Fighting for freerecyling

His Master’s Voice has spoken

At Cbc Marketplace in February, 2005 Beal agreed that Freecycle can only survive if it keeps its grassroots appeal:

“So there’s no doubt that this is and will remain a grassroots movement, or it’ll just disintegrate.”

Well Mr Beal, much as you wanted to see this movement flourish what you have helped create is at risk. You may think that you are on a mission, but unless you carry that grassroots with you then you’re prophetic words may become real. To carry grassroots with you you need their support: and that means that alienating them is not your first priority. Any organisation needs some form of discipline, but what goes on in the name of TFN is bullying, pure bullying.

And in case any of my dear readers think that what I am doing is bullying back, I am considering my options. This blog has been very widely read, and I thank you all for your patience. The only thing that matters is whether TFN can disassociate itself forever from being the pure bully that it is. The Freecycle Network is a bully because:

  1. It uses excessive force to ensure that its point of view are won
  2. It uses coercive techniques to fulfil these goals
  3. It denies the rights of free speech, especially the right of reply
  4. All this is done to harm people who simply want to run their freecycling groups well

I present to you “The decline and fall of the keen moderator”:

  1. Ignorant bliss. Especially newbie moderators just love the concept of freecycling and want to do more of the same.
  2. The awakening. Moderators who try to be better mods by researching suddenly find out that all is not well. “What, hey, what’s all this rumpus about?”
  3. Disbelief. “I simply don’t believe it!” and make a clear decision to ignore all the hullabaloo, keep their heads down and keep totally quiet.
  4. The question. But some make the mistake of asking a question on OIDG perhaps. Perhaps a simple question.
  5. The Mark. If that question is about anything other than moderating then you are a marked man/woman. Your group is marked.
  6. Expulsion. And then having been marked you and your group are on that rocky road to delisting and astroturf.
  7. C&D. The final stage of disillusion arrives on your doorstep.
  8. And then you write a blog. (Actually I started writing this blog between stages 5 and 6.)

Right now in TFN it is “heads down”, nothing matters except the new website. When that arrives there will be bliss in the world. Well, Mr Beal, you’re organisation has lost the support of its grassroots, because you kicked it out.

I am confident I could go on writing this blog ad-nauseum. But then I might be construed as a bully. All I have ever wanted to do in this blog is bring this sorry story to the public’s attention.

I was intending to blog about the origins of on-line gifting economy which pre-dates TFN by 6 years. Yes, Deron may have sent out that email in 2003, but in 1997 the Twin Cities Free Market was up and running well before. That is six years earlier!

I have exercised my right of free speech. I know that right now C&D letters are winging their way out to new keen moderators who simply asked a question. That, according to the Cease and Desist letter I posted is Gwendolyn’s job and she uses it with a vengeance.

And so I am closing this blog, right now. If this movement is to survive then there has to be a better way. Mr Beal clearly is not interested in this blog. The non-TFN freecycling movement is fractured. TFN moderators everywhere are keeping silent. And there is always the new website to look forward to.

For me, I shall work hard on defining a new future, a truly grassroots freecycling movement. One where all cease and desist letters have been burnt. One where new and fresh ideas are welcomed. Critics of critics of TFN say if TFN is so bad then just distance yourself from it. Well the one gift that Deron Beal has given is the name – freecycle. And that is truly brilliant, that was one gift of that time.

And so that is my last post and I shall miss this missive. (I know it is tacky but if you want to hear the last post click here.)


July 13, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle, goa, OIDG


  1. Andy…

    I truly hope that you do not discontinue your blog. At this point in time, we are all involved in the development and evolution of your ‘Freecycle’ Group and it’s future.

    It really is a sad day when a person makes a gift of something, and then demands it’s return claiming it was never your’s to keep. Freecycle, or whatever name is used has been practiced since the days of ‘hand-me-downs’ and will continue as long as people suffer from restricted finances. It is certainly not a new philosophy, and it will continue long after Deron Beal and The Freecycle Network has disappeared.


    Comment by Carol-Ann | July 13, 2007 | Reply

  2. Please do not close your blog! It is informative and needs to remain active.

    Comment by Alexa | July 14, 2007 | Reply

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