Moderator Manual:Mod cafe

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Café Group Information

The way to set up a Café group is to simply set up a Yahoo! group where members can talk and get to know each other better. They can discuss Freecycle work, pets, email programs, services they can offer or would like, community events, and so on.

The main restriction is that you cannot allow any selling.

The biggest advantage in having a cafe: It is a place you can refer people to when local group policy does not allow their message to go through on the Freecycle board. Such things as chit‐chat, needing a place to rent, a job, directions, recommendations for tradespeople and services and many other little things that crop up.

Freecycle Café Guidelines

The following guidelines have been established for any Cafe groups that accompany Freecycle lists:

  1. Standard Freecycle Trademark Usage Guidelines apply to both the main and chat cafe groups.
  2. Standard Freecycle Group Rules & Etiquette apply to both the main and chat cafe groups. Chat Cafe Exception: Local moderators may choose to provide peripheral options for members which are not generally allowed on the regular board such as yard sales announcements, services, community event info, etc. However, local chat cafes may not become sales groups which parallel the local Freecycle board.
  3. Please make tfnservices@freecycle.org the group owner with the help of your GOA. Group moderators must correspond to those of the local group and please only one cafe group per local group. If a cafe group is desired to be regional in nature, please get approval from your GOA.
  4. Café groups may be set up in Yahoo Groups, Facebook (as a “page,” not as a “group”), or in Google Groups. We ask that any café group clearly post a link back to the actual Freecycle.org main group page to avoid confusion. Local groups may not have separate local websites.
  5. Newsletters: please not publish newsletters in separate blogs, via separate mailings or on separate websites, etc. Keep such informational content to cafe groups please and assure that it is recycling and/or Freecycle-related material. Local recycling and/or Freecycle-related events and info may also be shared in the main group via group Admins.
  6. Such groups must be approved by The Freecycle Network. Please contact your GOA (Group Outreach Assistant).

Café Tips:

The following are suggested tips which may help you to establish a healthy and happy chat cafe group environment. Enjoy!

  1. You'll find it is helpful to make available as many Yahoo features as possible to the members such as: Photos, Databases, Links, and Calendar.
  2. Recognize that the members who do join a cafe are often the most involved and enthusiastic. This may well prove a good "launching pad" for ideas as well as an opportunity to scout for new potential local moderators.
  3. By all means, encourage local resourcefulness and involvement. A cafe may serve as a forum where members can show community appreciation; ask for information on local services, businesses, charities, nonprofit organizations; give members a chance to volunteer with Freecycle or other area groups, e.g. set up a table for volunteers wanted; allow members to post links in the Links section to their businesses or set up a database for this purpose. Members should not sell on list, but may "hook up" off list. A vital part of Freecycle(TM) is providing a connection to local community causes and organizations.
  4. Beware of the griping group syndrome. You don't want to abandon the group to gripers but rather provide a further forum for members to have positive and helpful interaction in order to further build local community.
  5. Yard Sales: Consider making it a condition of allowing yard sale posts that they also have a free stuff table or maybe offer leftovers for free afterwards.
  6. Businesses & Services: One may wish to ask that local members post their related info to the chat cafe database and/or links section rather than to the main chat cafe board.
  7. Pet Issues: If the group allows pets, make sure your pet moderator is also a cafe member, if you have one, since pet issues invariably come up -- especially fundraising, petitions, etc. If the group does not allow pets, recognize that it may be even more likely that the issue will be raised in the cafe. Keep links (e.g. http://www.petfinder.com ) about animal adoption and care handy. A folder of links to local animal charities -- e.g. Humane Society or SPCA is also a good idea.
  8. Consider not listing the local cafe group in Yahoo Groups. This helps to avoid people mistakenly joining your cafe group instead of the main local board. It also reduces the spam potential. Generally then people learn of the cafe group through the local board directly or through word of mouth as community builds. Then one doesn't need to approve new memberships at all as cafe groups are generally less formal. Of course, you'll want to moderate new members to make sure spam doesn't pop up after all. And, you'll want to notify new Cafe group members of how to join the main board with an auto e-mail when they join up, just to be safe.

Will the Cafés for Freecycle groups be moved to the new site?

For now we are just looking at making the new site work for the main board. Cafe groups on the new site will likely not be an option until the fall at the earliest.