create a new swap.

4) Ability for the host to allow late-adds
I know this was brought up previously and was somewhat controversial. I'm not dead-set toward having this ability, but I thought I would mention it again now that there have been a few swaps and we can accurately judge whether or not this would be beneficial.

5) Alternative picture options in descriptions! :)
If there were an option to have two separate pictures for a single entry, it would greatly help those of us who are adding hybridized seeds and want to show both parents without having to spend hours upon hours editing and saving photos. Currently, we have to find a picture of the pod parent, find a picture of the pollen parent, create a new image and paste both parent's pictures to the new image, re-size to try and fit it into the picture ratio currently set forth as best as we can, save the photo, THEN post it. And we have to do that for every picture we want to post. I think I had about 15-ish packets of daylily seeds last swap and it probably took me the equivalent of an entire day just to do the pictures for them. Allowing two pictures would also allow us to include a picture of the plant as well as a picture of the growing instructions on the package (if it's a commercial seed).

An alternative would be to atleast allow an option for a double-wide photo, which wouldn't eliminate much of the picture editing time for each entry, but would atleast allow for space to see both parents better.

6) Hybridizer option in seed entry
Allow for a 'hybridized seed' option in the plant entry screen whereby TWO plant links can be added, one for 'pod parent' and one for 'pollen parent'. Members could use this to look at the possible outcomes for the seedlings from those seeds.

I hesitate to say 'two or more plant links' because if one of the parents is unregistered, trying to determine potential outcomes of the seeds/seedlings by 'mixing' information in our heads from four entries in the database is exponentially more difficult. (And the more genetic possibilities, the less relevant the genetic info from each entry is.) Imagine having to look up all of the potential genetic traits in the following cross: [(American Freedom x Tuscawilla Tigress) x (French Confection x Nikki Schmith)]....'mixing' the possibilities in your head would be overwhelming and leave you with little idea of the likely outcome(s). Two plants, I think, is about the most people can reasonably extrapolate from.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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DogsNDaylilies
Nov 1, 2016 11:07 AM CST
7) An option to put a link to the swap on your homepage
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
Beekeeper Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Plant Identifier Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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dave
Nov 1, 2016 11:10 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

On 7) we have that functionality in the custom links through your preferences.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
DogsNDaylilies
Nov 1, 2016 11:16 AM CST
Thanks, Dave! I was just there trying it and didn't see it (hence, the recommendation), but I'll try again! Sorry to bug you about something if it's already there. If I still have difficulties later today, I'll let you know.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
DogsNDaylilies
Nov 1, 2016 12:34 PM CST
...I didn't see it, but it was probably just me. I put the link in the profile area for custom links but for some reason I'm not finding it on my homepage. It's probably just me missing something, but unfortunately I don't have time to play around with trying to get custom links on the homepage today. Sad
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
Beekeeper Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Plant Identifier Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Image
dave
Nov 1, 2016 12:41 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

It's in the menubar at the top of the page. It looks like a link from a chain. Click on it to access your custom links.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Nov 1, 2016 7:31 PM CST
>> "(An alternative is to have an option on the full tradelist to "Show only activities from the last ____ hours.") This is important so that people can easily look at and rate items that have been added since they looked through the entire tradelist."

Or "the last N days" or "since date-and-time".

I would also wish for a filter "show only ADDITIONS", since that's the only reason that I personally look at the Swap Recent Events.

>> "2) Greater ability to move between swap pages"

I THINK that most of the lost time could be saved if I ALWAYS remembered when to "CTRL-Click" so that the first page remains open. Then I would finish using the second page, and hopefully remember to close the second page so I don't have a dozen pages open at the same time.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Nov 2, 2016 11:34 AM CST
Another request/suggestion:

Within our Wish List, could you either default to hiding each item that we have already gotten (green checkmark), or give a checkbox for "Hide Items I already got".

I know that we could "remove the stars" from each item we "get", but automating it would be a convenience.
[Last edited by RickCorey - Nov 2, 2016 11:35 AM (+)]
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