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August 31, 2005

What's Up (or Down) at Freecycle?

Rob Hof

Check out these mostly critical comments on the Freecycle Network. That's the widely praised Tucson-based group that helps people create local Web sites where they can give away and get stuff that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Sounds like there's a fair amount of strife at the (apparently) loose-knit group. Says one commenter: "They're in the midst of a great upheaval, groups right and left are leaving them and starting independent groups of their own. The founder hasn't gotten it through his head yet, that you can't "own" this concept, and the control he tries to impose is too much for many of us who just want a grassroots movement."

This is the first I had heard of any problems at the network, which seems a pretty innovative and worthwhile endeavor. Maybe I just wasn't paying real close attention. One story outlines some philosophical differences among Freecyclers, especially over a grant to Freecycle from Waste Management, to which founder and executive director Deron Beal responded rather testily. And a Technorati search reveals some hints of strife here and there in the blogosphere. Even one defender who posted a comment seems to concede some Freecycle groups are splitting off.

UPDATE: On further research and response from "freecyclers," it appears folks are also angered by Beal's seeking a trademark on the Freecycle name and taking what some view as a heavy-handed approach to managing Freecycle discussion groups. That has caused at least some to start separate organizations. There's more back-and-forth in the Comments below and in the previous post.

I haven't yet been able to reach Beal to ask him about the fuss. I'll let you know what I hear. Meantime, any other folks in Freecycle-land care to add their two cents?

10:25 PM

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Mr. Beal has my "ersatz" compassion for his plight. Founder's syndrome can strike even the best-intentioned, well-meaning business developer.

Those of us who have left his dominion wish him well. We can no longer honorably serve him.

Many of us, troopers in his army of free volunteers, who freely gave away countless hours of our time and thousands of dollars worth of our talents and community-building skills, to build his freecycling network, did not understand that our commander-in-chief, the visionary Mr. Beal, seems to have had a different concept of the definition of grassroots. We were quickly becoming weeds and apparently becoming a nuisance.

So he began "weeding" us owner/moderators out. His ersatz friendship with some of us was coming quickly to an end.

When he called us to "round up," we could hardly have suspected that it was the industrial-strength, commercial-grade trademarked product which would be applied to us owner/moderators, the leaders of his "grassroots" enterprise. The communities we had built with the sweat of brow would be soon be considered the trademarked property of Mr. Beal and his newly incorporated Freecycle Network. Our local efforts were gifts to be given over to him in homage for his visionary concept. Such lavish tribute was, it seems, according to all the positive press our communities brought him, his due.

However...

E-cycling is a global movement driven by local leaders whose efforts to reduce waste, exchange surplus wealth and keep things out of the waste stream shall continue to be driven by the grass roots. We, be we nuisance weeds or not, shall persist to successfully: Reduce our waste; re-use each others surplus wealth through the mutual exchange of our communities' local resources;

and recycle freely in our online communities; and we shall do so with local sovereignty, with or without the Freecycle Network.

Although we are a bit worse for wear, those of us who are willing are stepping forth to stay the course and to continue e-cycling with a new resolve.

I wish each of us engaged in this endeavor the best, freecycle or not.

Posted by: Katherine at September 1, 2005 05:45 AM

Many of the groups leaving FreeCycle are showing up in the directory at FreeSharing.org. Over 110 new groups have been added to the directory in the past 2 weeks.

I'll allow others to explain the reasons for the mass defections as I wiped my hands clean of the FreeCycle network back in February when they took a $130,000 grant from Waste Management Inc.

Eric Burke

http://FreeSharing.org

Posted by: Eric Burke at September 1, 2005 06:10 AM

I find it ridiculous that Deron Beal makes it so difficult for people to give things away and how it is that so many people are affected by his greed. The FreeCycle concept is great, but once greed enters the picture the concept takes a back seat.

He has far too much concern for the trademark and getting a non-profit status so he can “quit his day job.” That is his concern, not saving the planet.

Posted by: Paul Hurteau at September 1, 2005 07:50 AM

How big will this story grow?

As big as the Media wants to play it out into one of the largest tragedies we've all ever seen.

And that, is the saddest part of the situation.

Portions of this article that point to blogs from both sides of the fence are very interesting, to say the least. Let's examine the 'negative' one:

This person's totally irate because he was put on moderation. It's a great odds-on favorite bet that this person couldn't follow simple guidelines set in place by that particular Freecycle Group on a repeated basis and had to be set that way. Blogs are wonderful, but sadly they don't afford any replies from those they choose to slam - unless the blogger gives it to them. I'd bet a simple investigation would turn up the fact that the situation was justified.

Note that it's very possible it was a mistake, this has happened in other Groups in the past where someone who runs them goes overboard in their handling of their membership. But with little explanation from the blogger of what he thinks he did that got him in that position, my money goes on self-infliction.

Next we have the other blog thread, which shows the much larger problems that exist. Those who leave or oppose the current Freecycle setups, most of whom either ride the panic wave set in motion by disgruntled Owners/Moderators with personal agendas or vendettas or who have left or been asked to leave because of actions they've taken on their own, don't ask their membership what THEY would like to see happen.

In many cases most of these Members, the people the Owners/Moderators of the Freecycle Network need to realize are the folks who make their Groups work, have no clue what's being done. And if they knew, at least a percentage would switch back if they were provided information.

Recently there have been giant 'Administrative' posts by the operators of Freecycle Groups, some of these turned into actual polls of their membership. If you were able to read one of these large 'statements' and had little or no clue of the story from either side behind them - you'd be happy to agree to moving that Group away from TFN.

Why? Simple. Read the long post and you'll be entertained by a massive anti-freecycle explanation wrapped up in a question about making a change. If I read one of those and had little other information to make an informed decision, I would raise no objection as they strip down any facts or figures into making the Freecycle Network and its current leader look so bad you wouldn't want any part of them.

Again, this is sad in the fact these 'explanations' provided to the people who make Freecycle or any other recycling group flow are about as biased as you could imagine. Top that off with the fact a percentage of those providing the explanation have done something to cause their departure from TFN, they convieniently leave that information out. And then as other Owner/Moderators see these explanations fly around and read posts from these sources, they believe them as fact and perpetuate the problem further.

There is a sect out there just hell-bent on seeing the absolute destruction of Freecycle in any form and they continue to post instructions on how to get yourself kicked out of the Freecycle Network, how to hack and trash anything related to TFN and pump out continual misinformation and outright lies in order to get more TFN Owner/Mods to 'bail out'.

Recently, this sect went wild when one person reported a mass-unsubscription of Members from their group and immediately pointed the finger at Freecycle for doing this. One more of the fearmongers 'confirmed' this to be a true story and the fur flew. A day later it was discovered that in most cases it was their own Moderators 'cleaning house' of inactive Members and just didn't inform the person in charge it had been done. Not a single apology for the accusations has ever been made, don't expect to see one either.

During this 'incident' the fuel for a staged bail-out of several large TFN Groups occurred and used that situation as an excuse to leave without real notice or accurate explanations to their membership. At no point since then has anyone from those Groups who departed provided any proof that this had actually happened to them, nor proof of the source of the problem.

So this story will undoubtedly continue and feed the Media's need to report it as it's the prime material for getting a reader's attention. And we'll rarely hear the other side of the story, simply because 'if it bleeds, it leads'.

Posted by: Dave at September 1, 2005 09:37 AM

Mr. Hof,

This comment in your story hits it right on the nose:

Says one commenter: "They're in the midst of a great upheaval, groups right and left are leaving them and starting independent groups of their own. The founder hasn't gotten it through his head yet, that you can't "own" this concept, and the control he tries to impose is too much for many of us who just want a grassroots movement."

Here is a copy of what most are sending out to their groups to let them know why we are leaving the Freecycle Network and how we've all basically been had by someone only out to make a buck off of the members backs, while the rest of us are working our butts off as volunteers.

Greetings!

Effective immediately, we are no longer affiliated with the Freecycle Network, Inc.

This has come to pass for many reasons, some of which are below. Obviously, there is a great deal of sadness associated with this change due to lost opportunities. However, as one chapter closes another opens and we believe there will be new opportunities that simply never were

realized by Freecycle.org or the Freecycle Network Inc.

What the change will mean to members?

Essentially, nothing. The lists will continue as before, a place to offer or seek items that no longer need be consigned to our bulging landfills. Everything will continue to be free; no commercial announcements will be welcome.

What the change will mean to prospective members

For a time, it may be harder to find us. We anticipate this will be a temporary phenomenon, since we will be embarking upon a rather aggressive public relations campaign with the

help of each of our members!

Why was this change necessary?

To understand how this came about, a little history is in order.

The original Freecycle list was originated in May, 2003 in Tucson, Arizona. A local non-profit organization called Rise Inc. began to offer a service designed for businesses to get rid of surplus items by giving them to others rather than

discarding them. Fairly quickly, this was opened up to individuals as well as businesses. Others heard about this in other places, and started Freecycle lists of their own.

The idea soon attracted hundreds and ultimately thousands of others around the world but not without its problems. Such fast growth was very difficult to stay on top of, and it took many dedicated, experienced, and energetic volunteers

to build. However, the organization in Tucson quickly reached the level of its managerial competence but has resisted all attempts to make it more reflective of the members everywhere. For one thing, the original Rise Inc. staffer involved Mr. Deron Beal establishing a nonprofit

Arizona corporation to serve as the parent organization for the entire network. The Board of Directors consists of Deron, his wife, and a close family friend. List moderators and list owners elsewhere simply need not apply, nor have

there been serious efforts to attract outside Directors.

Originally, the agreement was that volunteer leaders from all lists were to make major decisions through polls and votes. Very few were held, and most of these were imposed upon the group by Mr. Beal without entertaining discussion

or additional input. Until recently, it had been about a year since the last such poll.

Meanwhile, a substantial cash grant was sought and secured from Waste Management, Inc., over the objections of many people involved in Freecycle around the world. That company may today be trying to reform, but a cursory examination of

its history indicates it has a rather unfavorable ecological record at best.

However, the desire to provide Mr. Beal an income overrode any serious discussion on the matter, and the grant was accepted without any examination of whether other alternatives existed. Thus,two-thirds of the Freecycle Board of Directors sets their own family income from a grant that was unwanted by a large group of Freecycle local leaders, with no review by

disinterested Directors possible under the current status. Furthermore, the corporation has never posted its Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws, let alone meeting minutes further

complicating issues of transparency that should be so important for a volunteer organization. Keep in mind, please, that Mr. Beal remains the only salaried employee of The Freecycle Network Inc. Several organization groups or committees have been created, such as the Group Outreach

Adminsitrators or GOAs. These individuals serve as trouble shooters where there are problems with local groups.

Relatively quickly after this designation was created by Mr. Beal, that became the primary focus of interaction rather than the larger group of local list administrators. However, this group also became somewhat disenchanted with the status

and complaints of the lack of transparency and the lack of input from the local level has resulted in the imposition of yet another group, called by Mr. Beal the Hub. This group consists of hand-picked leaders of the various activities

within Freecycle. Meanwhile, many of the most experienced organization leaders have either left Freecycle entirely, curtailed their activities beyond their local list, or have been shoved out because they have dared to suggest that change was in order.

Meanwhile, a number of groups have already left Freecycle, and still more are in the process of doing so. There has simply been a loss of credibility of sufficient magnitude regarding Mr. Beal that it now appears to be irreversible.

Thus, with sadness, we have concluded that this step is necessary if we are to continue to be responsive to local needs and, perhaps, to become a more meaningful voice in the communities we serve.

What about your membership?

If you want to stay members of the existing lists, you may do that by doing nothing. The name will change, but that is all. If, however, you want to become members of affiliated Freecycle lists, we feel relatively sure that replacements

will be created within the week as seen from previous history.

If they follow the pattern established over the past few months,there will be no local list owners for these new groups, although they will attempt to get local individuals involved

to moderate them. However, when these lists are established, we wish them well and have no animosity toward them or to those who wish to join them.

The fundamental principles involved in the local lists we agree with. We believe, however, that a supremely important aspect of the movement lies with keeping its direction as close to the individual members as possible. We believe that

no centrally-directed decision making that does not allow for ideas and needs to be expressed from the individual list and list member upward is in the ultimate interest of our

communities.

We have waited and watched the tremendous ferment going on throughout the Freecycle network. With all the uproar, we had hoped that a new course would be taken. Unfortunately, no such thing has resulted. Our conclusion has been that the

demands upon Mr. Beal have simply far exceeded his

experience and his present state of knowledge, and that he appears unwilling to learn.

Therefore, we will stop being involved in the drama, but will take this step to disaffiliate and focus our energies and our attention where it belongs upon the needs of our members and our communities.

If you have any further questions you may contact me directly.

Sincerely,

***********************

When I joined freecycle and created my group it was the greatest thing going. There were no major rules and regulations handed down by Freecycle other than to keep it legal and keep it free. Then as time passed, more and more regulations were being handed down on how to run the group. Most were ignored by me as I've run groups on Yahoo for many many years and never had a problem. There was one rule that I did take into effect and that was to have a second owner/moderator incase something happened, so I promoted to owner someone I trust to not hurt the group. All was fine, then I start getting e-mails from Deron and just recently one of his flunkies telling me that I had (HAD) to make Deron a full owner of my group otherwise I would be in danger of my group suddenly disappearing, which has happened as they seem to have an in at Yahoo to get groups deleted if they are not following Deron's rules, using the violation of trademark spiel. Thing is, there isn't a valid trademark yet.

Here are some of the links where previous freecycle groups are now being listed:

www.freesharing.org

www.recyclecentral.org

http://groups.msn.com/T-R-U-E

http://www.sharingisgiving.org/

www.freeXchange.org

www.FreeCycleAmerica.org

As you can see this is not some fly by night movement away from Freecycle. I know you will be hearing from Deron and his Bealites as they will be putting quite a spin on what's going on, almost to the point of making you believe that there has only been a loss of one or two groups. Unfortunately, you really can't tell by looking at his webpage freecycle.org because as one group leaves he creates a replacement within days. The member count, well, the count is completely off as I know for myself, I'm counted at least 7 times, as all they do is include the count of the group, not taking into account that most are members of more than one group. I see this on a daily basis when I see the same post 3, 4 sometimes 5 times in my inbox as they've posted the same message to each group.

I can go on and on, but I think you've gotten the drift of things.

Thank you

Posted by: IS at September 1, 2005 12:04 PM

I live in Massachusetts. I was dismissed from the Arizona FC Network because I refused to have someone I did not know from Arizona as a co-owner. I had someone in my community as a co-owner and was comfortable with that. Deron Beal was not, so I got the ax. Why would I want some corporation running my community from Arizona? It is as per FCN rules locally owned and operated.

Posted by: Paul Hurteau at September 1, 2005 12:04 PM

None of the free recycling groups would be here had it not been for Freecycle. Freesharing feeds Freeshare by creating fear in Freecycle moderators and members. This fear technique opens the door for Freesharing and other such groups to harvest members from Freecycle and all in the name of fear. To Freeshare and other such groups, it is not about the members but the NUMBERS. This is all about power and nothing more for those who are working to bring Freecycle down.

Posted by: Bob at September 1, 2005 12:07 PM

Freecycle started and grew as an open grassroots movement. Freecyclers everywhere flocked to the idea of freecycling to help out their neighbors and themselves. The term freecycle came to be known as "to recycle by giving something to another for free". Lots of people had lots of stuff (still do) they they don't need that is taking up room. It is convenient and easy to freecycle such stuff -- easier then selling it (time is money).

Then The Freecycle Network changed into one that attempted to go a more (non-profit) corporate route that wanted more control with trademark claims, trademark enforcement, money, a single user ID that could be used to "own" every group in The Freecycle Network. This extra control took significant extra resources. These resources partly came from Waste Management in the form of money and even more so from a brave band of noble volunteers that tried to coordinate all of this. But all of this was too much work and most of those volunteers got burned out. Plus the feedback/change control mechanisms were not sufficient to fix problems that were arising. So most of the top volunteers within The Freecycle Network flamed out -- they realized that what they were helping build had corrupted itself. Various power trips had gotten out of control. Folks wanted more of a voice in the process.

The very nature of freecycling encourages activists who want things to be as free as possible. The control aspect does not sit well with them. Plus freecycling is an easy thing to do that you can do just about anywhere and not need The Freecycle Network to accomplish. Anyone can set up a freecycle group and freecycle groups themselves are a piece of cake to run. That's why so many have popped up so quickly.

Thus the explosion and now dispersion of lots of top central volunteers within The Freecycle Network.

Freecycling is still a great thing to do and will undoubtedly continue -- hopefully forever. It is rare when a new popular term such as "freecycle" is coined. Freecycling still best describes what is now returning to be an open movement with freesharing.org, freecycleamerica.org, and many others in many areas of the internet. Enjoy!

Posted by: Tim at September 1, 2005 12:23 PM

I am one of the "defected" moderators. I did not poll my group members to see if they would like to switch. I created a new group and invited my members to the new group, the same work, less politics. Those that wished to leave with me did and the ones that didn't, didn't.

One of the Rules of freecycle is everything must be free, well for some reason that still has yet to be explained to me. Mr. Deron Beal decided to take a BIG check from Waste Management for sponsorship. Of course reasons were tried to be explained, like a new improved website, lawyers,yadda yadda yadda. We all know how cheap you can buy a domain name for, and how cheap it is to to maintain it. Oh not to mention that he needed a paycheck. But he is in a sense making $ off the members that give things, their things away to their neighbors for free. While I sit by and settle arguments, offer advice to other moderators, promote freecycle, manage 2 groups of members, approve posts, and memberships, not to mention a few things I'm sure I've left out. He makes a paycheck. I make nothing. No, I'm not upset that I make nothing, just as not upset that anyone should be that I took my group and left. I made it freely and volunteered my time and energy. I have decided to not do it for Deron Beal anymore. MY group MY choice.

Posted by: Jennifer at September 1, 2005 12:23 PM

Any wildly successful concept is going to have its detractors. No surprise seeing Paul Hurteau and some of these other trolls posting here.

These folks are a small, highly vocal, jealous bunch who were excluded from Freecycle after they were unable to follow the most basic rules.

What's amazing is how munch energy they spend in tearing something down instead of building something new.

What's also amazing is the lack of facts and vast quantity of rumors and outright lies circulating by those who were unable to get Deron to do what they wanted him to do.

Reading their rants, is it no wonder they were excluded. Freecycle is merely trying to protect its name and the quality of the service to its members from these unscrupulous profiteers. Freecycle is the *only* group registered as a non-profit and with a pending 501(c)3 before the IRS.

Anybody who has done any non-profit work will quickly recognize that the $100,000 grant Freecycle received from WM was paltry and is badly needed at this point in Freecycle's growth. WM gave it with no strings attached and no tax deductions for itself.

A small minority of Freecycle volunteers have left their central volunteer positions when it became clear they would not get paid for their work anytime soon, nor would they be promoted to a small, central decision-making forum. It's too bad their pride got in the way of their helping such a great massive paradigm shift in our economy. Now they have formed their own for-profit (not non-profit) organizations in hopes of capturing some moolah and power for themselves.

Too bad for the members of the groups who thought they were members of Freecycle groups and now find themselves hijacked into being members of something entirely different without any choice on their part, just a unilateral misappropriation of their membership by their moderator.

Posted by: Paul at September 1, 2005 02:24 PM

Quote: "Freecycle is merely trying to protect its name and the quality of the service to its members from these unscrupulous profiteers. Freecycle is the *only* group registered as a non-profit and with a pending 501(c)3 before the IRS."

Freecycle is the only group making money off the back of volunteers.

It is ONLY registered as a non-profit in Arizona.

And as far as "Quality of Service", well the lies told by Deron Beal speak volumes about that. None of the other groups fear constructive suggestions.

"Pending" does not mean approved and it should not be assumed that it will be approved based on what I have seen in the FCN.

For full details about www.FreeCycleAmerica.org funding, please visit:

http://www.freecycleamerica.org/funds.htm

I have asked time and time again to see the financial statements from FCN and have not heard anything.

FCN is late in filing its financial statement with Arizona according to the Arizona Government web site.

To call people who only want the truth "TROLLS" is like calling Deron Beal an honest man.

Paul Hurteau

70 Quaker Street

PO Box 528

Millville, MA 01529

www.FreeCycleAmerica.org

Posted by: Paul Hurteau at September 1, 2005 03:31 PM

I am one of the first to defect from fc back in Feb. I at that time started Sharingisgiving.org. I was one of those that worked for many hours a week for the grassroots movement. As I saw things starting to change and addressed it I was badmouthed by Mr. Beal as filled with negativity! Sure when you donate tons of hours a week for a cause you believe in and see it turning into a Monster (the exact word I used with Mr. Beal) you start opening your eyes.

The minute, FC took Corporate money from one of the largest polluters in the USA, maybe the world, without talking to any of the owners of the thousands of groups, it was time to leave. It was no longer about grassroots, but about money and power.

I tried to work with Mr. Beal but was treated like the garbage that WWI hauls away. Just as anyone else in ownership or management positions, high or low, were.

Anyone in the help group “The Modsquad” that said anything about what was going on that did not agree with FC was put on moderation and then removed, by the dozens! Of course this will be denied, and done quietly!

Then as the top folks in FC started to see what I saw months ago and got tired of doing Mr. Beal’s bad deeds, and started leaving themselves and others were fired because of support of those leaving, the doors opened, wide!

The lies started to be exposed and folks started to see the new fc, the "work for me for free so I can take a nice salary from WWI" fc. Groups started leaving, some on their own and some to those that had the foresight to leave months ago.

As time moved on I saw shoot off group after shoot off group start up. This is what happens when folks are treated unfairly and want to continue to serve their community.

I like many of the other groups have seen enrollment grow greatly in the last couple of weeks. What is sad is that many have been ruined by the lies and treatment by fc that they just want to start their own group “Mom and Pop Recycle" and are afraid to join one of the larger groups as those mentioned previously. So Sad.

FC has had Yahoo shut down groups by the hundreds! Take away ID's so folks lose all of there saved emails and groups under that ID. It is done unfairly and without warning. I know this is fact because it has happened to me, FOR NO REASON other than using the word “freecycle"! Fc does not own the TM on the word! I have written letters to corporate Yahoo founders, via snail mail. I have done this twice with no response at all. So one has to ask, what person does fc have in Yahoo doing their dirty work? When it is brought to corporate attention in writing with documented proof by more than just me and it continues to happen, it has to make you wonder. Is it all about the money at Yahoo also?

Do they like fc's inflated numbers, so bang the little guys? Fc's numbers are so inflated it isn't even funny, it is sickening. You have folks that belong to 3-6 groups, some under multiple ID's and each one is counted as a member. Does Yahoo not see that fc's numbers are so ridiculously inflated it is hilarious. The funniest part of all is fc is using WWI to move fc out of yahoo and onto it’s own server! How do you like them now Yahoo? Continue to remove the groups that plan on staying with you and support the ones that plan to take thousands, NOT millions as claimed by fc away from you. Good corporate decision.

Now that I speak up about the treatment of Yahoo to the little guys there may be no more SiG! Who knows? If it does happen I will be sure to post it here!

I am a low key person that started SiG and am paying for it out of pocket because I believe in the concept and the people that do also. I do not go looking for fc groups, or use scare tactics, I let word of mouth let folks find SiG and if they want to join the SiG Network, great if the want to be listed as "Mom and Pop Recycle" they are welcome to have your group listed.

In closing, fc started a good thing, but money, lies and greed got in the way. That will ruin any good thing. Some of the real insiders, the previous GOA’s if willing, can really shed some bright light on the inner workings of fc. I hope they have the courage to do so. Then the world will know the truth, not what comes from fc drones that are still under Mr. Beal’s disillusionment. Come on folks, open your eyes as the others have and get real and see what is really happening with fc.

Thank you for running this story and giving us the opportunity to comment on it.

PK

Posted by: PK at September 1, 2005 03:34 PM

I am a bit miffed at reading the comment suggesting I left because of any other offshoot group posting negative comments. That is so far from the truth that your ignorance upsets me!

I left on my own because of the deception and the dirtiness I experienced FIRSTHAND!

When I wrote to Mr. Beal about my concerns with what was going on and why I left the NGA position, I got the royal brush-off. Next the State GOA tried to join my group. I did allow that, but because Mr. Beal would not reply to my questions I demoted Mr. Beal to mod status with no privileges. Thank goodness for that, or Mr. Beal would have next instructed the GOA to remove me from my own group!

I then asked my members what they wanted to do. THEY opted for the name change. Our group was removed from the FC Network before the name change. When a group was set up to replace ours, I looked to see the start date. It was 3 weeks prior to there being any issues with me, the NGA position, or my group that I was aware of. Of course I was assured by the GOA that they have these spare groups just lying around just in case they need them. No, I don’t believe that lie either…

Since then, we have moved off Yahoo to our own forum. We have chosen to be affiliated with Sharing is Giving. www.Sharingisgiving.org This organization does NOT try to control our members or owners. The founder is supportive and allows us to do our own thing in our own way. He answers questions that are asked in a timely manor and has one set of rules for all SIG owners – that everything stay FREE. This is how it should be. Maybe Mr. Beal should ask for some lessons from the founder of SharingisGiving?

Nora Child

San Antonio Neighborhood Recycle – Sharing is Giving

Texas

Posted by: Nora Child at September 1, 2005 03:39 PM

The previous poster Paul (not Paul Hurteau) seems to forget that Freecycle is only a non-profit in the State of Arizona and not the rest of the country. Deron's application hasn't been approved by the IRS, just as his trademark application hasn't been approved either.

Also I would like to say, that my group and I are still in the Freecycle Network, so I'm not a troll and not dishing out lies and mis-truths. I'm just saying that I don't like what Deron is doing which is going to bring Freecycle down to its knees and he's doing it all in the name of a paycheck.

He has lost site of the original goal when this was started and when I became a member.

Thank you

Posted by: is at September 1, 2005 03:56 PM

A few thoughts:

First who I am: I am a Former Freecycle group owner who has now left the Network as of 8/22/05.

I opened our group in May 2004. I became involved in The Back office work, around July of 2004. My first job for Freecycle was as the Database Administrator. I worked along with GOAs, the Group Outreach Assistants. Some of the work I did was to remove groups who were not in compliance per GOA order.

Non compliance could be:

Failure to add Ersatz Friend as co owner.

Doing things that did not go along with Freecycle guidelines.

Use of the Logo after you had been declared a

rogue. A rogue was originally a group that did not get Freecycle sanction to open. It became the term for any group who used the name, or the logo.

If you were removed for failure to do what you were asked/ordered by a GOA, your link was subject to removal from the Freecycle.org website.

If you were removed, and you did not do what you were asked within a certain time period, you were then replaced by a 'Parallel' group, of which Ersatz Friend aka Deron, was the only owner.

After this happened, you would then receive a Cease and Desist email. I sent those, in fact I wrote the first ones used. I personally sent out

290 of those to groups who were labelled rogue.

At a point in time, Freecycle gained access to Yahoo, in other words, Yahoo was asked and agreed to delete groups whom we had sent these notices to.

And Yahoo did follow through. On one day at the beginning of Freecycle's success, about 60 groups were deleted in one day. My last knowledge is of a day where 300 plus more were summarily deleted.

My second job was as part of a three-person fund rising team, our purpose to gather information and leads to garner more money, grants, funds for Freecycle.

My third job was as the New Group Approver for the State of Florida. I was nominated and elected by my Florida Mod peers for that one. I also stepped in to assist with the State of Idaho in this same position.

Those of us who did the back-office stuff, like the GOAs, NGAs, etc and have since exited Stage Left, are now able to tell each other things that we were under advisement/order not to share with the others.

Example: What the GOA does, they do not tell the NGA of. And now that I know more, much more than I ever wanted to know, I am glad of that

advisement. Had I known these things earlier, my tenure with Freecycle would have been much shorter.

Why did everyone leave that left?

Because we could no longer trust in the direction we were being led from the top. Because as the things they were asked to either do, participate in, or operate in full knowledge of; became ugly and tainted.

This departure you are seeing is not a case or taking our toys and going home. It's simply a gradual realization that we no longer could

be a part of the behind-the-scenes plans and schemes.

When trust goes, respect quickly follows in its footsteps. When respect and trust are gone, fear comes in. When fear comes in, you have two choices: Stay and ignore your little voice, that by now is screaming at you. Or leave, keep your integrity, and your dignity.

The more you know, the harder it becomes to stay. For group owners and mods, it can be easier, especially if you do not pay mind to what goes

on.

My departure was not a kneejerk reaction in any way. I made myself wait, I made myself hang on, to see if I saw a turn of the tide.

When it became apparenent that it was not forthcoming and that those who asked questions were now on the 'Bad List' I began my prep to leave.

When I demoted EF, which was about the same time I saw the Chat of the GOAs in the plan to remove Deanna, that gave me good reason to realize

my list could be compromised. I am not saying it WAS compromised, but I took that ability away for it to be downloaded, or for me to be removed. No sense being caught with my pants down.

What really, really made my decision to finally leave was when after removing EF from my groups, the EF person, whoever was in control of

it on that particular day, CAME BACK onto the Titusville list.

I had already removed him/it/her whatever that personna is. Yet days later, I get a notification of a New Member. And it's none other than

EF. I certainly did not invite him/it/her.

Now my question, which still remains unanswered and puzzles me, perhaps someone here can help, or give a thought on.

WHY did EF come back to the Titusville group?

What was the purpose of that move?

Was it hoped that I had a Co Owner who could be asked to re promote Him/It/Her ? And thus regain control of the group?

Unfortunately, if that were the case, and the plan; my co owners were not the type that would have done that, as we had spoken of this move for weeks, and I had already been urged months ago to leave the Network by my most trusted and revered Co-owner on the groups.

I'd like to hear anyone's thoughts on why the EF persona came back to Titusville.

Here I have included the screen shot of my moderator log from the Titusville Freecycle group.

It was still a Freecycle group at this time.

http://freespaces.com/glennhess/EFscreenshot.html

It clearly shows:

Date I added him as Co Owner

Date I removed him as Co Owner

Date he returned to the list

Date I banned him.

I also know of a large group in North Florida where a green light had been given to remove the owner at any time the GOA felt it prudent.

Whether this green light is still in effect right now, since the GOA has left, is unknown but I was given this info from the 'horses' mouth.

Hope this finds all well, and regardless of your affiliation, either still within Freeccyle or having left, I consider all still my friends

and still have the same respect for you I always did.

Char

Melbourne, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach and Titusville groups

Brevard County Florida

Now back to a grassroots group, with Local moderators and owners.

Posted by: Charlotte Hess at September 1, 2005 06:39 PM

Very simply - I think it's really sad when someone's ego sets control issues in motion and gets in the way of doing something good and worthwhile. But... there is no monopoly on giving things away and helping others. So to the "boss" - keep the ego, keep the control factor - "freecycling" goes on.....without you.

Posted by: Patricia at September 1, 2005 06:51 PM

Welcome to the 'spin zone'!!!

'Only non-profit making money off the work of its volunteers'?? Who thought that bad spin up?

Freecycle as an Arizona non-profit Corporation with a pending 501c3 IRS certification has 'employees'. Ya know, those people who work for a living and get paid for that work.

Let's see. So that means if this isn't 'right' in some folks' eyes, especially those who had their hands out as well no matter how hard they try to deny it, then we have to kill a few other organizations too!

American Red Cross - paid employees with volunteer staff. Hell with New Orleans - they're money-grubbing pigs at the top and it's time to go.

United Way - paid employees with volunteer staff. No more giving at the office with some of your paycheck! Rotten communists, kill them all.

Goodwill - oh, forget it. Screw the whole lot of those self-centered bastards! Why should they get free stuff and resell it in those stores? And actually pay a few people here and there to operate the stores, like a manager to ensure it all doesn't walk off? The hypocrites!

How many more, especially smaller organizations with staff setups like Freecycle, do we need to go


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