Fighting for freerecyling

Dear Richard

First of all can I offer my heartiest congratulations. I am sure what you did took some guts, possibly out of some serious frustration. But you got there. You found a better way.

As chief architect over the last year or so you have put your heart and soul into the new freecycle website. You have understood the specification pretty well, you have done exactly what was asked of you, and much more. And until now the website looked like it was going to be a runner. Just one small problem remained – YahooGroups.

You realised that YahooGroups was never going to change its mind about TFN’s finder no matter how many times Deron went and had his little chats. I realise that sending an unsubscription email for finder to all TFN’s remaining groups was a chore to check and double check the program technically. But a bigger challenge must have been to write your comments into the Australian modsquad. Gosh a modsquad with teeth, now there’s a thing.

And so as YahooGroups refined its Terms and Conditions to indicate that finder was possibly ok, you realised that in fact it would never be ok. In your heart you knew that what TFN wanted from finder simply was not going to be delivered with a YahooGroups solution for TFN. TFN needs a finder that would scrape information from members’ posts on their groups and make that available on a central website. Watering that down just is not a runner.

YahooGroups now was clearly putting a line down that finder could run, but, and this is a big but, providing every new and existing member signed up to it. And you realised that getting every new member signed up to YahooGroups was a big enough chore for some people, to add the finder restriction on to that was going to be impossible….

Just imagine getting 15,000 written assents from just one large group. Just imaging trying to keep a record of, how many is it 3.5 million members wishes that finder is, or is not acceptable to them. Each member to be treated according to their personal wishes. As your post indicates, that is a BIG ask.

You must be so sad. I feel, as a fellow techie, desperately for you. In your finest hour you have been cheated. Your flagship project is now in danger of slipping away.

But in this hour of what must really be some distress I must say that I am so very jealous. You have the very distinct honour (perhaps one you did not seek) of being the first person to use a TFN organisation group to talk straight and open. No fluff. You were asked a question and you answered it straight from the heart, openly and honestly on behalf of TFN. And that does you immense credit.

Thank you.

PS.  Since I wrote the above I have been informed that Richard is not in fact a member of the OZ modsquad.  Therefore he could not have in fact posted onto that group.  I am chasing down what actually happened, and where Richard posted.  If anyone can quickly help illuminate then please feel free to comment.


August 25, 2007 - Posted by | finder, freecycle, yahoogroups


  1. Other people have spoken openly and honestly before, Andy. The usual reaction by the moderators of OIDG/MS is for them to be moderated, gagged, stalked, and eventually thrown out of TFN.

    The fact that Richard uses the post to place sole blame at Yahoo’s feet (for not changing their TOS to suit Deron) and not the man who lied to him about it for over a year.

    The truculent foot stamping (if you won’t play my way, I’m taking my ball and going home!) shows the extent that Deron’s personality has overshadowed Richard to the point that Deron is completely removed from any distribution of responsibility for this fiasco that we saw coming a mile away.

    In fact, I don’t see anyone taking any responsibility at all, but rather a “well, shucks, this didn’t work the way I wanted it to, oh, and btw if you decide you want to stay on YahooGroups, you can’t play ball with us, either.”

    Yahoo isn’t to blame for this. Yahoo has never changed it’s TOS, Yahoo was never asked to change it’s TOS, Yahoo was never informed of the extent that Finder would be used for (total and complete harvesting of posts, personal information, and email addresses, in effect becoming a field for TFN to mine at will), and Deron never thought far enough ahead to just sit down and READ what is written very clearly by Yahoo.

    Deron was brought up short, and shown just how “important” to Yahoo he really is, and that he can’t go off and break the TOS just because he’s Deron Beal. He got a bucketful of reality poured on his head, and now he is whinging to Richard about it, and this is how Richard “fixes” it.

    This reflects so much the dynamics of a marriage it’s scary.

    Comment by Jamey | August 25, 2007 | Reply

  2. “But a bigger challenge must have been to write your comments into the Australian modsquad.” Are you sure ? I know someone on that ModSquad and there doesn’t seem to be a Richard post there at all … unless it’s already been removed. Do you have a message number ?

    Comment by Chris M | August 25, 2007 | Reply

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