|Red Stick FreeUse Network
NOTE: Please replace the term 'freecycle' in the following with the term 'freeuse'.
RED STICK FREECYCLE NETWORK OFFICIAL GUIDELINES--UNABRIDGED AND COMPLETE(-ISH)
Yes, this is relatively long, but it contains ESSENTIAL knowledge for all RSFN members and will answer many common new-user
questions, so please take the time to READ THROUGH THIS so that your membership in this group is as beneficial as
possible!...THIS LONGER VERSION HAS SOME GREAT INFO AND IS BASED ON THE GUIDELINES OF THE AUSTIN FREECYCLE
NETWORK...WE WILL PRETTY MUCH GO BY THESE "RULES"...EMAIL WITH ANY QUESTIONS.
Thanks for being a part of the ever-expanding Red Stick Freecycle Network of BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA (also known as the RSFN
or the RedStickFreecycle list). We're glad you're here. This message (a/k/a the 'RSFN bible', if you will) is sent to all subscribers upon
joining. If this message hasn't been updated since the last time you read it, feel free to move on to the next post. If you're new to the
group or want a quick refresher on making the most of Freecycling, please read on! [The sections added since the last mailing have
been marked with three asterisks, thusly: ***]
Founded on May 13, 2004, the RSFN is a branch of the extremely fast-growing international Freecycle movement, which began in
Tucson, Arizona in the spring of 2003 and now boasts over 1,000 offshoots throughout the US and in countries like England, Canada,
Australia, Germany, Romania, Japan and India, with hundreds of thousands Freecyclers worldwide. Our Baton Rouge list is also
steadily growing (it's just that kind of town). And if you tell your friends and relatives about it, and they tell theirs...well, you get the idea.
The rest of this message is divided into the following sections:
I. Using the RSFN List
II. RSFN List Rules
III. Guidelines on Email Behavior
IV. Guidelines on Freecycling Behavior
V. Tips on Organizing All of the New Emails
(Items within sections are numbered continuously all the way through,
rather than restarting in each section. This avoids confusions of, say,
II.2 with III.2.)
I. USING THE RSFN LIST
To post a message, simply send an email to RedStickFreecycle@yahoogroups.com or click on "Post" in the left column of the Red
Stick Freecycle Network of Baton Rouge main page (via RedStickFree.com).
To unsubscribe, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To read or reply to messages or to manage your membership settings (including email delivery options), visit the RSFN main page
To read list archives (especially helpful for new members who may find recent posts of interest there), go to the RSFN main page and
click on "Messages" in the left column.
NOTE -- The posts of new members (as well as of certain other members whose posts have been known to be problematic) are
moderated for a certain time, which means they have to be reviewed by a moderator before they're posted to the list. So if you're a
newbie and your post doesn't appear immediately, don't worry about it -- if there's a problem, we'll let you know! We have had Spam
on the list and want to keep this away from our great members.
For more information on Freecycling in general and a list of other Freecycle groups, visit the "mothership" page at http://freecycle.org/
You can also find other recycling- and freebie-related sites via the FSFN main page by clicking on "Links" in the left column.
II. RED STICK FREECYCLE NETWORK LIST RULES:
1. Keep It FREE, LEGAL, and APPROPRIATE FOR ALL AGES.
2. USE APPROPRIATE SUBJECT LINES FOR MESSAGES.
Above all, be clear on what your message is about. Please begin all subject lines with ONE of the following words, then the briefest
description possible of the item in question (please don't put just OFFER, COMMENTS, etc., by itself in the subject heading).
OFFER: (items you'd like to give away)
SEEK: (items you're seeking)
TAKEN: (items you've offered once they've been claimed)
FOUND: (items you were seeking that been offered to you)
COMMENT: (list-related discussion and questions) - please use sparingly, but don't be afraid to be of interest and to the point.
Finally, there is one more category, ADMIN, for announcements from list moderators only.
Please note the item you're offering/seeking in both the subject line and the body of the email.
OFFER: loveseat [Offering more than one thing? Still keep it in one email; you might want to number the items for clarity]. Please
provide as accurate a description of the item as possible; if it's damaged, badly soiled or in bad/non-working condition, you should
state this from the outset!
TAKEN: loveseat [To be used ONLY by the person who offered it in the first place, not by someone else who wants dibs on the item!]
It's fine to send a TAKEN post with just the subject line filled in and the message area left blank.
SEEK: loveseat [Please use this with discretion: this group is not to be confused with a personal gift registry, so don't abuse the
concept by asking for 10 or 15 things at once, or something on the order of a new computer or late-model SUV, and don't offer money;
however, it's fine to ask for anything, within reason, that you or someone close to you could really use.]
FOUND: loveseat [As an alternative, you may delete your original "SEEK" post. See below for details.]
COMMENT: Can we think about doing this thing that way instead of this way? [you might want to be a bit more specific...AND YOU MAY
MERELY WISH TO CONTACT THE MODERATOR DIRECTRLY!]
3. KEEP IT ON TOPIC.
Sermonizing (long, impassioned lectures on any subject) is not appropriate for this group! Such posts will be deleted and the author
will receive a warning. Anyone who continues to sermonize after a warning will be banned.
4. ON RESELLING: It is not unheard of for certain people to ask for items with the intention of selling them elsewhere (either online or
by other means). Such a practice is permissible, if not encouraged; however, if your purpose is to ultimately sell any item you obtain
from this list, in the interest of fairness, FULL DISCLOSURE OF YOUR INTENTION IS REQUIRED UPFRONT, either in your original
WANTED post, or when responding to someone else's OFFER. Some of our members wish to donate items only to those who need
them for their personal use, and might strongly object to giving something to someone who then turns around and sells it.
Anyone found in violation of the above rule may be banned from the group at the moderator's discretion.
5. NO MONEY CHANGES HANDS. The ONLY instance where it is appropriate to offer money in this group is when someone offers to
reimburse shipping costs, should an item need to be mailed (typically, this is an offer made by a long-distance reseller and is not a
6. NO POLITICS, NO SPAM/ADVERTISING, NO COMMERCIAL REFERRALS, NO PERSONAL ATTACKS/RUDENESS.
Two strikes and you're out, i.e., you will be banned from the list for inappropriate postings after two warnings from the moderator.
(Obvious and blatant spammers won't even get that second chance.)
Besides the more obvious forms of advertising, we also do NOT permit such things as invitations to a "free consultation" (since it's
actually nothing more than a solicitation of new customers), and invitations to buy tickets to your gala event (even if it's a nonprofit
agency and for a good cause). Such postings will be deleted and the responsible parties warned.
List members sometimes post asking for referrals for a good electrician, mechanic, realtor, etc., which is fine, but responses should
be sent privately, as commercial referrals are a form of advertising and freecycling is an explicitly non-commercial venture.
MODERATOR RULINGS ON INAPPROPRIATE EMAIL USE ARE FINAL!
7. PETS: Can you use RedStickFreecycle to find new homes for pets? The short answer is yes; just keep it legal and be lovingly
careful. This is a controversial topic in the freecycling world, and you may wish to refer to past messages on the subject in the list
archives as a guideline to help you decide whether you would want to participate in such exchanges. As our membership grows, we
will conduct a poll on whether to allow pet exchanges on the list; however, until then, we strongly recommend that you take all
appropriate measures and ask enough questions to be satisfied that the animal will go to a home where it will be well cared for!
(There are several members of the RSFN who will be happy to provide you with advice and further leads to accomplish this goal; you
might also want to visit our Links page.)
However, please note that freecycling oneself, one's friends, or members of one's family is out.
8. The freecycling of firearms or other weapons of any kind is strictly prohibited on the Red Stick Freecycle Network.
9. The freecycling of alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs and medications of any kind is likewise strictly prohibited.
9. a) It is permissible to freecycle over-the-counter (i.e. freely available) medications as long as they are in an unopened state, and
are not past their expiration date.
9. b) We strongly discourage the freecycling of partially used creams, lotions, cosmetics and so forth, as their sanitary condition is
10. Please note that freecycling deals very much in tangible, three-dimensional items; therefore, don't ask for money, plane tickets to
visit your girlfriend who's serving in the Peace Corps in Romania, and so forth! Nothing could be more inappropriate on this list. Nor
should you ask someone to perform a service which will obviously end up costing them money (such as shipping a crate of furniture
across the country for you). ***As for advertising your business or special-interest group, see rule 6 above.***
There are two EXCEPTIONS to this rule: asking for ADVICE, which is perfectly OK; and offering free SERVICES of certain kinds (for
example, a one-hour consultation about computers, home decoration, how to have a dinner party, etc., or you could offer to do yard
work for someone who's housebound -- use your imagination.) It is also permissible to ask for a free service, within reason.
(Recipients should, of course, exercise appropriate caution when inviting someone they don't know into their home; see the
disclaimer and safety information in items 11, 23 and 25, below.)
11. DISCLAIMER: RED STICK FREEUSE NETWORK MEMBERS USE THE LIST AT THEIR OWN RISK. Please take reasonable
measures to protect your safety and privacy when posting to the list or participating in an exchange. By joining the list, you agree to
hold neither the RSFN list owners and moderators nor anyone affiliated with Freecycle.org responsible or liable for any circumstance
resulting from an RSFN-related exchange or communication.
III. GUIDELINES ON EMAIL BEHAVIOR
The following are not strict rules, but guidelines that have been found through experience to lead to the best outcome for the list
community. If you violate these guidelines, you will at the very least annoy a lot of people. If you violate them repeatedly, the
moderators might take action, even if you haven't broken any rules.
12. It is permissible to provide a link in your post to photos of an item offered, or something similar to an item you're seeking.
13. If you are a person with a continuous need for specific items (such as construction materials), you are requested not to post a
WANTED for these items more than once every two weeks or so. If you haven't had any responses after three WANTED posts, it is
suggested that you explore options other than the RSFN to obtain the items you need.
If, on the other hand, you have posted an OFFER three times for the same item with no takers, it is suggested that you donate the
item to the charity of your choice, or dispose of it by other means (sometimes, alas, someone's trash is just trash).
14. PROVIDE YOUR APPROXIMATE LOCATION. Try to list this in the body of your email: 'I've got a loveseat and live downtown.
Nearest intersection: Perkins and College.' (This helps people decide whether your item is worth the trip for them.) However: to
protect your privacy, NEVER give out your home address or phone number in ANY post to the entire group! Such posts will be deleted
by a moderator. (The one exception is when you provide directions to a garage sale in connection with a freecycle-related giveaway;
even in this case, however, you are requested to delete the contact information once the garage sale ends.)
Interested list members should contact one another by replying to a specific RSFN post, at which point you can exchange relevant
contact information as needed (see rule 15, directly below).
15. SEND RESPONSES TO GROUP MESSAGE POSTS ONLY TO THE PERSON POSTING, NOT TO THE ENTIRE LIST. It keeps
down the sheer number of list emails.
If you'd like to get in touch with someone who has posted, to either request an item they've offered or to offer up something they've
requested, simply reply to their message. Your reply will go directly to them, not to the RSFN list.
16. If you have a problem with another member's post, or his/her actions off-list, you are requested to NOT take public potshots at
them via the list. Email a moderator privately and state your case. We have found that public flame wars are not only
counterproductive, they interfere with the normal operation of the list and annoy almost everyone.
IV. GUIDELINES ON FREECYCLING BEHAVIOR
The following are not strict rules, but guidelines that have been found through experience to lead to the best outcome for both givers
and receivers. If you violate these guidelines, you may annoy or anger someone who might have helped you, now or in the future (bad
17. If an item you've offered has been claimed, please post an update to the list immediately, using the subject heading TAKEN. This
should prevent further emails to you from people wanting the item. (It is considered good form, although not mandatory, to email
everyone who contacted you about the item before you posted the TAKEN, just to let them know they didn't get it. Tip: copy everyone in
a single email and save yourself the trouble of sending multiples!)
18. Asking to BORROW an item (typically, a piece of equipment that one only needs once in a great while) rather than asking for it
outright is perfectly acceptable, as long as both parties agree to the loan and no money changes hands (and, of course, the borrower
agrees to be responsible for the item, and to return it to the lender by the time agreed upon and in the same condition in which it was
loaned out). Enforcing this agreement is entirely the business of the parties involved, not of the list nor its moderators.
19. Members of the RSFN have the right to inquire as to the intended use of any item they offer up on the freecycle board. After it has
been given away, however, the item becomes the property of the recipient, who may do with it as he/she wishes.
20. NO TRADING, PLEASE. This includes trading of goods and services, as well as mp3 files and the like. Find a local trading/barter
organization for this (such as the Baton Rouge Barter group, whose URL you can find in the Links section, or some comparable list);
it can be fun and we've got nothing against it, but that's not what freecycling is about.
21. ON LINKS: Those who would like to propose adding a URL to the group's Links section must obtain the permission of a
moderator before doing so. (Note: All links must be pretty much to organizations in some way connected with the themes of
recycling/reusing, and/or obtaining free goods and services or certain non-profits.)
22. ON FREECYCLING SOFTWARE: As long as the following conditions are met, you should be OK with freecycling
copyright-protected software as either a giver or a recipient:
a) the software is no longer in use on the original system,
b) you have obtained the original disks,
c) you have obtained the original software license.
However, asking someone for a COPY of proprietary software definitely implies an illegal copyright violation and all such posts will be
deleted from this board ASAP. We highly recommend that you investigate the proper legal standards for transferring software from
one user to another prior to doing so, as you are ultimately responsible for ensuring the legality of all transactions you conduct
through the RSFN.
23. CONTACT/PICK UP: Arrange as you like. We do offer some guidelines for doing this. It may be a good idea to wait 12 to 24 hours
before selecting a worthy recepient. At times, the first to respond would get the item in question; if someone from a charitable
organization responds, you may wish to (should) give priority to them. (If your first priority is to get the item out of your sight ASAP,
however, feel free to specify in your OFFER post that it will go to the person who can come by to pick it up the soonest! Alternately, you
can specify something like "Must be picked up by Sunday at 5 p.m. at the latest.")
Arrange pickup with one person only, rather than "it's on the porch/curb, whoever gets here first gets it." (See paragraph immediately
below.) Also, only give your phone number to one person at a time, or ask for the recipient's number. Otherwise you'll get swamped
with phone calls!
24. ON 'CURB SELF-SERVICE': Posting a message like "I've put an old couch out on the curb, first come first served" is a very bad
idea in multiple ways. More likely than not, assuming whatever you've put out isn't outright garbage, someone will drive by and relieve
the curb of the item long before any list member can get to it! Also, encouraging people to make trips somewhere for nothing is a
good recipe for getting them angry at you and doesn't do much for community spirit.
What's more, it may be illegal in some city-parish areas to place bulky items out on the curb without first notifying a trash removal
service (this is called "junking"). Technically, once an item is out on the curb, it is considered abandoned property and belongs to the
For all these reasons, we strongly discourage you from leaving items curbside. (Likewise, giving out your address and saying "come
get it, first come, first served" is also a bad idea and we strongly discourage doing this.)
25. A FEW BRIEF NOTES ON FREECYCLING ETIQUETTE: First and foremost, "Be nice and be considerate!" When you arrange to
pick up an item from another freecycler, it is basic good manners to accommodate them as much as possible in terms of
scheduling, and then be punctual; they are, after all, giving you something you need and asking nothing in return except that you will
SHOW UP WHEN YOU SAY YOU WILL, JACK. (Leaving someone hanging is never a nice thing.) Also, unless the donor tells you
otherwise, assume that they would like you to come by as soon as you can to take away the item; no more than three days after the
offer is made is usual. (Think of it as the Three-Day Rule.)
If someone claims your item but puts you off more than once for what you consider to be inadequate reasons, you are well within your
rights to re-post your offer for the item.
It is a good idea for both parties to exchange phone numbers when arranging a pickup time for an item.
If you can't meet a previously made appointment to pick up an item, YOU MUST GET IN TOUCH WITH THE PERSON WHO OFFERED
THE ITEM TO YOU AND LET THEM KNOW, or be considered the kind of person who gives freecycling a bad name.
26. A FINAL WORD ABOUT SAFETY, or, rather, two words: Be aware! It is up to each individual RSFN member, when arranging for
pickup of a freecycled item, to be appropriately aware of the potential risk of having a `stranger' come to your home to pick something
up. RSFN as a listserv assumes no responsibility for this risk. If you, for example, are a single woman living alone, you may want to
say that you'll leave the item on the front porch while you are not at home. Another alternative would be to drop the item off at a
suitable neutral location such as a friend's house or local community center. Use your own best judgment, and let common sense
(Hang in there, we're almost done!)
V. TIPS ON ORGANIZING ALL OF THE NEW EMAILS
This will be an active list, one day with an average of over 20-40 messages every day. There are a few essential techniques to
reducing inbox clutter:
a) Create a separate email folder and have Freecycle messages automatically go it it. (If you use Outlook Express, do this via a new
rule under tools/message rules/mail/)
b) Set message delivery to Daily Digest, Special Notices Only, or no emails at all (which means you'll just browse the messages
online). Click on Edit My Membership, then Message Delivery. (We recommend that if you don't want emails delivered that you at least
select Special Notices, as this is only used by the moderators for messages of prime importance.)
Also note - important! - that when a user changes settings, there is an overlap from the time it takes for Yahoo to process the change,
until emails in the queue waiting to go out to the users are delivered. In other words, in the six hours it takes for Yahoo to permanently
stop the emails from coming, there are emails already set up to go out, and will continue to go out until the queue is emptied. (Some
people have reported this taking up to three days.) So please don't email the moderators with comments like, 'I changed my
settings/unsubscribed yesterday, why am I still getting emails?' PLEASE BE PATIENT, and all should be well.
If you encounter further problems, you might wish to consult the Yahoo! Groups help pages at:
c) Just so you know, you CAN (or MAY, depending on our settings) delete your own posts for any reason (for example, if someone's
taken the item you offered, or if you've received the item you wanted, or if you posted your underwear size by mistake). Go back to your
original post and bring it into view on the screen. Right under the Messages bar, where it reads Reply/Forward/View Source/Unwrap
Click on 'Delete.' That should do it. (Note, though, that deleting a post won't prevent it from showing up in the next digest for those with
ONE FINAL REQUEST: Please take a moment to vote in the open polls, which are surveys that simply ask how you found us and
where in the area you live (click on 'Polls' on the RSFN group site). They will not be used for outside marketing purposes.
Thanks for reading, happy freecycling, and remember -- give, and you shall receive!
YOU MADE IT!!! THANKS, Scott, Moderator, Red Stick Freecycle Network (redstickfree.com); email@example.com.