Fighting for freerecyling

Free reorganisation

One thing this blog has blogged about is AstroTurfing, another is delisting.  What these are all part of is a concept of group reorganisation through top-down control.  This is a key example of where TFN has got it wrong.

Let me try to explain the problem in context of my home county – Oxfordshire.  The epicentre of Oxon (another name for Oxfordshire) free recycling simply has to be the excellent OxfordFreecycle group.  As one of the largest groups, globally at approaching 15,000 members this is not a group to join for the faint-hearted.  But if you want an item then every day 100’s of items are posted and if you are quick…

OxfordFreecycle ostensibly serves the city of Oxford.  But in fact a lot of members come from the surrounding towns and villages in the county and I am sure a lesser number of other members are from outside the county.  To help alleviate the pressure on OxfordFreecycle a number of other groups formed and are growing.  These include my own CherwellValleyFreecycle also one that covers Witney, Bicester and possibly another 10 TFN groups.  And I am sure if you or I look then there will be non-TFN groups covering the same or similar geographic zones.

These groups and their memberships overlap.  I, for example, belong to nearly all of Oxfordshire’s groups.   Similarly I am sure that most members who live outside the City’s boundary will similarly belong to at least one other relevant group. It may also be worth noting that non-city groups also overlap geographically.

Members understand quickly which groups suit them.  Which groups grow, grow fast depends on how well they are managed and whether the membership identifies with the group.

All of this works nicely.  If another group appears it is not a particular problem for anyone.  It certainly does not need any outside (Oxfordshire) influence, an “independent arbitrator” to decide which groups stay or go.  It does not need some outside “expert” to say that a particular group needs splitting or astroturfing or delisting.

In my opinion the best model is the free-market model.  The good groups will succeed and bad ones will go to the wall.  And good and bad here is defined purely by the membership.   If the members like what they see they will stay and post more offers.  If they don’t like what they see they will leave.

The reason for this post is that TFN does not agree with my approach.  It thinks it can control the future and so it embarks of a mission of designer groups.  Well I do not like being designed, and I guess a lot of other “everyman” members will take a similar approach and prefer a free reorganisation model.

And, so TFN and all other free recycling groups such as free sharing and resuseit and whoever – be very wary of trying to implement a top-down approach – it just ain’t grassroots thinking.


August 20, 2007 - Posted by | astroturf

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