I’ve been using Yahoo!Groups to play games since it was OneList. I think I first started in 1998 or thereabouts. OneList became eGroups, and eGroups became Yahoo!Groups. Though some features have come and gone, the meat of the service–the archives and emailing–have remained wonderfully the same.
The online archives as they currently stand can be followed by thread or by date, so you can either follow a single storyline or reread posts in order of submission, enjoying the overlap of reactions to major events that occurred in the game in the past. Like reading an old favorite novel, whenever nostalgia strikes or whenever I join a new RPG, I can easily enjoy what’s happened in the past.
The email service has, overall, been a huge convenience and a real delight. Especially since I got a smartphone, it has been a treat to have this hobby of mine right there in my pocket. I read each post as it comes through, enjoying scenes as they unfold.
The files, photos, and links have all been convenient for keeping resources for the game, setting, characters, and players near at hand.
The polls have added a nice democratic way of making decisions now and then, plus amusement for running game-related player’s choice awards.
What I’m trying to underscore here is that Yahoo!Groups as it stands has been my primary source of entertainment for fifteen years, give or take, and I would hate to lose it.
Here is my primary concern right now: The messages are all screwed up, and messages are the core part of our storytelling games.
Some messages–emailed, posted via the “Classic” site, or posted via the “Neo” site–are either not appearing in the archives or appearing hours or days after they are posted.
Some messages appear in the archives but are not emailed out, meaning that members who primarily read and post via email miss those messages entirely.
Some messages are labeled as spam, either by Yahoo!Groups filters and thus not posting to the archives, or by my email account. I have never had problems with my groups being labeled as spam before the Neo changes began.
This has led to a lot of confusion. People are missing parts of the story left and right. It’s as if someone is tearing every other page of a novel out and leaving the reader to try and figure out which page is supposed to go where.
I know we aren’t medical groups or support groups. We face no dire crisis. I won’t be so inflammatory as to say that these changes are killing us. But it is still heartbreaking that these changes are transforming a hobby that is a usually pleasant and entertaining escape for myself and my fellow players into a massive headache where we have to check and double-check if our posts went through and if we missed someone else’s post.
Please, if there is anything you take out of this, remember that there is no service out there like Yahoo!Groups as it stands now. Do all you can to enhance the unique assets of the Yahoo!Groups that us old-timers love and maintain the features that we use the most, and Groups will thrive.