The Free Economy - website in progress

If you know of a way to help save our planet, even just a small part of it put it here. Also if you want to ask how to help, or even if you want to promote your environmental organisation. All goes here.
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The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133678 Scotness
Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:46 am

Hi everyone I haven't been here for along time but I just thought I'd let you know about my Free Economy project - it's basically a way to try and develope an economy where everything is done for free - a gift economy. It's a databse to link supply and demand using the internet. One of the biggest effects I'm hoping it will have is a lessening of environmental destruction brought about by rampant over and un-necessary production.

So anyway it's all in development at the moment - the front end is looking reasonably good right now and I'm now working on coding the back end cgi/mySQL end of it all. Obvioulsy the front end needs more categories of goods and services and more towns under the countries - but structurally it's all pretty good. On the earlier versions we were looking at using radial searches with longitude and latitude - but I've decided that's way too complicated for now at least and just country/town location is good enough.

So if anyone would like to check it out and give me any feedback that would be much appreciated

The description/aims are here:
http://www.free-economy.org/

and the test page is here:
http://www.mango-a-gogo.com/scot/econ/free-econ.htm


thanks very much

Scot
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133706 Rosendula
Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:42 pm

Nice start on it. I like your search definition boxes: the way we can pick what we want to do, categorize the item we have/want, etc. I'll keep a watch on it for when it's up and running properly.

In what way would you say it is different to/better than Freecycle? Why should we use Free-economy instead? Is it going to be a members-only thing, or can anyone go on it (I'm thinking about security and stuff. I wouldn't want to give my name and address to just anyone).

Good luck with it all. :flower:
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133720 Helsbells
Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:49 pm

what about some sort of option for swapping?

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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133763 Scotness
Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:32 am

Hi Rosendula - thanks for the feedback - in relation to Freecycle here's the story:

I had the idea for this kind of thing about ten years ago but owing to lack of committment and programming skills I didn't really do anything with it. A few years after that a friend told me about Freecycle, which was just beginning in Australia.

So I started the Freecyle group in my home town and it rapidly rose to become one of the biggest in the country - and what a ride that was! But a few things I learnt on the way - firstly although the system is designed to help people, people are their own worst enemy - the human element of people squabbling over items, and no shows etc was really hard to contain - and I realised the system would work best if that could be kept out of it. We soon banned posts of that nature and I realised that you just need a system that deals directly with the items, and keeps the human element out of the system.

The other big problem is Freecycle is that it's not a very effecient way to link supply and demand - it's virtually first in best dressed and you've got to be lucky enough to be watching the group at the time when something you want comes up.

So I'm hoping that my system will out do both of those problems. It's not fool proof though and there is risk involved. At the moment it will be for everyone, but I do envision a time when you will have to sign up - not as a means to limit who goes on but in order to be able to create something like "My eBay" where people can track requests etc, and plan projects that need multiple items.

I certainly agree don't give your name or details to just anyone - you would have to satisfy yourself that you want to do deal with the person who is contacting you - and there is a risk involved - but I will make that quite clear in the Terms of Use that the risk is entirely the users - it's like using the Classifieds in the paper - if you see something advertised in the paper and when you get there it's not as good or whatever you wouldn't blame that classifieds service or the newspaper - this is like that. I will make it explicitly clear in the Terms of Use that the purpose of the site is just to link potential supply and demand, that is all, and any contact between parties is done via email outside of the site. Everything has an inherant risk. However limiting what can be posted (by the categories) is one way I'm looking at minimising the risk involved (by removing dangerous and illegal items etc.).

As far as swapping goes Hellsbells - it won't be inlcuded as I found with my Freecycle experience that it can be used as a means of co-ercing things out of someone - if people meet up through this and want to swap something fine - but I won't be offering that as an option in the function or running of the site.

Thanks

Scot
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133775 hedgewitch
Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:13 am

I think this is a great idea and something I would use for sure.
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133779 Scotness
Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:06 am

Thanks for that Hedgewitch - and for the PM about Joomla - I'm pretty far into the way I'm doing it now, but if I get stuck and need to try a different tack I'll give that a go. Thanks for the suggestion though, I appreciate it

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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133787 JulieSherris
Tue Dec 09, 2008 2:42 pm

Hi Scot,

We have Freecycle here in ireland too - but it's really slow! I think the Mayo Freecycle has 1 new member in the last 2 weeks & not a sniff of a message!

What we DO have though is www.jumbletown.ie - and it's absolutely fabulous. Once an item has been marked by the owner as 'Taken', it's deleted within a couple of days - that way, the boards don't get jammed with hundreds of old posts.

In recent weeks, I've seen cars, complete bathroom suites, brand new fire surrounds, all go - for smaller items, the taker offers an SAE & the item is posted at no cost to the owner - it works pretty well.

I put a double bed, headboard & mattress on my 3 freecycle sites... was sat there for a week. Popped it on jumbletown & it was snapped up within an hour & collected the next day.

Free Economy Rocks!!
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133811 Big Al
Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:39 pm

JulieSherris wrote:Hi Scot,

We have Freecycle here in ireland too - but it's really slow! I think the Mayo Freecycle has 1 new member in the last 2 weeks & not a sniff of a message!

What we DO have though is http://www.jumbletown.ie - and it's absolutely fabulous. Once an item has been marked by the owner as 'Taken', it's deleted within a couple of days - that way, the boards don't get jammed with hundreds of old posts.

In recent weeks, I've seen cars, complete bathroom suites, brand new fire surrounds, all go - for smaller items, the taker offers an SAE & the item is posted at no cost to the owner - it works pretty well.

I put a double bed, headboard & mattress on my 3 freecycle sites... was sat there for a week. Popped it on jumbletown & it was snapped up within an hour & collected the next day.

Free Economy Rocks!!


The sad part about freecycle over here is that it's very manipulative. The owner of one list i was on would pick any items she wanted before the post was allowed through. Also we have "proffessional " freecyclers. In other words greedy b'tards who willtake everything and anything then car boot them.

I no longer do freecycle as i was always giving stuff away and it transpires it was to the same select few who had "friends" or "family" that would collect the items.....

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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133821 Thomzo
Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:29 pm

Go for it. It looks like a brilliant idea.

Like others, I have used Freecycle and given up with it. You can't search by category and, in Swindon anyway, you have to trawl through loads of computer and kids stuff just to find something interesting. Also the people around here are really rude.

Would you have a section for things you want to borrow? On Freecycle, I tried to borrow a special tool to take a car radio out a while ago, only to get told you weren't allowed to ask to borrow things. I really didn't want to keep them just use them for 5 minutes.

Good luck with the project.

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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #133836 Scotness
Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:36 am

Well freecycle moderators jumping in first is pretty dispicable. The problem with Freecycle is it's a very poor implementation of a good idea. That jumbletown site is pretty amazing - very impressive - much better than the Freecycle lists.

As for the borrowing option that's a pretty good idea and I'll include that at the start. I had thought of noting in the instructions that people could do it once they got in touch with each other - but having it as an option at the outset would be much better - thanks for mentioning it.

I always find the borrowing thing kind of ironic/funny - when I ran my local Freecycle group I encouraged it - but I stepped down as owner/moderator about 4 years ago and I found out a few months ago that the new owner/moderators have banned it. I found this out by wanting to borrow something and very politely suggesting that they allow this - only to get a terse email banning me from the group because I wouldn't follow their rules! Banned from the group I started!

:-) Scot
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #136478 Scotness
Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:46 pm

Just to give you an update - things have been going a bit slowly. I've been working on the back end - but having configuration problems. I couldn't get my Perl installation to laod the CGI modules, and after a long look around decided it would be better to do it in PHP. However I've had trouble getting PHP, mySQL and Apache all to talk to each other. Couldn't do it manually, couldn't do it with WAMP2, but finally have with XAMPP. This has been a long and frustrating stage, but at least now it's ready to go so I can get into the programming proper - stay tuned!

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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #137888 Eigon
Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:24 pm

Sorry to hear about all the problems with Freecycle. Ours works really well here - there are the inevitable problems with people not turning up when they said they would, but that's just human, I think. On the whole, it's very good.
I do live on the border between two groups. The Hereford group is big, and their main rule is no offering of pets. So you can offer a rabbit hutch, but not the rabbits to go in it. The Brecon group is much smaller, and offering pets is allowed.
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #141550 Scotness
Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:51 am

Hi everyone - a bit of good news on this - the project is now functional on my own PC - I can specify objects and locations and pull them in and out of the database (with sorting) quite sucessfully.

I'm utilising javascript/html for the ront end and PHP/mySQL for the back end running under XAMPP which should replicate my ISP's server conditions accurately - so if it does I can just transfer all the files up and we're off and away.

So anyway I'll post here when it's done - and look forward to getting any feedback and advice

thanks

Scot
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #141587 Clara
Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:29 am

LACTIVISM ALERT!

Just had a little look at your test page, cos I'm pregnant I looked up baby/maternity stuff. Can I suggest that you change the heading "baby bottles etc", to "baby feeding" or have a separate category for breastfeeding supplies as at the moment there is no clear category for where to put stuff like nursing bras/pads or breast pumps etc. I know that you could probably go on forever making specific categories, but the current title makes certain assumptions, whereas "baby feeding" covers all without sounding presumptious or judgmental.
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Re: The Free Economy - website in progress

Post: #141589 Scotness
Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:00 pm

Hi Clara - that's a great piece of advice - thanks. I'll change iton the version I'm working on on my PC -and when I do the big upload it will be there.

thanks

Scot
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