Structure Group Report 2009-12-16

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Report to Central 16th December 2009

Our group currently has 49 members, and is open to any member of Freegle UK Central who would like to join in:

The spokespeople for this group are Edward (Edinburgh), Neil (Northampton N&C) and Jacky (Great Yarmouth). The owners are Neil and Jacky.

This is a summary of discussions since our last report of 4th November, from message 751 up to and including message 1460. We apologise for not sending out a report sooner than this, but our discussions have been dominated with devising poll questions and the results of those debates have been delivered as polls. But an update before the end of the year is felt to be important.

Organisational Structure

The second poll raised by the group, with supplementary questions by the Start Group, was conducted and a mandate given for going ahead with the next stage - election of candidates for a central representative group. This poll is underway at the moment. This has been the major discussion area for the group over this period.

The mandate to continue with the production of a formal governing document for Freegle was given by vote in the second poll, so we are continuing with that work. The next step is a discussion on the anomalies created by the wording in our first poll (!). It is a lesson we are learning about polls - the wording has to be accurate and simple otherwise there are presumptions made rather than clear understanding.

We are working on the next poll, planned early January 2010, which will seek to clarify the criteria for a group to be affiliated to Freegle, in particular which of the ones we voted in the first poll are mandatory and which ones just highly recommended. Comments received on Central and on various working groups have raised queries which have to be sorted in order to move forward with the governing document.

'Other Groups'

Discussion on the status of Cafe groups within the Freegle network has led to wider discussion about affiliation of 'non core' groups. A general question about this will be in the January poll so we can see if there is merit in continuing the debate. There has also been a brief discussion about whether groups can belong to more than one network, which wasn't really concluded.

Firearms, Drugs etc.

We have had discussion over legalities of groups allowing messages on firearms and drugs, in the context of the definition of criteria for affiliation. It continues to be a difficult area, especially as there is a clear will to give groups the maximum amount of autonomy and not tie moderators up with imposed rulings.

Voting and Majorities

There is continuing debate about voting, especially about what percentage forms a clear and accepted majority, and whether any major changes and proposals should be by consensus rather than majority. Please join the group if you have opinions about this you wish to share, it is a lively discussion!

Copyright and Licensing

This discussion stopped after the the first poll results were finalised due to one of the main proponents dropping out of the discussions. This is still a live topic though as we need to look into how to secure flexible, workable solutions, but to retain security for Freegle.

Ownership of Central Groups

A discussion about security of Freegle in terms of who 'owns' which groups etc resulted in a spreadsheet that details Freegle central groups and help addresses. This has highlighted the need to share responsibilities and make sure no-one is overburdened, at the same time as safeguarding Freegle should there be an unforeseen accident or incident which might lead to a group being 'ownerless'.


There has been some tentative discussion about the assumption at present that all groups are hosted on Yahoo so documents and policies are being drawn up with that in mind. Within the group it was agreed that there is no reason why affiliated groups should not be hosted on other platforms and there is nothing to stop individuals looking into this for their own area. However, there will not be the same level of support and expertise if groups decide to do this. Consideration of possible different hosting networks should be included in any proposal of structures for Freegle as an organisation to ensure that we don't inadvertently exclude groups by assuming everything is happening on Yahoo.

Working Group Reports

It was proposed by Structure that the reports from working groups be sent out as special notices to moderators who are not following every message on Central. This hasn't happened as yet.


Happy Christmas everyone!

Back to Freegle Structure or Structure Group Report 2009-10-21 or forwards to Structure Group Report 2010-01-13