Fighting for freerecyling

Am I blind or am I thick?

TFN now has a Terms of Service page. The Internet Archive’s Wayback machine puts this page as starting in August 2007, so it seems to be a pretty new page. It is very well worth anyone’s while reading, and re-reading this page. Let me give a flavour of what you might find.

On the first line it says about TFN that it “provides online resources“. Hmm, in case no-one has actually told Deron yet actually Yahoo provides the service. In fact, all TFN groups are hosted on Yahoo servers and are owned and managed by Yahoo staff. What TFN do is help people create particular Yahoo Groups for them to run, am I wrong? The only on-line resource that TFN actually provides is its own website and its moderators manual.

It then goes on to say that it will “provide notice of materially significant changes to the Term by posting notice on The Freecycle Network site“. Did you know that this is not acceptable to a court of law? There have been some very high profile cases where non-notification makes changes totally invalid.

It then goes on to say that, “By using the Service in any way, you are agreeing to comply with these Terms“. Popycock and balderdash. TFN, get real, for any TOS to be at all valid each user must explicitly “tick the box”, and you must be able to prove they did that.

The last line of the first paragraph (we haven’t got far have we!) ends with something I can agree with. It states that if we don’t like the Terms and Conditions we can leave. This is good since it clearly implies that any ex-member of OIDG is no longer bound by any confidentiality agreement.

Let me now skip down a few lines deep into the content section. Here it states, “You acknowledge that The Freecycle Network does not pre-screen or approve Content.” Now I may be a bit thick, but what exactly is moderation if it is not pre-screening. Also what exactly is the job of moderators if it is not approving content?

I won’t bother pointing out the fact that the TOS refers, for moderators to some other “document” called it FAQ but does not provide a link to it. Oops, sorry I just did. Did you know that doing that kind of reference is a quick way to get you thrown out of a court of law?

It gets better, it really does. Take “that constitutes posting essentially the same item or service to several local groups simultaneously“, for instance. Now how many times have I seen TFN’s TPTB, including Deron cross-post. I bet it is actually very difficult to find a user who has not cross-posted. Bear in mind there is nothing in this TOS that discriminates between groups where freecycling goes on and those aimed at moderators.

Oh, I am getting bored. I will try to leave you with one nugget. Did you know that all TFN’s service comes out of Arizona. Of course you did. Hmm, think about it. Come on, you are almost there… Yes. Yahoo servers do not, by and large reside in Arizona. Yes they do says Deron Beal, “will use or cause to be used servers located in Arizona.”

I really cannot waste any more of my time on such a load of clap-trap and this TOS patently is. You would have thought that, since TFN had legal advisers that a key goal would have been writing the TOS. After four years TFN really has come up with the biggest load of hogwash.

The TFN TOS could not even acknowledge Yahoo’s contribution to freecycling, not once. And what exactly is this rating system? “Only the members involved in a transaction may post a rating.” In all the TFN groups I have ever belonged to never once have I seen a rating system.

I must be blind as well as thick.


November 9, 2007 - Posted by | freecycle | ,


  1. I have discover an alternative to Freecycle.
    I-recycle is not using the Yahoo platform.

    Comment by Jon | November 14, 2007 | Reply

  2. Jon,

    Do you actually run If so then saying “discovered” is very disingenuous. If you wish to post an advert please do the courtesy of just saying that.


    Comment by andyswarbs | November 14, 2007 | Reply

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