We have added an exciting new feature to the CES site. It is called Groups.

Groups is a multi-functional feature but its prime purpose is to provide social networking facilities to enhance the community aspect of the Community Exchange System.

To access Groups on the site, log in to your account and click on the new [Groups] button at the top. This will take you to a new section of the site where you can join, create and manage groups, and participate in group activities.

What are groups?

A group is any number of CES users brought together for any collective purpose. This can be anything such as an online discussion group, a number of users who get together to form a real-life club or association, a company or organisation that wants to manage its employees or members, and you can even create your own private list of traders or friends.

Groups can be local in that all members of the group are from your own exchange, or global in that members can be from any exchange anywhere. A global group can also be set up for users in one country, a locality or even in one organisation or company where members have accounts in different exchanges.

Examples of local groups would be real life sports and social clubs, single-parents' support groups, online political discussion groups; examples of global groups would be collectives of open-source software developers, professional information-sharing groups, and discussion forums on global issues.

Group Access

There are five types of group access:

How it Works

You can join an already-existing group or create a new group. When you create a new group you become the group owner and this gives you access to a management console with a range of tools for managing the group, including the ability to create a new trading account for the group or to link it to an already-existing account. This allows the group to be a trading entity and, for example, collect membership fees and/or 'pay' its members for services rendered.

Joining a group

To view already-existing groups, click on the [Groups] button at the top. This takes you to the 'Groups Home Page' where the groups are listed. The list is divided into two vertical columns and each column into two sections, with local groups at the top and global groups at the bottom.

On the left are listed the groups that have recently been created by other CES users; on the right are listed the groups that you have joined, if any. If you have created any groups they will appear on the right rather than the left as you are the group owner and thus automatically a member.

Only the latest groups appear on the left. To view older groups there is a drop-down list of group categories, or you can type in a keyword to search for groups that might interest you.

To join a group simply click on 'Join group' under the Action options for the group. The steps required to join will depend on the type of group that it is. Open groups can be joined immediately while Closed and Invitation-Only groups require approval by the group owner. You will be informed of the steps you need to take in order to join.

For Closed, Invitation-Only and Hidden groups you will most probably receive an invitation by email from the group owner. From this email you will be able to log into your account directly and join the group. The group owner might invite you directly and make you a member of a group without sending an invitation. When you are made a member you will be sent an email informing you of this. If you do not want to be a member you can log into your account and leave the group by clicking on 'Leave group' under the the group's Action options.

Create a group

To create a new group click on the [Create a New Group] button. The form that appears requires that you provide certain information about the type of group you want to create.

Decide if it will be a local or global group. Global groups are more likely to be virtual as it is difficult for members to meet face-to-face if they are living far apart. However a global group could be confined to users of two or more adjacent exchanges and as such it could be a real group with members who do meet from time to time.

Depending on the type of group, decide if it will be Open, Closed, Invitation-Only, Hidden or Private. Most groups will be Open but there are instances where Closed, Invitation-Only and Hidden groups are more appropriate. Private groups are for your personal use only. The 'members' are purely for your own reference and do not become involved in the group in any way.

You are also required to provide your contact details as the group owner, and decide if you want to create a new trading account for the group or link it to an existing account. You can decide if you want members to be allowed to send emails to the entire group; if you want to have a discussion forum and if you want to have a notice board. Upload a logo or photo for the group so that it stands out in the list, otherwise a default image will be used.

You would only create a new trading account for the group or link it to an existing account if the group will be trading as an entity (that is, selling something to and/or being sold something by its members). A group set up as a club might require its members to 'pay' membership fees. In this case the group itself becomes a trading entity and fees will be paid to the group account. A group set up for a company or organisation might want to 'pay' its members for services that they provide to the company or organisation. In this instance the group would require a trading account (usually linked to the company's or organisation's account) so that it can 'pay' its members or staff.

If the group is just a discussion forum then there is no need for a trading account. Please exercise restraint in creating new trading accounts.

Apart from scope (local/global), all parameters selected or entered at creation time can be changed later. If you want a local group to become global, or vice versa, you will need to close the group down and recreate it with a different scope. Access (Open, Closed etc.) can be changed at any time, as well as everything else.

Note: Please do not create a group to promote your products or services. The Offerings List is the place for that. Please also avoid creating frivolous groups that serve no collective purpose. Your Administrator reserves the right to remove groups that are irrelevant in the CES context and counter to the ethos of the CES.

Discussion Forum

If the group owner decides to allow a Discussion Forum, it will appear on the left hand side of the group page. If you are not a member you can read discussions but not participate in them. As a member you can start a new topic or click on a topic heading to read and respond to contributions under the heading. You can respond to the writer or the topic. In the former case an email will go to the contributor and in the latter case your response will appear in the forum.

Notice Board

The Notice Board is similar to the Discussion Forum except that contributions are not grouped under topic headings. When you make a contribution it appears immediately on the Board. You can respond to another member's posting by writing to the member or on the Notice Board.


The range of Actions available to group members varies according to the scope of the group. Local groups have the following action options:

For global groups the Action options are reduced because members come from different exchanges and it is not possible to view offerings, wants, balances and trading information in one unified group list:

Group owners see none of the above Action options; instead they see a single Action option: Manage group. This opens the group management console where all the above options are available from the console. For details of how the console works see the relevant help pages on the site.

Kinds of Groups to create

The new Groups feature can be used to create a variety of different kinds of groups. These can be virtual (online) or real groups. Real groups will usually be local groups but local groups can also be virtual. Global groups will more likely be virtual because the members will most probably find it difficult to meet face-to-face, but it is possible for global groups to be real if the members are from different exchanges in the same country or adjacent areas.

Virtual Groups

A virtual group is an online group. That is, it only exists on the web site and members do not interact at a face-to-face level. These could be public or private groups.

Examples of virtual groups are:

The tools provided for virtual groups are the notice Board, the discussion forum and the group email facilities. The latter provides the ability for members to email all other members. Members are able to reply to group emails through the group email facilities on the site.

The notice board, discussion forum and group email facilities are not required for private groups and so do not function for these groups.

Community Groups

You can use Groups to create and manage any kind of real-life community group consisting of users of your exchange. The following are some ideas for groups that could be set up. The categories are those from the site but if find that there is not a category for the kind of group you want to start, please send a suggestion for a new category to


This is not a category found on the site but is included here just to give some idea of the kind of groups that can be created:

Advice & Education Groups

Animals & Pets

Assistance & Support Groups

Business & Finance Groups

Common Interest

Community Groups

Companionship Groups

Computer & IT Groups

Cultural & Regional Groups

Entertainment Groups

Environmental Groups

Hobby & Crafts Groups

Home & Garden

Ideological & Spiritual Groups 

Mind & Body Groups


Professional Groups

Protest Groups

Spirituality & Belief Groups

Sport & Recreation Groups

Student Groups

CES Groups

Groups can be set up to enhance the activities of exchanges. These would mostly be set up by administrators but users could set up their own groups. Some examples are:

Appeal to Users

We have just launched our new Groups feature. We are not sure which direction it will take but we are hoping that it will help to enhance the community aspect of exchange groups, which is what we are all about.

We don't claim that it is perfect and expect there to be problems in its current implementation. We would like you to help us make it better so that it will do what is required to strengthen our exchanges. If you have any suggestions or recommendations about how to make it better, or would like to report a bug or problem, please write to