Fighting for freerecyling

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


  1. The parent-child analogy is not correct except for the rare case of an adult being adopted by mutual consent with the adoptive paent(s).

    Groups ceated by TFN are not children as muh as they are manufactured items that can be used only by, or with the consent of, TFN.

    Ford doesn’t allow its franchisees sell Crown Victorias for a song, and neither does TFN allow its affiliated groups to refuse to follow its established rules, even if enforcement seems selective and inapplicable to the parent corporation.

    Comment by EDWARD SCHWARZMANN | July 20, 2007 | Reply

  2. To be strictly correct, TFN does not want to allow this. Whether it is successful in that is a matter between three parties – TFN, YahooGroups and the group, oh and perhaps a fourth some court or other.

    The Ford analogy is totally inappropriate. Ford, excuse me if I am wrong has a very formal well-thoughtout agreement between it and its franchisees. Please show me an example of this between ANY group and TFN, including Deron Beal’s home group.

    Comment by andyswarbs | July 20, 2007 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: