Invite a friend to a pickup (feature suggestion)

I came up with this idea as a way to improve a couple of things that I observed in our group:

  • Some less popular pickups will remain empty because people might be afraid to take the whole responsibility by themselves, and often they’d like some company. This is especially true of social events, such as hangouts, where many more people have been showing up spontaneously, because they’d rather not commit in advance and be the firsts to wait to see if others will sign up.
  • Our onboarding process for new food savers is not always so welcoming. They apply to our group on Karrot and usually just get an answer to check the list of stores and contact the person responsible for that store, or to come to a hangout for an introduction. Some end up not signing up for anything.

If there would be a feature to invite someone to join a pickup right after you joined it yourself (given there are more slots available), maybe that would improve significantly the situations above.

What’s the experience of other groups and would such a feature be useful? Any downsides?

Quick digression: In my opinion, Karrot should have the ethos of sociability built in in its design, besides facilitating team-work and the coordination of people on a horizontal way. By that I mean taking back the idea of “social media” back to its proper place, that is, not like Facebook which is designed to maximize the time people get stuck to their screens, scrolling their feed and being aroused by provocative posts and other people’s reaction, but designed to facilitate face-to-face encounters, away from the keyboard, to actually go do stuff together. You know, more meaningful sociability…


We, from EfA in Germany, would like to use the “invite a friend to a pickup” feature.


I really like your thoughts on this, @bruno, and I totally agree on the aspect of real social media that Karrot should have.

So to get more concrete:

  • Who can invite others? Only full members or newcomers, too?
  • How many people can be invited at once? Just one or as many as there are slots?
  • How do the invitees get notified? Email, bell or message?
  • How can the invitees accept or decline? Inside an email, in the pickup chat?
  • How long are the slots blocked for the invitee if they don’t react? Until 24h before the pickup maybe?
  • What happens if someone else wants to sign up for a blocked slot? Is it impossible, does the invitee get another message or do they simply get kicked out?

In case (some of) the above mentioned questions are implementation details that actually don’t matter so much to you that would be also helpful to know! :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the comments, Janina! I don’t have a really clear and thought-out proposal but I’ll try to answer the questions:

I’d say it’s a nice feature for everyone to use. If a newcomer has a friend in the group already he or she might feel more motivated to join a pickup by inviting the friend, or the person responsible for the cooperation in order to get an introduction.

Not sure about that one! What do you think?

I guess this is a bell type of notification and relevant enough to be an e-mail notification as well.

It would be cool if they could just follow a link on e-mail to accept it as well, but I guess this is a question more relevant for developers when implementing the feature.

Good question. Making a kind of reservation until 24 hours before the pickup might be tricky because the feature could be kind of abused by cliques of friends who would prefer to make pickups their exclusive thing. I don’t know, I guess we’ll have to test something out and evaluate afterwards. Spontaneously I’d go for not blocking/making a reservation at all.

If I understood well this question and the one above, my idea is kind of the same. I’d prefer the slot to stay open and if the invitee is not quick enough to accept the invitation, too bad.

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I think that this might help or might actually cause other problems. In German Foodsharing (but also in Warsaw) there is a problem of “gangs” that sign up together and never share it with others. In worse case they block both windows, but actually only one person picks up, but as they don’t like to share with others - they prefer to block both windows. Such a feature might make it even easier to happen and people will pick up with those whom they know instead of getting to know other new people. So the effect could be like of FB - you are inside your bubble. So maybe there could be some solution that would help the situation, but not have these risks?

To the onboarding process - I think that it’s a separate topic. We just invest a lot of effort and time and take by hand each person to 3 pickups before adding to the group. This works actually very well, but requires a lot of our time and communication with the new person where, when, with whom they will go, etc. So it would be good if new people could maybe see the system, but not yet sign up alone, but only with someone?

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Yes, the risk of gangs and bubbles who do not like to share or interact with new people exists and can be big, depending on how this gets implemented, which is why I prefer not be any blocking of slots. Combined with a feature that allows the group to set limits to how often the same person does a pickup, I think this becomes less of a problem. I think this feature can be particularly useful on less popular pickups rather than popular ones.