Development Group Report 2016 02

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Freegle Development Group Report, February 2016

Group members: 54

Freegle Development is a group where new policies are discussed and voted on and any changes of existing policy are discussed.

February again has been filled with interesting discussion. Development has welcomed 7 new members since our last monthly report.

Januarys discussion continued with:

Task 44 GAT remit

There were several adjustments to the current remit and once everyone was happy with the following amendments were polled on

  • To consult with, as appropriate, the Board, Mentors, Freegle UK Central Group and the Development Working Group.
  • To give monthly reports to Freegle UK Central Group with statistics and non-confidential relevant narrative of enquiries and pending, rejected and approved applications. The Report links to be listed on the Freegle Wiki for reference, GAT Reports.
  • (new bullet point)To maintain confidentiality regarding personal information of volunteers and any potential conflictual issues raised by other groups. If there is doubt about what constitutes confidential information, the Board Observer should be consulted.

Members of Development were 100% in favour of the amendments, which then had to go to the Board for final approval. The Board agreed the amendments and the wiki has been updated to reflect the changes.

Ethical suppliers and Partners

There was a short discussion on the sort of companies we choose to be associated with. This is a subject that has been discussed before on structure but there was no real conclusion at that time. It proved very difficult to come up with a concise set of guidelines of what might constitute an acceptable link or partnership for Freegle and so guidelines were set at that time, that Reps would make a recommendation to central and there would be a 7 day discussion period where Reps would take into account any objections. These guidelines are still being used now and it was felt that it would be difficult to improve on that at this time.

Task 42 Review of Mentors remit

The mentors reviewed their remit and added a process to appoint a new coordinator. Jacky created a Googledoc and Development members were invited to comment and make edits to it. Once the edits were completed the revised remit was brought back to Development and after a few more slight changes a poll was set up to agree the revised document. The poll agreed that the changes should be adopted and the recommendation has been sent to the Board for approval after which agreed changes will be added to the wiki.

New version of Modtools

Edward announced that the new version was ready to be rolled out to Freegle groups around the country. The new Modtools is now going to be free for all Freegle groups permanently and it will be free for cafe groups and mods groups for at least the first year. He asked if offering help to groups needing to set it up was something mentors could help with. Now that it s free there should be a push to encourage more groups to use it. The moderation interface of the new platform will be integrated with Modtools so everything is in one place and t is easier for all groups using FD to start using modtools as well in preparation for moderation of the new platform. if a group isn’t happy with using the new modtools, they can easily go back to moderating using Yahoo groups at any time. Mentors have said they are happy to help any groups needing help with setting the new version up. If any groups want help mentors can be contacted on

Push Notifications

Edward explained there is now a new function on the new version of modtools in the form of push notifications that will let people know on their mobile phones or tablets when there are messages waiting to be moderated.

Task 40 – Best practice 3.4

What rules do you have? Keeping rules to a minimum. There were a few suggestions for additions to the current guideline and a poll was set up to change wording to 3.4 What rules do you have? Best Practice: Keep rules to a minimum to enable the smooth running of the Group. A lot of Groups impose rules that members have no idea existed! Try to apply them fairly with flexibility where appropriate. Because

  • The fewer rules you impose, the less work it is for you to moderate your Group.
  • No-one is keen on reading or remembering lots of rules, so too many just means that your members don’t know what they are.
  • The Disclaimer statement covers legality, so there is no need to duplicate that with a long list of illegal items.
  • It is better to approve a message if at all possible and send a reminder about how to get it right than it is to reject a post and lose a member because their first contact was negative.
  • The fewest barriers in place for people to reuse items the more effective we are.

This wording was agreed and will be updated on the wiki.

Task 10 – Find a better way of communicating technical developments

This task was originally form Growth and has been enlarged to cover communicating generally from Central to group volunteers. Yahoo has stopped delivering all mail to group owner addresses. Edward is working on a way to contact all groups but there is no easy solution. We need to find a way to contact groups that won’t be seen as intrusive or misuse of personal email addresses. The last central summary sent on Feb 8th was not received by any groups. The new FD interface will solve many of the problems but that is a while off yet. This discussion is continuing.

Task 41 – Review caretaker group guidelines

This topic was put on hold whilst the Board considered the GAT remit changes. Now that they have been approved the review of caretaker guidelines continues. Mentors asked that it be clarified when a group should be considered a centrally run caretaker group. When a group is abandoned and a moderator finds themselves to be running a group purely because they were still on from launch or group set up, or adding FD or when a group is handed over to a central team such as Mentors or GAT, it should be considered to be a centrally owned group and be covered by caretaker guidelines and handover procedures. Privately arranged handovers to neighbouring teams should not be included. This discussion will continue into March.

Task 40 Best practice 3.5 Restricting wanted posts

There have been some suggestions about restrictions on reposts and that a group with wanted posts is better than a group with no posts. This discussion is still ongoing.

Development would welcome new members to join the discussions and help with deciding new procedures and policies for Freegle. If you would like to join us we can be found at;