CHOICE membership

The Community is growing. Where do you want it to go?

If it has felt like things are getting busier around here, that’s because there have been more posts, more topics and more activities than ever in the CHOICE Community. There were over 20,000 posts here in the previous 12 month period!

There have been some great conversations too. Some of these have helped CHOICE along the way with its mission for better, fairer and safer products and services, while others provided the opportunity for people to offer some timely consumer advice in a direct and honest way. We want to continue connecting with everyday people and helping them with consumer issues, and we also want people to have a meaningful experience here.

In the past 12 months we’ve launched a range of new categories in the Community, and we have a few more to come. However, we’d love to know if you have any ideas for the Community - how would you like to see us grow?

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I wonder as the Community grows, whether the focus should be narrowed to the principles of Choice and original purpose of the forum?

Otherwise it could become a bigger or run away elephant which is harder to control.

It would also have more of its own niche on the internet.

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I agree. If it strays into too much unrelated political debate or strays into too many known areas of societal divide, it becomes just another angry reflection of society as a whole, and just another riven forum. I admit that I myself may on occasion have been responsible for interesting but off-topic digressions. :slight_smile:

So best to keep it focused on:

I would propose a test along the lines of: How is this helping some consumer somewhere?

Perhaps it goes without saying that even though advertising may lead a consumer to find better products and services, I wouldn’t want any overt advertising (in posts, and it would be best to avoid advertising on the site itself). Somehow every company thinks that its products and services are better. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the thoughts @phb and @person.

@person, definitely no ads here and no plans to do so.

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There may be no Direct Adverts, though the reviews that CHOICE provide to consumers at times have “preferred vendor” links in them. Then in this site the Reviews are posted as an encouragement for people to check them out…hence the link to a business in the end. Maybe a more tenuous route but still it is one from which CHOICE derives affiliate payments I assume.

@phb asks about whether to re-narrow the focus to the principles of CHOICE and the original purpose of the forum. I think the role CHOICE plays as a consumer organisation is a growing one. More and more policy of Govt, changes in the environment and other issues are changing what consumers need to be involved in and concerned with. CHOICE community often is a place to voice those concerns and for CHOICE to garner & provide intelligence and to give and receive support about changes that affect the everyday consumer.

@person even political debate can be of huge consumer concern but I understand the need to funnel that debate to make a point on an issue of consumer concern. Certainly from a more freely to open a debate section of this site there exists the Departure Lounge but currently it requires a level of “Trust” to gain access to that perhaps many who remain more casual visitors can not achieve. Perhaps this could be more open but give each topic a “timer” so that once a set period expires that topic is closed. It would require more moderation to stop tributaries (perhaps better said as offspring or tentacles) from springing up but that might be something CHOICE would tolerate.

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That is a very healthy growth rate for the forum . To instigate new ideas we must never forsake what happened in the passed to create that growth as mentioned in the first post by @BrendanMays . I suppose "If it’s not broken don’t try and fix it " could apply here yet on the other hand we do not want to stagnate and become a one dimensional forum .

Where we are heading and the ideas to take us there will no doubt have to be well discussed by all involved . In the future maybe using a VOIP protocol like Discord etc could be a direction to head in for special guest pod casts on related consumer topics and would also provide a means where the upper levels could communicate . .

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One opportunity that was interesting to me was how the forum has been weaving it’s way back to the website and magazine. Guest columns from community member’s, highlights in the magazine etc. I think these are a good idea and am happy to see them done

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Really like this idea, thanks for the thoughts @vax2000. Also, thanks for the feedback @tpeter267 and I’m glad it has been noticed. We definitely want to continue combining the different mediums/channels where we can.

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I just feel like it links the forum neatly back to what it’s whole purpose is. For the community to contribute better to Choice

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As Brendan reminds us, Choice’s mission is Better, Fairer, and Safer, products and services.
To that end I value posts about personal
experiences with products and services,
and would like to see the Community
going forward with this.
For example, there’s a beautiful thread back in October ‘16 by @Vax2000, who was looking to buy a car, and there’s lots of valuable info and input.
More recently there’s the thread about
getting money overseas, and posts have been about personal experience with this.

I think this type of sharing is not only informative but it also makes for a closer
Community feeling: caring enough to share our experiences with other members.

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As I have mentioned previously, I would like to see the Choice Community add and do a few things.

SHOPPING ASSISTANCE PAGE.

Like many other consumers, I am getting more and more annoyed with Coles, and to a much lesser extent, Woollies and IGA, deleting the products we like and wish to purchase.

Some products which spring to mind that Coles have deleted are Dairy Farmers Physical milk, all Ingham’s products, Pea Beu insecticide spray, Leggo’s Original Chunky Pickles, McLean’s Run free range eggs, and McVities Go Ahead Crispy Slices, all of which are still stocked by Woollies and most are stocked by our local Supa IGA.

I wondered if the Choice Community website could create a topic with an interactive post in which members can list the products they want which have been deleted, which stores have deleted them, and which stores still stock them.

I envisage it would have columns with headings such as Product, Deleted At, Stocked By and Price under which members could post their products in alphabetical order.

It would serve to assist members in being able to source the products that they want, as well as to shame the greedy retailers who don’t stock them, assist the retailers who do stock them, and assist Australian manufacturers of brand name products.

It would probably need to be set up with different sections for different product categories so as to assist browsing.

PETITIONS.

Whilst Choice do occasionally organise petitions, mainly aimed at politicians, I would like to see Choice & Choice Community ramp up and broaden petitions so as to assist more consumers more often.

Change.org has achieved a great many victories for Australians who were being oppressed by many different parties such as the example below of a successful petition which I supported.

" HELP SAVE our son’s pug Darcie from being seized by Cardinia Shire before it is too late.

35K supporters

Petition

HELP SAVE our son’s pug Darcie from being seized by Cardinia Shire before it is too late.

Lauren Dalton started this petition to Shannon Maynard Cardinia Shire and 3 others

Darcie is a much loved family dog who was a gift to our 11 year old son for his 8th birthday. Darcie allegedly rushed at a resident on 2 occasions on the 1st May.

Darcie is desexed, registered, microchipped and is kept inside the house or when needed he is securely contained in an outdoor pen. He has never caused incident or trouble to other people or animals.

The council have provided us with 3 unclear still photos of a black dog. At the time of allegations we were overseas on a family holiday and had a house sitter stay at our property. We have provided council with still shots from our CCTV footage which shows Darcie either locked up in his outside pen or in the house at the time of allegations. Compliance officers have visited our property and inspected Darcie’s secured cage and location of CCTV cameras and were satisfied.

We have never had any involvement with council for any other matters.

We have recently had to get RSPCA involved as a local resident continues to throw rocks at our dogs when they are behind our fence line. The resident provokes our dogs and teases them. We have even caught them taking videos of our 3 dogs whilst our dogs were secured on our property, resulting in Pakenham police being contacted. Council are not interested in any of this information.

We have not received a caution, no infringement notices…BUT… 3 months later my husband has been informed by email that Council are filing charges relating to multiple offences under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (vic). How can charges possibly proceed if we have evidence and we were overseas at the time.

Under section 81 of the Act, Council have the power to seize a dog if an Authorised Officer of Council has formed a reasonable belief that a person has committed an offence under section 29. "In this particular case, multiple rushes against another person. In this case, council will be exercisng this discretion to seize Darcie. If Darcie is not voluntarily given to Council, Council will be able to obtain a Search Warrant and attend with police".

We are deeply concerned that if Darcie is wrongfully seized by Cardinia Shire in front of our 2 young children it will leave long lasting pain, heartache and grief for us all. Darcie also has medical needs that require 24 hour care, he can not be left alone in a pound.

We all understand that there are most certainly dangerous, harmful dogs in our community that do need to be impounded and destroyed and that this is absolutely paramount to our safety and we fully respect and support this action of seizure of these dogs.

Help us to help our pug by signing this petition.

Start a petition of your own

This petition starter stood up and took action. Will you do the same?

Start a petition

Updates

VICTORY!! VICTORY!! VICTORY!!

:star:� VICTORY VICTORY VICTORY. WE WON!!! Cardinia Shire Council are not seizing Darcie, are not pursuing any charges and have closed the investigation. Woohoo so happy we STOOD UP and defended ourselves. T…

Lauren Dalton

7 hours ago "

35,000 signatures saved a child’s beloved pet pug from being seized and killed by an over-zealous council which would no doubt have done so in the absence of this support.

Some years ago, I read a comment that stated that in the US, the people fear the politicians but in Australia, the politicians fear the people.

This is the sort of thing I would like to see Choice & Choice Community provide.

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[snipped account of petition to local government re pug dog]

There are already plenty of ways for people to create and support petitions about all manner of topics, the community doesn’t need another. In my opinion Choice should stick to petitions directly about consumer issues. Lending the Choice name to other issues will dilute the effectiveness when Choice is lobbying on its core material. You only have so much influence available and it is best to spend it primarily on your stated mission.

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Choice does research into many areas before deciding which articles to feature in the magazine or online and which product tests to perform. Given there is only so much material that can be summarised, presented and edited or so many tests that can be afforded there must be some that don’t get past the research stage.

Would it be possible for the Community to have access to the research material? This could be just a list of web links, journal articles or news items that were judged as making a useful contribution to each topic. There would be a little bit of work indexing but nowhere near as much as producing a polished magazine article for every topic.

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I wonder if CHOICE would be willing to announce future tests so if a private (as distinct from a Business) community member would like to donate an item/s to the test they could offer the donation. This notice of testing would need to be at a sufficient distance from the test that any donations would have time to arrive and someone would need to keep a record of what was offered so that only enough was supplied to carry out the testing and also allows CHOICE time to source products if none are donated. As an example if CHOICE were testing Dishwashing liquids then a member could offer and if accepted supply some of the brand/s they use. I don’t know if it would be workable but if it was it could cut some costs for CHOICE and it may broaden the number of items tested. The sample would need to be sent at the member’s cost as well, so may place for some an undue financial burden on them but as it would be completely voluntary it may be used by some.

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Another option is to have Choice member feedback in the article for commonly used products. Using dishwashing detergent, Choice could advise of the upcoming tests and products tested and ask for feedback from users. The user feedback, in addition to the laboratory testing could used as the basis for the article (both lab data and ancedotal information).

There is a risk that the detergent company’s get a whiff of the test and try and plant reviews on their products…but this could be overcome with checking/verifying membership credentials.

It appears that many consumers will believe word of others rather than scientific data…and the article could cater for both ends of the consumer spectrum… .making it clear what is data and what it user opinions.

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I like the idea Fred but you can easily start and maintain one here by creating a Wiki yourself. If you don’t have the “Trust” level to do so just ask a CD or Admin to do so for you. To check if you can just click the three dots at the bottom of a post of your’s… click the spanner icon and check if it says “Make Wiki”. If it is a Wiki it allows anyone to edit that post. An example of a table is below as I am not sure if you have edit priviledges on my post to see the format needed I will convert this one to a wiki so you can use the edit function to see the format, to get borders etc you will need an Admin to add the CSS coding for that post.

Product …left text aligned… Deleted At …centre text aligned… Stocked By …right text aligned… …added column…no spacing of the bars needed but I added this text to clarify (I hope)… Price …added emote…default alignment…
Eggs Wolloworths (deliberate misspelling) Freddies $1.00 :frowning:
Corn cobbles Collies Gibbers $7.00 :smile:

To read more see : https://meta.discourse.org/t/create-a-table-using-markdown-on-your-discourse-forum/66544

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isn’t this already happening? I’ve noticed quite a few topics here which then feed into published articles on Choice.

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