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Submitted by domesticat on 24 February 2010 - 11:01am
I am not always good at keeping my temper in check. It is a real failing, not the kind of faux failing-that's-actually-a-strength you bring up in a job interview when you're asked, "So what is your greatest weakness?" I've always been aware that the JeffSpouse is a weak spot where my temper is concerned.
For those of you who don't know where this is going, I refer you to Freecycling in Huntsville, Alabama: now with moderator insults! for the account of Jeff's run-in with the moderator of the Huntsville, Alabama Freecycle group.
Be a jerk to me, and I'll fume and sulk and mostly get over it. Being a jerk to Jeff is not advised. Given that he is self-effacing and decent and caring and just plain NICE — far nicer than I fear I'll ever manage to be — it sets me off. Setting me off intentionally is a bad thing. See the title of this entry. My mother had a saying: "eight feet tall and bulletproof." Ouch. Yeah. That's me when I'm mad.
So — I wrote an entry. I have a module set up on domesticat.net that auto-notifies ping.fm, which in turn notifies facebook, plurk, my private twitter account (@domesticat), and livejournal. I realized my private twitter account is a walled garden, though; I like having some small vestige of privacy.
I looked at my public twitter account (@amyqmc) and I decided to post it there, too. I first tossed something out with a #Freecycle hashtag and then checked the stream — turned out it was full of people mentioning they were doing Freecycle donations, or where to drop them off, or where to pick them up. Then I realized the national Freecycle office had a twitter account.
@Freecycle Is this really how your moderators should be acting toward prospective members? http://ping.fm/euo8n
I heard back from the national office within three hours with a request for more information and contact info.
As it turned out, Freecycle has a person monitoring social media, and he was responsive and helpful. He made certain we were contacted by the person over the Alabama Freecycle network. We forwarded copies of the entire exchange to the national and state organizations, and while we had their attention, passed on some of the problems that Wendy had had with our local group during her short moderator tenure. We didn't hear much of anything, and we wondered whether or not the issue had been dropped.
I've been making a point to stay off of my laptop at night, so I didn't see this message sent to the local Freecycle group until Jeff forwarded it to me this morning:
It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness I approach you this evening. It has been brought to my attention that there are members of this group who are not happy with the work I perform. I do not wish to impeed the mission of the group, so I must step down as owner, so that the valueable work we do may continue. I have been dedicated to this cause for a great number of years now, and had thought I had shown my care, support and concern to you. It seems I have failed miserably according to some members. I will miss you and will be close if you need me for anything.
Most of you have already come to know Kim. She has been one of your moderators for some time now. In the event she has to leave town for an emergency I will be filling in until her Mom's health concerns are resolved. She will become your new leader.
I want to thank my loyal supporters for the great things we have accomplished here in my 3 years with you. It is my feverant desire that you keep building on the work we have already completed to further this mission to the fartherest limits that may be reached. Keep Freecycle working! It works for you!
I would have preferred to see Jeff receive an apology, but this resignation greatly lessens the possibility that other members hoping to join the group will get the same treatment Jeff did. I'll accept that. It's not a total victory, but it's a start. The national Freecycle office gets major kudos from me for using social media to be responsive to its users, as well as for addressing the problem.
Moral #1 of the story: not everyone wants to subscribe to every email that a group sends out. Yahoo's web interface for group messages is preferable for some people, especially those who are infrequent contributors.
Moral #2 of the story: Don't be a jerk to Jeff. He's nice. His wife isn't.
We'll have our next round of Freecycle donations ready to go in a few weeks.