Introduction to the Online System
WELCOME to the Local Exchange online system. These notes, which can be updated according to member feedback are designed to help you find your way around the system.

VIEWING THIS WEBSITE: Everyone can view the Information pages (including information about how LETS works, an anonymous version of Offers & Wants, and the Joining Form), also the News and Events section of the Members Area to see when meetings and socials will be held, and view uploaded Newsletters, but there may be links there to pages that can only be viewed by members who are logged in, for example with the address (approximate address and phone numbers) of members who are hosting meetings. And everyone can contact us with feedback, queries or news items or enquiries via Contact Us.

MEMBER-ONLY ACCESS: Members who are logged on can view the Membership List (and select and sort it in various ways), from where they can click to view the profiles of other members, including contact details (except for actual street addresses), so you can phone or email them (via a message box - just click on their email address). The list of members (and other pages on this website) can be viewed in printer-friendly mode by clicking on a tiny link at the foot of each page. Members who have opted to do so can also receive automated updates whenever another member adds to the directory, and all active members can receive "round-robin"messages from the admins.

LOGGING ON: If you have an account on this site, the system will "know" you if you put in your correct ID and password when you log on. Your ID is your account number as four digits (prefix zeros to make it up to four digits).

PASSWORDS: Members are given an automatically-generated password for their account when it is first set up, but can change it to something more memorable. Once you've logged in with the random password in the email, you can change it via My Profile - it's the first option on the list - but it will need to contain at least one digit. If you have forgotten your password, you can re-set it yourself via the password reset link on the Contact Us page. If you don't succeed in accessing your account, send a message via Contact Us, and the Administrator will reset the password for you.

YOUR PROFILE: Once you are logged on, go to My Profile, where you can view and update your personal profile and upload a photo - please do, it helps such a lot. When you first access your account, you may find that some information about your Offers & Wants (from the application form) is in the About Me box. Your next task is to set up your listings properly - see next paragraph. Once that's done, go back to your profile and amend the About Me box with some general text about yourself (including a link to your own website if you have one).

OFFERS & WANTS can be viewed on your own profile and also in the directory. To add, delete or edit your own choose Update Listings. Here's a handy hint for when you first open up your account. Get two browsers open, in one you can keep looking at your About Box, in the other, you can be doing the directory entries - this saves you constantly toggling back and forth to see where you got to. When you are Creating a Listing, make sure your heading is a good title and correctly typed. Please use a capital letter to start your heading and end it with a colon (two dots). Then add text in the box. If you are not sure which category to place it in, put it in Uncategorised. You can limit the duration of the listing and indicate pricing. NB The general public can see what's wanted and offered in the listings (anonymously), so do not put in anything in the text of the listings that you do not want to be viewed by the general public.

Updating OFFERS & WANTS: The detailed text for each listing can be updated by you at any time, but if you want to alter the title itself, you will need to copy and save the text, create a new listing, copy in the text you have saved, and submit it. Then you can delete the old one. That's why you should take care when you first set up each listing. NB if your listing is time-limited, you can set it to expire at a certain date - this is particular useful for one-time offers, work parties, and events.

GOING AWAY: If you are going away and don't want people to follow up directory items whilst you are away, you can Temporarily Inactive Listings via a link at the foot of the Profile, and set a date for your return. If you are leaving the area, permanently, please Contact Us for advice on terminating your account or transferring your balance to a LETS in the area where you are going.

TRANSACTIONS: You can view your own trading record and that of other members, or transfer LETS units to another member in payment for goods or services or send them an invoice, via Transactions (on the sidebar). If there will be any delay before you can go online to make the transaction, both parties can sign each other's copy of a Local Claim Form as an interim record. You should be able to download this from the Documents page if it has been included in this website. Once you have done a transaction you will be invited to provide feedback on that exchange.

WHAT MEMBERS CAN'T DO: Members can't alter their own account balance (other than by doing transactions). When you've traded with another member, the person who has received the service or item is the one who records the transaction. Once the transaction has taken place, you will see it via "View My Balance and Exchange History".

WHAT ABOUT MEMBERS WHO ARE NOT ONLINE? Those who do not have access to the internet can be matched to a buddy, who can print out pages for them (via the printer-friendly) link at the foot of most pages,. They could also help them set up a web-based email address, request that they be added as a joint member, and/or share their password, and thus help them manage their account. If cheques or vouchers are in use, send them as before, to the LETS Accountant, who will carry out the transaction online for you. Committee members can carry out other functions towards the overall management of the site, such as updating meeting notices and member profiles. If you want to contact them, either go to the specific link if you know it, or send a message via Contact Us.