Yahoo Groups archivists despair as Verizon blocks their preservation efforts ahead of shutdown

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/20/save-yahoo-groups.html

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It’s telcos, too:


(They should have the means to deal with this, though.)

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I have great sympathy for the people and communities affected by this, but I think it’s timely to remind everyone of the rules:

  1. Don’t run anything essential on a free service.
  2. Don’t run anything without a plan to migrate it elsewhere at a moment’s notice.
  3. Don’t run anything on Yahoo!

Yahoo! are the fucking John Wayne Gacy of the online world. They kill for sport. If they don’t have something of their own to kill, they’ll buy something that belongs to someone else and kill that. Oh, sure, you think they’ve reformed, but then another full moon rises and they’re out there in the haunted night, looking for some tender little online product or service to butcher. This should not come as a surprise, people. It was always only ever a matter of time.

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Yahoo might be being paid by individuals involved with nextdoor.com to throttle-down the Yahoo Groups to eliminate competition. Key nextdoor executives came over from Yahoo. I have personally had first-hand conversations with one of these vile individuals.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gordonstrause/

The nextdoor platform itself is the result of a coup - now owned and operated by a team who posed as an incubator/investment group and then seized the nextdoor.com domain name AND their software from them after pretending to back out of the project.

Some rumors persist that among the current investors of nextdoor.com are “retired” figures from 3-letter government organizations, suggesting that nextdoor.com is one of those “civilian” companies which does the kind of citizen data-collection which governments are not permitted to do themselves. (For those not familiar with this phenomenon, “retired” government agents launch these “consultant” companies and use their carreer contacts to market and sell dossier “products”, and are therefore government-funded loopholes around laws protecting privacy and democracy).

What we need is a selection of decentralized tools or self-hosted options which take care of this group of tasks which is really fairly simple in this day and age. With a nice importation tool to suck messages down from the old Yahoo/Google/nextdoor group built in - It could simply emulate a browser and walk through the sites. Someone’s old PC running at home could handle thousands of members. Sadly, this idea hasn’t taken hold because seemingly, nobody has taken the time to do so - a few internet adepts have certainly written tools to do this themselves, but the result wasn’t something ready for public consumption.

An ideal version of the tools I describe above would work as a program/app which masquerades as a browser on your PC or phone, uploading your posts, media and comments to one or more major social media platform simultaneously, and downloading replies and other activity from those you follow. Sort of like Hootsuite, but not crippled and confusing. :wink: This way, you have a local copy of all your content, avoid being trapped in a specific platform, avoid losing your content when a platform censors you or shuts down, and can quickly populate new platforms with your previous content. You would post there instead of in FB/twitter/instagram and you’d also read your friend’s content there, with ads and other crud filtered out as desired. It should also be able to alert you when your posts have been censored, and give you useful statistics about your friends. Social media platforms would probably start a war of obstruction, but ultimately need to keep their content compatible with ordinary browsers.

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It boggles my mind that millions of users keep data they can’t afford to lose exclusively on “free”-to-use third-party platforms.

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How many people use their smart phones to store EVERYTHING but don’t ever back it up in any way?
Then they lose their phone or it breaks and oh the weeping and wailing that ensues because it was somehow someone else’s responsibility to take care of all their important info.

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I have been a member of a group that was on Yahoo since 2001, but the moderators had the good sense to switch to Google Groups about ten years back, and to scrape and archive the old Yahoo content.

It’s interesting that Google provides the same free service without the same level of evil as Yahoo. There is definitely an evil there, it’s just more subtle.

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I mean, heck, every bit of data I even sort of care about is backed up at least once a month (some more often) to multiple offline storage formats including less often updated remote archival copies in separate regions of the US (which I would update more often if it were in any way practical). I may not survive a nuclear holocaust, but some of my data probably would. I look at the Arctic World Archive and Global Seed Vault in Svalbard with envy. The scene in Diaspora where the polis citizens try to save their civilization by engraving gamma-ray burst-proof patterns into the surfaces of inert lifeless planets sounded like an enticing goal to me.

Now, I’m not saying people need to be as paranoid as me, but trusting platforms to which users are cannon-fodder for their real customers to preserve and return essential data is, well, the word naive seems inadequate. :woman_shrugging:

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271511

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This story is 1000% crazy.

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Himm, that Yahoo-Nextdoor-intelligence connection is unpleasantly interesting. I quit Yahoo years ago because they wouldn’t allow email forwarding to other systems, but I’m still on ND (mostly to exchange free stuff with neighbors.) I definitely could compile dossiers on certain neighbors if I wanted to – who carries a concealed-carry gun; who hates immigrants; who has surveillance cams; who has a cleaning service (and often, the name of the service); who argues for homeless rights; who defends antifa, etc. ND has a real-name policy & tries to enforce by crosschecking credit card, home address, or photo ID. That’s a lot of info to give to a private company – even worse if it is, as you suggest, a public-private data-collection pool.

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I would put an addendum on that…

*Always remember there is no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer.

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This same thing will happen to Facebook.

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I think persons with MBAs were involved.

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Haha, no kidding! My respect for the MBA degree remains on a long, forty five degree negative slope.

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But when?

ETA Until reading the comments here, I’d forgotten I had a NextDoor account. A few years back when I was on our HOA board the president asked us all to make an account. I just logged in to deactivate my account, and there weren’t as many hoops to jump through as I expected (assuming that I actually managed to deactivate it). Certainly easier than disentangling from Facebook or Amazon.

Compared to today’s social media instaPuke data, how much space does yahoo groups take? Like 3 hard drives?!?!

Remember Google Reader?

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Is this a reference to In-tel-q? Because I don’t think that’s an accurate description, though many things they’ve invested in have been, uh, interesting, their focus was more things like mapping (Keyhole) and random tech, not slipping some money to Tom to start MySpace