How To Bring About Positive Change Within a Group To Help It Come Closer To The Buy Nothing Project Vision
Q: I’ve read through your Rules and suggested best practices and my local admin is doing something quite different in our group. How can we bring the group more in line with a Buy Nothing Project group as outlined on your website?
A: Being a volunteer admin of a Facebook group can be challenging, especially the more members you have. We have spent 5 years evolving our rules to accommodate the very real experiences we’ve had in our thousands of local gift economies. Yet, no single Buy Nothing group is perfect, and so we do allow admins to make reasonable calls on how to administer our rules and the assumption is that they know their communities’ needs well. But if your group doesn’t look or feel like a Buy Nothing group, yet it uses the Buy Nothing name and rules, here are some resources to give you the tools to help bring your group back into the spirit of a local Buy Nothing gift economy.
— First, please use all of the resources available to all members on our website to try to answer your questions or better understand the reasoning behind our Rules. We have the following pages that can help you:
— If your question or concern hasn’t been answered through the resources on our website, you could post, respectfully and non-confrontationally, in your group about the particular rule or suggested best practices that you see are not being applied to your group. Let your local admin and the members all have opportunity to talk about it in the group. Our rules do allow for members to post their gratitude, thoughts, and concerns about the group and gift economy thinking itself. It’s a great way to get everyone on board with the basic Mission and Principles of a Buy Nothing group helping them to embrace what a Buy Nothing Project group has the potential to be.
How can you determine whether your post in your group is respectful and non-confrontational? We try to use the rubric of “True, Kind, and Necessary.” Ask yourself if the statements you are making are True, and if they’re stated in a Kind manner and if your comments or post are even Necessary, meaning you’ve done the research through all of the Buy Nothing resources to determine whether your concerns are relevant and necessary to bring up in the group.
— Respectfully Private Message your Local Admin at the same time, inviting a direct conversation about your concerns. You are welcome to use our documents to support your questions or concerns.
— You could suggest some of your members and Local Admins get together to discuss how to help your group follow the ideals and standards we promote, and suggest ways to creatively shift the existing culture in your group. Person-to-person discussions are always much more productive than those in online forums. We encourage a sense of ownership by the members of the Buy Nothing mission and principles which are for all neighbors. Our rules are in essence shareware for anyone to learn best practices for behaving in a gift economy.
— If you’ve been in another Buy Nothing group and your new group feels quite different, post about your observations made in your original group, what you enjoyed, what may not have worked well for you, and ideas about how the community can bring about the behavior you enjoyed in your previous group. Be the change you want to see and model what you’ve seen happen in other Buy Nothing groups.
— Offer your support to your local admin(s) if you’d like to help. Perhaps you can help as an admin, as a moderator, or with the membership queue. All Buy Nothing admins are encouraged to take part in our Admin Training, and be members of our Local Admin Support Groups as well as our Volunteer Resource Center. We are a true network of volunteers, all are here to support your local admin.
— If you’ve tried to connect directly with your local admins and have also tried to have a civil discussion in your group, and you’ve tried to model the gift economy behavior you’d like to see, you can always get in touch with us through our website. We will pass your query on to the Regional Team that supports your Local Admin and they will try to help coach your admin through the concerns, but we do not specifically intervene in admin-member relations.
— If you’ve been waiting in the queue to join the group, to no avail, please let us know. You can also see if you have any Facebook friends in the group. If so, you could contact those friends and ask them to post in the group, asking why there are people pending in the queue.
— If all of your efforts have proven fruitless, you could certainly get in touch with us through our website to start your own Buy Nothing group for your community. While we’d prefer to not have Buy Nothing local gift economies overlap, we are open to hearing from you and will work with you to set up a group that would serve your community well. We do, however, have the one group rule for membership, so you would need to ensure your members choose only one Buy Nothing group to participate in.
And finally, we now have a Member Feedback form for you to fill out! This will help us get your query to the regional team that works in your region! We appreciate you giving us as much information as you can and we’ll work internally to help address your issue as quickly as we can!