There was an incident on September 30th, 2013, that really got my attention. Down in the Feedback Trench, there was a post from a moderator explaining how his group was offended by the Word NEO and how they had all quit over it.
The reason this group was offended by the word was because the group contained a number of WWII veterans and families and children of those veterans. Some of them were even French. To that group of people and, to be honest, to most of the world, the word Neo to them meant Neo as in Neo Nazi.
I went down to the trench when I learned of the group owner’s dilemna; there was no one left to help him archive it, so I offered our help as I have done with many group owners before.
Then it sparked a conversation on Twitter that I like to call “The Great Twitter Debate” between my “Point Man” Tyger_Bryte; Yahoo’s Senior Vice President Of Communications, Jeff Bonforte; and another tweeter called Hindo Urro.
You can read it for yourself at:
Go To September 30th and click “View Conversations.”
Or you can read a copy saved to file here:
The upshot was that two people tried to explain to Mr Bonforte that NEO was an insulting word to many people who had suffered, or whose families had suffered, in WWII under the Nazi regime. But the SVP was unapologetic, instead offering up newer references to the word from the Matrix, etc. He couldn’t understand why an entire group would quit over this word. But I do, and here is their story.
BetterMind&Body commented · September 30, 2013 1:52 am
We had been a successful group with over 4800 hundred members and more than half that read the group at the group. We have been forced to start the removing process because we will NOT stay in this stupid design or the flaky way it looks! Also a lot of my members are French and some even having relatives who survived WWII and have lived in France for decades afterward, and every person who knows the French language as their second or even third language knows the term “Neo” means Neo Nazi. They were a group that started in Europe some years after WWII and none of those memories are pleasant AT ALL. This Neo redirect is horrendous on the very level it is a slap in the face of those who see the word for the only way they can take it as. It’s offensive and demeaning as just the term “neo” and what it means to them! Meanwhile the whole format (if you can call it that) is very off-putting and rather childish looking. Everything literally is being squeezed into a small, back-breaking, neck-aching bottom of the screen little box, while everything else has been ran over with this utterly ugly look.
Yahoo you have lost another 4800 members. 4817 to be exact. NO ONE from my group even wanted to look at it after seeing it. They haven’t even been back on. It was abandoned with its first appearance. This isn’t us disliking a change, this is us being abused by your short-sightedness and obviously lack of consideration and total lack of humanity.
I couldn’t agree more with his last sentence.
For Yahoo to have been this insensitive to how people feel and to not have even considered the impact such a term could have on people, let alone the fact that no apology was given when the SVP was confronted about it, they truly must be either heartless or clueless. You decide.