Raftr Support: July 16 Product Updates

Raftr publishes app and web updates every two weeks, adding new features, improving existing functions, and providing housekeeping and bug fixes as they arise. Here’s the latest summary of updates from this week’s new platform updates:

Android:

  • Replaced votes with likes on chat messages
  • Enabled copying or flagging chat messages
  • Some fixes like raft invitation notifications working properly

iOS:

  • Replaced votes with likes on chat messages
  • Enabled copying chat messages
  • Some fixes like the Events feed being updated properly when you tap on a specific date on the calendar

Web:

  • Replaced votes with likes on chat messages
  • Enabled copying chat messages
  • Enabled tagging people in posts/events, comments, and chat messages
  • Updated overall design for chat threads

Saying Goodbye to “Real World” Raftr

While Raftr began as a place for people to get current on shared interests across news, sports, and entertainment, it has now evolved to instead be a place for university students to get current on what’s happening on campus.

When Raftr launched, people could join rafts to get current on their favorite sports teams, tv shows, and current events and other news stories, as well as connecting with others who shared their interests. We later termed that original purpose our “real world” experience, while also adding an authenticated, college-campus Raftr experience. Using the same features as in the real world version, like posting and chatting in rafts, we create private social networks for each school we partner with to give university students a way to get current on what’s happening around their college campus, and find people who share their on-campus interests. Over time, as we saw strong traction at the universities we worked with, we felt it was best to put all our resources into this effort. Thus, Raftr changed course and said a bittersweet goodbye to the original, real world experience.

While there is still press across the web that references the past version of Raftr, it is now only possible for people to join the app with a verified, .edu email address at one of the schools we currently partner with. If you attend or work at a school we are not yet partnering with, and are interested in seeing Raftr at your school, please let us know via ask@raftr.com.

Raftr Support: Frequently Asked Questions

What’s up with the otter?
Raftr’s mascot is a sea otter. We chose the otter because sea otters are very social animals that often eat and rest together while floating in connected groups. A group of otters linked together like this is called called a “raft”. Rafts can include hundreds of otters connected with one another by holding paws. We see this as a metaphor for the many communities of people around the world discussing common interests and stories on our platform, which we call rafts for this reason.

What do I get if I join a raft?
Membership has its privileges! Joining a raft allows you to participate on its chat channels, create and comment on posts, and get other members’ posts in your feed.

How do I leave a raft?
To leave, go to the information section of the raft (touch the “i” in the upper right corner of its front page) and choose “leave raft”. If you leave a raft, you will longer get its posts in your feed or be able to create posts, chat messages, or comments. You can still view it, react to posts, and upvote/ downvote if it is designated as public in its privacy settings.

How do you decide which rafts to curate as “Official”?
We let the administration from the colleges and universities we partner with pick which ones are likely to be most successful on their campuses. We also watch what is engaging in the app and sometimes add official rafts that Raftr curates in order to create a more engaging experience.

How do I attract more people to my raft?
Creating an engaging experience by posting, chatting and timely responses to others is the best way to attract new members. We also offer you lots of tools: inviting from contacts, sharing links, the right to decorate your raft in interesting ways, the ability to pin posts that you find interesting, and the opportunity to show up in the discovery sections of the app – Explore and Search (by having ten or more members on your raft or ten or more actions in the last month).

What’s the difference between “following” and “joining”?
On Raftr, you follow people and join rafts. Joining rafts allows you to create content on that raft and to get posts in your feed. When your notifications are set to “High” or “Custom”, following people will notify you when they create or interact with posts.

Can I delete a raft?
There’s not a way yet in the app for you to do this, but if you would like to let us know and we can help. You can reach us via the Contact Us link in your settings, which are found via the gear in the upper, right corner of your profile. Also, if a raft has less than fifteen members and no activity in the last three months, we will delete it.

Can I delete my account?
While we never like to see people leave the app, we understand you may have your reasons. Right now there’s no way in the app for you to delete your account yourself, but we can do it for you if you send us an email at ask@raftr.com.

Raftr Support: Your School and View-Only Experiences

We offer different experiences on Raftr, giving you different options based on interacting with your own university or viewing other active colleges; to make it easy to switch between the two, there is a toggle on your profile by your name.

Signing up for an account on Raftr requires a verified .edu email address and your experience will be specific to your school. If you would like to check out other active schools in the app, there is a toggle on your profile enabling you to do so (on iOS only so far). Everyone is able to direct message everyone else, regardless of the university experience they are each a part of.

When you are using the app, your experience will change based on which experience you choose to be in. So when you are in your own university’s Raftr experience, you will see on your profile the rafts you are a member of and a feed of your recent activity. Explore, Search, the feeds on the Events and Posts screens, and the Messages screen also will be filtered to only show rafts, posts, and chat channels for your college. You can join rafts from your own school, and interact on the rafts you join there.

When you choose to, via your profile, visit another school, the app will be updated so that you can see all public content for that school. You cannot join rafts or create content (events, posts, chat messages, comments, reactions, votes) on any college experience other than your own. It’s fun to check-out what’s going on at other schools in your sports leagues and that your friends attend.

Raftr Support: What is Current?

Get Current is our tagline, and it has two meanings. First, Raftr is a place to get current (caught-up) on campus events, memes and communities in your college. Second, current is a measure of your activity on Raftr.

We are currently revisiting our current “points” system in the app and will update this blog once it has been reintroduced within the app.

Raftr Support: Your Personal Settings

You can change your profile picture or edit your profile description at any time via the Edit Profile button in the header on your profile. You will find other settings, including for notifications, via the gear in the upper right corner of your profile.

Through the settings page, you can manage your push notification frequency and events, turn on hints to remind you of all the things you can do on Raftr, find and invite friends to the app, or contact us privately. You will also find find our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service here, as well as a shortcut to our FAQ.

Notification Settings:

On iOS, you will see that the notifications screen, opened from settings menu, has four main options, described below; if you’re using Android or web and would like to modify your notification settings, please let us know at ask@raftr.com. To choose one, slide the dot on the slider to the option you prefer and save your choice via the “Done” button in the upper, right corner of the screen.

  • Low: This setting is for people who prefer to not be notified very often about activity in the app. Choosing this option means you’ll only be notified when an event you are interested in is starting soon and when people send you a direct message; interact with you via posts, events, or chat messages; follow you; invite you to or respond to your request to join a raft; join or request to join a raft you’re an admin of; or change your rank on a raft you’re a member of.
  • Normal: This is the default level of notifications. If you choose this option, in addition to the notifications described above, you’ll receive notifications when more official rafts are added to the app, new blogs are published for official rafts you are a member of, or people you follow join a raft.
  • High: If you want to receive notifications about all activity in the app – your own, the people you follow, and rafts you join – this is the setting for you. In addition to the notifications from the “low” and “normal” settings, if you choose the high option, you will also be notified when people you follow create new posts or interact with other people’s posts, people join a raft you’re a member of, you’re released from a raft, or there is a post created on a raft you’re a member of.
  • Custom: This option lets you pick and choose exactly which notifications you will receive. To turn each one on or off, just tap/ click the toggle button (blue is on, grey is off). Some of the notifications include an option to “Include notifications about posts on rafts you haven’t joined”. This means that, for example, if you only want to see notifications for posts created by the people you follow that are for rafts you are a member of, you should turn this setting off, so that “notifications about posts on rafts you haven’t joined” are not included. If you want to see notifications for all posts created by people you follow, whether or not the posts are about a raft you are a member of (unless it is a secret raft or private raft with closed content), then you should have this toggle on, for everything to be included.

Raftr Support: Blocking, Flagging and Reporting

Most of the time you will see interesting contributions from people on Raftr. But, every once in awhile, a person will post things you find distasteful or you may find a post you would like to be submitted for our review. As well, while creating your own posts or comments, you might make a keyboard mistake or have second thoughts about your contribution. For these reasons we offer you editing capabilities and flagging, blocking, and reporting tools (designated by three dots on posts).

On each chat message, event, post, and comment, you will see three dots in the upper right corner. If you are the author, you will have the option to edit or delete it. If you are not the author, you will have the option to flag it for further review by our team.

Reasons to flag a post include anything that you think is in opposition to Raftr’s Terms of Service, which include things like spam or abuse, offensive content. You can also flag for any other reason you may have to request a review by our team.

You also have the option to block people. If you block a person, you will no longer see this person’s activity (chat messages, events, posts, comments, reactions), see this person in Search or Explore, follow this person (if you are now), or be notified about this person’s activity (if you had been). When you go to their profile, it will show them as blocked. You may also report a person if you feel we should review that person’s account for spam, abuse, offensive content, or any other reason that violates our Terms of Service. To report, block or unblock a person, tap/ click the three dots in the upper right corner of their profile.

Raftr Support: Sharing the Love

What better way to help others get current and find their people than to share Raftr with them?! We offer a variety of ways to do so, depending on what you want to share.

So you have an account on Raftr and want to invite some friends to join you? We have several, seamless options to help! Whether you would like to share a community, content, or a conversation, we provide the means to do so.

Sharing Communities – aka: Rafts:

  • To share a raft you have three options (see below for where to find them):
    • Copy link: Tap the overlapping, blue square icon in the bar with the link to the raft to quickly copy it; you can then paste that link wherever you would like to share it
    • Invite: Tap the invite button to see a list of other people in the app that you can invite to join the raft
    • Share: Tap the share button to be prompted with available options for sharing – the options will vary based on the device you’re on when you use the button. Once you choose an option, some text and a link will be added for you. You can share exactly like that, or edit the text if you prefer (don’t edit the link, though, as that’s how people will find what you’re sharing with them)
  • To find these options, you will go to:
    • Members (other than raft admin): The raft’s Front Page and Info screen (via the “i” button in the upper right of the raft’s screen)
    • Admin: The raft’s Front Page or Info screen (in the raft’s settings, which are found via the gear in the upper right corner of the raft’s screen)
    • Non-Members: The raft’s info page (via the “i” button in the upper right of the raft’s screen)

Sharing Content – aka: posts or blogs:

Sharing posts is as easy as using the “share” button on a post, which will give you different sharing options based on the device you’re on.

How people see what you share:

  • If they have the Android or iOS app installed already and open the link on their device, they will be taken to the post you are sharing with them.
  • If they do not have the app installed yet and open on their device, they will be taken to the mobile web app where they will see the content you shared with them. At the top of the page there will be a banner prompting them to download the app.
  • If they open on a computer, or mobile device other than Android or iOS, they will see the content you shared directly on the website.

Raftr Support: Raft Privacy Settings

Rafts have three different privacy setting choices (public, private, and secret), which relate to how accessible your raft is to find and join by new members. For rafts designated as private, this setting also allows you to customize how open your posts and chat content will be for viewing by non-members. For example, you might want to restrict membership, but still allow your posts to be available in the “Popular” Posts feed and “All rafts” Events feed filter for non-members to see an event you want to advertise or to attract potential new members.

More details on each privacy setting follows:

Public: Official rafts are all public, and user-curated ones are public by default. This means anybody can join the raft and become a member without approval from its admin. All public rafts, when they have at least ten members or ten actions in the last month, are available in Search and are eligible to be on Explore. Everyone can see, react to, and comment on posts; see and vote on comments; and see chat messages. Only members can create posts and add chat messages.

Private: Private rafts limit membership in one of two ways, either “By Request” or “Invite Only”. If you choose to create a Private “By Request” raft, you and your other leaders and curators can manage requests from the raft’s settings screen (accessed via the gear in the upper right of the raft). You will see the names and profile pictures of people who have requested access, often with an optional note introducing themselves and providing additional information about why they want to join. If there’s specific information you want potential members to provide, it is a good idea to mention it in your raft description. If you wish to create a Private “Invite Only” raft, you will be able to invite other people from the app and/ or from your contacts. Those that don’t yet use the app will then be prompted to download Raftr (in the App Store or Play Store) or sign up online at raftr.com. All private rafts, when they have at least ten members or ten actions in the last month, are available in Search and are eligible to be on Explore.

For private rafts, you can decide whether or not non-members can see the list of members. If you choose to hide the list of members, non-members will only see the number of how many members the raft has.

Private rafts also allow you two levels of content visibility to non-members. Many people want to allow some level of visibility in order to attract additional current. The options are:

  • Closed: Neither chat messages nor posts are visible to non-members. The info page is also hidden from members, and the raft’s description instead appears on the front page.
  • Open: Chat messages and posts are visible, and non-members can react to, comment on, or vote on them. Non-members cannot create new chat messages or posts. The info page is also visible to non-members.
Secret: Secret rafts are invitation-only and are not visible in Search or eligible for inclusion in Explore. Chat messages and posts are not visible to non-members.

You can change your raft’s privacy settings at any time. If you change your raft from Public to Private, all members that have already joined will continue to be members. If you change from Private to Public, all pending By Request members will automatically become members. If you change from Private to Secret, you will have to manually approve By Request members whose requests were pending at the time of change.

Raftr Support: Raft Management Settings

Once you have created a raft, you will have the opportunity to update many of its settings. These choices will allow you to set-up your raft to be tailored for the community of members you wish to attract. It is a good idea to keep these refreshed.

Rafts you create have many modifiable components to customize the experience for your raft members (these settings are coming soon to Android and web, but if you’d like help before they’re on those platforms please let us know via ask@raftr.com). The following elements of a raft may be updated through settings menu (which is the gear icon in the upper right of a raft’s screen for its admin: Leaders, Co-Leaders, and Curators):

Categorization:

  • Choosing a category and topic for your raft is mandatory when you create it
  • These levels of categorization help people discover your raft via the Explore section of the app
  • You can modify your selection at any time via the raft’s settings

Chat:

  • All rafts have at least one chat channel, and this is created at the time of raft creation. You can also choose to create more chat channels, so that there can be multiple topics of conversations relevant to the raft
  • You can modify the names of the channels at any time
  • You can also delete chat channels at any time, as long as there is always a minimum of one

Cover photo:

  • This is the picture that is on the Front Page of your raft
  • You can add or change the photo any time

Default posts sort:

  • Your raft has a tab for its posts, with buttons to allow people to choose how to sort them
  • This setting allows you to choose what the default is for any person who opens that posts tab
  • The options are:
    • Recent: All posts are shown in reverse-chronological order, according to when they were created (most recently created post at the top of the list)
    • Trending: All posts are shown in order of how many comments/ replies + reactions + votes on comments/ replies they have within the last 48 hours (most comments, reactions, and votes are at the top of the list)
    • Events: Only posts with an event added are shown; they are shown in order of when the event is – with the soonest coming event at the top of the list
  • You can modify your selection at any time via the raft’s settings

Description:

  • When you write a description of your raft, up to 225 characters, it will show up as an “About” section on the info page for your raft (which people see when they tap/ click the “i” button in the upper right of your raft’s screen)
  • The description also shows up for your raft in some discovery lists on the Explore section of the app and in search
  • This description gives you a bit more space than the tagline to tell everyone what your raft is all about
  • You can add or edit your raft’s description via the raft’s settings at any time

Icon:

  • This is the picture that represents your raft throughout the app, on the Rafts section of the app for all members, on the Explore section of the app, in Search, and on other people’s profiles
  • You can add or edit it any time via the raft’s settings.

Membership:

  • Join requests:
    • If your raft’s privacy is set to private and “by request”, you will see incoming requests from people who would like to join your raft in the raft’s settings
    • You can accept or delete each request
  • Member management:
    • Everyone who joins a raft is a member
    • The person who creates a raft is its leader and may also have co-leaders and curators – all known as its raft admin
    • In a raft’s Member Management settings you can release members (to evict them from the raft), promote people into raft admin roles, or demote people out of admin roles

Name:

  • The name of your raft is set when you create it
  • Raft names are required to be 25 characters or less
  • Updating the name of your raft will not update its permanent URL (for example: www. raftr .com/ raft/ 5925ead3e76dc95d60bd7725 – though this link intentionally does not work) which is where the raft is found on the web and how the app is shared
  • For user-curated rafts, raft names may not be duplicated; if you attempt to create a raft with the name of one that already exists, you will be prompted to choose a new name (or you can search for the raft by that name to join it)
    • A raft’s name can be changed at any time via the raft’s settings

Privacy:

  • By default, a raft’s privacy is set to public
  • This can be updated any time through the raft’s settings
  • We have a separate blog which can tell you more about privacy settings

Rules:

  • A raft’s rules are the guidelines its members should follow
  • These rules show up on the info page for your raft (which people see when they tap/ click the “i” button in the upper right of your raft’s screen)
  • You can add or edit your raft’s rules via the raft’s settings at any time

Tagline:

  • A raft’s tagline is a short and sweet description of the raft (up to 50 characters), which is required when you create the raft
  • The tagline shows up on the front page of your raft
  • You can add or edit your raft’s tagline via the raft’s settings at any time

Welcome Message:

  • When someone joins a raft, they will be greeted with the raft’s welcome message
  • A welcome message can be up to 550 characters
  • You can add or edit your raft’s welcome message via the raft’s settings at any time