I am not personally acquainted with Janice, but according to Deron she spreads fear and chaos. On Friday the 3rd August he launched a personal tirade on her because, previously she had elected to attempt to add a measure of free speech into the OIDG, TFN’s global moderator forum. What Deron wanted was any controversial posting to go through his eyes first so that he could vet it, in his words, “please not forward such posts to the OIDG or other boards, but rather to forward them to the leadership.”
Because Janice did not know this rule or think it applied in this instance, he decided it was appropriate to chastise her publicly with words such as, “now we have a huge mess with spammer with malicious intent.” I did not know that Janice was a spammer, and in fact I am sure she is not. Whatever, I feel it is unequivocally wrong for Deron, in his role of Executive Director, someone who should show significant management skills to publicly chastise either a volunteer or an employee.
Of course I must be taking phrases out of context and twisting them. But if I was Janice, then that is what I would have done at the time. I would have felt that Deron was venting his power with a total non-charm offensive aimed at me personally. If I was Janice (and I do not know her) and was not an assertive person I would crawl back into my cage and never speak again. Certainly not on OIDG.
Of course it is right for Deron to feel angry if someone has done something that is not right, but to publicly chastise them to all her peers, that as THE MOST SENIOR OFFICER of The Freecycle Network is not acceptable.
Let me say that I absolutely want TFN to have a future. They are, right now the epicentre of free recycling. But if what I have just heard is correct then that epicentre could move, and very rapidly.
I was one of absolutely so many people since OIDG started who wanted, nay needed to ask questions. As owners and moderators we felt we had a right to ask. In each instance we were told we were the “enemy”, this is totally something of TFN’s own invention. They drew the line unilaterally implying you are “either with us, or against us.” And thus they have spread their own fear, uncertainty and doubt.
If you want a clear timeline of events a very good indicator can be had by looking at the number of posts on groups such as Fcnext and IFMS, but particularly the FCnext.
This message history is the number of message posts on Yahoo Group FCNEXT, by month since the group was started by Tim Oey. If shows an increasing number of posts over time with peaks at around September 2006, January 2007 and the largest one right now, June and July 2007. These dates correspond to TFN delisting and AstroTurfing groups en masse. These dates correspond not only to the departure of groups but also to the iMod, NGA and GOA disaffection and for some departure.
My departure was (as far as I know) a reasonably solitary affair and what catapulted was the, again unilateral way the powers that be in TFN decided that they would present an opinion on Climate Change. This was so clearly a instance of do as we say, not as we do as you can ever imagine. The guidelines for freecycle clearly state no politics and here were the controlling interests going directly against many, many moderators and making a politically motivated official statement.
What my own solitary departure gave me was a possibly unique perspective on moderator and group departures. You see I have only been a member who freecycled for around a year, and was only recently elevated to moderator. This meant that I neither had any baggage of history around me (something that the unmoderated groups have plenty of – and I just LOVE that passion), nor any real concern with managing the day to day issues including very deep soul-searching that many group owners have when they think, “right I have had enough and so now I am going to leave TFN and take my group with me, if they want that.”
I had it easy. And that “outsiders” view led me to believe that hiding the profound discussion and passionate debate behind the closed doors of a Yahoo Group was simply not the approach that I would take. My core issue was around Free Speech and that was why I started this blog.
I am now hearing, second hand details of what is going on in OIDG, at last. At last people are beginning to be able to ask serious questions. They are now beginning to ask questions that are nothing to do with fluff, nothing to do with mundane subjects such as “too many wanted posts”.
What is being asked are questions like
- Approximate numbers of member groups which have left tfn to join ReUseIt or to be independent (presumably since the mutiny).
- How many complaining emails from individual members has Deron received (about groups leaving tfn)?
- The result of a simple formula – total membership of “lost” groups divided by the number of complaining emails – to give a percentage of consequently unhappy individuals, on the basis that most members are more concerned about their groups functioning at a local level than anything else.
- Does Deron realise how much recent events have created a lot of distrust?
- Does Deron feel that his hub has always acted fairly?
- What has happened when they’ve got it wrong? Do they put things right asap and apologise?
- Is tfn as transparent as it could be?
- Is the hub acting as a team? Or are the individuals concerned creating situations without talking it through with the team?
- Is Deron aware of Founder’s Syndrome and does he recognise the pitfalls?
These are brilliant questions in my mind, and whoever has allowed these posts has done TFN one of the biggest favours ever possible. Deron the time is now for some absolutely straight answers and some clear direction leading to TOTAL openness of TFN. Anything less is a joke but the ending will not be very comic.