Can’t Give It Away…

Colin asks:

“Hey Phantom, what’s going on with Greenwich Freecycle?”

The Phantom replies:

Colin, if there is one thing that you can almost guarantee with any group of people it is that there will be Politics. Some people will think one thing, others will think something else and inevitably things will come to blows. It doesn’t matter how big or small the group – in fact often the smaller the group the more vicious and personal the argument. This usually ends with a split – two groups doing exactly the same thing, both thinking that they’re the ‘real’ thing, and each hating the other’s guts.

While I can’t tell you anything of the politics ‘what’s going on’ (because I don’t know them…) I can tell you that there is now a breakaway group in Greenwich doing the free-cycle thing.

In case you don’t know what the Freecycle movement is, it’s basically a Yahoo Group where people advertise things they no longer need that would otherwise go to landfill and other people who need them take the things off their hands.

I think it’s brilliant and although I’ve only ever got two tomato plants off it, I’ve got rid of all kinds of junk over the years – stuff I don’t need but would have felt ‘guilty’ about chucking away but can give to someone else with an open heart.

Something’s been brewing over the past months between the local administrator and sundry users. I don’t know what it is and I don’t want to know – I certainly don’t want the argument to pop up here, okay?  I get no pleasure for seeing people who I am sure have only good intentions, on both sides, fall out. To be honest I began to weary of the obscure emails I was getting as a member of the mailing list and since it wasn’t my fight anyway, I confess I quietly moved them to my junk folder. So I have to thank Lara for actually continuing to read them and tell me to take a peek at the latest ones.

Suffice to say that this particular spat has got out of hand and the local moderator has been asked to resign from the official movement. She’s upset about this, saying that she’s not had any explanation for the request.

She sent round an email asking that if she started her own version (with a different name) would members be interested, as an extra thing – she’s not interested in all-or-nothing – you could be part of both hers and the official Yahoo group. She presumably got a favourable response as the new group is now up and running.

“This Group is primarily about Recyling items to keep them out of landfill. This site will allow you to Swap Items, and a community cafe to exchange idea’s such as recipies, gardening tips, suggestions, advice and information.”

If you want to try the new group it’s here.

I’m not sure what will happen with official Greenwich Freecycle. Such a shame when things like this, that start out with the very best of intentions, have issues that break up friendships.

7 Comments to “Can’t Give It Away…”

  1. Arthur says:

    This incident has been portrayed in a bit of a strange light over the mailing list. All I know is that the police were involved and that banning the moderator was the only course of action.

    Hopefully things will settle down now and the group can return to normal.

  2. Gilbert says:

    There is now a Greenwich Freecycle group at

    It seems my membership was transferred to the Greenwichfleecycle group, which I had not requested. However on the web it says that this group has been disabled.

    Disclaimer: I am just a humble user of the Freecycle network and have no other connection with it.

  3. Alfron says:

    I wouldn’t want to get involved in the politics of it all (as I know nothing of it, and it has been very nasty in the past…) but I did notice recently that the name of the group has been changed to ‘Greenwich Fleecycle’, meaning that the only result when one searches for it is the new group.

  4. Capability Bowes says:

    The official freecycle group is still running as far as i gather. Its still listed on the official Freecycle site and I’m still getting emails.

    [comment edited by moderator - sorry]

  5. Matthew Gough says:

    It seems the old freecyclegreenwich has gone, and a new group has been set up (the one Gilbert linked to).

    I suspect the oddly named groups (Greenwichfleecycle and freecyclegreen, and youcyclenownownow) were actually the old group but re-named temporarily by the old moderator.

    When I emailed the UK director of Freecycle he said a new group was being set up, and I assume that’s the new freecyclegreenwich on yahoo groups.

    We should ignore the messages saying it’s been shut down, but make sure that you re-join ‘Greenwichfreecycle’ in yahoo.

  6. Capability Bowes says:

    I stand corrected, Phant. This situation is obviously a bit out of hand now. But the link given by Gilbert above is to the correct group and any users still registered to what is now called “Greenwich Freegle” or “Greenwich Fleecycle” should go to the yahoo groups home page and cancel their membership as this is a breakaway group set up by the outgoing moderator (for want of a better description) which has no connection with the official Freecycle organisation and to which members’ email addresses etc were exported to without authorisation.

  7. MellowBellot says:

    Hey Phantom friends,

    I have also had my details moved over to the Freegle group without giving permission. Does anyone know if this is even legal under the data protection act? I’ve joined the new legitimate group, owned by the official Freecycle people and I think I’ll unsubscribe from Freegle – those moderator emails are getting crazier by the minute!