New minimum 50 words when applying rule

First I’ve heard of this - thanks for sharing! I’ve been a sitter on here for 8 years and it’s been a great experience. But, lately these changes that THS are making gives me the feeling that they’re trying to fix things that aren’t broken to perhaps prove their worth to us members in making tech changes. Instead, focus should be on what should be improved that us sitters and homeowners really would like to see fixed such as the onerous and absolutely useless calendar which if fixed, would be worth it’s weight in gold for all of us!


Hi! Quick question … when new changes to THS are created where do THs let members know? I’ve only found out by chance in recent months about the 5 application rule, & today reading about the 50 word application for example.

We have been with THS since 2010 but had a break, we used to get emails with changes, now it feels like Chinese whispers!

Thank you in advance!:grin:


It is really not that hard to type 50 characters.
And to illustrate my point that top line is 50 characters.
Having a minimum character limit is good practice as it stops people from accidentally hitting the wrong thing and submitting a blank form.
It’s not an attempt to block bots (at least I seriously hope it isn’t) as bots are quite capable of “typing” when filling out forms.


Short answer @Trishpf is that they mostly don’t. They just introduce them and then you find out :flushed: Occasionally there’s a footnote in the email newsletter on a tech change. #needacommslesson


Hi @Trishpf

I double-checked with the team and they confirmed that the 50-word application change was mentioned in the Trusted Times in April and May, that’s the best place to find advance notice of any updates. There was also a prompt on the inbox last week for those actively using it.

With regards to the five application rule, that was before my time, but there’s a discussion post here where we set out the timeline of how we notified users about the update. The changes were mentioned in a blog posting, on the Forum, and via an email update.

I recommend updating your marketing options to allow emails from THS, as the Trusted Times and the blog should usually mention any upcoming changes. We also try to give some warnings here on the Forum whenever we have the chance.



Hi Jenny

Thank you for your prompt reply, much appreciated, and the information.

I do have all notifications on in THS for Notification Emails, it doesn’t mention Marketing specifically, is this the notification you’re referring to please?

I mustn’t have read the Trusted Times if I received it in April & May as I don’t recall it. Would it be possible to email them through again so I can read about the 50 word application please? I’m not concerned about that but I’d like to read the information.

I don’t agree with the 5 application rule as number 6 or 7 or 10th applicant might be the best sitter for the Homeowner! However, the main reason I don’t agree is what other’s have said, you have to be constantly looking. There should be more leeway and it should be up to the homeowner to stop the applications when they have enough to sift through, not a computer.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards


Personal details edited for privacy reasons as per the posting terms :slight_smile:


Good question. I did wonder about that myself, the first time it came up for me. I ticked the decline box and then wrote a small message as I wasn’t available.
As @RadarInc said, just tick the accept box. You could follow up with a brief message.
Changes don’t always make sense.

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Hi Carla,

I’ve no problem with the 50 word/ character rule, I’d find it odd not to apply or be offered a sit without a message and this level of communication. I was interested in when it was introduced (I know why now) as I missed the updates … seems like I wasn’t reading the news emails!:wink:

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May it is possible for the HO to have a box to tick if they appreciate the minimum of 50 characters if they want it besides the information in the profile and the reviews. We all are different and I respect that, also that not everyone needs or want it. Thank your for explaining btw!

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Love your answer. These days I treat ‘the-computer-says-no-situation’ as a test :grinning: It feels like winning a big prize, when I find the secret juice to work around. Nice meeting like minded people on this forum :joy:

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@EmilyDickinson Thank you, you are so welcome :slight_smile:

After lots of feedback from members, the team agreed that members should not be able to send applications or invites that are blank as it is not a great user experience, so I am not sure they would create a tick box for members to be able to opt in and out of having to write or receive a message (50 characters) but I am happy to put it to them as an idea - you never know! :smiling_face:

Please No @Carla , do not send the idea from @EmilyDickinson to the Product team.

I have been banging on about this for years. The last thing we need now is for it to revert to the blank messages that cause so many problems


Even 50 characters is nothing. I recently had a sitter say “I’m available” with a greeting and closing. She did have a nice profile, but I selected someone who obviously read my listing.


@Carla - I don’t have an issue with the minimum 50 characters and think it is a good idea.
What I would find very helpful is being able to see the whole message without having to scroll up and down to read it.


Hello, @Itchyfeet Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Please don’t worry the team will not revert messages to being blank, as mentioned I would pass the opt-in and out idea along, but it is unlikely that the idea will be implemented as the Product team knows the importance of all members having messages with applications & invites. We pass all feedback along to make sure everyone is heard. Thank you for championing the change before it was made to make sure invites & applications have to contain a message.

@Twitcher I’ve passed on the feedback about the size of the message field. If they let me know of any changes I will post it here for you. Thank you!

If there were complaints that people were sending applications with no introductions then the simplest way to deal with that is just reject and open the field to those of us who write more. However this just causes annoyances for repeat pet sits and other situations as people Have pointed out here, as one person said a solution in search of a problem indeed.

I arranged a repeat sit while testing the new inbox with the 50 character minimum and it had no impact at all. Something as simple as…

Hi Sarah, We’d love to sit for Billy again in August!

…is over 50 characters including spaces.

I can’t imagine writing less than that to someone we consider a friend and have already sat for!


Hi @Jenny. This 50-character-count requirement doesn’t bother me. However, I just re-read my May Trusted Times and didn’t see any mention of it. From what I’ve understood in the past, not all sitters receive the same version of this monthly update. Perhaps not all members are being equally updated on changes. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Hi @Snowbird … I hope you are keeping well.
As Jenny is away at the moment, I will tag @Carla


Hello, @Snowbird I am happy to help where I can. On the forum and in the blog (which was linked in the TrustedTimes) it was announced before the launch that applications and invites will no longer be able to be sent without messages. It did not specifically say that you would need to enter 50 characters to achieve that, but I am happy to share that feedback with the team for future updates :smiling_face:

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