I’m back having travelled 3,500 miles, many of which have been up and down extremely hair-raising-pins of Spain’s Catalonya and France’s Central Massif and “D”road system. It included marvelling at the beautiful Millau Viaduct and being abhorred at the commercialised Andorra with its excessive of police presence.
More of this perhaps later, but in the meantime more important matters are in play. It seems that while I have been away swimming, walking and sunning myself much has been happening and I am going to have trouble playing catch up. A massive 1,500 emails on the subject of free recycling in my inbox means I have my work cut out just seeing what happened in the meantime. I am going to have to work backwards, and needs must I am going to miss out on a lot.
To those that have emailed me and I incorrectly deal with their emails while playing catch-up, my profound apologies. To others I am also going to probably read emails out of sync. But as Oscar Wilde could have said had he been alive and kicking, “if there’s one thing worse than coming back from holiday and being saturated with emails, it is coming back from holiday and having none.”
With that let’s kick off with the sad, sad excesses of ErsatzFriend. It appears that abusing ErsatzFriend knows no bounds. Right now TFN instead of cleaning its act up and realising the writing is on the wall for its poor policies and procedures are now using ErsatzFriend to manipulate polls in groups where owners and moderators are taking brave steps in asking their membership whether to stay in the TFN fold or not.
I mean what clearer message can their be that TFN is totally corrupt than extending the abuse of ErsatzFriend to distort voting patterns. Come on Deron, WAKE UP to the 21st Century. We are no longer in the Dark Ages where you can manipulate the world to be the way you want it simply because you want it that way. Neither can I, neither can anyone. And anyone trying will be found out.
If you want the evidence of manipulation then check out this photo in the OFFICIAL International Freecycle Modsquad (membership required).
Yes at the same time surely IFMS should drop the UN. As it says on its home page “It’s not a fluff chat group to pass on grandmas knitting patterns.” The IFMS is one of the two definitive debating forums for thinking about the future of free recycling. Be part of that debate – and do not be manipulated.
Let me say that I absolutely want TFN to have a future. They are, right now the epicentre of free recycling. But if what I have just heard is correct then that epicentre could move, and very rapidly.
I was one of absolutely so many people since OIDG started who wanted, nay needed to ask questions. As owners and moderators we felt we had a right to ask. In each instance we were told we were the “enemy”, this is totally something of TFN’s own invention. They drew the line unilaterally implying you are “either with us, or against us.” And thus they have spread their own fear, uncertainty and doubt.
If you want a clear timeline of events a very good indicator can be had by looking at the number of posts on groups such as Fcnext and IFMS, but particularly the FCnext.
This message history is the number of message posts on Yahoo Group FCNEXT, by month since the group was started by Tim Oey. If shows an increasing number of posts over time with peaks at around September 2006, January 2007 and the largest one right now, June and July 2007. These dates correspond to TFN delisting and AstroTurfing groups en masse. These dates correspond not only to the departure of groups but also to the iMod, NGA and GOA disaffection and for some departure.
My departure was (as far as I know) a reasonably solitary affair and what catapulted was the, again unilateral way the powers that be in TFN decided that they would present an opinion on Climate Change. This was so clearly a instance of do as we say, not as we do as you can ever imagine. The guidelines for freecycle clearly state no politics and here were the controlling interests going directly against many, many moderators and making a politically motivated official statement.
What my own solitary departure gave me was a possibly unique perspective on moderator and group departures. You see I have only been a member who freecycled for around a year, and was only recently elevated to moderator. This meant that I neither had any baggage of history around me (something that the unmoderated groups have plenty of – and I just LOVE that passion), nor any real concern with managing the day to day issues including very deep soul-searching that many group owners have when they think, “right I have had enough and so now I am going to leave TFN and take my group with me, if they want that.”
I had it easy. And that “outsiders” view led me to believe that hiding the profound discussion and passionate debate behind the closed doors of a Yahoo Group was simply not the approach that I would take. My core issue was around Free Speech and that was why I started this blog.
I am now hearing, second hand details of what is going on in OIDG, at last. At last people are beginning to be able to ask serious questions. They are now beginning to ask questions that are nothing to do with fluff, nothing to do with mundane subjects such as “too many wanted posts”.
What is being asked are questions like
- Approximate numbers of member groups which have left tfn to join ReUseIt or to be independent (presumably since the mutiny).
- How many complaining emails from individual members has Deron received (about groups leaving tfn)?
- The result of a simple formula – total membership of “lost” groups divided by the number of complaining emails – to give a percentage of consequently unhappy individuals, on the basis that most members are more concerned about their groups functioning at a local level than anything else.
- Does Deron realise how much recent events have created a lot of distrust?
- Does Deron feel that his hub has always acted fairly?
- What has happened when they’ve got it wrong? Do they put things right asap and apologise?
- Is tfn as transparent as it could be?
- Is the hub acting as a team? Or are the individuals concerned creating situations without talking it through with the team?
- Is Deron aware of Founder’s Syndrome and does he recognise the pitfalls?
These are brilliant questions in my mind, and whoever has allowed these posts has done TFN one of the biggest favours ever possible. Deron the time is now for some absolutely straight answers and some clear direction leading to TOTAL openness of TFN. Anything less is a joke but the ending will not be very comic.