Many mods worry their heads over a little thing called “belonging to freecycle”, as if somehow they will either get more members that way, or at even lose members. Nothing could be further from the truth, as this from Stockport Freecycle as they moved through the 11,000 member barrier demonstrates:
“Woo hoo! When we moved to Freegle we had 10,827 and we were at first losing
them quicker than they joined and went down a bit. Steady growth since then,
approx 300 new members in the just over a month since we moved which I’m
more than happy with! 🙂 Long may it continue!”
Instead what happens is that, as group owners and moderators you begin to take full responsibility for you and the community you serve.
I can see that Deron is just a tad upset about losing possibly half of his UK freecycle groups to the Freegle network, so far. But why must he libel a moderator of one of the North East groups on the UK freecycle homepage?
Whichever way you cut it more and more UK groups are leaving freecycle in their droves. This organisation that was only launched 4 days ago has grown by 50% in the last 24 hours. My last post reported 194 groups, whereas my latest search comes out at a staggering 347 groups.
Please tell me if I am wrong, but my crude maths says that between a third and a half of all UK freecycling groups have now converted over to Freegle.
Following the breakdown in communications (was there ever any communication from Deron that wasn’t a form letter?) the IAFCmods group of moderators now seems intent on forming their own network. In there own words (as already published on the web)…
“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 Freecycle 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”
Leicester Freecycle group decided to leave TFN. To protect themselves from trademark infringement they relabelled themselves as realcycle, and so their group website is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Realcycle-Leicester/ and so I guess that should have been the end of the matter.
However it seems that TFN has greated an astroturf group called leicester-freecycle and have automatically “joined” 11474 members since the group’s creation on August 14th, 2009, just 3 days ago.
Now creating a group is one thing. Adding members en-masse is something totally different. From my memory, Yahoo terms and conditions explicitly forbid using the joining approach to adding new members without their permission. So to invite members to join would be acceptable, but to actually add them is – again, in my opinion, not.
There is a thread to create a list of which groups were created before TFN started its trademarking campaign, so let us at least think of this as any groups created in 2004 or earlier. If you run an old group please comment here with your group name and start date (typically the one reported by Yahoo on your group’s home page.)
Sorry, I know this is a bad joke, but some people actually think the chances of Yahoo one of the largest and most successful Internet companies in the world is more likely to go bust than The Freecycle Network, a charity that struggles to raise funds just to fight its trademark campaign, never mind actually develop and host a server solution of its own making.
I mean it’s new My Freecycle service obviously hasn’t even gone through usability testing by the visually impaired!
I hereby nominate and second myself to be an officer on the IAFCMods group. My credentials are
- I still moderate a couple of TFN official groups, though I will not release their names to protect the groups and their owners,
- I have owned and run TFN official groups for around 5 years,
- I run non-TFN groups (enforced by TFN)
- I have run forums on Yahoo and elsewhere since the 1980’s (yes that’s before the Internet),
- I am very critical of the TFN leadership, which in my opinion shows a distinct lack thereof, however
- I am, like 99.999% of mods very much for freecycling in all its form and
- I do my research thoroughly, for example everything on this blog has been checked and double checked.
I realise that IAFCmods cannot appoint me since to do so would inflame matters with Mr Beal at this delicate time.
All UK Freecycling group owners should immediately check who their co-owners are. The obvious one to get rid of is ErsatzFriend. However I would say if there are any old owner or moderator IDs that you are unsure about – DELETE THEM.
Do it now. Do not hesitate.
Only allow moderators and owners you trust. Verify each one of them knows what is happening.
Do it now – or tomorrow you may not have a group.