Some people have stayed silent on OIDG for a long time. The only time they speak out is when they leave or have left. Unfortunately at this time they tend to be moderated so their opinions are suppressed. This post from IntlFCMS (membership required) shows that at this moment TFN can be seen to rewrite history to suit their own needs.
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.
OIDG, PlanetFreecycle, IntlFCMS, Fcnext, USMS, UKMS etc etc are all groups whose members are almost entirely moderators. But those groups themselves need moderating. Thus we have moderators of groups that exist for moderators. This can be very confusing.
As well as this we have the complex of what actually is moderation. The obvious definition is when ones posts are moderated, by which I mean that after you send your post to the group it is put on hold until a moderator does one of three things:
- accept it as it is
- reject it outright
- accept it with modification (either major or minor edits)
Not every member of a group need be on moderation, though in some groups all members are on moderation for long periods, or even permanently. If a group has a large membership with a large number of posts then this tends to be used when a group has gone completely haywire in some way and needs to be reigned in en masse because doing it generates a lot of work for the moderator team.
In other groups only some people are on moderation, again either for short periods of permanently. It is a common occurrence for new members to be on moderation at first whilst they demonstrate they know how to post according to group rules.
The reasons for moderation normally tend to include
- spam postings
- flame and vindictive posts
- posts of excessive length and verbosity
- posts that are either way off-topic or repeatedly off-topic
As well as the above actual moderation techniques is also the implied form commonly referred to as self-moderation. What I mean by this is that members know that if they breach group rules then real moderation of some sort will be imposed, so they keep their own posts in order to avoid real moderation.
There is one further form of moderation which is not often seen. That I would like to term censure. This is a form of self-moderation when subjects that are supposedly on-topic are not discussed. A particular form of censure is when a group reduces the quality of postings to fluff. This is when almost all meaningful discussion is seen as out-of-bounds. A feature of groups where hidden rules of censure operate is a range of banning members.
I am getting some feedback that probably the right view of what Deron is saying, when he is saying no to the oidg-unmodered group (which no longer exists) is actually a vote of full confidence by him in the International needs of TFN moderators are fully met already. That is:
Just in. Deron hath spoken and the answer is a decisive no, stating that OIDG fulfils all moderator needs. From my side therefore I will now delete the group. From your side you must make up your own mind as to whether this says anything about TFN and Free Speech.
If you are a TFN volunteer then unequivocally belongs to you, not the other way round. What kind of TFN do you want?
In a recent posting by The Powers That Be on OIDG it was insinuated that many critics of TFN only wanted TFN to somehow die. Let me just go on record that is the last thing that I want to happen.
Before that happens I want TFN to clean up its act such that it allows and encourages criticism, albeit in the private arena of something like OIDG. Not OIDG since that has such a bad reputation, but a new one perhaps OIDG-unmoderated. Also since the temptation from TFN to stifle comment is obviously far too great, I want this to be owned (and moderated) by an independent group of people.
To help facilitate this I have created just such a group on Yahoo, called OIDG-unmoderated. I have issued one invitation to join this group – to Mr Deron Beal. No other membership will be accepted unless he signs up to this. What follows is the text on the home page for the group.
This is an unmoderated OIDG forum for freecycle moderators.
By unmoderated, I mean that any NON-ranting post is allowed providing a context continues around moderation of freecycle groups with a primary focus around The Freecycle Network.
I am looking for some moderators to run this. The requirement is that:
they hold no post in TFN above moderator/owner. That is all GOAs, iMod, DaHub etc cannot own or run this group. If a moderator/owner of this group is promoted to a postion in TFN then they must relinquish their post immediately.
similarly anyone who is a member of either fcnext or IntlFCMS cannot hold post.
they must be moderators or owners of existing TFN groups.
no two people can come from the same state in the USA, also representation from 2 other countries is required
I think a team of between three and five people are needed.
To ensure that this group is run independently I also want to ensure that ownership and moderation control is rotated. That is any one moderator or owner of this group can not hold post for more than a year.
The first person to be accepted as a member will be Deron Beal. On accepting membership he will be appointed immediately to co-owner. The invitation has been sent to him.
Both Deron and I will cease my membership when we both know this group is properly formed.
On the 1st of August a new member of TFN’s moderator team posted a well crafted and well meaning post into OIDG with the goal of assuaging people’s fears. Her opening gambit was “We are *not* here to stifle comment, sanitise discussion or prevent opposing views from being aired.” She continues with, “Contrary to popular belief we do not remove people for having a different opinion…”
Well, I think a better word for new would be naive. Everything she says is very laudable and expresses how a well run group should operate. But facts are sadly very different. To quote the words from someone at close to the top of TFN who played a strong part working behind my back trying to get rid of me by blackmailing the group I used to moderate…
“He is publicly speaking out against the organisation on his blog, which is available publicly. This is inappropriate for someone who is connected to the organisation as a moderator.” This was written by the head of Freecycle UK on July 2nd as part of an unethical campaign to oust me.
So, Nikki, please check your facts before you put pen to paper. I can add more evidence to this suffice it to say that the ONLY reason I started my blog was because my comments and questions on OIDG were stifled and sanitised. I would suggest you go searching the OIDG archives – but, hey, if messages have been deleted, then what is the point!
If you follow the new website’s FAQ down to its recommended links and resources page you can read,
” There is a new Freecycle Group called the Org Issues Discussion Group (OIDG). It is a separate yahoo group started by a vote from Mod Squad members to remove organizational issues from within the Mod Squad group. The OIDG group focuses on issues central to the ongoing development of Freecycle.org which has many deep-rooted, sometimes emotional content not suited for the Mod Squad or its members. This allows the Mod Squad to continue their focus on helping the many individual groups to better service their memberships.
Please note that the Freecycle leadership is serious about keeping organizational issues OFF the Mod Squad group, and ONLY on the new OIDG group. Posts to the Mod Squad relating to organizational issues of Freecycle.org will be deleted. Membership to the OIDG is open to those who are also members of the Mod Squad.”
Now, can I ask TFN to get this page updated since there is a clear implication here that TFN wants organisational issues discussed in OIDG and will even accept emotional contributions. Surely this is totally contrary to any moderator’s experience of OIDG as well as Deron Beal’s latest admin posting. It is just that, apparently TFN is authorising 10 new members per week into OIDG and surely they would only become frustrated if they joined under the premise of TFN’s own description of OIDG simply to find it was a sanitised fluff zone.
Actually OIDG is apparently receiving 100 new applicants per day. Well if they are only approving 10 per week – that must mean a very mean mean of approvals, if you see what I mean. In fact around 690 applicants per week are rejected. This is so unbelievable that I would like someone from TFN to correct me ‘cos I am sure I have something badly wrong here. Though running at only 768 members 10 per week would seem about right.
It seems that TFN are now admitting that their OIDG – Organisational Issues Discussion Group is not for that. They are so tired of people asking if the organisation has any organisation they have now officially stated that fluff only posts are permitted. So if you are totally into ingratiating yourself then get yourself down to OIDG and state how all is good and well in TFN, and how Deron Beal really has his finger on the pulse of free recycling, how all the other free recycling directory sites are collapsing in a heap with groups leaving thick and fast and imploring to return to TFN in their droves.
So what does OIDG stand for. Perhaps it stands for Oily Ingratiation to Deron Group.
After reading Leadership: How to Spot a Toxic Boss from the CIO website I was struck by the possible parallels with TFN. But there are differences. Because of the largely volunteer nature of free recycling, in some senses a Dracula parallel might be better: vampires feeding on the new virgin blood of a member newly appointed to moderator or even owner and feeling so grateful. So raw and new to the game they only see love and bliss and ignorantly step forward to the alter of TFN. OIDG is full of this c**p: sorry I try to keep this blog polite but there are some truly stomach churning posts of ingratiation made by new initiates.
Then, while the words “offer, receive and taken” are being mantra’d hypnotically there are the last vague pangs of concern that all may not be right. But it is too late? Eyelids shut tightly to the concerns raised in the FreeRRRs in the trance-induced belief that this blog simply does not exist, that contentious posts on OIDG were never made…
Repeat after me, “TFN is perfect, TFN is perfect.”