Swap-bot Time: November 24, 2017 12:31 pm
www.swap-bot.com

Frequently Asked Questions

General

  1. What is Swap-bot?
  2. What is a Swap?
  3. What does Swap-bot do?
  4. Who can join Swap-bot?
  5. Who should NOT use Swap-bot?
  6. Who created Swap-bot?
  7. Do you make money off this site?
  8. Why haven't Swap-bot Admins answered my email promptly?
  9. Can I put a Swap-bot graphic or badge on my personal website?

Account Questions

  1. Who will see my mailing address?
  2. What if I am nervous about people using my home mailing address?
  3. What if I have registered for an account, but I cannot verify my email address because I have not received an email from Swap-bot?
  4. How can I receive LESS email alerts from Swap-bot?
  5. Can two, or more, accounts have the same address?
  6. How do I put images on my profile page?
  7. Can I change my Swap-bot username?
  8. Can I delete my Swap-bot account?

Swap Questions

  1. What do the deadlines mean?
  2. What do the three different swap types mean?
  3. Why do some swaps have more than one swap partner?
  4. What if I signed up for a swap and now I am too busy to participate?
  5. Why is there a monetary value on some swaps?
  6. What is the new user swap limit and why does it exist?
  7. What do I do after I have sent my items for a swap?
  8. What if I keep getting emails from Swap-bot everyday saying I haven't sent my items?
  9. Why can't I see the option to sign up for swaps?
  10. What do I do when I receive a swap package from my partner?
  11. What is a 'swap angel' or 'angeling'?
  12. What does the number on my profile under "Swaps Completed" mean? Why does the number not match the number of ratings and/or hearts I have received?
  13. What is my "watchlist" and how do I add swaps to it?
  14. Are mix CD or other music swaps allowed?

Partner and Mailing Questions

  1. Do I receive items from the same person(s) I mail items to in each swap?
  2. May I pick which countries I am willing to send a swap to?
  3. It is past the signup deadline and I still have not received my swap partner's address. What is up?
  4. What if I missed the mail deadline?
  5. How do I find out if my partner received the swap package I sent to them?

Rating Questions

  1. How does the rating system work?
  2. What are the rating criteria?
  3. What are hearts and how do I give them?
  4. What are stars and how do I give one to my swap coordinator?
  5. Why a rating system?
  6. What if I received a rating that I believe is unfair?
  7. Can I delete a rating given to me?
  8. Do my partners get a message when I respond to their rating on my profile?

Problem Swapper Questions

  1. What do I do if I didn't receive a swap package for a swap I participated in?
  2. What happens when someone doesn't send a swap?
  3. How does Swap-bot deal with bad swappers?
  4. What are the consequences for breaking Swap-bot's rules?
  5. What if another user is being rude to me in the forums or through messages or profile comments?

Coordinator Questions

  1. May I make a suggestion for a future swap?
  2. What are the responsibilities of swap coordinators?
  3. How do coordinators assign swap partners?
  4. Can I delete a swap I have created?
  5. What if someone copies my swap idea?
  6. You suggest that I use Bcc when contacting my swap participants. What does Bcc mean?

Forum Questions

  1. Who can view the Swap-bot Discussion Forums?
  2. Are the Swap-bot forums monitored or censored?
  3. What are the general etiquette guidelines for using the Swap-bot Forums?
  4. When is it appropriate to list someone in the "Questionable Swapper" category in the forums?
  5. In the forums, what does "bump" mean?

Group Questions

  1. How do I join a group?
  2. What do the different group membership levels mean?
  3. How do I create a new group?
  4. How do I invite others to my group?
  5. Can my group have two, or more, founders?

If you have other questions, please contact us.

General

  1. What is Swap-bot?

    Swap-bot is a service and a community of creative individuals. Swap-bot facilitates internet and snail mail swaps. It removes the hassle of collecting swap participants and assigning swap partners.

  2. What is a swap?

    A Swap is a group of people who organize on the internet to exchange items through the postal mail (or sometimes, email). Items are usually hand-assembled, cheap (but rich with craftsmanship and care) and can include letters, postcards, mail art, crafts, gifts, or anything else you can think of! The type of swapping done on Swap-bot is mostly done for fun and is hobby- or craft-oriented. Swap-bot swaps are usually not direct one-on-one swap deals or trades.

    Swapping is a great way to meet new people online and form friendships with people from all over the world!

  3. What does Swap-bot do?

    Swap-bot collects the names and mailing addresses of everyone involved in each swap.

    Then, using a complicated, computerized algorithm, it mixes up all of the participants and assigns the specified number of recipients to each participant. No more stressing over hand-sorting partners. Note: you usually will not receive a swap from the same person you send to in group swaps.

    Swap-bot emails each participant after the sign up deadline to let them know that they can now access their recipient's name and address. Participants must log back into Swap-bot to get this information. Swap-bot also sends out reminder emails to participants close to the mail deadline, and provides a feedback (rating) system which prevents bad swappers from continuing to cheat on more swaps.

  4. Who can join Swap-bot?

    Anyone over the age of 18 with a valid email address and mailing address. Swap-bot even allows for international swaps. Swap-bot is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability. We encourage all of our coordinators to adopt a similar policy when regulating their swaps. However, we cannot control the actions or behavior of our members and they are each legally responsible for their actions on Swap-bot. Swap-bot is a completely free service.

    For more information about being a new user, see the new user info page.

  5. Who should NOT use Swap-bot?

    Swap-bot protects your information from being seen by anyone other than your swap partners and coordinators, however due to the random and public nature of our swaps you could be partnered with anyone from around the world. If for any reason you need to keep your location secret, do NOT use Swap-bot.

    If you are severely allergic to any common items, do NOT use Swap-bot. Your partners could mail you anything legally allowed to be sent through the postal mail.

    If you live in a country which restricts incoming mail from certain countries, or restricts where you can send mail, you may have trouble using Swap-bot for international swaps. We allow people from all countries to join Swap-bot and we cannot prevent you from being paired with users from specific countries.

  6. Who created Swap-bot?

    Swap-bot was created and is maintained by Rachel and Travis. Rachel came up with the idea and Travis wrote the code. Rachel is a crafter and graphic designer with masters degree in arts management from the University of Oregon. Travis works full-time as a web developer for a national online advertising company. He has his masters degree in computer science from UMKC.

  7. Do you make money off this site?

    The advertisements you see on the sidebars and within the Swap-bot site help offset the cost of running Swap-bot. The money raised by publishing ads helps us pay for the software, hardware, server space, and day-to-day operations needed to run the site. If you are interested in advertising on Swap-bot, check out the advertising info page or email rachel [at] swap-bot.com for rates.

    At this time, we are not prepared to accept donations or to make Swap-bot a pay service.

  8. Why haven't Swap-bot Admins answered my email promptly?

    Swap-bot is run by a two-person, part-time team. We get many, many emails everyday. We do take your emailed questions, suggestions, and concerns seriously, but sometimes we fall behind. All emails sent to Swap-bot Admin are read everyday, but it can take us up to a week (or two) to respond. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

  9. Can I put a Swap-bot graphic or badge on my personal website?

    Sure!! There are badges and graphics you can use on the Graphics & Stuff page. Check it out!

Account Questions

  1. Who will see my mailing address?

    The only people who will ever have access to your mailing information are the swap partners who are assigned to send you items, and the swap coordinator of each swap you join. Swap-bot will never give, sell, or rent your contact information to a third party.

    If you are not willing to provide a valid mailing address, please do not use Swap-bot's services.

  2. What if I am nervous about people using my home mailing address?

    If you do not want anyone to see your home address, we suggest purchasing a PO BOX at your local post office or mailbox store. Using a PO BOX for all of your online correspondence is always a good idea.

  3. What if I have registered for an account, but I cannot verify my email address because I have not received an email from Swap-bot?

    First, wait just a few more minutes. It can take up to ten minutes for an email to be delivered after you register for an account. If you have waited a few minutes and still have not received an email, please check your junk or spam mail box for the message. Our emails come from questionsATswap-bot.com, so make sure your email account is set up to accept emails from that address.

    If you still do not receive an email from Swap-bot asking you to verify your address, you may not have entered a valid email. Check your account to see what email address you entered. Perhaps there is a typo.

    Email communication is very important to Swap-bot operations. Entering a valid email address is required for participation in Swap-bot swaps. If you continue to have trouble receiving the verification email, you may have to use a different email address for your Swap-bot account. We suggest creating an alternate free email account with a service like Yahoo or Gmail for use on Swap-bot. You can simply log into your Swap-bot account and change your email in the "Profile Edit" page. Then, have the verification email sent again to the new address.

  4. How can I receive LESS email alerts from Swap-bot?

    You can indicate which types of email alerts you want to receive by editing your account preferences. When logged in, click on "Edit Profile" under the word Profile at the top of most pages. In the profile edit screen you will see a link called "Preferences." There you can opt out of receiving rating, rating response, profile comment, and watchlist email notifications. Swap deadline notifications are NOT optional. You can also adjust your group email notifications by clicking on the "Group" link on the profile edit page. You can select specific email preferences for each of your groups. Make sure to hit "Save Changes" once you have selected your email preferences.

  5. Can two, or more, Swap-bot accounts have the same address?

    No. Each Swap-bot account must have a unique email and mailing address. This prevents users from creating multiple accounts if they decide they don't like some of the ratings they were given. If you live with a roommate or family member who would also like to use Swap-bot, use the contact form to discuss exceptions to this rule with a Swap-bot Admin.

  6. How do I put images on my profile page?

    You canNOT use HTML to adjust the format of your profile on Swap-bot. We use a type of simple formatting code on the site called Markdown Syntax. With this code you can make some format changes to your profile and forum posts. You can make bold headline text and lists, as well as add links and images. To learn more about using Markdown to format your type on Swap-bot, visit this forum post.

    To add images you can use the following code:

    ![name for image](url for the image)

  7. Can I change my Swap-bot username?

    Technically, no. Once you pick your Swap-bot username, it is permanent. Changing usernames causes confusion on the site and within swaps. However, if there is an issue of safety or legality regarding your username, Swap-bot Admin can change it for you. Use the contact form to discuss username changes.

  8. Can I delete my Swap-bot account?

    Yes, you can delete your account if you have finished all of your swaps and have marked them as sent. You will NOT be able to delete your account if you are currently serving a founder of a group. You must delete your group or have another founder demote you before you can delete your account.

    Be absolutely sure that you no longer want to use Swap-bot before deleting your account! Each individual is only allowed one Swap-bot account. Even if your original account is deleted, you will not be able to create a new account using the same email or mailing address. This policy prevents bad swappers from deleting their bad ratings and starting a fresh account.

Swap Questions

  1. What do the swap deadlines mean?

    The “Signup Date” is the deadline when all participants must be signed up for the swap. To sign up for any of the swaps listed on Swap-bot you must create a free account. After the “signup deadline” the swap is officially closed to participants, meaning that no one new can get into that swap.

    The “Swap Date” or "Send Date" is the deadline for when your swap packages must be in the mail. If for some reason you have missed the mail deadline, simply log into Swap-bot to retrieve your partners’ contact information and let them know that their package may be arriving a little late.

  2. What do the three different swap types mean?

    • Type 1 - Electronic - All electronic-only swaps fall under this type. Swaps of email letters or surveys, e-cards, blog links, Etsy favorites, Flickr favorites, digital photography, etc. Email swaps are any swaps that are done over the internet and do not require postage.
    • Type 2 - Flat Mail - Mail swaps that only require one or two postage stamps, like postcards, letters, and other postal mail swaps with little, to no, craft component.
    • Type 3 - Crafts and Packages - Any time-intensive craft swaps or swaps that must be mailed in a package. Most swaps will fall under this type. Anything sent in a box, bubble mailer, or large envelope is a Type 3.

  3. Why do some swaps have more than one swap partner?

    The majority of swaps only indicate one swap partner. This means that each participant will mail a package to one person, and receive a package from one person. Some swaps have a larger number of swap partners. If the swap coordinator indicates that their will be five swap partners for their swap, it means that each participant mails items to five people, and receives items from five people. The people you send to and the people you receive from are usually not the same. Swap-bot randomizes the matching of participants for sending and receiving.

    The maximum number of partners that can be specified in a swap is 20. Keep the number of partners in mind when both signing up for swaps and when creating them. It may be fine to send postcards to five people, but it may not be quite as easy to send a hand-knit scarf to five people.

  4. What if I signed up for a swap and now I am too busy to participate?

    If you signed up and partners have not yet been assigned, it is not a problem. You can log into Swap-bot and remove yourself from the swap automatically by clicking on “drop from swap” in the individual swap’s menu.

    If partners have been assigned, please remember your obligation to the swap. If you decide not to participate in a swap after the partners are assigned you no longer have the option to drop from that swap. If you do not send something it means that another participant will not receive an item. Basically, the bottom line is do not sign up for a swap if you are not 100% certain that you will be able to follow through with the swap. If you have a major issue that prevents you from participating in a swap after the signup deadline, please contact your swap coordinator. If you do not send out a swap your partner will rate you with the lowest rating of 1. After you receive three "1" ratings, you will be suspended and can no longer swap on Swap-bot.

  5. Why is there a monetary value on some swaps?

    Monetary values are determined by the swap coordinator and are usually meant to help keep the swap fair. You would not like to send out a package worth $20 and receive one only worth $3, therefore it is important to try to follow your coordinator’s monetary value guidelines. Of course, with some swaps it is hard to determine a monetary value and there may be other requirements, such as the number of items, that can help you make sure you are sending out a fair swap package.

  6. What is the new user swap limit and why does it exist?

    All new users of Swap-bot start with a swap sign up limit and can only sign up for five swaps at a time at first. This limit lasts until they have completed five swaps (i.e. marked them all as "Sent" once their packages are in the mail) and received five positive (5) ratings from their swap partners. (The ratings can be from five individual swaps or all from one swap with multiple partners.) Once a user has met these requirements, the limit is removed and they can sign up for as many as twenty swaps at a time.

    We implemented this limit to prevent new swappers from over-extending themselves and to prevent bogus "scammers" from creating new accounts and signing up for tons of swaps with the intent of stealing swap items.

  7. What do I do after I have sent my items for a swap?

    This is EXTREMELY important. You need to log into Swap-bot using the e-mail address and password you registered with to change your status in the individual swap's option menu to SENT ITEMS. If you don't indicate that you sent your items, Swap-bot will continue to send you daily emails reminding you that it is after the swap deadline.

  8. What if I keep getting emails from Swap-bot everyday saying I haven't sent my items?

    Swap-bot sends out “nagging” emails everyday after the mail deadline to every participant that has not indicated that they have sent their items. If you have mailed your swap package, but are still receiving emails, log into Swap-bot and go to the individual swap’s main page. There you should click on the link that says “Click here when you have sent your items.”

    If you haven’t sent your package, now is the time! You may want to contact your swap partner or the swap coordinator to let them know that your package may be a little late.

  9. Why can't I see the option to sign up for swaps?

    First, make sure you are logged in. The swap sign up link only appears when you are logged into Swap-bot. If you are logged in, there are three reasons why you cannot sign up for swaps: you have indicated that you are underage, your account has been suspended, or you have already signed up for the maximum number of swaps.

    When you create your Swap-bot account you must enter your age. If your age is under 18 you are not allowed to swap on our site. We do not believe it is safe for underage individuals to participate on Swap-bot.

    Swap-bot has an automatic account suspension system. If a swapper receives three, or more, "1" ratings within the past six months, their account is automatically partially suspended by the Swap-bot computer. They are dropped from all swaps in which partners are not yet assigned and they are not able to sign up for new swaps until they get their low ratings rectified. If you have received three, or more, "1" ratings from your swap partners you will not be able to see the swap sign up option.

    Swap-bot also has two swap sign up limits: a five swap limit for new users and a twenty swap limit for experienced users. New users can only be signed up for five active swaps at a time until they have completed five swaps and received five positive (5) ratings. All other users can sign up for up to twenty swaps. If you have reached your maximum number of active swaps, you will not see the "join" option on swap pages until you have completed some of your current swaps.

  10. What do I do when I receive a swap package from my partner?

    Thank your sender! Make sure you use the "Rate your partners and coordinator" option on the swap's main page to rate your partner and leave feedback. Everyone likes to know that their package arrived safely. You can also thank your partner by sending them a Swap-bot message, or by leaving a comment on their profile.

  11. What is a 'swap angel' or 'angeling'?

    An 'angel' is someone who volunteers to send swap items to a person in a swap who did not receive anything from their assigned partner. Being an angel is a very nice thing to do, but Swap-bot does not officially support the practice. Many people get very frustrated when they are 'flaked' on in swaps and angels fix that, but they can also be the target for dishonest users who are trying to get free items in the mail. It is up to each individual to decide whether they would like to volunteer as an angel and it is certainly never required.

  12. What does the number on my profile under "Swaps Completed" mean? Why does the number not match the number of ratings and/or hearts I have received?

    The number under "Swaps Completed" in the top right corner of your profile indicates the number of formal swaps which you have marked as "Sent". Each swap only counts once even if there are multiple partners. The number is NOT equal to the number of swap packages you have sent out to your partners because some swaps have more than one partner. That is why your number of received ratings and/or hearts may outnumber your number of swaps completed. The number of ratings you have received may also be less than the number of swaps completed if not all of your partners have given you a rating.

  13. What is my "Watchlist" and how do I add swaps to it?

    Under the sign up link for each swap there is also a link you can use to "watch" the swap instead (when you are logged into Swap-bot). By clicking the watch link, the swap will show up under your "Watchlist" on your Dashboard. You will not be officially signed up for the swap, but you will be better able to keep track of those swaps you are thinking about joining. You can receive email alerts about your watched swaps (sent one week and two days before the sign up deadline) by going to "Preferences" under the profile edit screen and checking the last email preference box. The default is that you do NOT receive email notifications for watched swaps. Also, you will not be automatically signed up for your watched swaps. You must log in and click on the sign up link for your watched swaps in order to be officially signed up. Watched swaps are removed from your Watchlist once you sign up or once the sign up deadline passes.

  14. Are mix CD or other music swaps allowed?

    Distributing unauthorized copies of any type of copyrighted material is against the law in the US. Unfortunately, that technically even includes making and sharing mix cds. Swapping any illegal items is against Swap-bot rules. Swap-bot does NOT support the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.

    As Swap-bot grows, we need to take a strong stance against swaps that call for distributing unauthorized copies of copyrighted material. This includes copying music, sewing patterns, books, photographs, etc. This does not mean that all music and media swaps need to be removed. Here are some totally legal ways to swap music:

    • Swap actual, original, authorized CDs (CDs you have purchased and not copied)
    • Swap written mix CD playlists (not the actual music, but the list of songs)
    • Swap music you have personally written, performed, and recorded, or music for which you own the distribution rights.

    We understand that there are some grey areas when it comes to copyright law and there are sure to be instances where swapping some copyrighted items may be ok. However, we need to take a clear position against any type of illegal activity on Swap-bot. If you do not know for sure whether or not it is legal to distribute copies of specific copyrighted items that you own - DO NOT SWAP THEM.

    Coordinators should include this disclaimer (or a similar one) if they choose to host music swaps: "This swap does not promote the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. Participants should only swap music for which they own the copyright or music which is in the public domain."

Partner and Mailing Questions

  1. Do I receive items from the same person(s) I mail items to in each swap?"

    The quick answer is no. You do not receive from the same person you send to. The Swap-bot system randomly sorts and assigns partners. The way partners are assigned allows for an odd number of participants in each swap. It also allows us all to meet as many new people as possible! It is the way we observed many group swaps operating on the internet before we created Swap-bot. If you are in a very small swap with only two participants, or the same number of participants as assigned partners, you may be assigned to send to the same person who is sending to you.

    If you would like to participate in one-on-one swaps or trades, check out the "One-on-one Trades" category in the Forums.

  2. May I pick which countries I am willing to send a swap to?

    Unfortunately, no. We are unable to automatically prevent you from receiving from an international partner in international swaps. People from all over the world participate in our swaps. The usps.com website is very helpful in determining the costs of postage for both domestic and international rates.

    Swap coordinators can specify that their swap is US-only (or Canada-only, or Portugal-only, or any other country-only) and they can manually ban any participant who tries to sign up with an address that does not meet their requirements.

  3. It is past the signup deadline and I still have not received my swap partner's address. What is up?

    That’s because Swap-bot doesn’t e-mail you the address, we simply email you a reminder that your swap address is now available. Swap partners are assigned after the coordinator has had a final chance to check over the list of participants after the Signup Date. Coordinators have up to one week (seven days) to initiate the partner assignment process after the signup deadline. After that is done you will be sent an email letting you know that you can log into Swap-bot to see who your swap recipient(s) is. Make sure your e-mail is set up to accept messages from questionsATswap-bot.com.

    If the coordinator of a swap does not assign partners within a week, the swap is automatically canceled and you will receive an email letting you know that is what happened.

  4. What if I missed the mail deadline?

    If for some reason you have missed the mail deadline (Swap Date), simply log into Swap-bot and send your partner a message via the Swap-bot messaging service to let them know that their package may be arriving a little late. If you would like to stay completely anonymous until your partner receives their package, you could contact your swap coordinator about the issue instead.

    Repeated lateness and/or failure to inform your swap partner(s) or coordinator of lateness may eventually cause you to receive bad ratings and/or for swap coordinators to ban you from swaps. It is important that participants follow the deadlines and specifications to allow that the swaps run as smoothly as possible. The swap coordinators take their swaps very seriously and want to make sure that they are fair for everyone.

  5. How do I find out if my partner received the swap package I sent to them?

    Your receiving partner should rate you when they receive your package. You will get an email notification whenever you get a new rating and new ratings appear at the bottom of your Swap-bot profile. If you have not been rated for a swap you can try contacting your partner. Swap-bot provides you with your swap recipient’s e-mail address and blog (if applicable). You can simply log into Swap-bot and click on “see your partners” on the individual swap’s menu. In the address pop-up window, you will be able to see their email and web address. Click on their name to be taken to their full profile. Feel free to browse their blog or e-mail them to find out if they received your package. Sometimes recipients forget to thank their swap senders.

Rating Questions

  1. How does the rating system work?

    Once you have received items from your swap partners, you can log back into Swap-bot and view the corresponding swap page. On this page you will see an option in the yellow option box to “Rate the partners and coordinator.” When you click on this option a list of all of the participants who were assigned to send items to you will open with a list of rating options and comment section for each. This option appears right after partners are assigned for each swap. However, only the most positive rating is available at first. The other two rating options appear two weeks after the mail deadline for each swap. This delay allows time for items to travel through the mail. It may take longer than two weeks to receive a package from your partner, so don’t feel like you must rate your partners right away. There is always the option of logging back into Swap-bot and changing your ratings at any time, even for old swaps.

    Everyone’s average rating, as well as the total number of hearts and stars received, is displayed by their name on their profile page. The history of each participants’ ratings and comments they received are also displayed at the bottom of their profile page and on their rating pages. Click on the different swap statistics in the upper right corner of any user's profile to see a detailed list of that specific rating history. (For example, click on the number of hearts to see a list of all of the ratings the user has received which included a heart.) Swap coordinators can use this information to determine whether they would like an individual to participate in their swap.

    Swap-bot recommends that swap coordinators contact a participant before they ultimately decide to ban them from their swap. Sometimes there is a good explanation as to why a participant couldn’t follow through on a previous swap. However, if a participant has multiple poor ratings, he/she is probably a poor swapper.

    Swap-bot has an automatic account suspension system. If a swapper receives three, or more, "1" ratings within the past six months, their account is automatically partially suspended by the Swap-bot computer. They are dropped from all swaps in which partners are not yet assigned and they are not able to sign up for new swaps until they get their low ratings rectified. Partially suspended swappers also cannot leave "1" or "3" ratings for their partners.

  2. What are the rating criteria?

    There are only three different rating criteria: I got my stuff and it met posted swap requirements (5 points); I got my stuff, but it didn't meet the posted swap requirements (3 points); I never got anything (1 point). Keep in mind that you are NOT rating your partners on whether or not you liked what you received, only on if it met the requirements of the swap. The fun thing about swaps is that you never know what you are going to get, and that means that sometimes you may not be thrilled with what you receive. Also, remember that everyone (including the person you are rating) can see who you are and what ratings and comments you gave. It is important to rate participants honestly, but it is also good to be kind even if you have to give someone the lowest rating.

  3. What are hearts and how do I give them?

    If someone sends you an extra special swap package that far exceeds the swap requirements, you can give that person a heart. The option to give someone a heart only appears when you give them the highest rating ("5 - I got my stuff and it met posted swap requirements"). Under this rating option a check box will appear that you can mark if you want to give a heart. You do not have to give anyone a heart just because you gave them the highest rating. We suggest that you reserve giving hearts to those swappers who you think deserve even more than the highest rating (more than 5 points). The number of hearts a person has collected will be shown on their profile page next to their average rating. Lots of hearts indicates a very special swapper!

    Swap coordinators should never dictate when hearts should be given. Also, swap participants should never demand that they receive a heart for their sent swap items. Hearts are only to be given at the discretion of each swap recipient.

  4. What are stars and how do I give one to my swap coordinator?

    The star system is slightly complicated, but it is a nice way to reward hard working, exceptional coordinators. When you open the rating window for each swap there is a Coordinator Star box at the top. In that box you can mark either that your coordinator deserves a star, or they do NOT deserve a star. Coordinators do not receive a star for every person who marks yes to the star option, instead they must receive stars from 75% of the rating participants in their swap. Meaning that of the people in the swap who give one of the two ratings for the coordinator, 75% must mark the positive option for a star to be received. If a participant does not rate at all, they are not included in the equation. As the percentage of rating participants changes, a coordinator's star count may change.

    To see the swaps for which you or another coordinator has received stars, simply click on the number of stars in the Rating Info box in the upper right corner of their profile. A list of the "star" swaps will appear in the center profile column.

  5. Why a rating system?

    The Swap-bot rating system is like feedback on how each participant performed on each swap for which they signed up. Swap coordinators can manually ban anyone from their swaps and they may decide to ban participants with low ratings. Swap-bot has also implemented an automatic account suspension system. If a swapper receives three, or more, "1" ratings within the past six months, their account is automatically partially suspended by the Swap-bot computer. They are dropped from all swaps in which partners are not yet assigned and they are not able to sign up for new swaps until they get their low ratings rectified.

    The rating system is meant to help keep people honest and fair with their swaps. No one likes to send out lots of cool swap items and then get nothing in return.

  6. What if I received a rating that I believe is unfair?

    The great thing about the Swap-bot rating system is that you can see who gave you each rating. If you think someone gave you an unfair rating, you can go to their profile and contact them - via the Swap-bot messaging system - about your concerns. Sometimes packages get lost in the mail. It is up to you and your partners to determine how to remedy that type of situation. Ratings can be revised at any time, so it is never too late to try and work something out with your partners. You can also always contact your swap coordinator with your concerns.

  7. Can I delete a rating given to me?

    The only time you can delete a rating given to you is if the swapper who gave you the rating has deleted their account or had their account permanently and fully suspended by Swap-bot Admin. If a swapper's account has been fully suspended, the option to delete the ratings they have given will show up on the rating at the bottom of your profile. You do not have to delete any ratings if you would like to keep them on your profile.

  8. Do my partners get a message when I respond to their rating on my profile?

    YES! The partner who left the rating will receive an email when you respond to their rating on your profile. The email will let the person know that their rating has been responded to and it will include a link to the page where they can view the response.

    Users have the option to not receive these emails if they prefer. The "opt out" option is located within the profile edit screen under the "Preferences" link.

Problem Swapper Questions

  1. What do I do if I didn't receive a swap package for a swap I participated in?

    First, think about the date. Is it at least two weeks past the mail deadline? You need to allow for shipment time because not everyone sends theirs out right away, some wait until the actual deadline date. You may also be receiving your package from someone overseas. International packages can take a very long time to arrive, sometimes up to four, or even six, weeks. Remember that you can rate your partners at any time, so unless you have some other reason to think your partner has not sent, you should allow an appropriate amount of mail time before giving a poor rating. It is also good etiquette to contact your sending partner before rating them poorly.

    If enough shipping time has passed and you still have not received a swap, it is important to rate your partner honestly with a "1" rating. Rating non-senders honestly helps prevent them from signing up for additional swaps and warns swap coordinators about their past swapping behavior.

    Not receiving a swap package can be a huge disappointment. There may not be too much your swap coordinator can do to force your swap partner into sending something, but it is still very important to let your coordinator know that you never received anything so that they can ban the bad swapper from future swaps. It is also important that you give all of your swap partners an accurate rating, even if that means giving them a "1".

  2. What happens when someone doesn't send a swap?

    They will get a poor rating, and more than likely, they will be banned from participating in future swaps. Swap coordinators can see who everyone is sending to and receiving from in their swaps. If they receive complaints from participants about not ever getting a package, they can easily find out who dropped the ball. Many swap coordinators have a rating requirement for their swaps (such as higher than a 4.5 rating). It is the swap coordinator’s responsibility to ban the offenders from their future swaps.

    Swap-bot also has an automatic account suspension system. If a swapper receives three, or more, "1" ratings within the past six months, their account is automatically partially suspended by the Swap-bot computer. They are dropped from all swaps in which partners are not yet assigned and they are not able to sign up for new swaps until they get their low ratings rectified.

  3. How does Swap-bot deal with bad swappers?

    Sadly, there are some people out there who choose to take advantage of the Swap-bot system. We do our best to stay on top of extremely bad swappers who continuously fail to send swap items to their partners. We reserve the right to partially or fully suspend any member's account who we feel is taking advantage of the swap system. However, it is also up to the swap community to deal with questionable swappers. The rating system was created to give swappers the ability to give feedback on their partners. Swap coordinators can require that all of the participants in their swap have over a certain rating in order to participate, but it is their responsibility to enforce their rating requirement and ban any swappers who do not meet it.

    Swap-bot also has an automatic account suspension system. If a swapper receives three, or more, "1" ratings within the past six months, their account is automatically partially suspended by the Swap-bot computer. They are dropped from all swaps in which partners are not yet assigned and they are not able to sign up for new swaps until they get their low ratings rectified.

    Extremely fraudulent and/or dishonest swappers will have their accounts fully and permanently suspended. When a user is fully suspended they can no longer log into Swap-bot and their personal information is removed from view. However, their rating history is still visible on their profile page. Their profile will also have a statement explaining that the user has been fully suspended. Ratings left by fully suspended users can be removed by the recipients.

  4. What are the consequences for breaking Swap-bot's rules?

    First, we try to work things out with users personally and privately. If this is not successful, the Swap-bot Admins will issue an official warning email. If the warning is not effective in curbing rule-breaking behavior, the user's account may be partially or fully suspended.

    Extremely fraudulent and/or dishonest swappers will have their accounts fully and permanently suspended. When a user is fully suspended they can no longer log into Swap-bot and their personal information is removed from view. However, their rating history is still visible on their profile page. Their profile will also have a statement explaining that the user has been fully and permanently suspended.

  5. What if another user is being rude to me in the forums or through messages or profile comments?

    Each member is responsible for their behavior and for their relationships with other swappers. However, you can block users who you do not like by clicking on the "Block" button near their username on their profile page. Blocking users prevents them from sending you personal messages through the Swap-bot site and posting comments on your profile. At this time, blocking does not prevent you from being in a swap with or being partnered with a blocked user. It also does not prevent you from seeing what the blocked user posts in the public forums. If you are having trouble with users in the public forums we STRONGLY suggest avoiding the forums.

    Swap-bot reserves the right to fully and permanently suspend any members who break our rules or Terms of Use. However, we do not interfere in personal disputes or arguments. We encourage you to report all user-to-user disputes to your local law enforcement, postmaster general, or a certified mediation or arbitration entity if necessary.

Coordinator Questions

  1. May I make a suggestion for a future swap?

    Better yet, start your own! Anyone with a Swap-bot account who has completed five swaps (i.e. marked them as sent) and received five "5" ratings can host their own swaps. Just remember that Swap-bot simply lists your swap on our site. Anyone can sign up (as long as you do not set it as private), but we do not advertise any of the swaps or recruit participants. You are responsible for spreading the word about your cool swap and sending people to the swap signup page.

  2. What are the responsibilities of swap coordinators?

    Being a swap coordinator is a lot of fun, but it does entail a little bit of work. Coordinators create swaps by writing the description and setting all swap parameters, such as sign up and mail deadlines and rating requirements. There is the option for coordinators to create "private" swaps. This means that participants will have to have a password to sign up for the swap. Private swaps are NOT listed on the list of current swaps, meaning that the average Swap-bot user will have no way of knowing that the swap exists. Coordinators are responsible for advertising their private swap on its own webpage, or by word of mouth, in order to get participants and make sure they have the required password. All public swaps will be listed on the current list of swaps, and on the sidebar lists (Top Swaps and Most Recent Swaps) if applicable. Over 3,000 people visit Swap-bot each day and many will join swaps simply by seeing it on this site, but that does not mean that the coordinators shouldn't advertise their swaps on their own webpage. Many coordinators set up separate sites or image galleries for their swaps.

    Swap-bot gives the swap coordinators the ability to ban participants that have signed up for their swap. A swap coordinator might ban a person because they have a low rating or their address does not meet the location requirements of the swap (such as US only). It is the swap coordinator's responsibility to weed out bad swappers. Swap coordinators are also responsible for initiating the assignment of swap partners after the signup deadline. Once the signup deadline has passed, the coordinator must come back to Swap-bot to check over the list of swappers who have signed up for their swap. Any unwanted swappers can be banned at this time. It is then the coordinator's responsibility to click on the 'assign partners for this swap' link. Swap-bot does all of the actual partner assignments, the coordinators simply initiate the process after they have had a chance to check over the list of swap participants.

    IMPORTANT: Partners will not be assigned for your swap until you click on the 'assign partners for this swap' link. Swap-bot will send you an email after the sign-up deadline reminding you to come initiate the partner assignment process. If the coordinator does not click on the 'assign partners for this swap' link within a week of the sign up deadline the swap will be DELETED!

    Swap-bot users are able to contact coordinators via email if they have any questions or concerns about the swap. Swap-bot does not handle issues related to individual swaps. The coordinator is responsible for handling any problems, such as participants who do not receive packages.

  3. How do coordinators assign swap partners?

    Swap coordinators are responsible for initiating the assignment of swap partners after the signup deadline. Once the signup deadline has passed, the coordinator must come back to Swap-bot to check over the list of swappers who have signed up for their swap. Any unwanted swappers can be banned at this time. It is then the coordinator's responsibility to click on the 'assign partners for this swap' link. Swap-bot does all of the actual partner assignments, the coordinators simply initiate the process after they have had a chance to check over the list of swap participants.

    IMPORTANT: Partners will not be assigned for your swap until you click on the 'assign partners for this swap' link. Swap-bot will send you an email after the sign-up deadline reminding you to come initiate the partner assignment process. If the coordinator does not click on the 'assign partners for this swap' link within a week of the sign up deadline the swap will be DELETED! All participants will get an email letting them know why the swap was deleted.

  4. Can I delete a swap I have created?

    Swap coordinators can delete the swaps they have created as long as partners have NOT been assigned. After partners have been assigned, you can no longer delete your swap. When you delete a swap, all of the members who have signed up for that swap will receive an email from Swap-bot letting them know what has happened.

  5. What if someone copies my swap idea?

    Swap-bot does not support the act of copying swap ideas or wording, however we do not have any specific rules against it. We simply cannot police swap copying at this time. Many swaps are very similar and it is hard to know where to draw the line.

    If you like a swap idea you see on Swap-bot, and you would like to host a similar one, make sure you contact the original swap’s coordinator to ask politely for permission. It is also good etiquette to give credit for the idea to the original swap host and to link back to the original swap within your swap’s description.

    If a swap has been deleted because the coordinator has not logged in for over a week and never assigned partners, we consider it perfectly acceptable for one of the swap's participants to start a similar swap.

  6. You suggest that I use Bcc when contacting my swap participants. What does Bcc mean?

    Bcc stands for "Blind Carbon Copy" and it is an option within email programs for how email can be sent. When writing an email to all your swap participants using the provided list of everyone's emails, use the Bcc option. If you put the email addresses of the recipients in the Bcc field (instead of just the To or Cc fields), none of the recipients will be able to see the other participants' email addresses when they receive the email. It is a way to preserve the swappers' privacy.

    You may have to uncover the BCC field in your email program because sometimes it is hidden in a drop down if you don't use it very often.

Forum Questions

  1. Who can view the Swap-bot Discussion Forums?

    The Swap-bot Discussion Forums are only visible to logged in Swap-bot members and only Swap-bot members can comment or create new threads.

  2. Are the Swap-bot forums monitored or censored?

    Swap-bot does not remove, delete, or censor any forum content (except in extreme safety situations). The forums are a permanent record of all of our actions which any member can access at any time. Bad language and/or indecent content offends some users. We do not censor it or remove it, but it does reflect on the poster's reputation. That being said, this is an adult site, so some adult language and content should be expected.

    Please be aware that members could be held legally responsible for damages to another member's reputation if a court were to find that the remarks constitute libel or defamation. Because Swap-bot does not censor comments or investigate them for accuracy, Swap-bot is not legally responsible for the remarks that members post, even if those remarks are defamatory. However, this law does not protect the person who leaves the feedback from responsibility for it. Basically, you are just as responsible for remarks you make in the Swap-bot forums as you are for things you say to someone's face or print in a publication. I know that bad swappers make us super-mad and frustrated, but we all have to try our best to remain civil and kind.

  3. What are the general etiquette guidelines for using the Swap-bot Forums?

    The Swap-bot discussion forums are open to all users and can be used to discuss anything - swap-related, or not. We believe diversity is a strength and we believe it makes the forums a fun and interesting place. Simply being kind and tolerant is the number one etiquette guideline for using the forums.

    Swap-bot does not encourage or support indecent or offensive content. However, we also do not censor any of the material posted by our users on this site except in extreme cases of fraud or danger. Determining what should be considered indecent is a major issue that even the US federal government cannot agree on! Please remember that there are all different types of people in this world and on Swap-bot. Many people may have differing opinions about what they consider indecent or offensive. If you are found to be posting explicit language or offensive topics in the forums you may be warned via email. If you continue to post indecent content you may be banned from posting in the forums, or your account may be suspended.

    A few tips to consider when using the forums:

    • Everyone has feelings - even those people who you believe to be thieves, or liars, or just plain rude.
    • Swap-bot Administrators do not remove, delete, or censor any forum content (except in extreme safety situations). The forums are a permanent record of all of our actions which anyone can access at any time.
    • Calling someone out in a respectful manner about their dishonest behavior is NOT bullying. Calling their mental health, intelligence, religious or lifestyle choices into question IS.
    • There are always two sides to every story.
    • Things written online may appear more harsh than the poster intended. Remember to take a deep breath and look at the situation from many different angles if something has made you upset.
    • Have fun and make new friends!

    For more information about using the Swap-bot Discussion Forums, check out the Forums Info page.

  4. When is it appropriate to list someone in the "Questionable Swapper" category in the forums?

    We all need to think long and hard before we accuse someone of being a "Questionable Swapper". The category was originally intended only for the most grievous offenders. The Swap-bot site has grown and changed since the category was first implemented, so it may not need to be used as often. If the person you are considering listing in the "Questionable Swapper" category is an active member it will obviously come to their attention and offend them.

    The following Questionable Swapper Checklist was submitted by user, Coffeelatte, as a list of possible steps to follow when considering posting someone in the forum category:

    • My partner has not marked "SENT"? (go to #4)
    • My partner marked "SENT" but 4 weeks have passed since the last send date and I still haven't received. (go to #4)
    • My partner "SENT" and I received, but it isn't what I thought I should get.
    • I've read my partner's profile and checked to see if there is NO information on their health, travel status or other important info that leads me to believe they are unable to log on to their computer or send out their swaps.
    • I've messaged my partner and have waited at least 48 hours but got no response.
    • My partner has at least one "1" already listed on their profile (not by my own rating).
    • I've already notified my swap coordinator and at least 48 hours have passed without a response from my coordinator with suggestions on how to proceed.
    • I'm not sure what to do next. I choose to post a name to the Questionable Swapper forum category, understanding that other swappers may tell me I am wrong to post that person's name, and that other swappers may give me ideas on how to resolve this problem.
  5. In the forums, what does "bump" mean?

    In the forums, "bump" is used to update a forum thread and bring back to the main page. Forum threads are listed in order by how recently users have posted to them. When a thread gets "old" it drops from immediate view. Some users "bump" threads which they feel should be brought it back to the main forum page so that more users will read it.

    Repeatedly bumping old threads that are irrelevant or argumentative is bad etiquette.

Group Questions

  1. How do I join a group?

    To join a group you must find the group home page and click the 'Join this group' link. You can find group home pages by searching for them on the Groups page. Your request to join a group must be approved by the group founder before you become a member of the group.

  2. What do the different group membership levels mean?

    There are three levels of group membership: Founder, Officer, and Member.

    Member: Group Members join group swaps and participate in the group-specific forum.

    Officer: Group Officers have the same privileges as Group Members, plus they can create group swaps and invite other Swap-bot members to their group.

    Founder: Group Founders are the creators of the group. They have the same privileges as Group Officers, plus they can approve group join requests, remove users from the group, and promote or demote Members, Officers, and Founders. In addition, Group Founders have swap coordinator privileges for any group swaps and they can also delete group homepage comments and close or delete group forum posts. They can also delete their groups if they are the only founder and there are no active swaps in progress.

    Only those Swap-bot members that belong to the group can join a group swap. Group swaps are not listed on the public search page or any of the swap lists. Group swaps are listed on member profile pages. Group swaps are not meant to be hidden from non group members. In addition to forming niche swapping communities, Groups can be used to ensure you only swap with other members you trust. If you are a Founder or Officer in a group it is your responsibility to the group to ensure that only trustworthy swappers make it into your group. Swap-bot admin cannot help with any group conflicts.

  3. How do I create a new group?

    Go to the Create Group page. This page can be found by clicking on the Create Group button on the Groups page. Swap-bot groups were created to enhance the swapping community. You can create groups around any interest, demographic, or anything you choose!

  4. How do I invite others to my group?

    If you are a Founder or Officer of a group, you can go to the Swap-bot member's profile that you wish to invite. You will find an "Invite" pull down under the member's Group list. After the member accepts the invitation, they will be a member of the group.

  5. Can my group have two, or more, founders?

    Yes! Group founders can promote other members of their group to the founder position. Co-founders will have all of the same privileges and responsibilities as the original founder.