Swap-Bot was once a fun and cool place to swap things with people from all over the world, but lately it's become a place to fear if you're not into cliques. Please take the time to read this message of warning.
Swap-Bot can be fun if you have the right kind of personality. If you're a bully, stalker, harraser, tormenter or the like, then go join because Swap-Bot is for you! Rachel and Travis Johnson have a wonderful idea going, but they're going about it in the wrong way. They want to reap all of the rewards of having a big and successful website like Swap-Bot is, but they don't want to be bothered with offering security, protection, or problem solving. It's basicly "play at your own risk" in every sense of the saying. However if you happen to be in the top "clique" of SB members then the normal rules of Swap-Bot don't apply to you.
The public forums or "PF's" are the source of 80-90% of all the problems on Swap-Bot. If you read the rules you'll see that there are restrictions on what you can post or what you can say on the forums, but these rules are only ever applied to users outside of the clique. When a rule is broken you will see that Rachel (who deals with all administrative issues) never intervenes, but instead the clique will take up the responsibility that they have not been given! They will bully, harass, belittle, degrade, name call, and stalk people who rub them the wrong way.
Now I'm not saying that only rule breakers are treated this way, in fact it's quite the opposite as most of the victims of bullying don't have a mark against them except that they commented the wrong way on the wrong thread. Let me elaborate on that...user "A" has posted that a newbie (new user) has given her a negative rating for not sending. She goes on to say that she in fact didn't send the item, but that her record should allow her some wiggle room.
Well unfortunately a helpful but naive newbie posts that maybe it's fair because that's how you're supposed to rate when you don't receive. This newbie doesn't realize that the user that pasted in the first place is a member of the clique, and before she knows it all of the other clique members are posting against her, calling her names and such. She tries to appologize but it's too late. Once they have their claws in you they won't let go. I've seen this happen so many times myself and so many new users are driven off the site by this type of harrasment. Later on a newbie will post that she's gonna be late on a few swaps because her father died, and the whole clique will come down on her for being a flaker (non-sender). Fair huh? Where's Rachel in all of this...who knows!
An even scarier problem is the illegal passing of private addresses and information by the "SB detectives". Yes I meant DETECTIVES! There's a group called SB detectives and I have inside information (from a former member) who told me that they pass around addresses, phone numbers, pictures, and any and all information they can dig up on users. We're talking about some people who haven't even done anything wrong!
Some of these people have contacts within police departments and they actually use these contacts for information on their latest victims! Things like this are supposed to be strictly prohibited on Swap-Bot, but are allowed to happen without a single back glance. I know for a fact that when a herassed member finally blocks their agressor, they are then harassed on other web sites. They are followed and constantly bombarded with rude messages. Nowhere is safe! Why won't anybody do anything about this???
In ending I'll say that the question of why Rachel doesn't make Swap-Bot a pay site is often brought up in the PF's, and I think I have the answer. Rachel knows how strictly she will be monitored if she asks people to pay, and she knows she'll have to tighten up on these gruesome harrasment techniques she's allowing the clique to use. She's not willing to do any of that so Swap-bot will remain a free site. Please be careful in joining, and if you do...STAY OFF THE PUBLIC FORUMS! You're playing with fire otherwise.