Abandoned Groups Procedure

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This document was initially adopted by the Reps at the meeting of 24th September 2014 and amended in November 2014 after discussion and recommendation on Structure group. The document has been amended in September 2016 and since. (check 'history' above to view changes). This document below is the current procedure.


A group's owner role is to look after the group and Freegle's reputation. Part of this is asking for help if required and if the group is not being moderated or emails to the volunteer team not being answered, Freegle needs to address this as soon as possible. It is always preferable that a group is owned and run locally and Freegle will respect the wishes of active owners. It is preferred that all groups are run in line with the Best Practice guidelines.


An abandoned group is one with absent owners. Absent owners are those who:

  • have not been active on the group for an extended period (eg. 1 week), or totalling more than 3 weeks out of a period of 6 weeks, and
  • have not responded to reasonable and extensive attempts to contact them; or
  • have responded to contact attempts but are frequently inactive for periods of 24 hours and over, and
  • have given no prior notice or other information that may explain their absence is temporary.

Owners may be considered to have abandoned their group if absent as above, even if there are active (non-owner) moderators. The Mentor Team can decide to promote any or all of the remaining moderators to owner.


A caretaker of a group can be:


If a situation arises on a local Freegle group where only a caretaker remains after the most recent owner is considered absent, then that caretaker can do one of the following at their discretion:

  • Step in after a week (as above) of non-moderation to take on temporary ‘owner status’ to sort out the situation.
  • Arrange promotion of one or more of the existing local volunteers of the group to owner status


  • Recruit a new volunteer team including at least one new owner, for the group.
    • The email address of absent owners must retain moderator privileges.
    • After six months an absent group's owner and/or moderator(s) can be demoted to member.
    • The procedures detailed in the Caretaker Groups Guidelines (http://wiki.ilovefreegle.org/Caretaker_Groups#Passing_over_Caretaker_Group_to_new_team) will apply.
    • If a group's absent owner should return, he/she should be given the opportunity to work as part of the volunteer team.


If attempts in the timescale described above to contact the group's owner have not resulted in acceptable response from any local volunteer with full moderation access, the Mentor Team will do the following:

  • Step in after a week (as above) of non-moderation to take on temporary ‘owner status’ as a Caretaker to sort out the situation.
  • Email the group's owner at least three times offering help in 5 day intervals. The second email will include information about the Abandoned Group procedure if no reply has been received.
  • Post on Central to ask for ways to contact the missing group's Owner and follow up any leads.
  • Phone the Owner if the correct number is known.
  • Check online, including social media to see if a message can be sent via Facebook etc.
  • Send one final email informing group's owner that if a caretaker is on board a new volunteer team will be promoted, or, if no caretaker is on board, that a recommendation is being sent to the Board, who will be informed that the group is now considered abandoned and a new owner will need to be added. This will not be before 3 weeks non communication and/or non activity by the group owner.
  • If a group's owner responds during the above process to the Mentors emails or directly to the Mentor team, the Mentors will monitor moderating activity and continue communication. If there is evidence that Best Practice is not being followed adequately, the Mentor Team will, at their discretion, decide if the group is effectively abandoned and continue this process.


  • Acknowledge promptly the receipt of the recommendation from Mentors.
  • Ask further questions if necessary to satisfy themselves that the recommendation is appropriate.
  • Inform the Mentors, GAT and Geeks within 4 weeks from receipt of recommendation whether they accept the recommendation or not.


Modtools auto approves messages after 48 hours, so the maximum delay for posts is 48 hours.

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