Quick Start
PKF Guidelines
Subject Lines  
Combining Posts
Gifts Not Allowed
Choose the Giftee
Arrange the Pick-Up 
Pet/Animal Adoption
Need is not a Topic
Handling All The Mail
To Show Or NoShow,
That Is The Question

Portage-Kalamazoo Freecycle Help

How do mailing lists work?
Why does PF use Yahoo Groups?
Who runs PKF?
Why don't we allow coupons?
What do I do if someone is abusive or rude in email or in person?
What do I do if more then one person wants what I have offered?
What is the PKF disclaimer?
Can I just set the item out and say who ever gets here first gets it?
What is the etiquette for pickups?
When making multiple offers should I put them together or list each one?
How do I arrange pickup?
Why do I see praise listings?
Post for prescription medication?
Can I get stuff from PKF to sell?
Can we freecycle gift software?
Can I work out a trade on the board?

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Mailing Lists Work?
Freecycling is a gifting community using an internet mailing list to connect people who share the same anti-consumerist values. Mailing lists (also called list serve's) are software that runs on servers. When members send mail to the mailing list's address it is forwarded to all members that are subscribers to the list.

Usually replying to one of these forwarded emails will result in that reply being forwarded to the entire list. This mailing list is a bit different than most. Email that is addressed to the list will go to all members but there is no discussion allowed on PKF. When you reply to a message that is posted to the list the reply goes only to the poster as private mail, not publicly to the entire list. This keeps the volume of mail down by letting people make arrangements for the gifting of a specific item in private mail instead of all the other members getting mail about a gift they are not involved with.

Why Does PKF Use Yahoo Groups To Host The Mailing List?
Yahoo Groups host all their mailing lists for free;(  They can do this because they sell advertising which is attached to much of the group mail as well as on all pages of the group web sites;( It is a bit ironic and sad that freecycle allows no commercial content in any of the the posts but members are sent so much from the Yahoo Groups hosting. For now i am sorry that we have to put up with it. That may change in the future.

Who Runs PKF?
All Yahoo Groups have at least one facilitator which is known as the group owner. I don't believe that I own the group so I prefer to be known as list facilitator. PKF has a secondary owner/facilitator in case I am not able to continue for some reason. In addition to the facilitators, PKF has about ten other members with group privileges that allow them to help manage and moderate the list. All of us who manage the list are totally volunteering our time.

PKF is neither a democracy or a dictatorship. Some policies like no money, no bartering, no politics no religion are basic core values inherited from The Freecycle Network at www.freecycle.org. Others are left up to the individual groups. If you think that a PKF policy is wrong or should be amended some way, write us with your concerns at the group owner address or join the PKF Cafe and start a discussion of that rule. Freecycle gifting is not an exact science so we are always looking for ways to make it better for our community.

They are another form of money and generally represent a commercial business interested in having the redeemer use and buy more of their product. They are usually pieces of paper or card board and many argue that we should allow them because the paper is a tangible item that would be other wise recycled or put into a land fill but you will notice that $10 bills are also just pieces of paper and they are not allowed to be freecycle gifts either.

Abusive Members
If it is in a email please forward that email to the owner of the site. If it is in person or over the phone please write the incident up and email it to the owner. Abusive members will be banned after several complaints.

Choosing a Giftee
So who gets your item? The short answer is, "Pick whomever you feel best about giving it to." Some donors like it when requesters write them explaining why they need what you have; others simply pick the first one who responds. Others throw names into a hat and choose at random. It's up to you.

The decision is up to you. Some give to the first email. Others do it by need. Feel free to ask the person what they will do with it. If they are going to sell the item, maybe you would want to give it to someone who could use it. Others just want the item gone. Follow your heart

Portage-Kalamazoo Freecycle 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 AFN list owners and moderators nor anyone affiliated with The Freecycle Network responsible or liable for any circumstance resulting from an AFN-related exchange or communication.

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.

Posting About Multiple Items:
The idea is to cut down the number of emails the list has to send out to gift the most items.

When posting an offer or want list of items, try not to use words like "list", "misc", "other stuff" or "various items" as or in you subject line's short description. If at all possible try to mention all items or the type of items in the subject line. Long subject lines are fine.

If you have a large list use short words to list some of them and then say something like "& more" or "+" or break it up into two or more posts. An example might be something like: "wanted: Chain saw, weed whacker, snow blower". More detailed descriptions should be put into the body of the post.

Also, if you are posting pending's or taken's for multiple items try not to make a separate post for each if you can combine them as above. Praising more than one person is better than separate praise posts for each one. You can go into more detail for each praise in the body of the post.

Freecycle Pick-up Etiquette:
First and foremost, "Be nice and be considerate!" When you arrange to pick up an item from another freecycle gifter, 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. (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.)

The Praise Post:
We encourage the receiver of a gift to praise the gifter if so inclined for three reasons. First to publicly than the gifter for the gift. Second to give that freecycle gift transaction closure and finally to be a way of having a record in the message data base of who the receiver was for that item.

Many times members want to find out who they gave an item to because they found a missing part of the original item that they want to give to that receiver also and have lost their email. we don't allow members to ask for this information on the the public list but a quick word search in the message data base will come up with the praise and the information they need.

The praise is not for the gifter to thank the receive for a fast pickup or anything else. It is for the receiver to thank the gifter for the gift. You would to that in the taken if so inclined. With members saying that there is already too much mail and other calling for not allowing the praise, if we allow praising for a quick pick up now we are having two praises for one freecycle gift transaction.

Prescription Medications
The freecycle gifting of prescription drugs is strictly PROHIBITED by freecycle and the F. D.A. Punishable by law.

Asking For Gifts In Order To Sell Them:
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, 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

On Freecycling Software:
As long as it is not an illegal copy and you are the owner of the software it can be freecycle gifted.

No Trading/Barter:
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; it can be fun and we've got nothing against it, but that's not what freecycling is about.

Gift: Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation. A valid gift requires: (1) a competent donor; (2) an eligible donee; (3) an existing identifiable thing or interest; (4) an intention to donate; (5) delivery; i.e., a transfer of possession to or for the donee and a relinquishment.