Fighting for freerecyling

Yahoo Group Recommendations

I have to empathize with Kathleen Gayton, a TFN moderator who is concerned about the new Yahoo Group cross-promotion feature where groups with similar memberships are listed in emails so that people can join related groups easily. You can read all about the feature on the official Yahoo Groups blog. Kathleen’s comment is here.

Of course one might argue this works both ways. If I read Kathleen correctly she is concerned about non-TFN groups being promoted in TFN posts. She makes assertions that such groups are somehow “rogue” with “drastic” rule changes and that people get “hurt”. She goes on to allude to “spammers” and use emotive words like “sabotage”. Kathleen if you wish to comment here about specifics then I am happy to help work with you to expose bad freecycling groups. I mean, for instance, nothing would seem less acceptable to any sensible person, than TFN launching an AstroTurf group and then somehow a valid group finding that they are automatically promoting the AstroTurf instead!

Also I agree generally that the implementation of group cross-promotion has some big weaknesses. But that is about the limit. Each Yahoo Group stands on its merits. Largely that is how well it is run. After all who wants a badly run group to survive, surely we want the best groups to flourish? If this cross-group promotion helps people find the best run freecycling groups in a given geographical area then that seems like a great result. Surely that should be what matters to society. That’s the only way we are, together going to best address landfill issues.

Of course, Yahoo Groups could beef up its directory search & browse facility which is well overdue of a severe overhaul, but that’s another story.

March 17, 2008 - Posted by | freecycle


  1. Andy wrote, “… if you wish to comment here about specifics then I am happy to help work with you to expose bad freecycling groups …”

    Does that also apply to freecycling group directories loaded with 60% junk and only 40% real, viable freecycling groups? To see what I mean, take a look at:

    Or, when you say “bad freecycling groups” would you exclude bad freecycling directories?

    Comment by nexteritis | March 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Nexteritis,

    Like everyone else, I have my own opinions on what is a good or bad group. Also I have my own opinions as to what could and should be done. “Bad” could include substantial groups with lots of valid posts each month and yet the owner has gone awol. My view is we have to take each case on its merits. If a group is in difficulties then if it can be resurrected and serve its community well, that is transformed from a bad group to a good one – that for me a good result.

    Even though I don’t like the concept of TFN, or anyone else, creating AstroTurf groups the fact is this is a big world and there is room for lots of different groups that may look similar on the outside yet each has unique values.

    From my own freecycling group I actively promote other similar groups around mine – as a matter of principle. If they are small minded and do not reciprocate then that is their problem and their members will eventually see how small minded they are or are not and judge them accordingly.

    The bottom line for any Yahoo Group is that it needs to be run well by an owner who cares. That’s the key for me. Being run well is not my decision, that is purely a decision of the members. If a group does not have a good owner then perhaps the right solution is to help find a new and better owner, perhaps one who is simply not burnt out! It may also be to support the existing owner and give them ideas and encouragement so they no longer feel burnt out.

    Superficially deleting groups does not seem to me a useful action. More of a last resort.

    And I do really mean that working with people as a team to help identify groups in trouble and work on strategies to revitalise them… I already belong to one such support group and provide as much help as I can on that front. There is more to be done, and if you want to work with me on this then contact me directly.

    Comment by andyswarbs | March 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. Oh, and if that means supporting TFN groups that have gone “bad” then I am up for that as well. If TFN somehow cannot resurrect a group, either due to disinterest or the wrong approach that does not mean that the group cannot be resurrected. TFN may be small minded and may wish to think what is most important is their brand name, for me it is tree-hugging landfill reduction.

    Sadly Deron Beal is far too busy losing court cases left, right and centre to keep an eye on his landfill roots.

    Comment by andyswarbs | March 17, 2008 | Reply

  4. My biggest objection to the group advertising is that the groups may be related but not nearby. For example, on one group I belong to, the related group links led to freecycle groups 500 miles away. I don’t plan to travel that far to look for an item I want!

    Comment by Whomom2 | March 17, 2008 | Reply

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