Things happen. Computers aren’t perfect, neither are their operators, or sometimes even the business models that underpin them. So I try to give people the benefit of the doubt when stuff happens, or when tough decisions need to be reached. Which is all the more reason I find obfuscation frustrating.

Yahoo quietly announced last month the deletion of Yahoo Groups content in bullet point four of a long email. They’ve now sent follow up with this evasive subject line:

Next Steps: The Evolution of Yahoo Groups (Final Notification)

The first paragraph, which manages to say a lot and nothing at all:

Last month we notified you of the changes coming to Yahoo Groups that better align with user habits, and today we are providing an update to guide you through the next steps of the transition. Yahoo Groups is not going away - [sic] but we are making adjustments to ultimately serve you better. We are amazed at the vibrant community you’ve created through Yahoo Groups and we want to make sure you feel supported as we introduce these changes.

And again, buried halfway down the email in bullet point five this time:

Any content that was previously uploaded via the website will be removed.

This should be the first sentence. Anyone reading this email would likely be turned off by the wall of marketing speak at the start, and could be forgiven deleting it without a second glance. Which means people are going to lose their data. Full stop.

Yahoo Groups have been around for a long, long time, and it’s likely the admins of various groups have moved on, or forgot about their communities. So it’s even more important for this word to get out appropriately.

Like the GeoCities debacle, I’m also a bit miffed that an integral piece of internet history is being deleted. I don’t entirely subscribe to the idea of a Digital Dark Age, but there are certainly whiffs of it each time this happens.

Ending their email:

We have watched the evolution of Yahoo Groups with awe, as we grew to a community of millions with over 10 million Groups. Every day, we witness the power of community and shared passions, and our mission is to provide a platform for the strong connections people make with each other around their interests.

Oh dear.