Saturday, November 18, 2006

Freecycle moderator problems

UK and USA - There are 300,000 UK members of Freecycle groups, including me and many people I know, but I have just been alerted to moderator problems of which I was hitherto unaware. SalvoWEB also has moderators, mainly me and Ruby, and we have problems from time to time, as one imagines would any moderator who is trying to keep sites free from troublesome posters, spammers, fraudsters, chancers and the like.

The main rule on Freecycle is that items must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages. Wanted items must be reasonable. UK moderators will ban anyone asking for expensive items like a Ferrari or plasma TV, but not for asking for a working washing machine which may be languishing in a garage. Some things are not suitable for charity shops such as building materials and some electrical items for health and safety reasons. Freecycle is not meant to be a replacement for charity shops.

Freecycle started in Tucson, Arizona, three years ago, to save the desert landscape from turning into a landfill. Perfectly good items were offered to charities rather than being thrown away, and fairly soon an e-mail group became a global network, now based at Yahoo. The founders now estimate it keeps 50 tonnes of rubbish a day out of landfills.

SalvoWEB also runs two free systems for low value goods: the construction trade's Salvo MIE Materials Information Exchange or DIYer's Wants & or our more specialist brick site Reclaimed

All is not well in the land of Freecycle. There is a major set of postings on the US Business Week web site here
and more here

The nub if the complaints is that the founder of freecycle is a despot who has upset a lot of volunteers who helped create the network many of whom have now left and set up alternative free web sites, some of which I am listing below:

and here are tips on how to set up a non-profit free recycling group

and set up your own waste exchange at (in development) (in development)

or try asking Salvo as we could let anyone set up a waste exchange using our software and data engines.

Update 26 July 2009:

It seems as if this story is still running. Some UK Freecycle moderators are invoking EU Human Rights legislation to set up a new moderators groups.

Following the poll on the Freecycle UK Modsquad, a mandate was given for the formation of the Independent Association of Freecycle (R) Moderators - UK (IAFCMods) under the rights contained within Article 11 of the EU Convention of Human Rights which protects the right to freedom of assembly and association. IAFC has been established as an independent association of volunteers who moderate Freecyle(R) Groups in the UK and the Committee will represent the views of the IAFCMods members, offer support and solidarity to Freecycle moderators within the UK whilst hoping to negotiate working two way relationships between UK Freecycle moderators and The Freecycle Network leadership teams. This election is being conducted to fill the seven places on the Interim Committee of this Association. There are 23 nominees and the brief notes they submitted are recorded on the next page.

Before you can vote in this election, you will be asked for the email address you use to moderate your UK based Freecycle group and the name of your group. This is to enable the Returning Officer to verify your eligibility to vote in this election. This email address will be verified against the Freecycle UK Modsquad database or by contacting your group owner email address.

This information will be confidential and will be seen by no-one apart from the Returning Officer. Your votes will also only be seen by the Returning Officer.

By taking part in the election, you are giving permission to the Returning Officer to verify your eligibility to vote in this election either by cross checking with the UK MS membership list or by contacting the group owner address of your home group.

All sounds very proper . . .


  1. I have made an alternative to Freecycle.
    I-recycle is not using the Yahoo platform.

  2. The controversy brought up to date at

  3. UK Freecycle owners are encouraged to bring their groups to Realcycle where no one tells you how to run the group you worked so hard for:


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