Difference between revisions of "Freegle Direct Moderator FAQ"

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We have a policy about this, see Freegle Direct Information Policy.
We have a policy about this, see Freegle Direct Information Policy.
== Complaint messages from Hotmail users  ==
== Complaint messages from Hotmail and AOL users  ==
The central support@ mailbox deals with 'complaint' emails received from individual group members using Freegle Direct. The ones generated from Hotmail are dealt with in accordance with the [[Hotmail complaint]] procedure.  
The central support@ mailbox deals with 'complaint' emails received from individual group members using Freegle Direct. The ones generated from Hotmail and AOL are dealt with in accordance with the [[Hotmail complaint]] and [[AOL complaint]] procedures.
==How do replies via FD happen?==
==How do replies via FD happen?==

Revision as of 13:43, 4 December 2019

This page is now obsolete, so has been recategorised as an historic document.



As of March 2018 this page is obsolete. It is retained for historical information.


How does this affect my moderating?

Not much! You still moderate the group using Yahoo.


[1] has some features to help it work well with Freegle Direct.

Will I receive more emails?

The -owner address will get occasional mails:

  • You may get mails about mapping posts where Freegle Direct needs help.
  • You may get mails to categorise posts as OFFERs/WANTEDs when Freegle Direct can't work it out.

Is there an ADMIN I can send out to existing members?

Yes there is. See Freegle Direct Admin

How does the membership work?

What are all these FBUser... email addresses?

Each person joining using Freegle Direct becomes an email-only member of your group using an FBUser' address.

Why do they have 'FB' in the name when they may not be on Facebook?

No reason, except that it's a faff to change.

Why don't they join with their normal address?

If they were to sign up with their own email they'd get emails from Yahoo telling them to click on links which would then tell them they needed a Yahoo ID. They'd also get messages or digests from Yahoo with links which took them to the Yahoo Groups page.

So they would end up very confused - they tried to join the group one way, but they keep getting pulled back to Yahoo - and we're trying to provide something better than that. By giving them special addresses we can make what they see much more sensible. And we can do other things, like:

  • Allow people to be more anonymous if they want.
  • Help people manage replies to their mails.

Do the members know they have an 'FBUser' address?

No. The aim is that they don't have to know about Yahoo at all.

Why are there lots of these FBUser applications?

The very first time someone joins a group using Freegle Direct, you'll get 10 applications for new members. This is so that it has a bunch of addresses it can hand out to people. Thereafter, once someone joins, it'll apply for another email address for next time.

If you don't approve the FBUser applications, or if there's a delay before you do so, it may ask for some more, in case they've been lost. But any it doesn't use will unsubscribe after a while.

This means that your group has 10 fewer members than you think, but that's not really a big deal.

How do I find out the 'real' address for a member?

You can also get a list of all the Freegle Direct members - quite right too, they're your members. Go to your Freegle Direct Moderator FAQ#How_do_I_find_my_group_settings.3F|group's settings, and scroll down to the bottom; there's a link to mail the members to your -owner address.

ModTools (http://modtools.org) will show you the real address for members.

Why can members join immediately?

Some groups are used to checking memberships before they are approved. That's something which people using Yahoo Groups are used to, and it's something which used to be quite common. In the early days of the web, people expected websites to be difficult to join - they all were - and they were prepared to put in the effort. But things have changed, and nowadays people expect to be able to start using sites immediately.

So it might seem obvious to us that people should be prepared to wait a little while and answer a few basic questions, because it's worth it once you're in. But we're trying to attract people who've vaguely heard Freegle mentioned by someone and think they might have a quick look before their TV programme comes on; unless we make it easy and smooth for people to join and get freegling, they will lose interest.

There's evidence that making people fill out questions or wait before joining loses half your prospective members. That's just not a price worth paying. Let them in, get them hooked.

Can I still approve Yahoo members?

Yes. It'll harm your group, because you'll lose about half of your prospective members - but you can if you want to.

Just make sure you approve the FBUser members.

How do I contact Freegle Direct members?

You mail the address they used to join the group, like any other member, either from the membership list or using the plugin. For example, if you use the plugin to reject a message, the rejection message will go back to them.

You can also find their real address by searching in the Members list if you use the modplugin.

Do Freegle Direct members get mails on joining?

They don't get the normal Yahoo ones, because for most groups these are written with people using Yahoo in mind, and would be confusing for other people. You can configure joining messages from the Message Texts section of your group's settings.

How do I remove a member?

If you delete the FBUser membership, and you have your modtools set up to sync members, then that will do it. Or you can do it immediately here or here.

How do I ban a member?

You can ban members on Yahoo as normal.

Direct will automatically  ban any which make it to the spammer list. It will  
1) Remove memberships for any emails on the spammer list who have joined via Freegle Direct.
2) Delete any messages from people on the spammer list from Freegle Direct.
3) Enhance the modplugin to delete messages from people on the spammer list from Yahoo.(you can opt out of this if you wish)
So once someone is approved onto the spammer list, their stuff gets hidden.
If you want to ban someone locally or not yet on the spammers list, just block them in your settings/advanced options.

Fairly soon, the modplugin will automatically ban members on Freegle Direct if you do so on your Yahoo group.. But for now you can ban people by email address or IP address by going to your group settings and using the Blocked IPs or Blocked Emails options in Advanced Options.

For posts made from Freegle Direct, their IP address is in the X-Freegle-IP header.

How do I delete a message?

You can delete messages on Yahoo as normal.

As of v1.0.1062, the modplugin will then also delete it from Freegle Direct once your Messages page reloads, as long as you have an Access Key for the group.

On older versions, you need to delete it on Freegle Direct. You will need page admin rights (see #How_do_I_get_Page_Admin_rights.3F). Then you can delete a message using the little cross on the right hand side of a message.

How do special notices work?

FD gets one copy of the special notice, to the republisher address, and then mails it out to each of the FBUser members.

Why are FBUser members on no email?

FD gets emails to the republisher address. It doesn't need to get them once for each FBUser member, and doing that would clog up our servers. So the FBUser members turn email off by mailing the Yahoo address to do that.

I posted an Admin on my group and it has not appeared on my FB page. Do Admins not appear on Facebook?

No they are sent out to Direct and Facebook members but not posted to the wall.

What should I do about member feedback comments, how is it I get them from Yahoo users?

 Answer them or ignore them as necessary. They are in response to members being asked if we can republish their posts. 

Why did some members unsubscribe during the night?

They're not real members - it's just a tidy up.

Freegle Direct tries to maintain a pool of about 10 memberships to use when people join. It gets these by mailing the subscribe address, and waiting to get mails saying they're confirmed. If something goes wrong with this process then, then after a while it will delete its record of the memberships, and mail the unsubscribe address just in case they were members on the Yahoo group after all. This stops them hanging around unused.

How do FB users unsub themselves?

Direct members can click on a link at the top of all mails, most groups have a link on the Direct page and in the sidebar as well. Facebook members, have a link under their groups and in the emails.

A member got a mail saying she had unsubscribed from the Yahoo group. She says she only left Direct.

That'll be because they were a member of the group via Yahoo before they joined FD and their memberships were linked. They just have to ignore the Yahoo unsubscribe mail.

What if you sign in with multiple mechanisms?

You can sign in using a number of mechanisms: registering with Freegle Direct, Facebook ID, Google ID, Yahoo ID, or using a link from emails.

Each of those sign-in mechanisms gives Freegle Direct access to an email address for you. What group memberships and messages it shows depends on that email address. So:

  • If you sign in using multiple different mechanisms which have the same email address, it will "recognise" you.
  • If they have different email addresses, they will be different memberships.

Can I see why members joined, like I'm used to with membership approval?

Yes. Go to http://direct.ilovefreegle.org/foundus.php?groupid=<groupid> .

You'll need to insert your groupid in there, e.g. 2 for EdinburghFreegle.

Group Settings

How do I find my group settings?

You can find them using a link like this:


Change EdinburghFreegle to your own group name - the last part of the URL of your Yahoo Group.

There are quite a lot of settings, and most of them are pretty obvious on there. So we'll just cover a few key questions here.

How do I find my group id?

Several ways:

  1. Find the group on http://ilovefreegle.org/groups, then hover your mouse over the Freegle Direct link. You'll see a groupid in the URL.
  2. Find your group settings as above, then go to Group Details->Group ID

How do I get Page Admin rights?

Some operations on Freegle Direct are only available to administrators. To get access to these, you need to show that you have Page Admin rights to the Facebook page.

(It would be nice to check if you were a moderator on the Yahoo Group, but there's no real way to do this. So at the moment we rely on whether you are an administrator of the Facebook page.)

To do this:

  • Log in to Freegle Direct with a Facebook id which is a Page Admin of the Facebook page.
  • Go to My Settings
  • Click on the link at the bottom right to check for Page Admin rights.

Should I point links at Yahoo, Freegle Direct or Facebook?

By 'links' here we mean:

If you're not sure, point them at Freegle Direct. If you want new members to find Yahoo by default instead, you can do that, but we believe Freegle Direct is a better interface for most people to use.

Pointing the links at Facebook would be an odd thing to do - best check if you're tempted to do that.

Can I change the keywords on my group?

Some groups have different keywords, e.g. OFFERED or REQUESTED. You can configure these if you like.

What are Chase up mails?

These emails go out to members who have not posted a TAKEN or RECEIVED to an original post within the time frame you have configured, so they can either post one of those or repost it. They will be sent out no more than twice for each post.

Chase up mails have proved very successful at making your group more active. A lot of people dip in and out of groups, so reposting allows a different set of people to see the post. We've seen a lot of items which get TAKEN or RECEIVED after quite a few reposts just because it's easy, when without them members would have given up.

Why does it want to know our reposting rules?

One of the ways Freegle Direct helps your members is by making it easy to:

  • repost after the right time
  • post on neighbouring groups

This is how you tell it how to behave.

What is the Member Feedback system?

This allows members to provide postive or negative feedback on other members, based on whether they have had a good or bad experience. This gives us something to offer members who have problems with no shows, or want to reward other members they've had a good experience with.

Feedback is anonymous, and we take steps to avoid it being easily abused.

This is off by default, and is per-group. When it's enabled:

  • Members will see a star rating next to users on Freegle Direct when viewing messages in My Groups, and next to replies shown on the My Posts page.
  • They can leave feedback on the My Posts page.
  • They can also do it by going to My Settings, and clicking the link near the bottom of the page.
  • The screen for the chase-up mails will link members (including non-Freegle Direct members) to leave feedback.

Members not using Freegle Direct cannot currently view feedback.

If you want to turn it on, go to your group settings, and check the Member feedback allowed option.

Mapping and Categorisation

Freegle Direct will try to map your messages, and assign them to different categories, based on the subject line.

Why do I get emails asking me to 'please map message no.?'

Mostly, Freegle Direct can map the messages without your help. But if it can't, or thinks it is too far from your group, it will ask for your help.

How do I correct a mapping?

You can do this either from an email you receive, or from the Map wrong? link on Freegle Direct. What you do is:

  • Check what it's using to map - it will say Currently mapped using in the top left.
  • Is it using something it shouldn't use? If so:
    • Cut and paste that into the If the mapping got confused by a word, and it should be ignored, enter it here: box.
    • Click Save Correction.
  • Is it using the right part, but mapping to the wrong place? If so:
    • Search for the right place using the google search box, or drag the marker.
    • Copy and paste the correct part of the location line into the Which bit is the location? box
    • Click Save Correction.

I've corrected a mapping, but it hasn't 'stuck'?

Forward the mapping email you received to support@ilovefreegle.org and explain the problem.

How do I make it map to the right places?

If your group is based in one main area, e.g. Bristol, put that in the group settings in the Search Hint. It will save Freegle Direct finding and pointing to a place somewhere else, e.g. in Yorkshire, which may happen to have a place with the same name.

Why do we categorise messages?

Some members are interested in particular general areas, e.g. baby stuff. This helps them see just the posts they are interested in.

Can we have more/different categories?

We've chosen these ones fairly carefully. If we have too many categories they become less useful. We'll review this periodically, but it won't change often.

I'm not sure which category to put a post in?

You can just use what you think is nearest. It does not have to be perfect - it will average out if you get it wrong. A suggested list of what goes where can be found here at Freegle Direct Categories.

How does the Find/Search function match items?

Our search engine includes coding to allow typos and similar sounds, because people are not always very accurate with what they type in. That is helpful a lot of the time, but sometimes it means we suggest some things that look a bit silly.

Why do I keep getting asked about posts with no location in them?

Freegle Direct will look hard for locations in posts, and if it can't find one it will ask you in case it's there but it hasn't spotted it. Sometimes it will be obvious to you that there's no location in it. We might be able to improve this a bit in future, but for now if there' no location, just delete the mail.

If your group doesn't require locations on WANTEDs you can turn this off in your group settings.


What are events?

Members can add community events which they think would be of interest to other freeglers. These are the kind of things you would have on a Cafe group.

Where do they appear?

These will appear on the right hand side of Freegle Direct. They don't appear on the Facebook app because there isn't room.

How do members add them?

By clicking on the Add a community event link.

Are they moderated?

Yes, but not through Yahoo. When a member adds an event, a mail is sent to the -owner address of your group with links to allow you to accept or deny the listing.

Do Yahoo members get them?

Yes. There is a weekly digest of events, with an opt out, which goes to Yahoo members as well as those who have joined via Freegle Direct.

Do they delete after the end time?

They won't be shown after that time, though they will still be in the database.

What if I'm on multiple groups?

You'll see events for all groups that you're a member of.

Can I edit an event before approving it?

No. But you can afterwards.

Can I edit an event after approving it?

Yes. If you're signed in using Facebook and have page admin rights (see #How_do_I_get_Page_Admin_rights.3F) you'll see an Edit link next to the event.

You can also find the orignal verification email that you received to approve it and click on the reject link.

Can I disable them?

They're enabled by default. You can turn them off in your group settings under Group Enhancement Features.

Can members stop getting them?

Yes they can go here and put their email address in or you can do it for them.

Can non-members see them?

Yes. If you use an URL like this:


...where you replace groupid with the ID for your group, e.g. 2 for Edinburgh, then non-members will be able to see them.


What are popups?

They are a brief message displayed to members of a group who are using Freegle Direct. They are displayed just once, and take the form of a short HTML message with a button which takes you to a link for more information.

How do I add one?

Go here.  You can preview it to see what it will look like for members.

Do I need page admin rights?

Yes. See #How_do_I_get_Page_Admin_rights.3F.

Do I need to know HTML?

I'm afraid so. You can ask on Central for help.

What do I use them for?

That's up to you. It's your group.

Don't use them too often, otherwise they will be annoying for your members.

Are they like Special Notices?

They're similar, but special notices go out by email, whereas these popup on people's screens so you know that they will have read them.

Do you have an example?

Here's one:

          <td><img src="http://giveitforgood.com/css/images/G4G200.png" /></td>
          <td><p>Some of the people involved in Freegle are setting up a new separate project to make it much easier to find all your choices for giving things away.</p><p><b>Find out more and help us get it off the ground!</b></p></td>

Named Views

What are named views?

They show a view of your group which just has items in a particular category. For example, you can use it to have a view just of garden items.

Why would I want to?

To reach new members. Someone might not be attracted by a general "reuse" group, but they might be really into gardening, and up for joining something that was positioned as related to gardening and publicised in an allotment newsletter.

Do they get a shortlink?

Yes, you can choose a shortlink just for this group.

Can they have their own description and logo?

Yes - and you should do this, otherwise people attracted by the specific category will lose interest or think they've gone to the wrong place.

Are they members of the main group?


Which posts do they see?

You choose a category when you create the view. They see only posts in that category.

What about email digests?

They get them, but only for the category or categories they've chosen to see. The same applies to any member who changes the categories they view on a group.

Can they see other posts?

Yes, they can change the categories they see. The idea is that some people might be attracted to join a specific view and then get into freegling more generally.

Can they post?

Yes. If they post something which is in a different category, they'll be prompted to expand the categories they're looking at to see those items too.

Can I see an example?

Yes, at http://freegle.in/EdinburghGrowYourOwn

How do I create one?

Go to your Freegle Direct group settings, and there's a form at the bottom.

Why are names approved by GAT?

This is to make sure that the name is sensible and fits with the name of your main group.

Do they show on the Find a Group map?

Yes they do now.


Is Freegle Direct the same as My Freecycle?

The two organisations are different. Freegle respects and retains the independence of individual groups, Freecycle doesn't. The national platforms we use are similar as they provide a facility for local groups and local moderation. But Freegle never claims to own individual groups, it purely provides a platform if groups wish to use it. Groups can choose another separate platform, eg Norfolk, if they wish. The option to integrate a Yahoo group with Freegle Direct is not available after the end of 2018 or for any groups not currently integrated.

How does the Facebook page work?

Depending on what you want, your group may or may not also have a Facebook page. It's a great way to get free advertising - even if you don't like Facebook yourself, it's a good source of members. Read Freegle Direct - Why You Should Add Facebook for more on that.

Because this is optional there's a separate Freegle Direct - Facebook FAQ page.

What about security of my membership list?

We have a policy about this, see Freegle Direct Information Policy.

Complaint messages from Hotmail and AOL users

The central support@ mailbox deals with 'complaint' emails received from individual group members using Freegle Direct. The ones generated from Hotmail and AOL are dealt with in accordance with the Hotmail complaint and AOL complaint procedures.

How do replies via FD happen?

  • Member posts OFFER via Freegle Direct interface.
  • That then gets sent to Yahoo Groups, which is the underlying infrastructure for our service.
  • Yahoo sends it out to some of the members by email.
  • Yahoo also sends it back to Freegle Direct.
  • Freegle Direct sends it out to other Freegle Direct members.
  • People reply, and the reply goes to Freegle Direct.
  • Freegle Direct correlates the reply with the message.

My question isn't here; what else can I do?

If you need some help, you can send an email to freegledirecthelp@yahoogroups.com or ask on Central.

If you have questions about how it works, or suggestions, please use Tech.List of Links