The Beginner's Guide to Lestrade's

Lestrade 尚

  • Byte me.
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 744
  • Trades: 75
The Beginner's Guide to Lestrade's
«  »Last edited
The Beginner's Guide to Lestrade's

Welcome to Lestrade's.
Given that the website is a work-in-progress, this guide should also be considered a WORK-IN-PROGRESS.

What is Lestrade's?
Lestrade's is a place where you can trade with other members digital games or other tradable items, mostly from the Steam store. You can manage your list of games (tradables i.e. games you have available to trade, wishlist i.e. games you're looking to get, and blacklist i.e. games you don't want to get offers for), and match it with other members lists to create fast trade offers.

You can call the website "Lestrade's" (as in, "I'm trading games at Lestrade's"), "Lestrades.com" (as in, "You should trade with me, check out lestrades.com"), "Lestrades" (as in "I'm too lazy to type everything, please don't kill me"), or "LT" (as in "I'm bad-ass, I'm hoping that'll catch on.")

How to sign in?
Click the green "Sign in with Steam" button on the top left corner to sign in with your Steam account. Your libraries and wishlist will be automatically imported from Steam.
Note: automatic importing from Steam is currently disabled, you can still synchronize them manually on your list pages. Also on your various list pages, you can click the 'Import from Barter.vg' button in case you have a Barter account. This can save you a lot of time. Once imported, a Barter list can't be re-imported but it can be synchronized semi-automatically.

Is there support for games outside Steam?
There is currently very limited support for games that aren't redeemed on Steam.
Note: In the future you will have the ability to add any game as long as you provide its store URL.

I have used Barter.vg in the past. What about my data from there?
Barter.vg is a website with a purpose similar to Lestrade's. LT was actually built as a replacement for Barter when its webmaster disappeared in March 2016. LT was opened officially for business a year later, in late March 2017. The Barter webmaster came back by magic a day later. Damage cont Miracle!

You can visit your Tradables, Wishlist, Blacklist and Library pages and user the 'Import from Barter.vg' button to import each list of your choice separately. If your lists were already imported, you can synchronize them by clicking the 'Compare with Barter.vg' button and using the 'Add all' or 'Remove all' buttons accordingly, or, of course, manually adding/removing all items listed.

Who runs this site?
Created and developed by Nao, aka Lestrade, also responsible for the forum software behind it, Wedge. Hosted by devotee on a pretty fine server located in Paris.

This FAQ was compiled from multiple people, including Nao, joaoarena and BVG.


How do I trade?

What do the items at the top mean?

The Wishlist is a list of items that you would like to trade your tradables for. It is usually synchronized from your Steam wishlist, but you can manually add wishlist items within Lestrades without affecting original Steam wishlist.

The Tradables list is a list of items that you would be willing to exchange for other items in a trade.

The Blacklist is a list of items that you would not want to be offered to you on a trade.

The Library is a list of games you own. It is synchronized from your Steam library. You won't receive offers for these games, unless you explicitly ask for them.

How do I set up my item lists?
First, search for the item that you would like to find in the top right search box.
On the item page, and before the item name, you can see some symbols. There will be no symbols if you do not have the item on your Library, Wishlist, Tradables or Blacklist.
Symbols:
  • 📚 Stack of Books - Library
  • Star - Wishlist
  • Arrows - Tradables
  • Pirate flag - Blacklist
Click the buttons on the item page to add or remove the game to your Tradables, Wishlist, or Blacklist.
To reverse the action, just click the button again.

How do I send offers?
After signing in and managing your Tradables and Wishlist, use the Matches page to find members with your wishlisted items, and that have on their wishlists your tradables.

From the list of matches, you can click the "Send Offer" link next to the other member name to make your offer, or you click the member name to find out more about him on his profile page.


Select the items that you would like to offer on each side, and then click on preview button.


If you have more than one item offered on each side, adjust the quantity of the tradables on each side.
When you finish adjusting your offer, click the "Send offer" button. The other member will receive a notification with your offer (as well as an e-mail if they entered one; these users have the mention 'can be notified' on match pages, you should contact them in priority.)


Wait for a response. The Notifications system will notify you of an affirmative or negative response.

If the other user accepts the offer contact the user, usually through PM (Personal Message at Lestrade's) or Steam, to exchange items. You have a link to their Steam profile on their LT profile.

Where can I know the status of an offer?
You can see Offers and their statuses on the Offers page.

Status can be:
  • Unread - offer has not been seen yet.
  • Pending - offer was seen, but the user has made no decision yet.
  • Accepted - offer has been accepted.
  • Declined - offer has been rejected.
  • Half Completed - offer was marked as completed by one of both traders.
  • Completed - Offer was marked as completed by both traders.
  • Canceled - Offer was canceled.

How can I edit an offer I have already sent?
Go to your Offers page and click the status of the offer that you would like to edit.
You can only edit offers that are Pending or Unread.
On offer page, click the edit offer button.


Edit your offer as you would normally do. Then click "send the offer" button to change the offer.


Are there trading rules and etiquette?
  • Remember that the person that you're trading with is a person. Be nice. Don't be rude, demanding or condescending.
  • Users with a lower reputation statistic usually send their item(s) first in a trade that occurs outside of the Steam trading window. Remember: trading this way is risky. Therefore, trading with users that have little to no reputation carries a lot of risk.

How can I avoid being scammed?
Trades that occur outside of the Steam trading window carry a risk that can be minimized:
  • If you are just starting out, it is advisable to trade with users of high(er) reputation first, or offer trades that can be completed within the Steam trading window.
  • If you don't know the trader very well, start by trading 1:1 first, instead of a lot of games at the same time.
  • If an offer is too good to be true, it likely is.

How do others value their items? How can I make fair offers?
People value their games in different ways. Here are some common measures of a game's worth accepted by many users:
  • The Have/Want ratio for a game:
    This describes how many people have the game, and how many people want it. The more people that have the game, and the less people want it, the lower the value. On the other hand, if 2 people have a game and 100 users have wishlisted, the game has a higher value than a game that 100 people have in their Tradable list and only 2 people want.
  • The bundle price for a game (or the price per game):
    Steam keys are very often sold in packs with other games, called "bundles." Popular bundle sites include Humble Bundle, Bundle Stars, Indie Gala, and Groupees. Often, people will divide the number of items in the bundle by the bundle's price to get the price-per-game. Obviously, a game that was in a $1 bundle with 2 others (making the price-per-game $1/3=$0.33) is worth less than a game that was in a $12 bundle with 5 other games (making the price-per-game $12/6=$2).
  • The current price on other marketplaces:
    Some traders use the prices of the item(s) offered in marketplaces like Steam or G2A as a baseline.
  • The sentimental/gameplay value of the game to a specific user:
    Some users value a game produced by a well known studio more than an indie game, or a game rated higher (using the Steam review system, for example) than lower.
The key to making a successful offer to any user is communication. Many traders use the criteria above as their valuation method, but other users may use a mix of those and some other valuation method. The only way to know what a trader is looking for is to communicate with them.

Miscellaneous

How do I prevent other users from sending me e-mail messages?
You can change your e-mail settings in Profile -> Account Settings -> Uncheck Allow users to email me.

How do I search the forum?
https://lestrades.com/search

Why are game ratios so different from Barter's?
1/ Different sites, different user bases -- although similar, there will obviously be differences.
2/ Unlike Barter, Lestrade's reflects the total user base ratios (active + unactive traders).
In game pages however, you can see both types of ratio: where users are listed, it indicates the number of active users versus total users, so for instance if you see "Tradables10/30 Wishlist120/250", it means a 10:120 (active users) and 30:250 (total users).
3/ Unlike Barter, if an item is only traded by one person and wished by 100, it'll have a ratio of 5:10 if the owner has 5 copies available, i.e. their copy says 'x5'.

If there are any questions any other that should be answered here, please post them on the thread below.
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #1,  »
Good stuff!
I thought LT needed a guide for newbies, thanks for volunteering.
I'm also keeping this space reserved in case I need to add stuff. ;)
Don't post too many screenshots for now, as these buttons are not final. Okay it's just small things, but the Matches page's Send Offer link will likely become a button. 'Edit Offer' might become 'Edit offer' to stay in line with the rest. Or I'll turn everything to 'Offer'. I'm kind of an annoying perfectionist. I've also added some CSS to vertically align your screenshots, should look better.

Just a details - Support for non-Steam games is staying in, definitely. In the future I'll add the ability to add any game as long as you provide its store URL. Heck I can even do it manually if asked, I'd just need to re-use Barter game IDs that aren't used (there are a few hundreds available.)

PS: I already reserved ID #3000, for the curious. :niark: And yes, I can trade for it. :angel:

joaoarena

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Trades: 26
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #2,  »
Quote from Nao 尚 on March 24th, 10:58 AM
PS: I already reserved ID #3000, for the curious. :niark: And yes, I can trade for it. :angel:
Kyodai Mahjongg? Niiiice. Want to trade for Owlboy? :crazy:
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #3,  »
When we click the matches button, what is the order matches appear? Can't seem to find the logic behind it. It's not alphabetic, neither most matching games...
I'm asking because I'm not sure if we should coose trades from the top of the list over the ones on the botton, or if it does not matter.
My real wishlist is on steam.
My wishlist here is for trading purposes.
I like to trade for games I do not own based on Want/Have Ratio, rather than other approaches.

Pika! Pika!

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 23
  • Trades: 34
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #4,  »Last edited
Quote from joaoarena on March 24th, 12:12 PM
When we click the matches button, what is the order matches appear? Can't seem to find the logic behind it. It's not alphabetic, neither most matching games...
I'm asking because I'm not sure if we should coose trades from the top of the list over the ones on the botton, or if it does not matter.
It seems to list tradeables by when they were added to your library and locates all matches for every single game before moving onto the next and newer addition to your tradeables (without of course duplicate hits).

joaoarena

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Trades: 26
My real wishlist is on steam.
My wishlist here is for trading purposes.
I like to trade for games I do not own based on Want/Have Ratio, rather than other approaches.

Lestrade 尚

  • Byte me.
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 744
  • Trades: 75
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #7,  »Last edited
Re: KMJ, I don't get what you mean. Is it supposed to be a joke?

Re: order. There is no sort button on the Matches page because Barter didn't have one, and I didn't see a point in changing the sort order. I prefer filtering to sorting here. Filtering is things like "only look for a certain tag(s)", "only look for rare games", "only match tradables I already own", "only match with people I've traded with in the past", etc. I may add sorting but I'll need to be convinced there's a point to it first.

I do default sorting the same way Barter did. That wasn't my 'favorite' way, but it was to help with transition.
And by default, Barter sorts by when you last added a game to your tradables.
It is actually the same on both Offer and Match pages. The difference is that Match pages have to account for user sorting.

It's very complicated, and it took me a while (an hour :P) to figure it out, so here's how Barter did it:
- It went through your tradable list, starting with your oldest game in it.
- It would find any people who want that game, and add them to an array.
- It would do the same till the end of your tradable list. (Barter currently no longer goes beyond your 15 oldest tradables, but it still does the rest for some reason.)
- Then for each user Barter added to its array, it would do a regular match between two users, like you'd get by clicking on someone's Wishlist link then Match. The kind that's fast and efficient. Except an efficient ~0.5 second operation, looped over 200 times, takes a bit longer than you'd want.
it would get their games you want.

How Lestrade's does it...?
- First, a single query to retrieve all users who have matches in common with you. It's by far the simplest query (although it has a subquery IIRC), but it's also the slowest. By 'slowest', I mean it takes a second to execute for someone who has thousands of tradables... Right?
- Then, a single query to retrieve all games that match. Very complex query, barely optimized, yet faster than the first one. Don't even bother ;)
Anyway, that's basically it. My second query, thanks to my little magic, returns the list of games already sorted by user, so I don't even have to store it somewhere, I can just output the games one by one. I could have changed that to sort them manually in PHP, it'd probably be as fast now that PHP 7 is so damn quick, but I figured since that wasn't even the slowest query, I didn't need to bother.

:edit: After talking with Barter, it turns out I was wrong, and it does a single unindexed query resulting from the joining of 9 tables. Well, thinking about it, doing thousands of queries would probably be faster. ;) Now, the results from that query are identical to what I described, though. But it also probably means the sorting itself was unintended. The fact that LT matching wastes time trying to 'reproduce' the same sorting is less of an homage than just blindly following a random act, then. The shoe! The shoe is the sign! No, the gourd is! ;)

joaoarena

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Trades: 26
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #8,  »
--KMJ--->was joke (but I love mahjong nonetheless)

--yes, really fast sorting :)
Thanks for explaintin how it works, now I know that top matches are from the most recent active users, that's all the sorting I need :)
My real wishlist is on steam.
My wishlist here is for trading purposes.
I like to trade for games I do not own based on Want/Have Ratio, rather than other approaches.

Lestrade 尚

  • Byte me.
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 744
  • Trades: 75
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #9,  »
Quote from joaoarena on March 24th, 02:38 PM
--KMJ--->was joke (but I love mahjong nonetheless)
Well... Don't do it then-- you're talking to its author, joking about it can hurt. I guess that means you never tried it out. There's a demo on the site.
Quote
Thanks for explaintin how it works, now I know that top matches are from the most recent active users, that's all the sorting I need :)
..Uh? That's not what I said at all. :^^;:

joaoarena

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 99
  • Trades: 26
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #10,  »
Quote from Nao 尚 on March 24th, 03:02 PM
Quote from joaoarena on March 24th, 02:38 PM
--KMJ--->was joke (but I love mahjong nonetheless)
Well... Don't do it then-- you're talking to its author, joking about it can hurt. I guess that means you never tried it out. There's a demo on the site.
Quote
Thanks for explaintin how it works, now I know that top matches are from the most recent active users, that's all the sorting I need :)
..Uh? That's not what I said at all. :^^;:
Joke not meant to hurt or talk bad about the game, I did not knew you could really trade it. But as you are the creator, of course you can. Just thought it was a game you love and were joking about the abillity to trade it. Sorry

You said: " Barter sorts by when you last added a game to your tradables.
It is actually the same on both Offer and Match pages. The difference is that Match pages have to account for user sorting."
So, ultimately, top matches are for the users who most recently added games - I concluded.
My real wishlist is on steam.
My wishlist here is for trading purposes.
I like to trade for games I do not own based on Want/Have Ratio, rather than other approaches.

Lestrade 尚

  • Byte me.
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 744
  • Trades: 75
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #11,  »
Quote from joaoarena on March 24th, 03:18 PM
But as you are the creator, of course you can. Just thought it was a game you love and were joking about the abillity to trade it. Sorry
No problem. And I don't even love it ;) But that's the lot of us creators... We're doomed never to see the good in our work.
Quote
You said: " Barter sorts by when you last added a game to your tradables.
Yes, except it's the reverse. The first result you see is the first match for your oldest tradable. The first tradable I added at Barter was Venetica, and for all this time, my initial match was always with someone who had Venetica in their wishlist.
Quote
So, ultimately, top matches are for the users who most recently added games - I concluded.
No, it has nothing to do with *their* games either. ;)
If you don't understand it, it's okay, I don't believe Barter ever disclosed their sorting technique. I'm just explaining what I managed to reverse-engineer out of it.

Forum Conventions

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 37
  • Trades: 0
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #12,  »
I've updated my guide with instructions on how to add items to item lists. Can you please put this thread somewhere prominent? "How do I add items to my tradables/wishlist" has been asked about 3 times.

devotee

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 23
  • Trades: 11
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #13,  »
Quote from A on March 24th, 06:11 PM
Can you please put this thread somewhere prominent?
+1 for visibly linking this topic on the front page, and make it "pinned" on the subforum where it ends :cool:
Re: Lestrade's 101 (WIP)
« Reply #14,  »Last edited
Small suggestion: in "I've used Barter.vg in the past. What about my data from there?" differentiate between new members (can sync their barter's lists manually) and "past" members* (the barter information was already synced but manual changes since March, 23rd -if I'm correct- might be needed on Lestrades).

EDIT: A better wording could be registrations before and after March, 23rd.