I should begin this article by saying that I love the idea that Freecycle promotes. I've been an active Freecycler for over a year now, offering many things on my local Freecycle group and occasionally picking things up for myself. I encourage everyone to find and join your local Freecycle group. And don't harass the users on it like I did...
While living in Alton, Illinois in 2005, I ended up being the moderator of the local Freecycle group. I was an active member of the group, posting offers and helping to promote and maintain the group. But there was this one user that really bugged me. For one thing, her and her husband tried their best to take everything that was offered in the group. We're not sure why - maybe to sell it or maybe just to get free stuff. Whatever the reason, they wanted everything. Then she started up her own Freecycle group in Godfrey (a town right next to Alton) just so she could be the moderator. Not too many people joined it. Freecycle mods ordered her to take it down and stop trying to promote it. She also tried setting up a similar group called Curbcycle.
I don't exactly know what it was about her. Maybe it was just her attitude. But I decided to have some fun with her by spoofing a few emails to the Alton Freecycle group, making them appear to come from her. She seemed like the type of person that would really flip out about something like that. And man, was I right. Here's what I wrote, using her info...
From: Tammy Schutte
Date: Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:53 pm
Subject: OFFER: misc. Sex toys
I have one box full of dildos, ticklers, vibrating creams, pocket pussies and a few porn video tapes that I don't need anymore now that I've given my life to God. Will consider splitting items in box up. Email if interested.
I spoofed this message to the Alton Freecycle group and the Wood River Freecycle Group. An hour later, she posted a frantic email to the group, trying to clear her name.
Date: Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:53 pm
Subject: re: boguss message
Somebody put a message with my name that I did not post. I have talked with the moderator about this already, and we decided that whomever did this, either can admit to it or there will be a trace put on it tomorrow morning. I don't know who thinks this site is for games and pranks, but it is not funny. You will be found out. We are even thinking about pressing charges againist the person that did this. I am sorry to everyone on here that we have to put up with stuff like this.
My antics ended up getting her banned from the St. Louis Freecycle group, as you'll see from her email below. And I didn't even post anything to the St. Louis group. She must have just posted a rant on there about the incident, thinking people in St. Louis actually care about some stupid little prank on an Illinois group. Maybe she was already on the St. Louis mod's bad side - she sure wasn't popular with any of the mods in Illinois.
Thu 1/20/2005 11:27 AM
[Alton_Freecycle] re: bogus message
I recently had someone use my email address to post a very obscene post. I tried to post this in the stl freecycle, to warn anyone else or to get help with this. I was turned down and banned from the stl freecycle because of this. Just letting everyone know that this is how the stl freecycle is respecting their members. I am pretty sure that there are other groups for the stl area, but I for one will not go back to this one.
Thanks for you time.
Since I was a moderator and Freecycle isn't supposed to be used for general conversation or notices, I kept deleting Tammy's posts to the Alton group and asking her not to post that kind of thing on the group. She took offense to my deletions, thinking that I must be against her if I wasn't willing to let her warn all the other Freecyclers about her problems. I posted the following message on Alton Freecycle under her name:
Thu 1/20/2005 1:00 PM
[Alton_Freecycle] re: bogus message
I would also like to inform all of the group moderators that if you keep deleting my stupid annoying drama-queen posts that I will seek revenge by putting you all out of business with my superior Godfrey freecycle group. Just because I like to crosspost my retarded bullshit to every single fucking freecycle group within a 100 mile radius is no reason to be hating on me.
Freecycle consumes my entire life and I will do everything in my power to make sure that you all know me and pity me in hopes that some of you will feel sorry for me and be friends with me.
Until my next cross-posting rant,
A few of the other Freecycle users posted messages about Tammy. Most Freecycle users knew not to do this, though...
Date: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:04 pm
Subject: dear tammy!
what in the world is wrong with you? i think you need to take your
Date: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:38 pm
Subject: re tammy
i am confused noe is there two tammies here or what is going on? all
Here's a reply that I posted, as Tammy, to Dave...
suck my fucking dick you retarded cocksmoker
And here's another post from a random Freecycler...
Thu 1/20/2005 2:02 PM
[Alton_Freecycle] I AM NEW
I am new to freecycle, and think the idea of having a place to help the community is great.
Since Tammy kept posting announcements about the harassment in the Alton group and I kept having to delete her posts, I sent her the following email:
Hey Tammy. It sucks that someone is spoofing your email. But it's
probably best if you don't announce things like this in the groups.
Especially since our group wasn't even involved in the particular
incident that you're referring to.
If this person continues to spoof your emails in Alton Freecycle, we
Hope your day is going well!
And she promptly disobeyed me a day or two later, by cross-posting this message in all the area Freecycle groups:
Fri 1/21/2005 11:56 AM
re: bogus post
I have spoken with Det. ***** ******, with Alton Police Dept. He has confirmed that these emails did not come from me. You are more than welcome to call and confirm with what I am telling you. His number is
Thank you for your time and patience.
Tammy actually did call the Alton police department because of a few spoofed emails. And better yet, a member of the Alton police department actually joined the group to investigate! It was nice being a moderator and knowing that a policeman joined so that I knew to stop the spoofing. The policeman left the group a few days later, since nothing was happening. Here's a message from the Edwardsville, Illinois Freecycle moderator warning everyone that the police were involved:
Fri 1/21/2005 1:28 PM
[freecycle-edwardsville] ADMIN: Bogus E Mail
Regarding the recent Bogus E Mail...sent to the different Freecycle Sites...
A week or so later, all of the area mods got a message from one of the head Illinois moderators, telling us about problems with Tammy. She even encouraged everyone to remove Tammy from their groups.
From: FreecycleSpfldIL@aol.com [mailto:FreecycleSpfldIL@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 29, 2005 2:25 PM
To: all mods
Subject: Godfrey IL Freecycle Group
Hi everyone - I hope I am reaching all of you! Just in case you are not aware, the Godfrey, Illinois group is NOT an official Freecycle group and should not be promoted on any of your groups. Please delete any messages promoting this group.
The moderator, Tammy, has had two groups rejected for various reasons. She has been asked to delete the Godfrey group or remove all references to Freecycle, but she refuses. She has been sent a "cease and desist" letter.
Please email me if you have any questions, or you may contact Midwest Group Outreach Advisor Judy as well, by emailing her at email@example.com
You might also wish to remove Tammy from your group - but that is entirely up to you. All official Freecycle groups are listed on www.freecycle.org. The Illinois groups are located in the US Central link.
Thanks everyone - hope you're all having a great weekend!
We never bothered deleting Tammy, but she disappeared from the Freecycle scene shortly after all of the spoofing happened. We assume that she signed up under a new identity so that she could continue to hoard all the offered free stuff to herself. Maybe some day she'll discover this page so that she can relive those wonderful days again. And then she'll call the police on me again.
Below is a completely different Freecycle incident which I'm too lazy to write about now, but I'm going to put up the emails anyway.
Thu 1/20/2005 4:07 PM
OFFER: misc. Sex toys
I have one box full of dildos, ticklers, vibrating creams, pocket pussies and a few porn video tapes that I don't need anymore now that I've given my life to God. Will consider splitting items in box up. My grandson zak absolutely loves the purple jelly dildo but it's not exactly a kid's toy.
Email if interested.
Message from the Topeka admin...
Due to that way that the inapropriate email that has come across the
Until this can be straightend out do not respond to the "sender" of
Please be awair of who has your information ie. Login name and
Thu 1/20/2005 3:21 PM
[Topekafreecycle] Please accept my deepest apologies for the earlier posting.
I did not post the inapropriate items earlier. I have either been hacked
Thu 1/20/2005 4:07 PM
Re: deepest apologies
Also, I still have the box of sex toys available to anyone that wants it. I would never let Zak play with something that's been in my pussy though. That's just disgusting! Please email if interested and again, my apologies for the comment about my grandson. I didn't write that part of it!
Date: Thu Jan 20, 2005 5:09 pm
Subject: ADMIN: Bogus Message from member
I want to appologize for the filth and vulger messages that have
Since the main freecycle org has sent down the commandment to make
We make every attempt to stop this kind of things from happening.
The main freecycle org thinks it's better unmoderated so this is out
Thanks for your patience.
Date: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:24 am
Subject: ADMIN: Moderating rules from Freecycle Org
For all of you that wonder why we went from moderated to moderate
*** DON'T FULLY MODERATE YOUR GROUP. Full moderation of all posts is
FreecycleÃ¢â€žÂ¢ works best without full moderation. Empower your members
Why? Because by then all members will know and use the rules
thanks for your understanding.