How to handle much wanted pickups?

As already mentioned, we in Warsaw have this “problem” for some time now. We just agreed that in certain stores you can’t pick up more often than once in 2 weeks. But as we cannot delete anyone from a pickup, we were just trying to do it by making this person be seen by others and making them step out from a pickup. A solution like “once per x weeks” sounds easy to use, but there might be cases when one would want some exceptions. Some are mentioned above + what if there is suddenly a free slot for tomorrow/today? And there are 3 people who could go, but they cannot register because they picked up this week already… I know that no-hierarchy is in theory a nice thing, but I think that at the end the easiest solution would be to have the shop coordinator confirm people or not. But maybe there are some other options! Maybe this could be automatically this way that if there is a free slot less than 24h before the pickup - everyone can sign up?

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That would make sense for our group too. It’s better that the pickup is done by the same usual people than not done at all just because they could not sign up to it. The feature would be meant to give new food savers the possibility to sign up to a much wanted pickup.

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An idea!

On the popup that you get when you press to join a pickup, it could show you recent pickups you did, and display the “rules” (not sure where they would be stored), and ask the person to make sure they are complying with the rules.

It wouldn’t be a hard restriction, but just one extra little hurdle to make them think first (and if they repeatedly did not comply with the rules you could bring that up with them as an issue - and eventually start a group removal process (which will be implemented soon-ish!)). But for the main cases it might be enough, if people aren’t really maliciously disobeying…


I like your idea very much @nicksellen !!

This would make it easy to have any kind of variations in the rules, as i feel the demands are quite differing within the different groups

I still like karolinas idea better

What @karolina described is basically the behavior has. Implementing this in Karrot would be much more difficult, because we don’t even have the user role ‘store coordinator’ which would need to have a different set of rights than non store coordinator people. Of course it would be possible to change that, but then you also need to have a way a person can become a store coordinator, since every full member currently has the same rights the only possible scenarios are–

  • something like a badge everyone can simply grab in a first-come-first-serve manner
  • a process in which a person can apply for the role and the group decides if they can have it or not
  • another even more powerful role that can set people to be store coordinators, but that doesn’t solve the problem of how to get this role then…

So I guess what @nicksellen proposed is the most realistic thing to happen in the next months, regardless of which idea we prefer…

Still, I also remember discussion on if people wanting to do pickups should have the need to be confirmed or not and here’s the main points:

  • Pro: You have more control and can distribute pickups slots much more fairly.
  • Con: Additional workload, even if everything is actually fine.
  • Con: What happens if the store coordinator forgets to confirm or reject a person - do they still go or not?

Although the 2nd contra case could probably be bypassed when slots are automatically open to anyone for the last 24 hours. A pending collector could just be auto-confirmed for example.

I was meaning

Maybe x times per x weeks also.

I think this would work well for Hemköp Linné and Picknick i Majorna in Gothenburg.

To have a ‘store coordinator’ role like you described mostly sounds tedious to me.

I think I like the

plus free slot 24h before the pickup.
The idea of a pop-up window could also work.
The question is probably whether we want just a reminder and we hope that people won’t abuse it or we want a tool that does the thing automatically. I think both have some advantages. Maybe thinking about the future it would be easier to have just the setting that one cannot sign more often. The only problem is - who will be able to apply these settings? Even if all users with editing rights, I don’t think that people will be invading shops of others to change the settings and jump in, it sounds like a clearly wrong thing to do.


When telling the same persons that are always signing up for the same “popular” pickups that they should leave some space for other volunteers hasnt worked, i feel that a popup window want. We havent tryed rules for how often you can sign up at all though, only “you should leave some space for others…”. So maybe.

I think its enough that every user with editing rights could apply the setting. Its a different thing to go and change the settings of a store than to forget that you shouldnt sign up more than this and this often.

With the 24h before pickup the slots are free for all to sign up to, its not really a hard rule, also, its more a way to give volunteers that are not regularly doing those pickups a chance to sign up.


There was the other thread that mentionend a voting system.

So if you have a “rule module” were people can make a suggestion like

for store xyz following rule is suggested:
“maximum of x pickups in x days” - This rule is out of effect xx hours before the pickup (maximum value 48 hours).

it could also be more complex rules like

“at least x pickups in store xyz in the last z days”

if you want to combine a super wanted store with a very boring bakery store struggling to find people for their pickups.

it could be a suggestion and the group could vote on the rule . once voted - with 2/3 majority .it could be in effekt until a next rule is voted on.
and voting period of 7 days ?

It could be one suggestion that is voted on or multiple suggestions to choose from. (similar to the yacutan preposal period)

Since this thread is about collecting ideas I will throw in mine too.

What if all members collected points for unwanted pickups and spent them on much wanted pickups?

It costs 5 points to pick up at a much wanted store. You can earn points when you pick up vegetables at the local market (3 points) and bread at unpopular bakery (2 points). There are also some stores which cost 0 points and give you 0 points too, so there are no restrictions on them.

This is a very popular mechanism to influence unrestricted market forces. By modifying number of points we can increase attendance in unwanted stores and decrease siege of much wanted stores. It doesn’t require any special access rights. Number of points for each store can be agreed among all members outside of Karrot (no need for a dedicated feature here) and members who set up pickups in ‘their’ stores would also be responsible for setting up points. Of course, we would still need some rules to deal with unattended stores if there are fewer than X hours to the pickup, e.g. double the earnings for unpopular stores and lift the restriction for popular stores.

The benefit of this solution is its flexibility because we can quickly react to the popularity of stores by modifying points for them. The disadvantage is the extra oversight of the whole mechanism. However, many stores can be excluded from the points system by setting number of points for them to 0.

Funny thing, we’ve been brainstorming and discussing a lot about a implementing a community currency here in Gothenburg, which is pretty much the same as a point system. However we would not be limited to the foodsaving initiative only and would use it between different communities projects which are about saving and sharing resources (like Bike Kitchens and free shops). I was actually imagining that Karrot would provide a good basis for this after we do the first test.

Sorry, that’s a bit off-topic already… :sweat_smile: Anyhow a point system may be an overkill for this particular case, but very interesting in a larger perspective.

An update is that since last time Disa and I wrote here, we have decided on a maximum amount of times a month for two popular stores and we added an exception of people being able to sign up if there are available slots within 24 h.

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The point system outlined by @mzpawlowski sounds very similar to the karma system that was used by a district in Berlin. There, the stores were put into plus (popular) and minus (unpopular) categories and the points of each foodsaver were counted over the course of a month. In the end of a month every active foodsaver got a message telling them their total score and depending on the result (above or below zero) the foodsaver got sanctioned or rewarded. The consequences usually involved access to popular stores.

However, there were different opinion about that system and adapting the points is actually not a simple process because it’s not always obvious how a store should be rated. Things like these always spark huge discussions, just be aware of this… :wink:

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Throwing in another idea: just create more slots for those pickups!
To avoid that 10 people wait at the store and it starts looking like a siege, you could make up rules: e.g. only two people do the pickup and then share with others around a street corner.

I assume that pickups are much wanted because people want to keep part of the food (or everything) for themselves, vs putting everything in a public fridge.

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This is a good idea and very easy to implement which is its biggest advantage :slight_smile: However, it can only solve the issue of much wanted pickups (I know this is the thread about it) but it won’t help with less wanted (unpopular) pickups or it can make things even worse for them. More slots in popular stores will lead to outflow of foodsavers from less popular to stores to more popular stores. If the number of foodsavers doesn’t change, more slots have to cause more empty stores. That’s why I prefer a solution which tries to balance it all, although I’m aware of the challenges it might bring.

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We have recently introduced a new categorization of stores in Warsaw which define the rules how often each foodsaver can sign up for a pickup. We have taken the following factors into account to assing a category for each store:

  • Popularity of the store defined as ease to sign up for a pickup (based on an observation of stores for a couple of weeks in random times).
  • Number of foodsavers ready to pickup in a given store (based on history of pickups in last two months).

We have created four categories:

  • Popular stores which you can pick up not more often than every 14 days
  • Popular stores which you can pick up not more often than every 7 days
  • Stores which require moderation in pickups, i.e. you can pick up once in a week (1 pickup between Monday and next Sunday)
  • Unpopular stores which you can pick up without any restrictions

We are quite happy with the rules, especially that the methodology used to prepare the categorization led to reasonable and uncontroversial outcomes.

However, what we currently lack is a proper mechanism to enforce imposed restrictions. I’m trying to build some automated scripts using Karrot API but, as I don’t have any experience in this area, it will take me some time to get to the point when it can be used :slight_smile: We have had an interesting idea how a simple change in Karrot could help us (and all other Karrot communities) control the frequency of pickups in much wanted stores. This would be an option to see not only future pickups in a store but also historical pickups on the same page:

It’s still to define how many historical pickups should be displayed - would it be the same number of weeks which are set up in settings for future pickups or a fixed number or would it be a new config item. Before spending time on details I would rather know what you think about this. Do you find it useful too? And how complex is it from the development perspective?


Thanks for the nice explanation, I’m very interested in your approach!

I wonder how to load historic pickups, there can be many. So it would either just show the last 20 historic pickups or need some form of pagination, for example by “endless scroll” or “load more” button.

This seems to duplicate the history feature a bit - I guess the history is too verbose and not very nicely displayed right now, but that could be changed.
We could

  • use the same way of displaying pickups as in the pickup list
  • allow filtering by pickup_done

Do you think that would solve the problem as well? Maybe it’s easier to implement the proposal above.

What if all members collected points for unwanted pickups and spent them on much wanted pickups?

If this was strictly implemented I’d never be able to contribute, for reasons (medical) I’m probably only going to help out at the pickup(/-s) (now popular) closest to me.

The purpose is to display the latest history for validation purpose, therefore, “endless scroll” or “load more” button are probably not needed. I think the best option is to see the same number of weeks in the past as set for future pickups or have a dedicated config item in settings for this. More history could be found on “History” page.

Current “History” page contains too much information to use it efficiently. Filtering history by activity type is a great feature. But the filter doesn’t have to limit to “pickup_done”, activities like “pickup_join”, “pickup_leave”, “pickup_modify” and all others could be helpful too.

Even with filter on “History” page the purpose to display both historical and future pickups on the same page, as defined by option “Historical and future pickups”, won’t be achieved. I believe this is the most user-friendly view to easily see when someone picked up a store last time and when he/she intends to do it next time. Perfect tool for all the members of the community to easily validate if they don’t break agreed rules or simply if they don’t overdo with pickups if such rules do not yet exist.

It’s just an idea not a complete solution :slight_smile: Imagine each member of the community gets a number of points for “free” each month and they can be spent on any pickups. Then, you would also be able to contribute.