A few weeks ago, I launched a user consultation into the future of the forum’s Gambling Introductory Offer Loopholes board. The board was originally set up to discuss taking advantage of risk-free intro loopholes, but over recent years their growing complexity has made it difficult for the forum team to manage.
You can read the full explanation of the issues we face and our concerns about the board here – GIOL consultation. I’m going to write on as if you’ve read that…
The consultation included the option of shutting the board. We received a large amount of mostly constructive feedback, primarily arguing for keeping the board open, though some did believe it best closed.
I’d like to thank the large numbers who took part for taking the time to respond and for some clever and thought-through solutions. It’s really appreciated and it’s changed our views. (Of course there were also a small minority who were rude and aggressive, who did themselves no favours, as we simply skipped past their posts.)
Our proposals after the feedback
There were many very useful ideas. Overall, we decided those who use the board care about it greatly and derive benefit from it. So we focused our time on trying to work on a system to keep the board open while protecting users. There are two areas…
1. More clear guidance for users of the risks
– The board will be renamed "Matched Betting board"
– We will add an interstitial page for first time users (by default, existing users will also see it once). This will clearly state what "matched betting" is about, that caution and attention to detail is required to ensure that it’s risk-free, as well as reminding users that posting gambling deals themselves is strictly against the rules. The user will need to read and agree to this (via a tick box) before they may visit the board.
– There is already a warning on top of every page of the board. This will be cleaned up and updated.
2. New super-user ‘report a risk’ system
– We will add a "report a risk" button [although this name may change] for a group of selected experienced users. They can click the button if they believe the post falls foul of the site’s "no risks" policy. If a certain number of those users click it, the thread will be temporarily deleted, pending a decision by our Forum Team. This works in much the same way as the current spam reporting button.
– We will ask those super-users to err on the side of caution. If it could be risky, then report.
– The Forum Team will also err on the side of caution, and things will only be reactivated if we are sure they don’t constitute a breach of the rules.
– This "report a risk" system will work alongside the current system which allows anyone in any board to report a post to the Forum Team for breaching the rules.
– We’re aiming to add one more board guide to this board to support the current guides.
We will listen to any further constructive suggestions, though obviously we need to get this system under way first. We aim to do that as soon as possible (though some of it requires technical adaptation, which can take time).
I’d ask all users of this free resource to work with us on this – and understand the ‘erring on the side of caution’ stance. We want the board to continue and are working towards that. However, if this system doesn’t work, we will have to look again at closing the board rather than exposing the site and its users to undue risks.