Fighting for freerecyling

I am amazed

Freesharing now has 777 groups affiliated to it. Well done!

July 20, 2007 Posted by | freeshare | Leave a comment

One interesting measure of “popularity” of a blog

One interesting measure of “popularity” of a blog is whether and by how much it attracts spam.  So thank you all those spammers that are now hitting this blog.  Fortunately akismet is doing a fine job.

July 20, 2007 Posted by | freecycle | Leave a comment

It would appear that…

“It would appear that the “Interim Moderation Mutiny” people set this up. Guess they are true to their mutiny wishes… :-)”, says Deron Beal on OIDG. Well Mr Beal you could not be more wrong and I can prove it.

July 20, 2007 Posted by | freecycle, OIDG | Leave a comment

I am not a number…

“They can change the *name* of the group but it will not change the URL for the group which includes the name freecycle.”  Actually that is not true.  A group’s owner can change the link name in yahoo groups as well as the title.

July 20, 2007 Posted by | yahoogroups | 1 Comment

I am sorry

I really should at least report how many members are rethinking their affiliation. Just in, 13,000 members. I will try to keep you better informed in future. (PS I do not disclose further details to help ensure groups survive what may be a sensitive time.)

If anyone wants to help me play catch up over the last few days… please email or call me on skype.

July 20, 2007 Posted by | freecycle, skype | Leave a comment

Another one bites the dust

I won’t bother to reproduce this here since it is publicly available. Suffice it to say that there are problems, and there are problems. And this one touched me.

July 20, 2007 Posted by | fcnext, freecycle | Leave a comment

The time is nigh

Word is out that TFN are set to launch their new website in a week’s time, I think a week on Sunday. So I think decision time is absolutely imminent for many groups.

I would say watch this space for breaking news but I will be on myself on holiday.  Yep, an early warning – this blog will close down next week for a couple of weeks starting after the weekend.  Until then I will do what I can to keep you up to date.

July 20, 2007 Posted by | freecycle | Leave a comment

You Simply Cannot Be Serious!

According to The Freecycle Network you cannot freecycle. It is simply not allowed. To freecycle would mean actually removing items from landfill of course and that is surely what we are about. But that is not what The Freecycle Network is about. For them freecycling is and anyone who freecycles is banned.

Yes, it is official, according to their trademark compliance page, anyone that freecycles is simply not trademark compliant. According to that page the ONLY way to use freecycle is either as a noun referring to the company OR as an adjective. That is it.

So, for example, anyone who uses it as a verb is not trademark compliant. And you can be sure of receiving a Cease and Desist email or letter within the next 24 hours. So, owners and moderators I would strongly advise you to admonish your members to stop freecycling now. And tell them that if they freecycle then they will be excommunicated.

You will note that even Deron Beal’s home group in Tuzon, AZ has a problem with this. At the beginning of his second paragraph he really wants to use the word freecycle, but cannot so has to use the incorrect word “recycle”. (We are not about recycling. Freecycling is something totally different, and Deron you really ought to know that by now!)

So if you are into freecycling and actually freecycle something then STOP IT NOW, otherwise you will be taken to the court. Anyone for a game of tennis?

July 20, 2007 Posted by | cease and desist, freecycle, humour, trademark | 3 Comments

What does it mean to affiliate?

Please tell me I am wrong, but many freecycling groups can get on with doing what they do without any external support for many years. They can promote their group locally, recruit new members, find new moderators from their ranks and they can moderate posts. They can do almost anything – without external support. If they need support then there are a large number of freely available resources on the web (many linked on my blog) where moderators and owners can find any information they want. There are lots of other moderators and owners out there to help with specific questions.

Now affiliation is a two-way process. Affiliation is YOU the owner saying “I want to affiliate to something” and that something saying “yes, I agree to you being affiliated”. And of course either party can call off the affiliation at any time. Certainly The Freecycle Network cancels affiliation when it feels like it, often without discussion. In this blog we call this delisting.

So I ask why cannot a group equally have the right to break an affiliation? Does the group have no rights? Where is the contract with the umbrella organisation that says “thou shalt stay with us come hell or high water until we delist you?”

Now I gather that Deron Beal’s inbox is absolutely crammed full of emails from members of many groups who do not want to leave freecycle. This surprises me because I would expect that 99.9% of members across the world have never heard of Deron Beal, and certainly very few would want to email him. If anyone has emailed him and wants to disclose the email they sent and any response then I feel free to post them here as comments.

If anyone else wants to email him – then deron at the address will work, I think. And I certainly commend you to do that. Because his response is absolutely critical to whether you continue affiliate to the freecycle network or any other sharing group. It is on record that his response is one of a feeling that groups are somehow being “stolen”.

So let us analyse what steeling is going on. A group’s owner has signed terms and conditions with Yahoo. That is absolutely your only legal contract. So I am sure they would have something to say on the matter if you broke their terms and conditions. As yet I have never heard of Yahoo remotely accusing anyone of stealing. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Is anything being stolen from members? Well if one deleted the group then that would prevent them from posting items on offer, so that would be stealing, wouldn’t it? Well actually in a more politically correct words it is more about transition, smooth transition. But if you asked members whether they want transition or just to continue, then I would guess 99.9% would go with the latter.

Certainly it is very rare for group members to feel concerned about their group’s owner and moderators. In any instance where their is a concern typically the member leave the group. So, de facto, you can expect that every freecycling group on this planet is generally running very happily. Who would want to disrupt that?

You might argue that a group owes something to its affiliation. I do ask where is the contract that states that responsibility.

One metaphor that might have some relevance is the relationship between a parent and child. A parent begets a child because it feels the need to do that. However I would argue that, certainly once the child is an adult, it owes absolutely nothing to the parent. If the child wants to give anything back to the parent – then that is the child’s unilateral choice.  In a like way The Freecycle Network and similar organisations spawn groups because they want to reduce landfill. If landfill is continually being reduced then exactly what is the problem?

July 20, 2007 Posted by | freecycle | 2 Comments

Tip No 3: Yahoo’s Groups directory insights

This tip is like a how to use the Yahoo Groups directory and has three audiences:

  1. Those who want to find groups
  2. Those who run groups that don’t want to be found
  3. Those who run groups that do want to be found.

The starting point is that to find a group on YahooGroups is a fickle thing. You search for the word “freecycle” and you may not get the same results as searching for “Freecycle”. For any person who just wants to find a group, almost the best way is to use Google with any words and Yahoo groups since Google’s index seems more flexible. But assuming you want to use the Yahoo directory search facility how do you search the directory for groups.

Firstly anyone who has created a group knows that you have to place it in a category. Anything in an “adult” category will never get listed in the directory – that’s a Yahoo restriction, or at least my interpretation of it. Of course, freecycling groups are not adult only, by definition so let’s move on. Categories relevant to freecycling are anything from free stuff to recycling to geographic. Simply put categories don’t really help, they are just something a group creator has to do. However if you are wanting to find a group then browsing some categories may find what the group you are after.

So the first answer is to simply browse, but that does not get you very far necessarily because there are so many groups.

Next it is good to remember the Yahoo Groups directory is not a real-time system. That is if a group is created or modified then this may not be available to the directory for up to seven days. That’s a long time for some people, but the delay is there so we have to live with it.

Strangely if you enter the exact name of a group into the search – and the group exists, then you can find it.

Now assuming your group is listed then not only can you search for the exact name but also you can search for parts of the name. So for example you can search for words like “freeshare” and have a lot of success. You could also look for a place name, like “oxford”. And you can search for both.

The next question to ask is what exactly does the search do. Well it obviously searches the name of the group. Many groups actually do themselves a disservice by concatenating two or more words without any separator to make up a group name, such as “OxfordFreecyle” . It is much, much better to use either an underscore or an hyphen so that for example a better name would be “Oxford_Freecycle”. This latter form will be indexed much better by Yahoo and your group is much more likely to be found.

The same rule applies to the group’s title, except instead use a space between words.

And not only that the first sentence or two of the group’s description is very important. So, again repeat the name and purpose of your group in the first sentence. Here you should embellish your first two sentences particularly with any keywords that you might think people would use to find your group. So for example inserting freecycle, freeshare, reuse and regiving and any other keywords you can think of will all help.

Of course if you don’t want to be found then ignoring the above comments might help.  Also you can stop Yahoogroups from indexing you by selecting the “Not listed in Yahoo! Groups directory” option in the group’s settings.  Note this just means that your group is not listed.  Anyone who knows its name can get to you.

July 20, 2007 Posted by | freecycle, yahoogroups | 2 Comments