We've been blown away by how well the Shopswell community has responded to our new questions feature. You all have answered well over 5000 questions within the first month, and there have been some incredibly fun, helpful, and inspiring conversations along the way already.

In order to streamline the overall Shopswell experience we've launched several enhancements to Shopswell today. Probably the most significant of these is our new ShopBot interface. Shop Bot is a tool to help you shop smarter and engage with the Shopswell community more easily. She isn't very smart yet, but we have some cool things planned :) Here are some things ShopBot can help you do right away:

Got a shopping question? Use ShopBot to ask the community. She will publish your question and let you know when you have answers. You can reply to and vote on answers right in your home feed -- no need to navigate all around to your question pages to interact and stay up-to-date.

Once in a while, ShopBot will surface questions that she thinks you may be able to contribute to (e.g. questions from people you're following or tagged with tags you're following). You can submit your answer right from your home feed without having to navigate all over the site.

You can use ShopBot to get recommendations. She can find other members with similar interests to yours (type: people like me), or tags you might want to follow (recommended tags). Typing recommended by @username will show that person's favorites, and recommended #tag will show top-rated products with that tag.

ShopBot will keep you informed as to what's been going on in the Shopswell community. For example, when people you follow publish new lists or articles, when another user mentions you, or when you get new followers or likes.

You can use ShopBot to direct message your followers! Just begin a message with @username, and they will get a private message from you in their Shopswell feed. Mention several users at once to create a group message!

You can use ShopBot to search Shopswell. Just type search: term. You can narrow your search to only products or other members by using search products: term or search people: name.

You can use ShopBot to quickly follow or unfollow other members. Just type follow @username or unfollow @username.

At any time you can simply type help to get a quick list of the things ShopBot can do.

We're just scratching the surface with the things ShopBot can do for you. We have a few things in beta form (for example, try pasting in a product URL). You can also always message @shopbot with your feedback, ideas, bugs, and complaints.

In other news....

There has been so much activity around questions, that we've added an 'off-topic' tag. Sometimes we've seen questions that just don't really have to do with shopping, but these sometimes result in interesting or fun conversations anyway. Questions like these will be marked as off-topic. Questions that are off-topic:

  • are not eligible for rewards
  • are not published in non-participants' feeds or the urgent or popular question pages.
  • they will appear in the latest question page and the feeds of anyone who participates

Questions about Shopswell itself, how it works, or the rewards program will NOT be marked off-topic, but should be tagged shopswell.

The Shopswell community is really growing and it's been fantastic, but we could use your help. Over the next several weeks, we willbe extending invitations to Shopswell community members to help us moderate the site. Moderators will help keep conversations appropriate and helpful, help to identify abusive behavior on the site, and help to mark questions as off-topic. Moderators will be eligible for a bonus rewards pool set aside especially for them. We'll keep you posted as we get more details, but for now let us know in the comments if you have questions or you'd like to be considered to be a Shopswell moderator.