Freecycle Chaos

Freecycle Chaos

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.

From: “tamitha75”
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
Tammy []
[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
Tammy []
[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…

From: “davawitdaflava”
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
ranting to someone who gives a crap go hang out at the local
homeless shelter or something theres lots of people there that need
someone to talk to who knows maybe youlle even amuse one or two of
them in the mean time leave all of us alone this is a nice peaceful
place to hang out trade and meet lots of really good hearted people
so if thats not what your looking for please leave….dave….

From: “davawitdaflava”
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
i was tryin to say was that i for one dont necessarilly (or however
you spell that) like that kind of use of profanity and if im not
mistaking i read a message that someone is wanting to take revenge
and shut down this f,ing bussiness and i understand from a reply
that someone stole an email addy and is posting bogus messages so
if this is another one from the bogus people ill tell you like the
other message leave everyone here alone and i was not trying to
hurt anyone whos ligit in this i just dont want to see this sight
turn into something like this i was just making a point that i do
believe most would prob agree this is not a sight for anger threats
and vulgarity thanks again and im sorry if i didnt understand your
situation tammy …dave…

Here’s a reply that I posted, as Tammy, to Dave…

dear david!
suck my fucking dick you retarded cocksmoker


And here’s another post from a random Freecycler…

Thu 1/20/2005 2:02 PM
Tracey []
[Alton_Freecycle] I AM NEW

I am new to freecycle, and think the idea of having a place to help the community is great.
Seems to me that the person that keeps sending offensive messages should be banned from the group.
We are adults here I assume, she needs to find someplace else to get rid of her emotional trash.

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
can put a stop to it by making all posts have to be approved. So
don’t worry we’ll take care of it if it keeps happening.

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:

Tammy []
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
(618) 463-3505 ext: ***. These emails came from a cell phone made to a company to place the email(s). I would very much appreciate it if you would make a post in your sites letting everyone know that this indeed was not me doing this. I am not wanting people to think that I am the kind of person that would post such a thing or try to get any group stopped. I like these groups and want to have them continue. I would also like to have my named cleared of what people think that I have done, but didn’t.

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:

Jo []
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…
The Police and other authorities are now this will all be cleared up soon…
This is just a FYI for all Members…
If you have any questions..Please send private E Mail…to ADMIN

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: []
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

You might also wish to remove Tammy from your group – but that is entirely up to you. All official Freecycle groups are listed on The Illinois groups are located in the US Central link.

Thanks everyone – hope you’re all having a great weekend!

Illinois State Freecycleâ„¢ Group Approver
Springfield, Illinois Freecycleâ„¢ Moderator
Thanks for helping save the planet!

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.

Another Pointless Freecycle Incident

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
Zaksnana2000 []
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
network was worded (I dont think anyone would mentions this an their
grandchild in the same email if it were not a poor excuse for a
prank) and the defence that the person had submitted I am going to
assume that this was a fraudulant post.
Due to some information that was invoved within that post we can
assume that the person knows the person who owns the account.

Until this can be straightend out do not respond to the “sender” of
this post or tell her how inapropriate you think it was, I assure
you she agrees and is does not know how this happend.

Please be awair of who has your information ie. Login name and
passwords. Don’t judge too harshly when someting bad happens as in
this case there may have been a misunderstanding

zaksnana2000 []
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
by someone or been the victim of an office prank. I leave my yahoo
page up on my computer during the day at work and I often leave my
desk for extended periods and don’t logoff (which I will now do). I
am trying to get this straightened out and hope you will accept my
sincere apologies for the inappropriate posting.


Thu 1/20/2005 4:07 PM
Zaksnana2000 []
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!


From: “brienbow”
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
come through here today.

Since the main freecycle org has sent down the commandment to make
all freecycle groups unmoderated, we have little control if a member
goes rouge or someone uses their email.

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
our (mods) hands.

Thanks for your patience.

Owner(mod)Freecycle Edwardsville

From: “brienbow”
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
new members only. Here is the rule from Freecycle Org

*** DON’T FULLY MODERATE YOUR GROUP. Full moderation of all posts is
not allowed. Moderation of new member posts is fine – just remember
to take the folks off moderation once they post correctly.
Important: The moderation of troublemakers is highly advised.

Freecycleâ„¢ works best without full moderation. Empower your members
to give directly to another bi-ped without moderator intervention,
quickly, easily and enjoyably. Trust and empower the members
directly as much as humanly possible and it’ll pay out (forgive the
metaphor) in spades when your group gets really big.

Why? Because by then all members will know and use the rules
correctly. You have taught them to fish rather than giving them fish
for a day, right? This is why we don’t allow FULL moderation. It’s
like “Freecycleâ„¢ lite.” It tastes kinda like The Freecycleâ„¢ Network,
but doesn’t pack that caffeinated punch, is slower, and more
controlled. Be bold, trust, and educate members unless individuals
give you a reason not to and moderate those individuals.

thanks for your understanding.



5 thoughts on “Freecycle Chaos

  • February 21, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Great! Fun! I joined about 40% of the members on Seminole County, and Orange County city Freecycle groups who have been banned as of December 2006, for noting this, type message:

    “Curb alert: Et Cetera
    While delivering an elderly person a meal today, noticed a large wooden dinnette set, like new, solid Maple (cherry, mahogany, etc.) ON THE CURB, and, since it rains here this might get ruined tonight! I asked the person who owned it what was that about, and found it is FREE to be picked up by the FIRST person to drive by!

    If you want to see or get it, I already confirmed with the octogenarian that it is OUT because of the need for room to put the medical equipment and facility for them to continue to reside at home in stead of a nursing home. It was purchased NEW for $3,200, and is complete with leafs, 6 chairs, Plus two arm chairs!

    THIS (address) is NOT my residence and this is NOT my stuff! Happy Freecycling!

    Freecycler Doe ( my real Identity is here ).

    Well, ‘Tiffany’ wrote me that she moderated me, as I cannot post my own stuff on other peoples streets and curbs!

    Only problem is that ‘Tiffany’ moderates several boards, and is the cheap goddess of goodies, so, she will let hundreds of us RECEIVE Freecycle messages, but NOT post our findings!

    Ah, well, I am getting a truck and a store so I can collect and sell this great stuff! And, I will actually give some of the money back to the old folks who donated it!

    Freecycle actually sucks in that some Moderators have a Napoleanic Complex and also cannot comprehend what they read, so they lash out at their benefactors!

    Well, now, what is left on the boards in Seminole and Orange Counties in Florida, are only the BEGGARS!!!

    Used to get 100 messages each day GIVING or Offering items, and now it is 15 each day Begging!

  • May 8, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Looks like you just started the chaos on your own and escalated it yourself. What fun did you get out of that. Moderators spent countless hours volunteering away from their friends and family and it’s just plain wrong to just do that to someone for fun. Please, come on. You know what you did was wrong. It’s supposed to be appropriate for all ages. Get real!

  • May 10, 2010 at 9:39 am

    It seems to me, you started all this trouble. She didn’t bother your group or try to shame your name. You just didn’t like it because she was able to leave your group & start one on her own. Real childish, immature, stupid thing you did. Not funny at all.

    This is the reason I left all Freecycle groups I was a member of. The moderator of our local group seemed to play favorites. My best friend’s kids and my kids both hang out with his rotten kids (we’re all neighbors). My son defended my friends daughter against his potty mouthed son once and he never forgot it. He rejected every post I ever tried to put up. He thinks being a freecycle moderator gives him some sort of commnunity clout.

    Freecycle is where the weird kids from school gather to feel important.

    I just take my unwanted goods to Goodwill now. Atleast they don’t act so childish and spiteful.

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