Moderator Manual:Mod cafe

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Café Group Information

A Café group is a social media group or page where members can talk and get to know each other better. They can discuss Freecycle, offer recycling tips, exchange information on pets, ask about services they can offer or would like, and discuss community events.

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 chitchat, 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 Café groups that accompany Freecycle groups:

  1. Standard Freecycle Trademark Usage Guidelines apply to both the main and chat café groups.
  2. Standard Freecycle Group Guidelines and Disclaimer apply to both the main and chat café groups, but local moderators may choose to allow exceptions for peripheral options not generally allowed on the regular board, such as borrowing/lending, yard sales announcements, services, community event info, etc. However, local chat cafés may not be used for selling and may not be used for purposes that parallel the local Freecycle.org group.
  3. Café groups may be set up in Yahoo Groups, Facebook (as a “page,” not as a “group”), Google Groups or other social media apps. We ask that any café group clearly post a link to the actual Freecycle.org group page to avoid confusion. Local groups may not have separate local websites.
  4. Café groups must be approved by The Freecycle Network. Please contact your GOA (Group Outreach Assistant).
  5. 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 café group per local group. If a café group is desired to be regional in nature, please get approval from your GOA.
  6. Newsletters: please do not publish newsletters in separate blogs, via separate mailings or on separate websites, etc. Please share local recycling and/or Freecycle-related info on your café group or as Admins on your Freecycle.org group.

Café Tips:

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

  1. Try to take advantage of the social media capabilities of your café group by sharing photos, links, calendars, etc.
  2. Recognize that the members who do join a café 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 café 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 café database and/or links section rather than to the main chat café board.
  7. Pet Issues: If the group does not allow pets, recognize that it may be even more likely that the issue will be raised in the café. Keep links about lost pets (e.g. http://www.petfinder.com ), animal adoption and pet care handy. A list of links to local animal charities -- e.g. Humane Society or SPCA is also a good idea.
  8. Consider not listing the local café group in Yahoo Groups so that members so not mistakenly join your café group instead of the main local board. Not listing your group also reduces the spam potential. Generally then people learn of the café group through the local board directly or through word of mouth as community builds and memberships don't need to go through the approval process. Of course, you'll want to moderate new members to make sure spam doesn't pop up. And it's a good idea send an email with instructions on how to join Freecycle.org when new Café group members join, just in case they haven't joined the main group yet.