What is a custom swap?
A custom swap is in essence a themed custom trade between individuals in a group instead of between two individuals! Each participant is normally only responsible for creating one pony, and receives only one in trade unless otherwise is specified by the creator of the swap.
Swaps are usually announced with a specific theme, and customizers interested in that theme may "sign up" to participate in the swap thread. As a participant in a swap you will be required to make a custom according to the theme and possibly also according to requests or wishes made by the receiving swapper. The person organizing the swap will then assign each swapper a "swap partner" to make a custom for. Usually the identity of your swapper is kept secret until the very end. The person making your custom may or may not be the same person for whom you are making one.
A deadline is set for creation and shipping of the custom. In the end, each person who signed up for the swap has both created a custom for another member and received a custom made especially for them.
Arena Rules for Custom Swaps
Although the theme and most rules for each swap will be determined by the swap organizer, the Arena does have a few simple rules.
Rules for Swap Organizers
Your written swap needs to be sent to an Arena Customs Mod before being posted in the Custom Forum. Please feel free to start a thread to gauge interest but you must PM a moderator before officially starting a swap.
To run a swap, you must be at least 16 years old, in accordance with our trading rules.
As the organizer, you should determine if a swap participant is involved in too many other swaps to join yours. You shouldn't feel pressured to take just anyone who asks. Set sensible guidelines to follow and then follow them.
All swap organizers should include a list of participants in the original post of your swap thread. This will make it easier for others to see who is involved in your swap.
Don't forget to take advantage of the "Handy Dandy Swap Listings" which has been stickied in this forum.
Handy Dandy Swap Listing
You can easily check on who is participating in each swap.
Once your swap has assigned partners you must PM a mod with your list of participants and their assigned partners. It's sad but organizers have been known to go missing.
If you are pairing by skill - allow a custom mod to look over your pairings and wait for approval before PMing participants with their partners.
Please feel free to contact any of our custom mods; pop-girl
Rules for Swap Participants
No matter how many successful swaps you've been in, you need to make sure you don't over extend yourself. We suggest limiting the number of swaps you're in at one time to THREE. Three swaps take a lot of time, effort, and supplies. We really don't recommend doing that many at a time, but if you're up for it then go for it!
Be smart when it comes to selecting which swaps to join. Check the swap organizer's feedback and make sure that you're dealing with someone you can trust.
Guidelines and tips
Custom swaps are totally member-created and run. The theme and rules for each swap are composed by the swap's initiator.
Check the feedback on your participants. Feedback for Arena transactions can be viewed here
. You might also decide to accept feedback from eBay or Etsy. Enter swaps at your own risk - the Arena is not responsible for any transactions made here.
It is also the swap organizer's responsibility to check participants' ages and experience levels. (Sometimes swaps are aimed at particular skill levels, or require that the participant has previously made "X" number of customs. If you decide on this sort of rule, be sure to check up on it.)
It's a good idea to consider worst-case scenarios - do you have a plan in place if someone suddenly drops out of the swap? For example, the swap organizer might offer to make up for the missing custom(s).
There are lots of ways to assign partners! One way is to draw two names at a time and have those members make customs for each other. A more mysterious way is to secretly arrange the list of names in a random order, and have each swapper create for the person below them on the list. You would then tell each person through private message who they'll be making a custom for, but they would not find out until the end who is making their custom.
Please keep all discussion of a swap in a single thread. The original poster can update the title and first post with current information, and may bump the thread once a day if needed. As the swap customs are created, the creator (or recipient) is encouraged to create a separate thread to show off their pony.
If you aren't getting much interest in your swap, consider widening the theme and allowing more freedom of choice.
Be careful not to form expectations about the custom you will receive - you won't get to pick your customizer, and swap entrants may have different skill levels and talents. Whoever is designing your custom will put a lot of their own personal style into the pony. If you have certain preferences (such as G1, G2, or G3), you may wish to discuss these with the swap organizer, though catering to individual tastes is entirely at the organizer's discretion.
Swap entrants may leave feedback for the person who was assigned to send their custom, as in a trading situation. Only the swapper should leave feedback - not the organizer. (This ensures that a person only receives one feedback per transaction.)
Pairing by Skill --->
When pairing by skill please keep in mind that it is the responsibility of swap organizer to research each participant's work and pair accordingly. Do not allow participants to rank themselves - do your homework and use your best judgment.
Do not over extend yourselves. Not only will it cause undue stress, it is not fair to the other swap participants. I've noticed quite a few people in recent months sending swap customs very late or not sending at all. Please, if you are unable to complete a custom let your swap organizer know ASAP. Do not leave an unsuspecting member to wonder if they will be recieving a pony.
Do not forget to leave feedback. The feedback system is very important but only works if you use it. Custom swaps are like any other transaction and deserve appropriate feedback.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.
Reminder about Hosting/Joining a swap