Goodbye Yahoo! Groups – you brought like-minded people together
Weblog: The service is shutting down on December 14th, and deleting 18 years of posts
As of October 28th Yahoo! is removing the ability for members to post to groups, rendering them all but useless
Every time an internet service shuts down, the cliched phrase “it’s the end of an era” is trotted out. In all sincerity, the news that Yahoo! Groups will be deleted by December 14th truly is the end of an era for internet users who came of age in the early Noughties. Before people embraced social media, there were tens of thousands of groups dedicated to everything from owners of diabetic pets to medieval history buffs.
As of October 28th Yahoo! is removing the ability for members to post to groups, rendering them all but useless, other than serving as mailing lists. By mid-December years of posts dating from 2001 will be deleted and gone forever. The Internet Archive is on a mission to save as much of this as possible but, as one of its archivists Jason Scott pointed out, this won’t be possible with the multitudes of inaccessible private groups.
Why bother, you may ask? These groups provide a snapshot of social, cultural, personal and political discourse from across the world over the past 18 years. It’s a potentially valuable resource for researchers who want to understand more about how online communities bond or break apart or how civility breaks down and hate speech emerges.