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Improvements to the Feedback Forum are coming up soon. Here you will find details about all the changes that will be implemented.

In late October, eBay launched a project to improve the Feedback Forum. We asked for your help in identifying the key issues and possible solutions. Here are the three steps we took:Step 1: We presented to you the most common issues with the current system and suggestions that we have received from our community in the past.Step 2: We collected your opinions on those problems and improvement ideas through emails and board discussions.Step 3: We used your input to help us define how to proceed.The conclusions of this effort are presented here. To find out more about the previous steps,click here.

To start the discussions, we presented you with some of the most common feedback improvement ideas that we received from the community in the past. We then asked you to tell us what you thought about them.

Only allow users with verified IDs and contact information to leave non-transactional comments for other users. These comments would not count as part of your Feedback Rating.

Only count transactional feedback towards your numerical Feedback Rating. Allow multiple transactional feedback from the same user to count in the Feedback Rating (perhaps with some limit per time period).

No time gap required to leave multiple transactional feedback.

Leave it unchanged, remove it completely, or neutralize it.

Include more information as part of the Feedback Profile. Options are (we dont have to include all of these):

Number of transactional versus non-transactional feedback

Participation in Feedback Forum as the number of feedback comments left and received as a percentage of your total number of transactions

Feedback as seller versus feedback as buyer

Amend a feedback comment or a feedback score

Allow users to amend (add) to feedback they left including changing the Rating from positive to negative and negative to positive. Leave original comments and rating as part of the Feedback Profile. Include preview screen before committing negative and neutral comments to the Feedback Profile.

Tag retaliatory feedback (negative for negative) for both parties. For example, in a transaction where both the buyer and the seller have left each other negative feedback, eBay would tag those specific feedback comments with a short explanatory note on both of their Feedback Profiles.

We received a great amount of feedback from you through emails and board discussions. While some of the ideas were strongly supported, others were not. Also, a few new suggestions were introduced. We reviewed every one of your comments to understand your preferences.

We read and summarized close to 1,000 emails with over 1,700 suggestions sent to eBay. Here are the most common ones:

Your preferences Most commonly requested improvements as per emails sent to us.

Only allow transactional feedback (do not allow non-transactional feedback).

Allow multiple transactional feedback from the same user to count in the Feedback Rating.

No time gap required to leave multiple transactional feedback.

Preferred new display features were:

Sort feedback by negative only and neutral only

Feedback as seller versus feedback as buyer

Amend a feedback comment or a feedback score

Allow users to amend (add) to feedback they left. Several options were suggested, e.g., some users felt that only one amendment per transaction should be allowed, others felt that only upwards amendments should be granted, while others suggested that users should be able to freely change their past comments.

Tag retaliatory feedback (negative for negative) for both parties or do something about retaliation, other than tagging.

We tallied many other user suggestions that do not relate to the topics above. Many of them proposed new policies, some requested several new display features, while others addressed issues with the Feedback Forum that were outside the scope of this revision. Even though they are not presented here, rest assured that we will take them into consideration in future projects.

Public forums on the Discuss eBays Newest Features (DNF) Board

We conducted three one-hour board discussions on 10/29, 11/02 and 11/04 to gather your preferences on the Feedback Forum improvements. In general, participants in those discussions supported the following changes:Only allow transactional feedback (do not allow non-transactional feedback)Count multiple transactional feedback from the same user in the Feedback RatingEliminate NARU feedback or leave it unchangedAllow users to amend feedback that they leftDo not allow hidden feedbackInclude number of bid retractions as part of the Feedback Profile

As we said before, we want to roll out each improvement carefully. Well start with the top priorities, monitor the results, and only then move on to the next area.

To determine how to improve the Feedback Forum in the short term, we evaluated every single one of the suggestions we received. While some of them seemed widely accepted and can be implemented immediately, others require further analysis. Unfortunately, a few cannot be adopted at all for either technical or policy reasons. Based on that, we defined the first set of changes to be implemented to the Feedback Forum. Here they are:

First Round of Feedback Improvements

(To be implemented in the first quarter of 2000)

All feedback will be transactional (related to a successfully completed auction)

Non-transactional feedback will no longer be allowed on eBay. Instead, well work with you to define alternative ways to encourage and reward participation in non-transactional aspects of the eBay life.

Well also make it easier for you to leave transactional feedback. You will be able to see all your completed transactions for the past 60 days by going to theFeedback Forumand clicking onLeave Feedbackabout an ebay user. All youll have to do to leave transactional feedback is to pick the users for whom you want to leave your comments. Youll be able to submit up to 25 different comments to different members at once. Just try it out!

To minimize instances where negative or neutral feedback are left unintentionally, we will also include a confirmation screen when a user attempts to leave these types of comments for their trading partner.

Finally, because they are not authorized to participate in transactions, eBay staff (all email addresses) will no longer have a Feedback Rating associated with their user IDs.

In the past, non-transactional feedback fulfilled an important role on eBay. It allowed every member to recognize others who contributed to our community. Unfortunately, as we grew, abuses to the system became a problem. Many alternatives to curb misuse of the Feedback Forum while still maintaining a non-transactional feedback option were considered. However, the input that we got from you was overwhelmingly in favor of linking every comment to an actual transaction on the site.

Based on that, we decided to change the current system to make all feedback transactional. We recognize that there is a need to continue to foster non-transactional interactions among our members outside of the Feedback Forum. We will work with you to determine how we can do that.

There will be no time gap requirements when leaving multiple comments to the same user

Currently, you have to wait between one and 24 hours to leave more than one feedback comment to the same user. We will no longer require this. Users will be able to freely comment on other users, as long as there is a valid transaction number associated with each comment.

Many of you stated that this time gap requirement makes it harder to leave feedback when you have more than one transaction with the same user. Since we will start requiring that every feedback comment be associated with a transaction number, we think that this requirement is no longer necessary. We want to make participation in the Feedback Forum as convenient as possible and this is one step in that direction.

Feedback from permanently suspended users (NARU) will be left unchanged

Feedback from users who are no longer registered on eBay will be left as part of your Feedback Profile and counted in your Feedback Rating. The individual comments will be identified with the words not a registered user next to them, as done currently. NARU comments will not be converted to neutral.

Most of the suggestions that we received from the community supported leaving all NARU feedback unchanged. Some users suggested that we eliminate it altogether. Others requested that we eliminate all negative comments but leave positives untouched. Unfortunately, for technical and policy reasons, we must apply the same set of rules to both positive and negative NARU comments.

Since many users would likely lose hard-earned positives if we eliminate NARU feedback, we decided to keep it unchanged. We hope that by establishing Feedback Removal Policies as described below, we will give users who have received undeserved negative feedback an opportunity to appeal.

6-month bid retraction history will be displayed as part of the Feedback Profile

When you check a users Feedback Profile, you will be able to see how many bids, if any, have been retracted in the past 7 days, one month, and six months. We will likely display it as a separate line on the ID card. It will also be linked to a new page that will explain the circumstances under which retracting a bid is acceptable or not. Contrary to feedback comments, bid retractions will not remain on your record and will disappear from your ID card every six months.

This was one of the most highly supported display additions. We agree that this is a useful feature to discourage frivolous bid retractions, while still allowing room for honest mistakes.

There will no longer be a time limit for leaving transactional feedback

You will be able to leave transactional feedback for other members in the eBay community for as long as that transaction remains on the eBay database. We guarantee that we will keep it for at least 60 days. Likely, it will be there much longer than that. But since we cant ensure it, wed encourage you to leave feedback as close to the end of the auction as possible. If you choose to leave feedback for another member after the 60-day period, you will need to know the item number to which it corresponds.

We were able to get around technical limitations that originally led us to enforce a time limit for posting transactional feedback. We believe that all members of the community benefit from having the ability to participate in the Feedback Forum any time.

We will institute and follow a strict Feedback Removal policy

Strict guidelines for situations when eBay will remove comments from a users Feedback Profile will be established and posted on the site. If a member feels that feedback left to them matches one or more of the criteria outlined in the Feedback Removal policy, they can write to us. eBays Customer Support will remove that comment after reviewing the request.

You can view the proposed new policy, to be put in effect in the first quarter of 2000, by clickinghere.

eBay willonlyremove comments from a users Feedback Profile under exceptional circumstances, such as court orders. By clearly laying out these situations, we will enable users to verify whether a specific comment can or cannot be removed from their Profile. We expect this policy to help us better serve our community while maintaining a neutral stance in private disputes.

Users who elect to make their Feedback Profile private will have their Feedback Rating replaced by the word private

When a user elects to make their Feedback Profile private, the word private will be displayed in parenthesis after that users ID. Their ID card, with a tally of all their feedback comments, will be accessible by clicking on the parenthesis. Additionally, the star icon indicating their feedback level will not be displayed. These changes will be reversed if the user chooses to make their Feedback Profile public again.

This will help traders better identify when they are dealing with users with a private Feedback Profile before entering in a transaction. It will encourage them to check the details of that users Feedback Profile and make a better informed trading decision.

Finally, existing feedback will NOT be changed.Your Feedback Rating will not change as a result of these improvements. All existing comments will remain on your Profile.

We recognize that these are substantial changes. Yet, there are many other compelling requests that we will not be able to address at this point. They require either further evaluation or substantial technical changes to be accomplished. Most of them may be addressed at a later date, after this first round of improvements is implemented and monitored.

A common suggestion that we will not implement is to allow users to readily access all negative or neutral comments in a Feedback Profile. There are several reasons for that. First, before members were able to respond to comments they receive, eBay used to encourage users to leave themselves a neutral comment explaining any problems. If negatives and neutrals were sorted separately, the connection between these comments would be lost, penalizing our older members. Also, we believe that negative or neutral comments should be interpreted in the overall context of a users Feedback Profile, which also include all of their positives.

But there are other areas where well still need your help to make these feedback improvements successful. For example, we want to hear your ideas on how to encourage and reward participation in non-transactional aspects of eBay once these changes are implemented. Non-transactional feedback has played an important role in encouraging eBay members to interact in many ways like helping each other and building a strong community. We want to ensure that these important aspects of the eBay community are preserved. Pleasecontact uswith your ideas.

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