Fighting for freerecyling

Tip No 4: Pesky Public Postings

For a while now I have had a number of alerts running through Google for words like “freecycle” with the aim of helping me keep abreast of the industry. One alert that has arrived in my inbox that has caused me to write individually to the owners of various free recycling groups that I do not belong to. Having done a few of these I now wish to share with you what I have been doing and perhaps it may help another moderator improve life for their membership.

What triggered me to do this was in fact the finder fiasco in which this blog has played its small part in revealing and correcting. Finder, as regular readers will remember was regularly taking all the details of all members posts in a private yahoo group and collating that information inside TFN’s databases. This gave the potential to reveal some or all of that information to the TFN website, which would be in conflict with Yahoo’s terms and conditions. TFN have now done the honourable thing and revoked finder – forever. And all I can say to that is – well done to TFN for seeing sense and acting sensibly.

Now back to my tip. What I realised is that TFN were not the only source that was, and is breaching Yahoo’s terms and conditions. It seems that some members are joining groups and privately reposting daily digests, or parts thereof onto websites such as blogs. One persistent and repeat offender is Games-9, running on This blog regularly provides daily digest information from the windsor-maidenhead-freecycle group. One effective way to ensure any such blog is stopped is to at least ask the poster to stop posting. Sometimes blogs are done anonymously so a moderator might have difficulty knowing who is actually behind the offence, and therefore hampered from solving the problem.

One further aid is possible with all blogs and that is to complain to the blog company. They may not act, but at least they have the opportunity of investigating the problem on your behalf. With marking a blog as having a problem is relatively easy since at the top of each blog page is a “flag” button which you can click and this immediately raises the blog as having questionable content.

Finally you could notify Yahoo. They have an interest in protecting the data of their members and may, just may be interested enough to speak to the problem.

So in summary:

  • Run a news alert such as Google Alerts with a keyword like “freecycle”, ensuring this includes blogs.
  • If an alert arrives indicating that your daily digests are being reposted then
  • Chase down the poster and at least ask them to stop. Possibly ban then from being a member.
  • Also perhaps complain to Yahoo and/or the blog company.

Good luck!


September 3, 2007 - Posted by | finder, freecycle, google, yahoogroups

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