Do's and Don'ts for Freecycle Moderators

Do keep it free, legal and appropriate for all ages

This means, for example, no pornography, alcohol, tobacco, drugs (legal or otherwise), firearms or other weapons. Two strikes and you're out of the group. This is our main Freecycle rule to live by and it's a pretty easy one at that.

Do require that resellers announce their intention to do so

For more information and suggested notices, see the Reseller Guidelines.

Do keep the Guidelines and Disclaimer file in your files section

This sample welcome file includes the required Guidelines and Disclaimer. Feel free to adapt it to use as a Welcome file for new members

Do stick to the Moderator Oath

I pledge to be a really nice and patient person in my role as moderator. I promise to use the Freecycle name only for noncommercial purposes. I will do my best to keep my Freecycle.org group free of spam, scams and advertisements. I'll suggest people give preference to nonprofit groups when giving stuff away. And, finally, I shall come clean of my pack rat ways and clean out my own garage before asking the same of others!

Do live where your group is located

We ask that all moderators live in the area that is served by the Town group. Only a local resident will know the needs of the community and the available resources, such as local recycling facilities, community events, gathering spots, compatible non-profit groups, etc.

Moderators may be lead moderator on only one group. Moderators may be back-up moderators on other groups if necessary. A back-up moderator is one who is on a group simply for emergencies. The back-up moderator does not participate in the day to day running of the group and has limited privileges to approve members and messages in case of an emergency. However, we encourage all groups to find enough local moderators so that a back up is not necessary.

If you would like to do more for Freecycle beyond moderating a single group, please check out the Volunteers page for more opportunities.

Don't allow politics, proselytizing, spam, money, personal attacks or rudeness.

Please reject such posts and put offenders on moderation. Report spammers to Spam Control and let your GOA know about members who repeatedly abuse the rules.

Don't allow advertising of 'For Sale' or other commercial sites

We encourage magnanimous giving with absolutely no strings attached.

Don't 'forbid' WANTED postings as a category from your board for ANY period of time

be it a day or a weekend, etc...

WANTEDs serve a valuable purpose, one that becomes clear when you meet the first appreciative recipient whose WANTED post you fulfilled. They remind potential givers of things they might be ready to let go of, and they *really* help local nonprofit groups ask for what they need rather than having to take what they get.

So reinforce how great OFFERs are, and instill in your members the importance of paying forward, but never put down WANTEDs. That's the juggling act we all have. If you do this you'll find that with as your group grows, it will have as many or more Offers as WANTEDs - it's the nature of the beast. We bipeds are basically caring and giving individuals, with just a teensy bit of *positive* reinforcement.

You may find that it helps to limit the frequency of individual member WANTED posts, however, as well as the frequency with which members can post the same WANTED, say once a month or once every couple of weeks.

Don't require that members MUST make an OFFER post as their first act of membership

You can encourage members to get the ball rolling by first making an offer to the local Town group, but if we require new members post an Offer first it endangers our charitable status.

Don't fully moderate your group

Most posts should appear on Freecycle.org groups without having to go through moderation. In addition, the vast majority of members in your group should not be on moderation. Moderation of new members' posts is fine - just remember to take the folks off moderation within a week or two so that these don't pile up. Important: The moderation of troublemakers is highly advised.

You may ask your GOA what percentage of your group is moderated. If the percentage is too high, your GOA will ask you to fully unmod your group.

Don't ask for personal information when approving members

This includes full names, addresses, phone numbers, social security number, etc. It is an invasion of our members' privacy and is more than is needed to keep a local group running smoothly. If you limit your group by geographic area, it's enough to ask for cross streets and/or postal codes.

We also don't ask for this information as it exposes local volunteers and the organization overall to the risk of having and maintaining such information. If we don't have such information, we don't risk it being accessed and something happening (robbery, stalking, you name it).

Sharing such personal information also makes potential members uneasy : why does Freecycle need this info? Unfortunately, in today's world, we have to be extremely careful about personal info.

Don't moderate a group with competing aims to Freecycle

Yes, please don't moderate a group with competing aims while moderating with The Freecycle Network. "Competing aims" includes other reuse/recycle sites as well as buy/sell groups because of a potential conflict of interest.

Don't be a dictator

Remember, the group actually belongs to the members, and our role as mods is just to make the group run smoothly and safely for them to use.

A note about your ID and email address

Be aware that you are a "public" figure with your local Freecycle.org group. Please choose your email address and username with that in mind. You do not have to include moderator, or any other connotation that you are a moderator, but please keep the following in mind:

  1. Be sure your ID and email address are family-friendly and not related to any business or organization. Your personal email may convey how you identify yourself to friends and family, but you must be aware that not everyone feels that way, or supports that team, and may be offended.
  2. You are encouraged to create a group-centric ID and email which may be shared with other mods to communicate with members. We request that each moderator use a maximum of two moderator email addresses when moderating the group. Please make sure your GOA knows what IDs and email addresses you are using to moderate the group. 
  3. Please use your personal email to join FLC and other Freecycle-related discussion groups.
  4. You cannot use a signature/tagline which contains any advertising or promotes any business or organization you are involved with.
  5. We ask you please not include any site links in your address, or photos and names of your children, or any other personal information. Not only does it appear unprofessional, but you may begin having problems like harassment, spam, etc. We don't hide our identities, but we don't broadcast them either.

Tags: #fcmodman

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