Suggested Guidelines for Thread Titles on the Mystery Shopping Job Board

I'm working on a project to standardize thread titles on the Mystery Shopping Job Board and I need your input. The objective is to come up with guidelines for the thread titles that will result in uniformity, clarity, and brevity while giving essential information. I've looked over some suggestions already made elsewhere in Meta and I'm starting with this as a first effort:

State(s), Fee, Job Type, Shop Dates, MSC

The thread title is not meant to replace the body of the post, but to help us determine whether to open the thread for more details. Please let me have your comments.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2015 05:52PM by MDavisnowell.

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Personally, I am less concerned about the title and more concerned about the number of threads. There is one company that will make 50 threads about the same shop, one for each state. Then another company comes in right behind them and makes a separate thread about every single "fun" shop they have. Now I'm 3 pages in and still have not seen anything that is slightly relevant to me. There needs to be some guidelines about what threads are created.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I agree with @bgriffin. I avoid checking the job board here because a few schedulers SPAM it beyond reason. One potential way to control this might be to create regional subsections. From there, limit the company to one post per project within each region. This way they can post in each region while limiting the number of States required in the subject line. The regional sections would also be helpful to shoppers.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
Great idea! We could define specific regions, then add it as a suggested title entry, so:

REGION, State(s), Fee, Job Type, Shop Dates, MSC

That way we could easily glance through and disregard the ones we don't need to open, but it wouldn't require new "Sections" to be created by Jacob (since I have no idea how easy or difficult it is to create regional sections). I agree, though, that if regional sections are easily created on the forum, that would preferable to asking the schedulers to define and add the region.

Shopper in California's Bay Area
My preference would be to NOT encourage multiple listings by asking for too much info in the title.

For example, if we require shop dates in the title, then what if a scheduler has multiple date ranges available? (Weekday dates and weekend dates, for example, or a few in the early part of the month and a bunch at the end of the month?) MSC is usually obvious by the name of the poster so probably shouldn't clutter up the title.

So, for title, I would suggest: STATE(S), FEE, JOB TYPE

And for guidelines: States should be posted together in groups of up to 10. I don't really care if the scheduler groups them by region or alphabetically, as long as i can tell if the two states I shop in are included by looking at the title. I wouldn't want a scheduler who receives their info alphabetically by state to have to cut-and-paste it all up to meet specific requirements of the board.

If we do go by regions, it should be a giant swath to make it simple--east, central, west.

We are all here on earth to help others....What on earth the others are here for I don't know.

--W. H. Auden
If we go by regions, how about dividing up by time zones since they already exist (eastern, central, mountain, pacific, etc.). If a shopper happens to be on the border between two zones, they can then check those two.

Shopping across Indiana but mostly around Indianapolis.
Thanks to all of you for your ideas. I have a PM in to Jacob asking if the Job Board could be set up in geographical sections. I'll let you know as soon as I get an answer.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
Mary, I agree with Bgrifin. limit the number of posts for each job. I like to use the board but I won't look past the first page because there are a handful of schedulers who will post the same listing 50 times--once for each state. The only way I see to control that would be to remove listing privileges for violators for a period of time. That creates more work for someone.

"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful." Edward R. Murrow

Thou shalt not steal. I mean defensively. On offense, indeed thou shall steal and thou must.--Branch Rickey
I think also there needs to be some discussion about how people use the job board before a decision is made. For instance, I don't ever look for actual shops to take from there. It's rare that I find a shop posted that is near where I am when I'm available to do it and it's a shop that I actually want to do. What I use it for more is to see what types of shops are available in areas or what shops an MSC has. Like I might look and see that MegaMSC happens to have Griffin Widget shops in Megatropolis. I'm in Megatropolis a lot and I LOVE Griffin Widgets so I make a note to look for Griffin Widget shops the next time I'm in Megatropolis. I probably use the job board in a much different way that others do though.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I look for companies with clients in my area with no expectation of actually finding a job that's still open.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
I like having a time zones job board (as mentioned previously: east, central, mountain, pacific, etc.)- then the titles would have State(s), Fee, Job Type, Shop Month (although I am also fine with removing the date/month). then I would suggest a limit on the number of times a day that each can be posted (once a day or once every other day should be sufficient - {for ease of tracking the every other day: those posted on an odd numbered day can be reposted on the next odd numbered day, and those posted on an even numbered day can be reposted on the next even numbered day. And just to give everyone a break - no posting on the 31st except for ones due on that day [the 31st] which are emergency shops. [SMILES!]
I like the time zone - region idea and the type of shop helps with a cluster of cities.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/30/2015 04:10AM by curiousone.
Jacob has responded to my PM about setting up regions and he plans to work on that in the coming week or so.

The time zone idea was a good suggestion but it turns out that unfortunately thirteen states are in two time zones so that would be a problem for both schedulers and shoppers. As an alternative, I divided the nation in roughly six areas plus Canada and I came up with this:

Northwestern USA - Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska

Southwestern USA - California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii

North Central USA - North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois

South Central USA - Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana

Northeastern USA - Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine

Southeastern USA - Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida

Canada

Please let me have your comments and suggestions on these geographical regions.

I'm going to work on coordinating your suggestions into guidelines. When I finish that I'll post it up here and after we hash out details we can submit it to Jacob for his yes/no. Thanks to all of you who've already spoken out and I'm hoping we'll hear from more members stating their preferences.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
I agree with others that there are too many postings on the job board, and can't remember the last time I looked at it. Anything you can do to standardize the titles would be helpful. I do think, though, there also needs to be some sanctions for schedulers that don't follow the rules.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
I think the geographical division is a good idea. The only change I would suggest is that Maryland and Delaware be moved to the Southeast. The logic is that, first, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia all share the "Delmarva" peninsula, and second, the Mason-Dixon Line, which is the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, has generally been considered the boundary between "North" and "South".

"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful." Edward R. Murrow

Thou shalt not steal. I mean defensively. On offense, indeed thou shall steal and thou must.--Branch Rickey
Thank you, GMooneyhan. I hope we can hear from other shoppers who shop that area. Should Maryland and Delaware be moved to the Southeast?

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
I live in a large city and so I have been shopping mainly one section of my city, with a few trips outside of that for variety. The closest suburb is within 5 miles but I don't even leave the city limits unless there's a bonus or distance pay. So I am thinking something to indicate a city along with a state would be good, but only if the shop is specific to that city. Obviously it wouldn't make sense if you have dozens of locations throughout a state to list all of the cities, but if there is a local restaurant group or something like some of the ones I have seen, since they typically can't say the client's name in the header, it would be good to have more specific info than just the state. My favorite is actually zip codes because I shop within certain zip codes, but that might get crazy.
Mary,

Here is a map from National Geographic that breaks the US into regions (if that's helpful):
[education.nationalgeographic.org]


@MDavisnowell wrote:

Thank you, GMooneyhan. I hope we can hear from other shoppers who shop that area. Should Maryland and Delaware be moved to the Southeast?

Kim
I’ve been working on consolidating the suggestions made here by forum members as well as looking at the job board to see exactly how the schedulers are listing the jobs now. Of course nothing is standardized and various schedulers have different approaches but most of them like to include details as well as vital information in the thread title. I’ve come up with the idea of having (1) a required format for listing the job plus (2) an option to include details following the required format. This would give the shopper the basic desired information first, and still allow the scheduler to slip in details such as “bonus by tomorrow” or “no purchase required”.

For example, the guidelines might read something like this:


Please respect a limit of one regional posting per shop every other day. Multiple listings for the same shop at multiple locations are not allowed.

Required listing format: State(s) in alphabetical order, Fee, Job Type, MSC
For example: Oklahoma, Texas, $22, Convenience Store, MSC.

Optional details can be entered after the required format, for example: Mystery Shop/Revealed Audit, $16.00 fee, $6 reimbursement, after dark, any other desired details.


The goal is to simplify the job board so members can use it more effectively and at the same time provide the schedulers with guidelines they can understand and apply. The requirements must be friendly to the schedulers or they will avoid the job board. We want more listings, not fewer listings. A more useful job board will result in more shops taken and that will get us more listings.

Please let me have your thoughts and suggestions for any changes you would like. Once we reach a consensus (or close) the suggestions will go to Jacob.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
OK – I created the basic job board settings. It is not "officially launched" yet. Take a look here:

[www.mysteryshopforum.com]

As you can see, it is broken down by region, as suggested.

Feedback is welcome!

Warmly,

Jacob
I like the regional job board!

And thanks to Mary for spending time herding all of us cats. winking smiley

I like the guidelines Mary posted above. Where will they be displayed? As a "sticky" on the threads?

My one suggestion would be to include examples on the requirement to limit the postings to one per region every other day. I would add text something like the bolded text below:
Please respect a limit of one regional posting per shop every other day. Multiple listings for the same shop at multiple locations are not allowed. For example, if you have a shop to post with locations in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska, please post one listing on the Northwestern USA thread for the Oregon, Washington and Alaska shops, and one on the South Central USA thread for the Colorado shops.

Shopper in California's Bay Area
Instead of a sticky thread that has to be opened and read, could the guidelines be in a box on display at all times - like at the top of the page. It might get noticed/read more.

Just as an example, there is a note in the stickied thread in the current job board that clearly states that this section is for posting jobs, yet I see people posting there asking for jobs. Then I wonder how those people follow the guidelines for a mystery shop...lol

Kim


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/05/2015 09:33AM by kimmiemae.
I agree it would be helpful if the posting guidelines were set out at the top and always visible. I know it's going to be hard for the schedulers to change the way they do things because that's the nature of the human. We should consider anything we can do to ease the transition for everyone.

The only change I would suggest for consideration on the regional breakdown concerns the way the states are listed. Right now they are listed more or less left to right inside the region. Would that work better for the schedulers as well as the shoppers if the states were listed alphabetically under each region? And, if we did that, would it work better to ask them to list the states alphabetically in their postings?

The easier the job board is to use to find shops, the stronger it will make the forum. If schedulers use the updated job board and get better results because the shoppers use it more successfully, then they will spread the word and that will pull in even more listings. I mostly dislike all the job boards and there's a place at the top for one that makes sense.

I do have some questions, not suggestions, about the geographical breakdown. On the listing for the USA overall, is this a permanent optional category the schedulers can choose instead of the regional categories? Or, is this a category for shops located across, for example, three or more regions? Or, is this a category to aid in transition from what we're doing now to what we hope to do in the future?

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2015 05:40AM by MDavisnowell.
@MDavisnowell wrote:


I do have some questions, not suggestions, about the geographical breakdown. On the listing for the USA overall, is this a permanent optional category the schedulers can choose instead of the regional categories? Or, is this a category for shops located across, for example, three or more regions? Or, is this a category to aid in transition from what we're doing now to what we hope to do in the future?

I read it as a place for jobs that did not have a specific location per se... like phone or internet jobs that could be done from anywhere in the country. But I might not be right.

Also, I'd like to add that I like the idea of the Posting guidelines. When I click on the reply or new topic button I get a blue "Posting Guidelines" box. Can that be changed for posts on the job board? If so, that would be an excellent place to put rules and tip for schedulers when they're posting jobs.

Shopper in California's Bay Area
LOL, the first post in the new regional job boards is from a spammer

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
I think it would make more sense to list the states alphabetically.

"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful." Edward R. Murrow

Thou shalt not steal. I mean defensively. On offense, indeed thou shall steal and thou must.--Branch Rickey
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