Monday, October 21, 2019
#MicroblogMondays: Farewell, Yahoo Groups
I hadn't been on any of my Yahoo Groups for quite a while, so I was surprised (and yet not entirely surprised...) by the pop-up message I found, which apparently went public a couple of days ago. Yahoo Groups is (essentially) closing down. Not entirely -- group members will still be able to contact each other via email -- but seriously, they might as well be. As of Oct. 28th (one week from today), users won't be able to upload any more content to the site, and as of Dec. 14th, all previously posted content -- including Files, Polls, Links, Photos, Folders, Calendar, Database, Attachments, Conversations, Email Updates, Message Digest and Message History -- will be permanently removed.
As I said, I was surprised, but not surprised by this turn of events. Yahoo Groups has been in decline for years, especially since the advent of (cough) Facebook. Many of the groups I once belonged either disbanded, moved to Facebook or another forum or went dormant years ago -- but there were still several that continued to thrive -- despite increasingly unreliable service. More & more frequently over the past few years, I would try to access one or more of my Yahoo Groups, only to encounter technical difficulties, some of which lasted days or even a full week or longer. There was little to do except wait; there was no apparent mechanism where we could complain or even find out when service might be restored.
The sad thing is that Yahoo Groups was the place that several groups I belonged to went to, after other forums elsewhere folded. SkateFans began some 20 years ago; it grew out a listserv I belonged to when I first started going online in the late 1990s (rec.sport.skating.ice.figure) -- although the number/frequency of posts there has declined dramatically over the years. The small, private Yahoo Group that's been my anchor as a childless-not-by-choice woman for 15+ years began in 2003, after we started having technical difficulties with the Childless Living board on iVillage where we'd all originally met around 2001. (The iVillage board closed in 2008, several years before iVillage itself disappeared.)
The D.E. Stevenson author fan group I belong to was on Yahoo Groups for something like 20 years (since about 1998), and still going strong, with 300+ members -- but the frequent interruptions to our discussion schedule there (because of Yahoo Groups' increasing unreliability) were becoming really frustrating. A year or so ago, a group of members took it upon themselves to research alternatives. Very happily, we were able to transfer the group's entire posting history, as well as photos, files and databases of collected knowledge, to a new home on Groups.io (founded in 2014 by the guy who started ONElist, which eventually became... Yahoo Groups!). My Yahoo Group of childless-not-by-choice friends also made the move to Groups.io shortly afterward, happily preserving 15 years of searchable posts my friends there & I have written about childless living (and life in general -- it's the closest thing I've had in recent years to a journal/diary, besides my blog). So far, so good...! (In case you're interested, here's a Lifehacker article explaining the advantages of moving to Groups.io.)
A SkateFans group member has set up a new group for members on Google Groups. I am not sure what is going to happen to another Yahoo Group I have belonged to for about 20 years (one that's listed in the resources in the sidebar of this blog), Mullerian Anomalies. The number of posts there has declined dramatically over the years, but it's been a fabulous source of information and accumulated wisdom for women like me who have an abnormally shaped uterus.
Change is one thing to cope with, but what really bothers me is thinking of all that accumulated knowledge and history (on my old groups, and others) disappearing into the ether with the click of some anonymous techie's mouse. But I guess it's the way of the Internet -- change and impermanence. Blogging is still here, happily, but those of us who have been around for a while know it's not like it used to be. These days, many women who might have gone to message boards or blogs or even Facebook groups to find support for infertility & pregnancy loss seem to be flocking to Instagram instead. And is it just my imagination, or is everyone and his or her dog starting a podcast lately?
Were/are you a Yahoo Groups user?
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.