I was banned from Freecycle yesterday. And boy am I perturbed.
Freecycle is a great concept, kind of a like a free version of Craigslist. if you've got something in your house taking up space, and you know it's not worth trying to sell, you can post it on Freecycle to see if anyone wants it before you toss it in a landfill. Through our local Pittsburgh Freecycle program, I've seen everything from old gas stoves, to goldfish, to books on The Rapture, to used menstrual pads go to good homes (I'm serious about those last two).
So why was I banned?
Well, I've gotten rid of a half dozen things over the past year, including used paint cans, old kids books, and (the latest) a broken-but-fixable Kenmore clothes washer. Freecycle has a number of rules for posting. Every email you send to the list must include the word "Offer", "Taken", or "Wanted" at the beginning of the email. Additionally, you must include the name of your local town in the title of the email so people know what are of the region you are in. And of course, no spam, porn, or marketing on there. Oh, and no money can change hands in the transaction. Seems reasonable, right?
I was given three strikes. The first strike was with my very first post. I posted a "Wanted" email looking for a trash can to replace one that got mangled in a storm. That's a no-no. It seems you must give before you can receive. The second strike was when I forgot to put the name of my township in the title of the email. Oops, but easily corrected when the moderator bounced the email back to me.
But the third annoyed me After I offered up the clothes washer for grabs, I got at least two dozen interested replies. it would be a few days before anyone picked it up, so I wanted to let additional folks on the list know to stop emailing me. So I sent another message with "PPU" in the title, which means "planned pickup". Except I failed to put "taken" in the email. That's it. I'm banned from posting anything else.
Now, I'm all for security measures as well as for keeping things orderly and systematized. But SURELY in this day and age the Freecycle gurus can think of a better way to handle this. Like, I dunno...maybe just automatically bouce the email back if it's not formatted correctly, so that the writer can rewrite it? Let's see now...here I am saving a huge hunk of steel from the garbage heap, helping out a family in need, AND even DELIVERING it to the family when he discovered his car trailer was not up to the task. And yet I'M EVIL for not including the word "TAKEN" in a fricking email!!!
I sent a couple of emails to the moderator, who essentially explained to me that rules are rules. I then emailed the overall Freecycle customer service email to tell them their rules are retarded. Now, I guess I'm going to register again under a false name so I can post again. Maybe I'll register under two names, and with the second send a bunch of spam and porn to the list in an attempt to give the moderator some REAL work to do.