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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun June 9 2013 21:45:41

What Changes Would You Like to See on eBay Discussion Boards?

By: Ina Steiner
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eBay is revamping its community area including the discussion boards. The change comes as eBay transitions away from using LiveWorld to moderate its boards. As we report in Monday's news story, eBay was not ready to provide more details when we broke the story last month. Who will moderate the boards - will it be brought in-house, or will eBay outsource it to another company? We'll have to wait to find out.

But we do know eBay is revamping the boards. Certain features will remain the same, but the design will change.



One change that is puzzling is how eBay will designate an employee's post. In the past, moderators' posts were always shown with a pink box - with the new design, posts from eBay employees will be identified by a blue box surrounding the post. Users had always referred to eBay forum moderators as "pinks" - so changing the color seems an odd decision.

Users have already expressed concern over what the change in moderation will mean for the user experience, so hearing that eBay will revamp the community area will likely cause more concern. On a positive note, eBay will move all previous posts to the updated forums.

What do you think of these changes, described here, and what would you change on the eBay discussion boards if you could, and why?



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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Jun 9 23:44:03 2013
I've been through many of these changes over my 15 years on Ebay.  One thing I learned is not to bither being passionate about these changes.  No matter how absurd thechanges are Ebay will come out and say "you spoke, we listened" and that will be the end of it.  I stop into Seller Central once in a great while but that's all.  
Ebay very effectively managed to kill off the community some time ago.  What's left are the people who won't leave and will stay and complain until the lights go out.
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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Sun Jun 9 23:51:26 2013
You can include me among those who are often resistance to changes.

However, even after that admission, I can say in my own defense that my resistance isn't always because *of* the change itself. Instead, it's usually because I dislike ''change-for-the-sake-of-change''... and in particular, I dislike change that makes things more difficult or more confusing.

(I suppose that this is the reason why I still use MS-Office 2002.)

Sadly, when it comes to these type of changes, eBay never seems to ask itself WHY a change is needed, or WHAT the actual benefit is.

Why move a particular button? (For the sake-of-change? Does it make life simpler? Does it make the feature easier to find or use?)

The ''pinks'' to ''blues'' is a very good example that illustrates eBay's philosophy.

It's a silly thing to change... so it begs the question ''Why?'' -- It doesn't seem to fit in any of the other categories (ie: making things easier, or simpler, or more intuitive, etc) so the only reason remaining is that it's a change ''for-the-sake-of change''.

Someone is trying to justify their paid position at eBay. Or some web designer/programmer wants to leave his/her mark.

Or perhaps eBay has spent 100 thousand dollars to a team of experts who have convinced eBay execs that blue is a more ''calming'' color... fung-shui for discussion forums? ~ Or maybe someone determined that blue is the color that represents ''authority'' (ie: police) and that we users will be less agitated, more compliant, less questioning, less challenging, and more respectful of the ''blues''.
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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 00:39:41 2013
Ebay board can never be a community board anymore.  

Trust are earned and not forced.  

No sane person would trust ebay spokesmen.   They are all trained to LIE.

Changing from pink to blue doesn't change anything.  

Posters need to be anonymous.  As long as ebay employees has the upper hand in a discussion board, they will shut sellers store down once the seller tell the truth to the world and ebay employees disagree.  

NEVER post on ebay boards unless you are ready for the worst consequence.  Ebay boards are all swamped with Lying ebay employees.

My advise to ebay, put EB links on ebay.  Pay Ina to moderate.  Ina earned our trust.  

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by: feline This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 01:14:44 2013
I would like to see posting for points and all voting on the Answer Centre removed many of us would.
Its  complicated  remembering reply or comment. Open to abuse  with many posting one line replies  that give little information to the person needing help. Makes an unpleasant atmosphere  for serious  responders to work with.
Responders give their time for  free and thats how Ebay should accept things not set one against the other  trying to score a point first
Scoring 2800 points for  5 thumbs is a mockery to those  who have worked hard for others for years and means any new responder can be a so called expert withing a month and the replies don't even have to be correct. Any troll can mark your reply unhelpful.
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by: alaska This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 01:17:09 2013
It would be nice if eBay actually read about our problems and suggestions for their site. We are the experts because we are the ones actually using the site. It's sad that they don't care to know what we think. They would rather hire an expensive survey firm to come up with silly questions to ask us.
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by: DR Scarlett This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 01:36:31 2013
Interesting that eBay decided to change the color of its employees posts from pink to blue.  Frankly, it  appears that eBay is doing much of what they usually do.  Make useless changes just for the sake of saying they changed something.  Who cares if the color is pink, blue or pink with purple polka dots?  
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by: ladyofthelake1 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 02:08:50 2013
I'm actually glad to see the existing moderation team gone. They are nothing but unfair to posters. They will remove posts and sanction a poster for responding to the most vile, insulting posts, by the same posters over and over again, yet they allow the abuse to continue.  I was sick and tired of seeing the moderators do nothing to the perpetrators of such vile behavior, especially when I saw it being done to a new poster asking a valid question.  People are scared to post anything now. They know they will be harassed, insulted, and berated, yet eBay NOR the mods do/did anything about it.  Pathetic.
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by: feline This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 02:17:44 2013
Yes but what will it be replaced with something just as unfair . When did ebay ever do anything that actually improved things
We had brilliant Answer Centres they didn't even care about never took the time to sort the problems on. What did they do change to a  system that encourages many to say what users want to hear  rather than need to hear in the rush for points  and turn it into a Twaddle Centre instead
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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Mon Jun 10 02:48:29 2013
If I may make a distinction from the OP's terminology.  Moderators and Pinks are not the same thing.

Moderators were from LiveWorld and they didn't posted on the actual threads.  We would just get the lovely emails from them telling us how we have done wrong.

Pinks were actual Ebay employees that posted on threads, not Liveworld employees.

Pinks on the forums have been far and few between.  There are rarely there.  A couple years ago there was an attempt by an Ebay Employee named John to get some real dialog going on the threads.  But that was short lived.  

Then there was some Ebay employee that was conducting a survey about a year ago with promises of real changes depending on the results of the survey.  That too when no where.  Disappeared never to be heard from again.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Mon Jun 10 02:56:25 2013
John Donahoe has systemically been destroying the community spirit at eBay, and this move signals the latest battle in his war.

Now the Live World moderators will be replaced by eBay's own board secret police team, hence the color change from pink to blue.

With eBay controlling the boards, watch how quickly critical threads disappear. Same with posts regarding system breakdowns and failures.

Also, watch what you say and how you say it... People who post negatively about eBay systems or policy will find a new experience waiting for them - double secret probation in the form of reduced visibility.
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by: feline This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 03:00:43 2013
I believe some will have their marked before they even start
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by: feline This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 03:14:18 2013
The system works on Paypals forum not as I like the  idea of expert posts at all
Something else to set people against people  
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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Mon Jun 10 07:51:15 2013
Ric, I think you make a good point, and I also think that JD fears the community.  He has never liked the "noise", and I think that his fear of the community is one reason that he has tried to squash the small sellers.  Unless he is a sociopath, I'm guessing it must really mess with his head (and ego) to read comments on the boards and on sites like ecommercebytes.
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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 07:58:27 2013
ebay moderators and pinks are colluded.

No wonder people don't differentiate them.  
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by: minibeesknees This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 08:12:32 2013
Since it is ebay's playground, I took my ball and went home. I have always maintained that ebay has no customer support so what I'm seeing now is the boards are expected to be manned (or womaned) by experienced sellers willing to work for free supplying that support and not only is this input an unpaid job...we will get feedback on it? From who?  New sellers who by definition have no idea what they are doing? Many posts on the stores board consist of the questions of 'should I open a store', or are complaints that sales are very slow, and are seeking answers to why, or my favorite...what should they sell. I've moved to a Facebook group of sellers where there is no censorship. If I have questions, then they can be answered by a group of 30 or 40 experienced users. I do not need two or three million folks giving me opinions so that I can vote on how valid some answer was. That board has been one of the nicer (behaving) boards but it has its share of trolls and idiots too...I will not have my posts commented upon, and discounted by those trolls, and newbies who listened to the late night blather and have decided that they too can make a million dollars selling the contents of their attics.    
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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Mon Jun 10 08:14:39 2013
And a "Blue" will still be a "Pink", just a different moniker.

Since "Pinks" have have been perceived negatively for some time, and associated with terms like "Pink slapped", I'm guessing eBay thinks that changing the name will help.  It won't.  If "Blues" act just as "Pinks" did, nothing will change.  

I think the term "Blue balled" is right around the corner.

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by: JB This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 08:41:30 2013
BLUE BONED
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by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 08:48:45 2013
It's eBay. Who cares anymore?
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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jun 10 08:48:57 2013
Since a lot of other entities uses BLUE color, ebay is trying to camo itself.  But sellers will tag them with their stinking mark 'ebay BLUE' to differentiate them from other BLUE icons.

Pink color is not the problem.  ebay Pinks arrogance, persistent lies and abusive behaviours are huge problems.  

Will ebay ever expel abusive ebay employees on ebay boards or suspend them?

It is obvious that most ebay employees hold ebay stocks, so they are very biased and will resort to lies.    If ebay employees are posting on boards, they should declare if they own ebay stocks.  Or they should not post at all.


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This user has validated their user name. by: kirk_detweiler
       
Mon Jun 10 09:12:13 2013
Well since we rarely have a voice in any ''change'', or if we're asked it's just a formality and no one listens, I guess we just have to go with the flow and pray for the best. The boards ARE a great avenue for eBay buyer and seller help as well as casual social interaction. The peer-to-peer help is hands down more helpful to the noobie than any eBay CS could be.

What strikes me is the comment from the lake-lady below! One of the most egregious offenders and trolls of the Discussion Boards, she is everything that is wrong with the boards, offering neither any help nor social camaraderie, just coarse, berating negativity.

Otherwise the Boards are the friendliest, most helpful and least abrasive forums anywhere on the net. Any moderator certainly needs a light touch. eBay needs to realize the Boards don't need to be  linked to Facebook and stuff, they need to trim them to the basics in order for them to thrive. See ya there! (I hope.)
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