Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?

Yirg

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There are many games in my Lestrades tradables which I no longer have. I don't want to have to remove games from both sites every time I trade or give away a game, nor do I want to manually go over the Lestrade's exclusives and manually remove games. Is there a way to do it automatically, with Barter considered as the master source?

Thanks!

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Yirg

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #2,  »
Yes, the ideal solution for me would be to have the Barter tradables be considered as the master source, where every game that gets removed or added there would automatically be removed/added from the Lestrades tradables list. The only exceptions I would keep (i.e. skip from sync) are games that are I add manually to Lestrades, assuming those are games that can't be added to Barter for whatever reason.

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #3,  »
I keep track of the origin for wishlist items, but not for tradables IIRC (because if you have them on one site, you always should have them on the other site...)
So it's not a magical thing.

The most realistically possible solution would be to synchronize, *except* when a game was found in your list of completed trades on Lestrade's. But aside from the difficulties of implement an auto-sync like this, LT still doesn't have a way to know you actually acquired a new copy in the meantime and added it to BVG and forgot to add it here...

Also, well, having such a feature when Barter doesn't do it for Lestrade's tends to send the message that Lestrade's is a satellite site to Barter, rather than a full-fledged competitor.[1] I have nothing against Barter, but LT was created with the intention to replace BVG as it was failing for nearly 2 months last winter, and BVG coming back from the dead doesn't change the fact that I spent a year on LT's and I'm proud of it, and want it to stand on its own, not as a site that's there as a quick replacement in case BVG dies again without a warning.
Phew.
 1. Yes, we don't have a business model so we aren't 'proper' competitors, but still, one's success will hardly have a positive impact on the other. Or maybe you can also explain how we could both increase our user bases in parallel peacefully, I'm all ears. I've never seen anyone offer to help promoting Lestrade's on other sites like Steamgifts etc., and I'm not the kind of dev who enjoys self-promotion.

Yirg

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #4,  »
I understand your point of view about not wanting to send the wrong message to users, and it makes a lot of sense. The problem is that, as a user, it's difficult to remember to come here every time I update my Barter tradables and click "Remove them all" to get the two lists in sync. I'm bound to forget about it and get notifications about new trade offers for games I no longer have. Like this one, from a couple of days ago.

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #5,  »
Okay, I feel like I've explained myself many times before-- but I need to make it clear again, to everyone who's been using Barter primarily. Lestrade's is NOT a satellite of Barter. It is a competitor, it is not an enemy, both userbases are different, and no one has evil intentions. Those who keep using Barter mostly do it out of habit, and that's understandable. Now, for about a year before Lestrade's was born, I was regularly asked to build a replacement for Barter because of the admin's disappearance, and I said yes, but I also said I wouldn't do a pure clone, I'd do my own thing, with my ideas on top of Barter's. I was forced to open the site to the public too soon before it was ready for mass use, because Barter had stopped working. Turns out that made the Barter admin come back, but I wasn't going to throw away all of my work just for that. So, the Barter admin and I agreed to link to each other on every game page, and we'd be at peace. Most Barter users stayed there out of habit. Half of them have an account here, of which about a half use it regularly. That's fine with me.

Now, these users who stayed on Barter out of habit, they do the same thing I used to do at Barter...
That is, like them, you're used to adding games, and them tag them manually one at a time, reloading the page for each tag added, having to start over and remove all tags if you click the wrong tag, etc.
When you want to find matches across the whole site, you go to your profile, then Wishlist, then Matches, then the Match button (so that's 4 actions), then you wait for 2 minutes, sometimes more, for the matches to show up. When you want to match for one game, you need to go to the same page, and select the game manually from a large dropdown (so that's 5 actions). And wait just as long. When you want to match for a game you don't own (or don't have in your wishlist), you have to add it to your list first, then match, then think of removing it from your list. We're looking at a dozen actions here, for one purpose, which is a single action (single click) at Lestrade's.
These are all part of the reasons why I stopped using Barter. It just gets so tedious after a while. Do you know where most Barter users come from? SteamTrades. And why did they start using Barter? Because it was easier to find potential trades. Lestrade's is the next logical step, making it as easy as possible to do that. It doesn't have SteamTrades's 100.000 active users, or Barter's 1200, but that's okay, it still works, I've done 60+ trades in 4 months here, and I've been too busy to send offers like when I was on Barter and didn't have Lestrade's to work on. I built LT with the idea that it would be the next step for hardcore BVG traders like me who just couldn't cope with the slow matching anymore. That's why users all get a nice big 'Matches' button on every page. You click it, and a second later you get a page with all your matches. Then you find a potential trade, and you start thinking, "okay, out of those 2 possible games of mine, is there one I can get more easily..?" So you start pressing the 'Takers' link on both game pages, find more possible trades, then it helps you determine which game you'll offer to whom. Feeling restrained with a 1:3 offer you're sending? You can send a second, even a third offer to the same user, with a 1:2 ratio and different games. User gets to choose which configuration they prefer, accept that, and decline the others.
If you ask me, that's just fantastic. Instead of being a chore, trading became a fun hobby again for me.

Okay.

Now that we've established all of this, you're posting here, taking some of my time to ask for me to implement a way to automatically sync your lists, because it's too hard to press a button and wait for a couple seconds, when everything at Lestrade's is instantaneous, and built for your enjoyment.

Hmm.

Maybe you could simply press 'Decline' when you get a dummy offer.
You've been there a few months, you received a total of 7 offers, not all of them for outdated tradables (in fact, ALL of them were fair and balanced offers!), and each time, all you had to do was to click 'Decline' and move on. It should have taken about one minute of your life overall... Maybe 2 minutes if you also took the time to click the outdated tradable's name, then press 'Remove' on the Tradable line.[1] Apparently, my work on making things easy to use is not fully appreciated. That's fine. Let's say you don't want to waste 5 seconds every other week on a dummy offer. Let's compare apples with apples. How many unbalanced offers do you receive weekly on Barter..?[2] Do you complain to the Barter admin when you receive those, too..? I'm just curious.

Or, if you wanted to save time and energy, you could choose to make Lestrade's your main base of operations (or at least use it equally as much), and invite all your friends to it. You certainly wouldn't be the first to enjoy the improved features here. But if you choose to remain on Barter mostly, I'm not going to judge, but don't try to convince me that you're not enjoying making your trading life more *complicated*. In fact, if you don't enjoy pressing a button every once in a while, and want even more automation, then I don't know what you're doing at Barter. I would expect you to be asking for me to make the whole process more complicated... Like, adding a 2-minute delay to the import tool. Again, I'm not judging.

I'm open to suggestions, but this one, while technically perfectly doable, just doesn't make sense for me in the current context, with you asking, and me being on the receiving end.
 1. Remember, Barter requires you to go to your tradables, find the game, and remove it from there. Oh, and you have to be in Edit mode. You can't do both, because otherwise it would be an easy site to use.
 2. I just checked; just yesterday you got offered Overcooked for Batman Telltale... Yeah, not balanced. In fact out of 11 offers you declined this last month, 7 were arguably unbalanced. And the one offer you sent was also very unbalanced. So you know how easy it is to send unbalanced offers. The reason you've been getting balanced offers at Lestrade's is that it's easier for everyone to build fair offers, and generally everyone is well behaved. I'm preaching for my own, of course, but that's my overall feeling. One that helps me keep working on the site, hoping to make it even better by the day.

Yirg

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #6,  »
Thanks for the detailed reply. For some reason I thought Lestrades was still in beta, so I didn't really consider making it my primary trading site, but you know what? I'm open to this option. What would you suggest as the best way to experience the site? Clear out my Barter tradables and switch completely to Lestrades for a "clean" evaluation period, or something less extreme? I'm not dependent on trading in any way, so am willing to give the first option a fair shot.

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #7,  »
Quote from Yirg on August 7th, 12:13 AM
Thanks for the detailed reply. For some reason I thought Lestrades was still in beta,
It never was in 'beta', although you can consider it went out of it in early May, when I announced that Lestrade's was on feature parity with BVG. (It wasn't completely, but all of the 'big' features were there at that point.)
Quote from Yirg on August 7th, 12:13 AM
so I didn't really consider making it my primary trading site, but you know what? I'm open to this option.
Thanks ;)
Quote from Yirg on August 7th, 12:13 AM
What would you suggest as the best way to experience the site? Clear out my Barter tradables and switch completely to Lestrades for a "clean" evaluation period,
You don't need to clean up your BVG tradables, you can simply set your account to inactive and you won't get offers.
(I'll also eventually add an 'inactive' status to LT's, I just need to rewrite the profile area to allow for custom settings to be shown. I just hate writing UI...)
Quote from Yirg on August 7th, 12:13 AM
or something less extreme? I'm not dependent on trading in any way, so am willing to give the first option a fair shot.
I wouldn't disable anything personally; even my BVG account is still active. I simply decline all offers I receive. In case I receive a really great offer and the sender isn't on LT's, then I'd accept it, but it hasn't happened once since I left BVG officially.

I'm hoping to launch a new feature around next week that should help grow the user base. For how long, I don't know, we'll see.
Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #8,  »
I'd like to know if there are any people who'd be interested in this setup for LT-BVG interaction:

- Ignore inactive users (last login > 7 days ago)
- For active users who have a BVG account, auto-sync (add & remove) their BVG tradables (and just those) from their LT's tradables every X days, while ignoring any items that were part of a trade at Lestrade's (in case they forgot to update their BVG lists after doing the trade here.)
I could try & use it on my own account, since there are many tradables I didn't bother to remove from BVG that I traded on LT's.

This would help solve so many weird situations like 'Pinstripe' on the current Humble Bundle having 1 copy available at LT's and currently something like 23 copies at BVG. Meaning at least a few users (whom I know are also on Lestrade's) may miss out on a potential trade here.

So, all of this is technically doable in a couple hours of work I think, but is limited by elements that could improve usability but also take a lot longer to implement: the profile redesign to allow for LT-specific settings and thus the ability to disable that feature (maybe I'll just call it quits and simply add a custom box at the end of your main profile page, and ignore redesigning the complicated & annoying profile sub-pages), and some kind of UI that would tell you of automatically added/removed elements on your next visit (perhaps even on any page you visit, until you dismiss the notice. Maybe I could even add current Steam-sync-related auto-additions/removals to that system.)
I could also, as an alternative, simply record the potential BVG imports, and instead of auto-importing them, adding them to that hypothetical UI and 'bother' users to confirm the addition every time they visit a page. I don't know.

It's just ideas in my head...
I simply can't ignore the fact that a majority of BVG users don't give a damn about the 'Import from Barter' button to import their tradables-- even if it's just two clicks. (I still can't understand why anyone would bother with BVG's terrible interface and matching system, yet not bother with keeping LT's in sync. But I'm not them.)

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #9,  »
I constantly use the "import from barter" buttons, to keep my tradables / Wishlist synced. Automating that would be great.
It also is a good idea to make Lestrades & barter add/removes override wishlist imports.


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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #10,  »
I don't know about auto-syncing wishlists, because a majority of wishlist items are auto-imported from Steam anyway. And it *would* make the import process twice longer, twice more taxing on BVG, and thus would automatically mean updating at least twice less... (Because BVG wishlist pages are also a lot longer than tradable pages on average.)

r6d2

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #11,  »
Quote from Lestrade 尚 on August 9th, 11:21 PM
I simply can't ignore the fact that a majority of BVG users don't give a damn about the 'Import from Barter' button to import their tradables-- even if it's just two clicks.
IMHO, the problem with "just importing" is that you have to manually remove your no longer tradable/wishlisted items on LT anyway. A simple "Select all" and then "Remove", followed by the already available "Import from Barter" would make it easier for Barter users to keep their lists in sync at both sites. This could easily be automated on the background and be completely transparent for users.
Quote from Lestrade 尚 on August 9th, 11:21 PM
(I still can't understand why anyone would bother with BVG's terrible interface and matching system, yet not bother with keeping LT's in sync. But I'm not them.)
I think the reason is clear. Barter has a much larger user base and it's a lot more likely to make a trade happen there than at LT.

If you want to take over Barter's user base you might want to consider making the syncing thingy as transparent/invisible as possible. Then users would surely appreciate the matching speed and other features at LT.

Maybe you don't like this approach, since you have made some design decisions that make an auto-import feature more complex for you. But Barter is the incumbent, and since critical mass is the lacking factor at LT so far, I don't see any other way to go.

Just a thought. Cheers!

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #12,  »
Quote from r6d2 on October 2nd, 10:11 PM
IMHO, the problem with "just importing" is that you have to manually remove your no longer tradable/wishlisted items on LT anyway. A simple "Select all" and then "Remove", followed by the already available "Import from Barter" would make it easier for Barter users to keep their lists in sync at both sites.
Yes, but this isn't possible. It would also remove all tags (or quantities) that one may have added manually on LT's. For instance, if half of my tradables have a custom note to indicate something specific like 'redeemable until 2018 only', which Barter doesn't support, and which is doable with one click per item at LT's (multi-select + tag all), then these tags/quantities/whatever would be reset every time, encouraging people NOT to tag their LT tradables.
Quote
This could easily be automated on the background and be completely transparent for users.
The only thing I can automate is the addition of new games and removal of traded games, assuming that they haven't been involved in an offer at LT's (which could account for the discrepancy -- e.g. look at my games, I never bother to remove tradables from BVG after trading them at LT's.)
And even then, it's one of the most network & CPU-intensive operations on scheduled tasks here.
Quote
I think the reason is clear. Barter has a much larger user base and it's a lot more likely to make a trade happen there than at LT.
It's also more likely to make people mad. :P (I spent 10 minutes on the site and my eyes hurt. It used to be very user-unfriendly, it's even worse now. I'm not saying I'm much better, but at least I'm *noticeably* better at that.)
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If you want to take over Barter's user base
I'm not. I'm trying to get them to use both sites. I'm all for two sites with different design decisions. But we both appeal to the same trader profile (getting rid of bundle duplicates/unwanted & getting single games from bundles we already own most of), so it's best to at least have enough users on both platforms to justify them.

I mean, if the active userbase here keeps dropping (although it's been stable for a couple months, only dropping during weekends then slowly regaining users for some reason over the week), I'll end up losing interest working so much on a service nobody uses. And if I end up putting an end to the site, what are you guys gonna do if the Barter admin leaves forever unexpectedly AGAIN, and his server dies six months later? You'll be sorry you put all your money into one site only.

I mean it's not like you can't trade on Lestrade's. I'm the living example of that. My last trade at Barter was last March, I traded 660 games over a year and a half and I spent most of my time trading. Now I have most of the games I really wanted, so I trade a lot less, and I've traded 100 games in the last 6 months. So, considering I'm spending at least 5 times less time on sending/viewing offers/matches than I did at Barter, I'm actually more efficient here than there.
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you might want to consider making the syncing thingy as transparent/invisible as possible. Then users would surely appreciate the matching speed and other features at LT.
Providing they keep coming back at least once a week, yes. But for users who already gave up on the site and won't bother to give it another chance (90% of which are users who were there in March or April only, i.e. before I was done implementing all of the features they wanted), making it easier to update their lists won't make them come back, I'm not going to contact them on Steam one by one...!
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Maybe you don't like this approach, since you have made some design decisions that make an auto-import feature more complex for you.
It's not THAT complex, it's just that the Barter admin doesn't want me to rely on his server too much. So, I can't do it, like, everyday for everybody...
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But Barter is the incumbent, and since critical mass is the lacking factor at LT so far, I don't see any other way to go.
Getting non-Barter users, of course. IIRC, last time I checked, at least 10% of the active userbase was made of users who aren't at Barter (either out of  principle, ignorance or preference, from my experience chatting with a few of them.)

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r6d2

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Re: Is there a way to regularly auto-sync with Barter?
« Reply #14,  »
Quote from Lestrade 尚 on October 3rd, 12:22 AM
Yes, but this isn't possible. It would also remove all tags (or quantities) that one may have added manually on LT's, then these tags/quantities/whatever would be reset every time, encouraging people NOT to tag their LT tradables.
OK, that's a good point. But it's still possible, IMHO, to make it transparent/invisible for users. Just don't drop the LT tags on existing entries when syncing and you can avoid that problem. Maybe I'm not being clear enough. Please allow me to write some pseudo-code:

// Set for each user a default site to manage inventory (qty),
// initially set at Barter since most recent data is already there
Lestrade_Preferences(user).main_inventory = Barter
for (i in Tradables_at_Barter(user))
    if (i in Tradables_at_Lestrade(user))
        Tradables_at_Lestrade(user).i.qty = value from Barter
        any other Barter tag missing at Lestrade is copied as well
        // all other tags existing at Lestrade remain the same
    else
        add i to Tradables_at_Lestrade(user)
        copy all relevant Barter tags (store, tier, qty, etc)


After trading on LT, the user will have to remove/decrease the item qty on Barter, or deal with the problem of making a trade for an non-existing item there.

Wishlist can be handled similarly, if you're willing to allow that as well and not only feed from Steam.
Quote from Lestrade 尚 on October 3rd, 12:22 AM
And even then, it's one of the most network & CPU-intensive operations on scheduled tasks here.
I can see this. However, it's not mandatory to run the sync on every user/every day. For instance, a user who has not been active on Barter recently (which you can query easily from his Barter profile page) can be skipped on the current sync.

You can also use some round robin algorithm, or MRU table, to pinpoint the most active traders first, making a near-line sync still useful.
Quote from Lestrade 尚 on October 3rd, 12:22 AM
I'm not. I'm trying to get them to use both sites.
Badly phrased by me, I presume, but even more so. If you want them to use both sites, you might gain a lot by focusing on making easier for them to use yours. You have achieved that for me most part. You just lack the critical mass and they will appreciate the instant matching if you provide syncing transparently.
Quote from Lestrade 尚 on October 3rd, 12:22 AM
I mean it's not like you can't trade on Lestrade's. I'm the living example of that. So, considering I'm spending at least 5 times less time on sending/viewing offers/matches than I did at Barter, I'm actually more efficient here than there.
Not my experience, unfortunately. On Barter, 4 out of 10 offers I send get accepted. On LT some of them are never even read by the intended recipient, and as they don't expire they stay there forever.
Quote from Lestrade 尚 on October 3rd, 12:22 AM
users who already gave up on the site and won't bother to give it another chance, making it easier to update their lists won't make them come back, I'm not going to contact them on Steam one by one...!
You don't need to. If they lists are updated on LT (they don't even have to know), you current users will get the benefit of a wider audience and can create offers for them, which will attract them to come and check.

A good notification system like Sasara or IFTTT will help them notice. If they are not subscribed, LT could write a post on their Steam profile as a workaround until they subscribe to some better mechanism. Also, never underestimate the power of word of mouth.

Cheers!