Fighting for freerecyling

I do not want TFN to die

In a recent posting by The Powers That Be on OIDG it was insinuated that many critics of TFN only wanted TFN to somehow die. Let me just go on record that is the last thing that I want to happen.

Before that happens I want TFN to clean up its act such that it allows and encourages criticism, albeit in the private arena of something like OIDG. Not OIDG since that has such a bad reputation, but a new one perhaps OIDG-unmoderated. Also since the temptation from TFN to stifle comment is obviously far too great, I want this to be owned (and moderated) by an independent group of people.

To help facilitate this I have created just such a group on Yahoo, called OIDG-unmoderated. I have issued one invitation to join this group – to Mr Deron Beal. No other membership will be accepted unless he signs up to this. What follows is the text on the home page for the group.

This is an unmoderated OIDG forum for freecycle moderators.
By unmoderated, I mean that any NON-ranting post is allowed providing a context continues around moderation of freecycle groups with a primary focus around The Freecycle Network.
I am looking for some moderators to run this. The requirement is that:
  • they hold no post in TFN above moderator/owner. That is all GOAs, iMod, DaHub etc cannot own or run this group. If a moderator/owner of this group is promoted to a postion in TFN then they must relinquish their post immediately.
  • similarly anyone who is a member of either fcnext or IntlFCMS cannot hold post.
  • they must be moderators or owners of existing TFN groups.
  • no two people can come from the same state in the USA, also representation from 2 other countries is required
I think a team of between three and five people are needed.
To ensure that this group is run independently I also want to ensure that ownership and moderation control is rotated. That is any one moderator or owner of this group can not hold post for more than a year.
The first person to be accepted as a member will be Deron Beal. On accepting membership he will be appointed immediately to co-owner. The invitation has been sent to him.
Both Deron and I will cease my membership when we both know this group is properly formed.

September 6, 2007 - Posted by | fcnext, freecycle, goa, intlfcms, OIDG, yahoogroups


  1. “albeit in the private arena of something”

    Why? Why can’t people talk in their own Cafe Groups without being moderated or removed? Why does any of this stuff have to go on behind closed doors?

    Comment by brendadada | September 6, 2007 | Reply

  2. It is my firm belief that, upon accepting your invitation (after allowing time for others to join), the first act that Deron will perform is to download the membership list.

    His second act will be to check the “delete group” box and thus prevent any sort of honest commentary about TFN.

    His third act, probably in conjunction with his first, will be to send the copied membership list to his “hit squad” for
    C&D notices of unspecified “copyright infringements” and to try to have Yahoo remove the members’ Yahoo IDs and those of the groups to which they belong.

    We must all remember that Deron is vindictive against those he considers to have slighted him by asking questions, even if it is only to ask what the current weather is in Tucson.

    Comment by EDWARD SCHWARZMANN | September 6, 2007 | Reply

  3. Unless he is able to get some moderator stooges onto the group as moderators and owners then he will not be able to download members lists.

    And anyway I hope that by and large the membership aligns with OIDG, so all he would be doing is deleting the groups of his biggest advocates.

    Comment by andyswarbs | September 6, 2007 | Reply

  4. “similarly anyone who is a member of either fcnext or IntlFCMS cannot hold post”


    Can you explain WHY you felt the need to exclude members of both these groups, especially IFMS. I’m mortified at this comment. What you are doing is discriminating by association. By this reckoning, if Deron were in IFMS he’d not be allowed to hold your invited post in this new group. How are *you* going to prove who’s a member of IFMS? Are you going to be asking me ‘oh, is this person a member of IFMS?’ pffft.

    Comment by Lisa Mostyn | September 6, 2007 | Reply

  5. An alternate suggestion — if it is possible to do so, once Deron has joined (assuming he does so), change the group so that there are no owners, no moderators. That then would require some level of self-governance and responsible behavior by the membership (otherwise there’d be complete anarchy and the group would fail, which would be answer itself).

    Comment by Timberly Freecycle | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  6. Lisa,

    I am not saying that fcnext / intlfcms members cannot also be members of oidg-unmoderated. But if this group is going to happen – and that is a BIG if – then I need to demonstrate that control is done by an independent set of moderators.

    They key is what happens when the first mods take office. If they are seen to simply enforce yet another oidg-moderated then the whole game is up for TFN. If power is seen initially to swing too much in favour of fcnext/intlfcms then I cannot ever see the group getting off the ground.

    So this is the middle ground I have chosen.

    Much depends on the integrity of the initial group of moderators and putative owners. This is key.

    I (self-nominated) will act on behalf of critics of TFN. Deron will act on behalf of TFN. If successful then we will have checks and balances in place. If both are happy AND if we can find a suitable moderating team (which is why I need the posting placed on modsquads) then when these guys are on board with the challenge that faces them, then at that moment the group can go live.

    Part of their initial job will be to ratify the rules of engagement and I need to be with the group while those rules are refined to an acceptable starting point.

    At that moment we will know what membership criteria will be.

    Comment by andyswarbs | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  7. Timberley, every Yahoo Group requires at least one owner at all times. An owner is by definition also a moderator.

    Comment by andyswarbs | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  8. ‘private arena of something like OIDG’?

    I’m afraid Andy that you’ve proved this cannot happen, and further that through your endorsing of re-posting OIDG posts elsewhere you aren’t suitable to be involved in such a group at this stage.



    Comment by Martin Pike | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  9. Martin,

    I did not start this initiative to win friends. I started it to see if TFN could exist in the long term. OIDG, whether moderated or not is censored in that members are general frightened of posting anything more than fluff questions. Anyone who asks anything pertaining to organisational issues first goes onto moderation, then gets ousted and then they are hounded out of being moderators. That is what happened to me, and that same thing has happened to so many good moderators.

    I can see why TFN do this process. They want a clean environment where positive things are discussed. But in doing that they are stifling TFN to the point of crisis. The Powers That Be inside TFN need to understand that. Moderators on OIDG are posting me information anonymously for me to use, because they cannot act. For them to act in any way would risk their group being deleted.

    TFN needs to wake up. Each person in TFN needs to do this, else all their efforts will be in vain.

    I have no interest in being a long term member of OIDG-unmoderated. That is why, as part of its definition, once established I will cease my ownership and indeed membership.

    TFN needs private groups to operate effectively. But if TPTB are posting information their that needs to be challenged and also if there is no right of reply, then that is not acceptable to me, and my guess is it should not be acceptable to any person.

    If I know that members of OIDG have an right to intelligent reply without fear of reprisals then TFN may yet save itself.

    If I know that TFN supports a right of reply process on OIDG – then its contents will remain private and I will ask my anonymous sources to stop sending me further postings.

    Comment by andyswarbs | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  10. Andy,

    Your response has not changed my view. You are acting dishonourably, whilst levelling similar charges at TFN.

    I require more.



    Comment by Martin Pike | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  11. Since I have not had a reply from Deron yet, in the interests of not leaving this issue hanging around, I propose to add a time limit. The group will be deleted by the end of the weekend – that’s 3 days away.

    Comment by andyswarbs | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  12. Martin,

    When you say you require more I am not sure what you are asking for. Acting dishonourably is not what I want to be seen as doing, so for me that is a criticism I need to understand and I thank you for making it.

    All my posts until this one were allusions to what is going on inside TFN. This one changed things because I actually cited the text. I have never broken privacy on any postings whilst I was a member. I am not a member of OIDG, and therefore I am not under any privacy rules. In that sense I believe I am acting honourably.

    In this instance, citing the text was the only way of getting to the heart of the matter. It exemplified so clearly everything that is wrong with TFN’s “TFTB”.

    Let me caveat this with one point. This was a NOT personal attack on Richard. It was an attack on TPTB. I fervently believe that Richard is doing his best in a difficult situation. And what he wrote was a good attempt at dealing with critical issues. He spoke from the heart, as he always does. Had he posted in a personal capacity then his post would have been very acceptable. But he spoke as a representative of TPTB using the “ADMIN” shout, and in so speaking he did not have “all his ducks in order”.

    Finally if members of OIDG do not the right of reply, please may I ask you what YOU would recommend they do? This, I believe is a the most important question and I look forward to your thoughts.

    Comment by andyswarbs | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  13. I think I’m being very clear Andy. Those who join the OIDG agree to its terms, which include confidentiality. Someone clearly is breaching those terms, and you are endorsing that by publishing the information beyond where it has permission to be published.

    I cannot make it any clearer.

    You are being seen (by me, I can only speak for myself) as acting dishonourably, because you are acting dishonourably.

    I know you’re not attacking Richard. You do however appear to have annoyed him, which is a step backwards.

    I support your aims, but not, in this case, your methods.

    As for what we should do? I don’t suggest we ‘ignore’ TFN as being irrelevant, because its effect at ground level is amazing, but I do suggest that we ask permission to use the IntlFCMS group as a quasi ‘OIDG unmoderated’, and use that as a forum to discuss strategies for the future.

    The only problem being, I believe, is that you’re not connected to TFN and therefore shouldn’t be a member?



    Comment by Martin Pike | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  14. Martin,

    I would like nothing better than for IntlFCMS to become THE forum for TFN moderators. That, for me would be a perfect solution. The moderators of IntlFCMS are all extremely experienced and creditable people. But for The Powers That Be in TFN this is a total non-starter. TFN exemplified this by attempting to get the group closed.

    Again, I do not want to be a member of OIDG-unmoderated. All I want to do is know that TFN’s moderators have the right to talk openly without fear of being flagged as a potential fcnexter.

    Comment by andyswarbs | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  15. Andy,

    I’m not remotely bothered whether the IntlFCMS group becomes THE FORUM for TFN moderators. As long as it has a membership that discusses important issues in an intelligent and respectful manner, that’s good enough for me.

    I’m not talking about your membership of ‘OIDG unmoderated’. I’m talking about your membership of IntlFCMS.

    I talk openly whichever forum I’m on, much to some (perhaps many) peoples annoyance. As of this moment, that hasn’t been a problem on the IntlFCMS.



    Comment by Martin Pike | September 7, 2007 | Reply

  16. Understood and thanks for the clarification. I will take this up with the owners.

    Comment by andyswarbs | September 7, 2007 | Reply

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