Fighting for freerecyling

Calling all UK groups to disassociate themselves from TFN

Image by eschipul via Flickr

Over the last months an earthquake has been building within the UK Freecycle movement.  The first overt rumble was the resignation of Neil Morris, who until then was the lead person in the UK in more ways than one.  At the same moment the entire UK lead team also resigned.  The Freecycle Network reacted by putting in place an interim lead team, which subsequently has been elevated permanently to replace Neil et al, headed by Janice.

Neil and many others in the UK moderation fraternity then set about creating IAFCMods, a pressure group to promote the needs of UK moderators within TFN.  The succeeded wholeheartedly in creating IAFCMods.  They did this with full democratic process, even to the point of Neil not being the automatic lead person.

And then they set about trying to work with TFN to get IAFCmods recognised.   Well all hopes and efforts have been either totally ignored or rebuked.  Time and time againg UK moderators tried to get The Freecycle Network to listen and react positively.

The reaction can be summed up in the following email sent by Deron Beal to Neil yesterday, published with permission:

“Arrived home tonight to find the following email in my inbox. The email below from Deron demonstrates and confirms the autocratic policies that I have been fighting to change for a considerable period of time. I think the email and actions speak for themselves.
Neil Morris
I give full permission for this to be forwarded anywhere.

Begin forwarded message:
> From: Deron Beal <deron@…>
> Date: 8 September 2009 19:32:26 CEST
> To: Neil Morris <neil.morris@…>
> Cc: EastMidlands <eastmidlands@…>, “ukgoalead@…
> Janice” <ukgoalead@…>, NptonNorthCentralFreecycle@…
> Subject: Your volunteer role with Freecycle UK
> Dear Neil,
> We’d like to thank you for your efforts in keeping your local Freecycle group going. Your volunteer efforts have been greatly appreciated.
> However, we no longer feel that it is a good fit between yourself and The Freecycle Network at this time and would ask that you step down from all Freecycle volunteer roles.
> If you could please demote yourself from your local group as a mod or owner and unsubscribe from all leadership groups that would be appreciated.
> I’d ask that any fellow local volunteers wishing to continue volunteering contact me at this time.
> Please approve the interimmod@… address and promote them to Lead Mod of your group before stepping down yourself.
> Regards,
> Deron

So, up yours Neil is the message.  However Deron has spoken to other UK moderators in the same vein.  And now the IAFCMods have reacted, again this is public domain information:

> From: ****
> Date: 9 September 2009 11:00:03 BST
> To: <>
> Subject: [UIFMS] Breaking News – IAFCM
> Reply-To:
> We the IAFCM Committee committee no longer see any way to negotiate
> with TFN or achieve our aims in the current Freecycle Network. Most of
> us are now moderated and believe we are targeted for removal from our
> TFN positions (and some are already removed). We are sorry we have
> failed to achieve our preferential aims..
> We no longer feel we can ask you to stay in the Freecyle Network.
> For this reason we will now focus the attentions of IAFCM Mods going
> alone, standing on our own two feet and launching a New UK led and
> democratically led successor Network. We have received many messages
> from member moderators urging us to prepare against this eventuality
> and have a successor Network ready to launch.
> The proposed network will not follow the organisational model of The
> Freecycle Network. It will be led by a consensus, have free
> elections and polling of group members It will be looser than TFN and
> groups will be free to choose their own names for their groups, but
> may, if they wish, choose to use the the network name to increase
> their visibility in the search engines and have a higher profile as we
> promote it.
> Thee may well be some groups that wish to stay in the Freecycle
> Network and if so we wish you well. We wish to be inclusive and we
> wouldn’t mind you having a dual affiliation but it we know it would
> result in you being kicked out of TFN so we wish you you well for the
> future
> There will be a short delay before full instructions on how to
> establishing full links with the Network and cut the ties with TFN are
> published
> We are aware this is a big step and is not exactly what we had in mind
> when we first started with IAFCMODS and though many members are
> “raring to go” others may feel a bit pressured and need time and space
> to voice any reservations.
> We wish everyone to feel comfortable and we are aware that the
> committee were working under constraints where we could not consult on
> this as much as we wanted.
> However such constraints are now lifted and there can be open
> discussion on on IAFCMods in which committee can fully participate.
> Fuller instructions as to how to safely rename your group will follow.
> Please regularly read messages on IAFCMods group for information.
> We will also be posting admin notices you can use to communicate
> with your group members.
> Now it’s open to everyone can help modify and polish up admins etc.
> Please use this group as we used to use modquad in the past to develop
> best practise and to freely comment on proposals – but lets think
> outside the box as we don’t want to repeat TFN mistakes.
> Post here if you are asked to stand down or your group is threatened
> in any way and we’ll support you in making the necessary changes.
> Carol, Caroline,David, Edward, Mark, Saira and Seb
> Your Interim Committee

Are you a lead moderator of a Freecycle group, especially in the UK?  I just wonder at what point do you draw the line.

In my personal opinion I would not think it amiss if all UK groups – every single one of them – disassociated themselves from TFN immediately.  I mean, Neil a total stalwart of UK Freecycle, who has tirelessly worked over many years to promote freecycling in the UK is now totally and clearly snubbed.

In my personal opinion any non-UK group should also consider its position.

If you are ready to leave The Freecycle Network check out the Yahoo group readytoleaveFc for resources to help you in the process.  I recommend also the FCnext yahoo group for open debate on the subject.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

September 9, 2009 - Posted by | freecycle | , , , , , , , ,


  1. correction:

    Comment by bill keiser | September 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. Isn’t it time for all existing TFN groups to say enough is enough? How long are you going to stand for this treatment? You’re not garbage and you don’t deserve to be treated as such by the freecycle network.

    Comment by Judy | September 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. Worthy to appear on ?

    Comment by Nick | September 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. Or better yet, just wait a bit and pay attention in IAFCMods. A new option will be available shortly. Don’t jump early, but be patient as we do this right.

    Comment by Paul Thompson | September 10, 2009 | Reply

    • I can’t tell you how it grieves me to know that you still believe in TFN. I just hope when you finally “wake up and smell the coffee” that you won’t be too badly hurt emotionally as so many others have been. I honestly believe, as so many of your American friends do, that you’re staying with TFN just for the name as you think your group can’t thrive without it. Nothing could be further from the truth but you must do what you think best for your group (and make no mistake, it is your group). I hope you’ll remember that when DB is ready to take it from you.

      Comment by Judy | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  5. Maybe its time for these few people to just go on their own and leave the rest of us mod’s alone. The majority of us UK Mods are sticking with Freecycle because we believe that is where the membership wants to be. We are not leaving like these guys stay. UK Freecycle will live on and it will be a relief to get these negative people like Neil, Seb, Carol etc gone and we can move on. I for one will keep my group on the UK Freecycle. Others that are leaving. a note to you. will your membership be happy? its the Freecycle name that attracted most of them to your group. Thats what got me.

    Comment by T | September 11, 2009 | Reply

    • Got to say – it’s not your group, it’s the group’s group, or maybe even less satisfactorily, it’s the FTN’s group. But not yours.

      I have had one too many encounters with blinkered freecycle modsworths…

      Less dictatorship all around would be a good thing, but this split is also going to cause a lot of confusion and likely overall less recycling.

      Comment by A | September 14, 2009 | Reply

      • A, If you ask Yahoo (and surely they should know) the group “owner” owns the group and no-one else. When a person joins a group they sign up to Yahoo TOS, end of story.

        Now if a particular group owner wants to consider the opinions of members, or anyone else, that is the choice of the owner. It does not alter ownership.

        I, for example, have just asked my group for their opinions on becoming a Freegle group. Now I will take their opinions into consideration, and do so very earnestly. But in the end any change is my right and my responsibility. Not only that no-one else even has the ability to do it.

        So please do not mix up democracy with ownership.

        As for The Freecycle Network having a say in the matter, they lost the right to have any say when they started abusing ErsatzFriend.

        Comment by andyswarbs | September 15, 2009

  6. An Ex-TFN Mod/Owner here, and no longer ashamed to admit it.
    Gotta say, I saw this coming, around 2/3 years ago, but was told then to keep schtuum. That’s when I got out, and came over to R4Free.

    Good luck to them wot decided to keep their groups in TFN UK, but you gotta ask yourselves, are you doing this for yourselves, or for your membership, or for TFN USA (aka, Mr D B)?? And as you decided, just think, you’ll be beholden to USA Law, NOT UK law.
    So, c’mon, let your members know wots going on! for their sakes. After all, no group is any group without members!

    And to all of you who have done what is best for your LOCAL members, Lots of Luck, and LOVE. We is all here for ONE THING ONLY — to keep useable items OUT of Landfill. Quit chucking perfectly good stuff away, just cos ya not like the colour! The new colour is GREEN!! Green for GO!

    Comment by Gill xx | September 13, 2009 | Reply

  7. When my group was delisted (because I was asking embarrassing questions that TFN didn’t want to address), i was threatened into changing my group’s name, only one member left, and life went on as before. i held a poll and found that the majority of my members heard about the group through word of mouth. i can now run my group as the members want.

    Comment by bill keiser | September 14, 2009 | Reply

  8. […] the American parent, as a response to what they see as increasingly centralised (even dictatorial) management. Apparantly this has been boiling for a while. Now, they are calling themselves Freegle. I realise […]

    Pingback by Green Revolution | dv8-designs | September 14, 2009 | Reply

  9. Great site…keep up the good work.

    Comment by Dryer Vent Cleaning | September 19, 2009 | Reply

  10. Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..

    Comment by Bill Bartmann | September 21, 2009 | Reply

  11. Hi

    Those who wished to leave Freecycle have now left. Those who wish to remain should do. Same goal so why continue to debate.

    Comment by Mr Foo | September 21, 2009 | Reply

    • What you say is not true. I know of several groups that are asking members for opinions, which as an approach has its merits.

      Comment by andyswarbs | September 21, 2009 | Reply

      • Also news just in, Fulham has just converted to Freegle.

        Comment by andyswarbs | September 21, 2009

    • They haven’t all left have they? I guess they don’t mind being considered disposable. If one quits, two more will join to take their place. Unfortunately, the two that joined have absolutely no idea the hurt they’ve set themselves up for by joining TFN.

      Comment by Judy | September 21, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: