Fighting for freerecyling

A flawed process

One area where TFN often gets hammered is on the Leadership Verification Moderator process. This is where an owner or moderator of a freecycling group attempts to join OIDG or similar group. Very often the application is turned down for invalid reasons. Here is my take on what the process is, and what is wrong, and if TFN reads this blog might actually improve their success rate.

Before we begin, though there is a suspicion that the LVM process is flawed intentionally so that TFN can turn people down who they do not want in their moderator forums, though I am confident this is misplaced thinking.

First what happens is that a moderator hears or reads of these forums and decides they wish to join. So they send a email to the LVM person, thinking that after a few minutes that will be the end of the matter and that they will somehow become a member of some hallowed forum or other. It does not work like that. Perhaps one day TFN will issue an official FAQ on this, but for now here is my take.

Having received a request to join the LVM person will ask to see if this person is on any blacklist. If so then of course they will not be allowed to join. Being on a blacklist is probably emailing around TPTB to see if anyone knows anything negative about this person. Say we wait 48 hours for any potential response, and there is no negative feedback, what next?

The next step is to send an email back to the group’s “owner” address. We then have a further wait for up to 14 days for the owner to reply. So if the group’s owner address (which should ideally include the original moderator) then any moderator can reply and everything should be fine.

But this part of the process can go very wrong.

  • In theory this should be responded to immediately, but by guess is that Yahoo have had problems with owner delivery in the past, present and possibly future.
  • Besides that there is no inbuilt monitoring in this process. The original application is left in the dark about what is happening and so just waits and waits. If a copy of the outbound email to the owner was copied to the original application this would engender a closed loop where everyone can help the application resolve most quickly. Being left in the dark helps no-one.
  • The original applicant does not generally even know of the 14 day time limit.
  • Even if the owner responds back, because of the frailties of email there is no reason to believe the LVM person actually gets a positive response.

And so 14 or so days later the LVM inevitably sends out a rejection letter. The original applicant is frustrated. The LVM person is frustrated. The group is frustrated.

This is a flawed process that needs modifying badly. Like all things the devil is in the detail. And the detail here is far too much reliance on emails to and from “-owner” working properly, and within a fixed time limit of 14 days.  My guess is also that the 14 day time-out is seen as a politically correct and easy way of refusing people without them taking offence.

September 24, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle

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