Fighting for freerecyling

Top Posts 16: Two strikes and you are out

Let me start by saying I do not sanction, neither do I agree with this post – simply because I have no knowledge of the individual’s frustrations. Nor am I saying in the slightest that this kind of experience is typical. Many if not most members post offers and others get their items very happily. Many moderators interact well with other moderators. But sometimes things do go wrong.

What appeals to me about this post is it indicates that there is in some cases, and perhaps in this case, something wrong with the communication process. While it is true that some people simply do not fit in, I feel that if they are rejected then a proper right of reply should be given. Anything less is unacceptable.

I, for example rejected one person who commented on this blog. I wrote to them and explained my position and gave them a chance to come back to me. They never did, but at least they were given the information and the chance.

So here we have a post about a moderator who feels his face did not fit. Again, I know nothing about this person or about the groups he was involved with. In the end he did what for him was the right thing which was to run his own group his own way, and that seems to have been a success. Similar stories of feelings of rejection with little or no reasonable reason are not hard to come by, for example there is this Brutal rejection from Freecycle on the TimesOnline.

Why this is important is because a rule, a major rule of TFN particularly is “two strikes and your out.” There is a comment associated with this, “This is our main Freecycle rule to live by and it’s a pretty easy one at that.”

That I take issue with and very serious and earnest issue. Yes it is pretty easy to apply. It is also a license for victimisation and is at the heart of many frustration members have with moderators, and in the above post a fellow moderator had with his or her peers. As the poster of this top post describes them – a dictatorship.

Two strikes and you are out is a tenet that encourages any bully to wield their axe with a vengeance. Suddenly anyone who takes a different line is themselves frowned upon, “come on they’ve done it twice, what are you waiting for, nuke them.” They then find themselves the target of this “pretty easy rule” if they try being lenient ever again, since that by definition is challenging the authority of the bully.
Nope, in my book the rule “two strikes and you are out” is something that should be used as a last resort rather than the first thing you of. Two strikes and you are out is a sign of an intolerant society. It leaves little or no room for debate, since for the bully any attempt at debate, by definition becomes a second strike. We all know what happens next.

You may ask, what would I replace it with? Well that is not so easy to say. I would ask others to suggest their own formula, what I would like to see is something that at least provides room for feedback.

I also think that any freecycling network has an inescapable responsibility to monitor its moderators independently, to accept criticism from complainants and provide a right of reply outside the context of the original group.

The ThrowPlace has the beginnings of this facility on their contact page with email addresses for various types of complaints. It would be good to know if they follow this through and report at least on the statistics of such complaints. It would also be good if market leaders in this industry set a real precedent and took customer and moderator complaints seriously, instead of assuming that the other party is always wrong.

October 7, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] blogged on this very recently in their Two Strikes and You are out Out policy.  This is the only way TFN knows of how to deal with a complaint, and that is so totally […]

    Pingback by TFN has no complaints process « FreeRRRs: freecycling freeregiving freereusing | October 10, 2007 | Reply

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