Beware the Ides of March

 

In what amounts to a tacit admission of failure, Yahoo! deleted thousands of Groups-related suggestions and bug reports and has nothing to say to disappointed users.

Early on March 15th Yahoo Groups users began to report that the official Feedback forum suddenly contained a lot fewer feedback items. A few thousand fewer. The content of the forum had been decimated from recollections of 1,600 to 2,300 items previously to as few as 150 that day. This was reported to Yahoo that day by way of the Yahoo Groups section on Yahoo! Answers. Thus far Yahoo has declined to make any public comment on the deletions in the Answers section cited, in its blog, or in the Feedback forum itself.

Absent any comment, it is tempting to suggest that Yahoo was simply overwhelmed by the number of feedback items and arbitrarily discarded the lower-ranked items to bring the number down to a manageable level. If true, that would amount to a tacit admission that the “new experience” is more troubled than Yahoo can publicly acknowledge or privately cope with.

Some users have suggested that this might have been a simple house-cleaning, ridding the forum of duplicate or inappropriate items. But if that was the intent, Yahoo discarded an unknown number of babies with the bathwater. Some users have posted their bug reports and suggestions again. Others have simply walked away in disgust that their time and effort was so carelessly discarded.

Yahoo, having already caused much discontent within the Groups community over the roll-out of their “new experience,” scarcely needed to give the user community another slap in the face. It is incomprehensible that Yahoo would discard user feedback in bulk at the same time that they are working feverishly to make a show of rolling out the return of lost features and the continued improvement of the “new experience.” If anyone thought they were sweeping problems “under the rug,” that was very short-sighted. Discarding bug reports in particular would only serve to prolong the period of time before the bug gets discovered again and corrected.

Discarding suggestions, on the other hand, is simply rude. The Feedback forum has a mechanism for marking a suggestion as “Declined” if Yahoo decides not to implement it. That may disappoint the person who made the suggestion, but at least they have been given the courtesy of a reply.

— Shal

Update: I tweeted Jeff Bonforte, SVP of Communications Products at Yahoo!, about the situation on Friday, before writing the above, and received a prompt reply from him Monday morning, after that was written but before it was published here. The reply did not address the issue in my opinion.

 

Additional Comment by Nightowl >8#:

I have plenty to say about this issue. Yahoo has been hiding uservoice posts ever since we started the crusade. First they were marking them done, declined, or whatever and moving them, which would break the links we were sending to the press. Then they carelessly started rushing fixes, which was worse, and everything under the sun was breaking. NOW, instead of hiding, falsely marking, or moving comments, they are DELETING them — discarding them with no response to users — a blatant statement on their part that we are nothing to them, that we don’t matter. Well, we are here to tell you GROUPS USERS MATTER! And I archived a huge number of those comments that are now gone from view on Yahoo.

So if you want to see what users have REALLY been saying about the new redesign of Yahoo, go here:
http://w8ten.no-ip.org/documents/

Click on The Feedback Trench and go from there. I promise you, there is a LOT of reading there and almost none of it is positive about the new NEO redesign.

Oh, and if you want some additional reading, click on For The Press. You’ll find two very interesting archived tweet convos between a group of distressed users and Mr. Jeff Bonforte himself!

Happy Reading!!!

 

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Don’t Cut the Cards!

Owl Construction 4

Hello all,

I am Nubia, a yahoo group owner with 38.000+ members and also a yahoo user. Here is a recap of information I posted on the blog of Bonforte from Yahoo.

(NOTE: The above link does not work, the blog must have been changed or deleted. Sorry we can’t fix it. – Nightowl >8#)

I posted the first comment on October 31 and a second one on November 7 – both comments are still in “pending,” not yet accepted.

Message for Jeff Bonforte SVP of Communications @ Yahoo! – Please be a valid contact to solve these issues.

Here is a list of features not working or missing in NEO groups as of November 7:

1 – I cannot approve any member on the web – same error message. I am obliged to approve all members via email.

2 – The messages in the “conversation page” are cut on the right side. I post e-cards so all my cards are cut in 2 and NO MEMBERS CAN READ THE ON THE WEB. What is the need to have a yahoo group if no one can read the messages on the web?

3 – The pending mail as you show it is a nightmare to manage. The pending should be as a list like before. This is not suitable for big groups who have a lot of mail in pending.

4 – The pending mail preview is cut on the right side so the photos do not appear fully.

5 – I think you do not know what it means to “EDIT MAIL.” We need to EDIT THE SOURCE of the mail in pending and see the HTML CODES of the mail like before in case we have to remove hyperlinks.

6 – I cannot search the “activity log.” This is necessary.

7 – I cannot UNBOUNCE members. When I click on “send reactivation request,” I get this message: “We sent a reactivation request in the last 24 hours. Only one reactivation request can be sent within that time frame,” even if the date of the last reactivation request was much older.

8 – I can only see the last 20 attachments in the attachment folder. Before we had the COMPLETE list of attachments.

9 – When I choose to classify my members by date of arrival and not by alphabetical order, my choice is NOT SAVED – the next time it is again by alphabetical order. The choice SHOULD BE SAVED.

10 – We need the complete message history on the home page of the group like before. A member who wishes to join the group needs to know how much mail he will receive daily or monthly.

You launched the NEO groups more than 3 months ago now, and none of this is resolved. Stop making this a nightmare for group owners. We lose a lot of time and members because of your new version that NOBODY WANTS.

GIVE THE OPTION to group owners to chose the classic version or the NEO version and you will see who really likes it or dislikse it. Don’t tell us in condescending words that we are like kids who dislike change!

Correct the bugs or roll back to Classic. End this nightmare!

Thank you,
Nubia

What We’ve Got Here is Failure to Communicate

owlemptypodium

Which seems kind of ironic, for Yahoo’s business is all about communications. But being able to channel communications isn’t at all the same thing as being able to communicate well.

By the way, for you movie fans, no, I’m not comparing either myself or Yahoo to a warden or a prisoner, but apart from the circumstances of Cool Hand Luke, this famous quote does seem to be very apt to the circumstances surrounding the Yahoo! Groups Neo roll-out.

And it still doesn’t have to be this way…

Neo is a moving target (thank goodness, actually), so I’ve updated my prior post to strike some of the things that are no longer true.  I was planning to write this post as a status update, “Twelve weeks of Neo,” but events got ahead of me and now it is fifteen weeks — a full three-and-a-half calendar months.

Why the silence?

One of the inspirations for this post was an October 30th sequence of conversations on Twitter involving Jeff Bonforte that inspired other thoughts, such as how the Groups team mishandled the communications about Neo as badly, if not worse, than they handled its technology.  My prior post touched on the failures to communicate, but now I see there’s more to the story. Jeff is Senior Vice President of Communications Products at Yahoo!, a position that encompasses Groups, Mail, Messenger and other products, so it is probably safe to assume that he knows what is going on within Groups and why and how that fits in with Yahoo’s other products. If he doesn’t, well, then they have an internal failure to communicate to deal with.

One of the odd things about Yahoo’s communications on the subject of Neo is that there has been no statement in the name of the Yahoo! Groups Product Manager. There is such a person, Jeff told me so, but he hasn’t answered my direct request to name him or her. Other sources (GMF 48171) report that to be Hari Vasudev. I would have expected the PM to take a fairly hands-on role in such a major roll-out. Indeed, in the far more limited New Groups Calendar roll-out of 2012, the prior PM for Groups, Ashish Parnami, did engage one of the moderator tips and tricks groups, YGOG, to get early access to the new Calendar (message 41500). There are a couple things about that roll-out that are familiar though: It proceeded piecemeal and it didn’t stop, despite manifest defects and user community outrage due to its dysfunction and clumsy user interface.

I should add that even though I was “on point” for the user side of the calendar roll-out, as both moderator of YGOG and owner of YahooGroupedia, I never intended any of the criticism of the implementation or the handling of its roll-out as a personal affront to anyone at Yahoo, least of all Ashish, who I hoped would continue as an engaged PM. I would much prefer to have a good working relationship with the Groups team, top to bottom, so that issues can be discussed frankly. I try to make sure that my criticism is constructive, aimed at improving the Groups as a product and its user experience, so in that regard I find the silence of the current PM to be both odd and disappointing.

Why the lack of a pre-announcement or trial period?

A clue to this comes from Jeff’s comment when asked why there was no forewarning:

Given the history we were bunkered down.
Twitter 2013-10-30

I can’t know the full meaning of that, whether it is in reference to the Calendar roll-out or the earlier ill-fated “Facebook” and Beta roll-outs or to something else altogether, but it is a very good question. Could the Groups team have been so afraid of the user community’s reaction that they couldn’t bring themselves to set the stage? It seems hard to believe that, even harder to believe that they would think they could “slip this by” us. One possibility is that at some level Yahoo had a Potemkin village internally: Someone put up good demos of Neo and convinced higher management that the user community would accept Neo on its strengths. When Neo turned out to be incomplete and unstable in roll-out, Yahoo was then as stuck with it as we are and unable to concoct a rational explanation for how they got there.

Now I’ll grant that my explanation is fanciful: I’ve no evidence for it at all. But nature abhors a vacuum and human nature is no exception. Yahoo’s silence practically begs the users to fill the void with their darkest imaginings, and if you read the Feedback forum, they certainly have. Yahoo might not think so, but my explanation is relatively generous. Others posit that the CEO said “Everything must be modern, fresh and simplified. Now,” and that goal superseded all others — features, reliability, and the user community itself were sacrificed for that imperative.

What were the goals?

Here there is a succinct public statement:

Our aim in the redesign was to give the site a more modern, fresh and simplified layout, while maintaining the features that our users currently enjoy.
Yahoo Groups Blog, 2013-08-29” (emphasis mine).

After fifteen weeks of roll-out and twelve-and-a-half weeks after that statement, they are still woefully short in reaching the goals they set for themselves.

“Modern, fresh and simplified” might be somewhat subjective. My own experience is that the interface works unreliably, and I’ve got up-to-date tools: IE 10, Firefox 25, and Chrome, running on a fully patched Win7 Pro, 64-bit. For others the experience has been far worse. Something that doesn’t operate smoothly, across platforms, simply doesn’t qualify in my mind as modern or fresh.

But far more serious is Yahoo’s failure to meet their secondary aim of maintaining the features of classic groups. Yes, Yahoo is making progress in bringing the functionality back, but that ought to have been a primary goal — it ought not to be still unmet fifteen weeks after roll-out began. The Feedback forum is replete with case after case of where it has taken a clamoring from the users to get a feature restored. That’s shameful — it shouldn’t take a popularity contest in a forum to restore base functionality. Base functionality should be a given.

It is as if the designers and implementers of the Neo interface had no or minimal experience with using or managing Yahoo Groups, or it seems that no one bothered to write down a comprehensive list of Yahoo Groups features and functions and then go make sure Neo implemented at least that much before roll-out. I’ll grant that compiling such a list would be no trivial task. I think very few people appreciate how sophisticated and subtle the operation of Yahoo Groups had been, with its interplay of features that met such a wide diversity of use cases, but the fact that it would have been a tedious effort does not change the fact that it should have been the necessary starting point.

So this is another issue in which some frank communication from Yahoo would go far in dispelling speculation and distrust. What were Yahoo’s expectations at the time of that announcement? They can’t possibly have thought they had achieved their aims, not given the volume of reports already present in the Feedback forum giving them list after list of missing features. Or were they so deafened by the cries of outrage that they couldn’t hear the rational voices?

So why roll it out while it was so manifestly unready?

Staring at tea leaves to divine  the rational for a corporate decision isn’t necessarily a path to enlightenment, but given Yahoo’s failure to communicate on these issues, that’s what we’re left with. When asked directly, the answer was similar to the prior statement about why an opt-out couldn’t be allowed:

the old Groups runs on technology that is no longer remotely modern, which in tech causes tons of issues from QA to monitoring … it isn’t black and white, but we couldn’t stop groups. And time was ticking on the backend.
Twitter 2013-10-30

It is an answer that may be true, but doesn’t explain anything. Time is always ticking; that doesn’t really give a sense to the urgency. We are left to infer that they feared that a complete failure might occur before the roll-out could be completed unless they acted immediately, but that is an inference that doesn’t hold up under common-sense reasoning — not given that the Classic interface was still visibly in operation through Oct. 22nd when Yahoo pulled the plug on the moderation plug-in.

The what? One of the things Yahoo did right in this roll-out was to protect the operation of the many Freegle and Freecycle type groups which depended on Ed Hibbert’s Firefox plug-in to make these large, high-traffic groups practical to manage. When the Neo roll-out began, it was immediately realized (by the author and by the moderators of those groups) that the plugin, as it stood, could not be used with the Neo interface. So they petitioned Yahoo for remedy and they were granted a reprieve. Yahoo disclosed to the plugin’s author how to request that pages be delivered in classic format even when the user had been selected for the Neo roll-out. This let those groups continue their recycling efforts and gave the author time to raise funds and begin the implementation of a set of Neo-compatible moderation tools.

Not surprisingly, word of this “escape hatch” quickly spread via Yahoo Groups and in the Feedback forum itself. I give Yahoo credit for this: They stuck with it even though many criticized them for this tacit admission that the switch to Neo was not irreversible. Naturally, those that did not understand the real purpose for the reprieve were outraged when it was removed, but by that point Ed’s Neo-compatible tools were sufficiently developed that the affected communities could continue their operations. I don’t know how Yahoo’s management feels about this footnote in the Neo roll-out, but I salute those who made the decision to support those groups and those who stuck with it. I wish there were a way for Yahoo to claim that modicum of credit despite the howls of protest. It is another place where a bit of timely communication from Yahoo to the community at large might have headed off a lot of misunderstanding. Yes, calling attention to it at the time would have encouraged many to use the plugin who were not covered by its reason for existence. But that happened anyway, as it was surely bound to.

I don’t know how the saga of the plugin fits into the bigger picture of why Neo rolled out manifestly unready for prime time. Perhaps it doesn’t at all — an escape hatch for the plugin users would have been necessary even if Neo had every classic feature and had been reliable from day one of the roll-out. It might have been totally unnecessary if the roll-out had been announced in advance and users given a chance to kick the tires voluntarily, but that’s a different question.

Jeff’s reference to the ill-health of the classic Groups’ back-end database has spawned a lot of speculation about what that means exactly. There was one visible manifestation of trouble that had been lurking for years: the inability to keep the membership database for large groups (more than 400 users) in sync. And that problem had grown in the first half of 2013 to become one of the most frequent issues mentioned in the moderator groups and at Answers: Why does the member I just approved not appear in my membership list, or conversely, why does the member who unsubscribed still receive group messages? Almost by rote the Support Agents in Yahoo Answers were offering to re-sync the membership database to resolve these and other membership related issues. That’s a problem that should not be happening, and Jeff’s reference to QA and monitoring may relate directly to that and perhaps other issues of that type.

But to a layman’s understanding that problem doesn’t speak directly to an imperative to roll out a new system prematurely. This represents another missed opportunity for communication from Yahoo. Perhaps if they would offer a cogent explanation for the situation as it unfolded, they could have avoided an awful lot of ill-will.

What can Yahoo do about it now?

I’m sure that we’ve passed the point where Yahoo believes Neo to be solid enough that there’s no point in letting anyone opt out back to Classic. That point is hugely debatable, but it must be debated with facts. Mere clamoring for a return to the Classic format has fallen on deaf ears; only by making sure Yahoo knows just how much more work Neo needs is there any hope of convincing them that allowing an opt-out to Classic is a reasonable interim remediation. From my perspective that means documenting each missing feature and each bug or unreliable operation in the Feedback forum or with Customer Care directly.

One key difference in perspective here:  I’m a moderator. My view of Neo versus Classic is heavily influenced by the usability and reliability of their respective moderator controls and features. So far, Classic continues to win hands-down by that measure. People who don’t moderate Yahoo Groups or whose groups use few of the features may not have the same view. I’m told that from the ordinary user’s point of view, Neo at fifteen weeks isn’t so bad. I’ll take that on advisement, but even if true, that’s no reason the rest of us should be denied remediation by way of an option to switch to Classic.

Yahoo’s response thus far is to say that they are focused on improvements to Neo. By inference, all we need to do is continue to point out its deficits and defects and then be patient while they work on it. In the first few weeks of the roll-out that answer might have held some sway, but after fifteen weeks of dysfunction, that claim has worn thin. “Soon,” as in “it will be better soon” has lost all meaning.

An option to use the Classic interface is something they could deliver nearly instantly. I say that based on the testimony from some U.S. users that they still see the classic interface for their U.S. based groups. If that is true, then whatever mechanism Yahoo set up to run Classic and Neo in parallel from Aug. 4th to Oct. 22nd is still functional.

All it would take, seemingly, is a menu item in the tools menu (gear icon, top right of every page) to select the other interface. It is true that some people would cling to that option and argue for its perpetuation indefinitely. Without an explanation as to why that is infeasible, they can only assume that Yahoo is being obstinate. I’m willing to accept the inevitability that the Classic interface must eventually be shut down for practical reasons. What I don’t accept, without better evidence, is that the day for that has come and gone, not while, in my own experience, Neo is still so badly inadequate. Fifteen weeks and counting. What if it is another fifteen weeks to get the serious issues finally put to rest?

If there is a technical reason that Yahoo can’t provide an option until then, they certainly haven’t communicated what that might be. If the reason is more one of goals, perception and management, then Yahoo should be forthright about that, too.

Kindly Restore Yahoo Groups to the Old Stable Version – Take NEO to Beta

A sequel to Naveed, Neo & A Neutralized Group

By Naveed Farooq:

Owl Construction 4

naveed

Here is the list of bugs in the new yahoo group interface, and in the end I have given some suggestions

1) I receive same emails from members twice; I have to delete them twice. That’s a big, big bug.

2) Sometimes I am unable to download attachments. When I click on download , they take me to the page which cannot be displayed, so I have to delete that email with attachment because i am unable to download the attachment file.

3) Unable to see embeded images with email. I cannot approve any email without watching its content. Hotlinked images are ok , but I cannot view emails with embeded images

4) Emails are mixed up with each other. One email with attachment and another email having text/ html are getting mixed up and presented as one email. It’s a big bug.

5) The annoying rectangle advertisement, which is (300w and 250h) on the right side of email pending messages page is making it impossible to view large images, and we have to moderate emails by watching half of the images; half of them we are unable to watch.
KINDLY remove this advertisement for group admins….and remove this bug

6) Emails have problems in sorting. As a manager, I delete emails, and keep the emails which I choose to be approved. For example, I select 5 emails , keep them in pending list, delete all other emails. Now when I recive a new email , it should appear below the list of my selected emails, but it is again mixed up randomly in my selected emails. Now it creates a mess. I have to recheck my emails and delete the crap email again. This is the sorting order problem bug

7) The famous error message, “Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.” in the new format of yahoo group is appearing too much. It is appearing mutliple times and doesn’t explain the real issue.. so kindly look into it.

SUGGESTIONS
1) Kindly introduce filters in yahoo groups, the same kind of filters as we see in yahoo email, so we can help yahoo groups in sorting out spam.

2) Yahoo group’s new interface is implemented on us by force, without maturing the product. Kindly keep it in beta, and until it’s mature and fully bug free, do not implement this on us. Meanwhile we can use the previous interface.

3) Kindly disable all advertisements for admins having groups larger than 1,000 members.

4) Kindly disable the option to make a group without moderating emails. Such kind of emails are causing a lot of spam and wasting of resources for yahoo.

5) Kindly mark inactive yahoo groups (in which moderators or admins are not logging int for a long time) and delete all the pending emails in such groups. This will save a lot of resources of yahoo groups.

6) Flash games advertisements keep disturbing the pointer of mouse, and it feels terrible.

Naveed Farooq
Visit My Blog
Nicokidos Yahoo Group

It doesn’t have to be this way…

CuriousSince August 4th the Groups team has broken the daily habit of millions of Groups users, and thereby damaged Yahoo! Groups as a product, and diminished Yahoo! as a brand.

Yes, strong words. But before you dismiss that as mere rhetoric, or the ravings of a disgruntled user, consider the timeline of dysfunction that is associated with the so-called “Neo” roll-out. There are plenty of resources to learn just how dysfunctional Neo has been, here I’ll just hit a few of the highlights.

  • Aug 4th to Aug 26th – Members of plain-text groups (those that exclude attachments) could not use the Groups Message Poster – it produced only text/HTML message bodies which were incompatible with that setting.
  • Aug 26th to Sep 9th – Members of plain-text groups suffer through incomprehensible postings from the Groups Message Poster – it continues to make HTML message bodies, but marks them as text/plain.
  • Aug 4th to Sep 13th – Moderators could not edit pending messages before approval.

Oct 21st – we have had eleven weeks of the roll-out, and still Neo is missing significant functionality that is present in the classic interface: (Updates as of Nov 18th)

  • Moderators cannot return pending posts to members with a rejection notice.
  • Moderators cannot edit a pending post and save the edits for further review.
  • Some messages pending moderation cause an error on Approve or Approve with reply.
  • Some messages pending moderation have invisible content which may show when posted.
  • In the pending list, using Reject with reply,  choosing << (plain text) will convert < and > characters to HTML character entities &lt; and &gt; respectively.
  • In the pending list there is no << (plain text) option in Approve with reply.
  • In the pending list neither the member’s email address nor the pending message number is shown.
  • Moderators cannot reply to pending members.
  • The pending message list operates unreliably. It fails to show some messages, badly formats most messages, and too often yields an error when approving a message after editing.
  • Messages pile up in the Spam area, and can neither be deleted or approved. Incomprehensibly, Spam is shown under Conversations, when it belongs in the Pending Approvals management section, and is lacking the ability to edit the message before approval or to return it to sender. The pending message queue lacks a capability to designate a message as spam.  The Spam filter can’t even be turned off to avoid the problem.
  • Groups cannot choose to exclude HTML message bodies.
  • Groups cannot use more than basic text formatting in their descriptions — no links, no images, even though the composition box carries the legend “Text or HTML”.
  • Many groups still have arbitrary stock photos as their cover images, even though it would be trivial for Yahoo to carry over their classic photos (just scale them to height instead of width).
  • The Group Activity Logs do not record certain moderator activity, such as approving messages, but are incomplete (lacking member email, and lacking message number if approved by web).
  • The Group Activity Logs cannot be searched.
  • Files and Folders which contain an apostrophe or hyphen in the name cannot be accessed.
  • User Aliases are not respected on all pages.
  • The Database functionality is crippled.

All of this could have been tolerable, if Neo had been rolled out as an opt-in test. Instead, starting about August 4th, Yahoo began choosing arbitrary users to put into the “test” — and customer care first said that they couldn’t talk about possible product changes, then later told users that it is a test but they can’t opt out or be taken out of the test. Then, after weeks of confusion and anxiety on users’ part, Yahoo finally made an announcement on August 29th using their brand-new Tumblr blog — but they didn’t reference that announcement in their “classic” blog, nor in the Moderator Central group. One thing changed with that announcement: Neo was no longer referred to as a test, it was now in roll-out. But still an involuntary one.

When pressed for a reason that users couldn’t be allowed to Opt in or out until the problems in Neo are fixed, Yahoo had this to say:

“it doesn’t work that way unfortunately. The old platform is just about to fall apart. It’s new Groups or no Groups at this point.
— Jeff Bonforte, Senior VP of Communications at Yahoo!, Twitter 2013-09-30

As a statement of product life cycle planning I do somewhat agree with this — the “classic” interface is old and in need of a refresh. But as a statement in the here and now it is manifestly untrue. It was untrue on August 4th, and will remain untrue for the foreseeable future.  The classic platform hasn’t collapsed, and likely won’t until the day Yahoo decides to shut it down.

Telling your user community something that they know to be untrue based on their own daily experience isn’t a clever way to garner support  for your new product development. Particularly not when it comes on the heels of months of dysfunction and poor communication with the new product. In point of fact there is no technical reason that the Tool menu (gear icon in the upper right corner of every page) couldn’t have a “Switch to Neo” when in classic, and “Switch to classic” when in Neo. Just like Yahoo Mail lets users switch between the Fully Featured and Basic interfaces. The only impediment to such an option is Yahoo’s stubborness on the question.

I’m not saying this is something that Yahoo needs to support forever (nor even to the next major rollout). But it is a sensible remediation until such time as Neo can be brought up to feature-complete (compared to classic groups) and its significant flaws can be ironed out. Yes, there will be some that will always prefer the classic interface, but Yahoo really needs to get the Feedback down to a dull roar before it pulls the plug on the classic interface.

Yahoo has a lot of fence-mending to do with the user community. I hope they choose to take this one step in the right direction.

Notes: For an abundance of detail, see the Feedback forum, the Yahoo Groups about Groups, or Mods & Members. For a more concise summary there are also the pages about Yahoo Groups Neo on my wiki, YahooGroupedia.

WORKING TO SAVE YAHOO! GROUPS

computer_owl

Behind all the broken groups and despairing users lies a quiet story of dogged determination to make Yahoo! Groups work once again. It is driven by care and respect for the massive repository of information contained within the roughly ten million Yahoo! Groups and for the many millions of Users for whom Yahoo! Groups are a lifeline under threat.

At Yahoo! there is a team collecting and ranking individual User Feedback while, out in the Yahoo! Community, expert Users are collating a Status Report on how the product performs in use.

The official Feedback Forum allows individual Users to make suggestions and other users to Vote and Comment on each one. Meanwhile Yahoo! staff consider each Suggestion, make comments of their own, and show its current Status within Yahoo!’s development team.

The list is currently 153 webpages long, which is comprehensive but unwieldy.

Fortunately the community Status Report gives a succinct summary in just two web pages. It sets out sober facts under non-emotive headings: what has happened, how to cope, what’s different, and what still needs doing.

If you are struggling with Neo, this is the place to start looking for information. We hope that it is helping Yahoo!, too.

Find the official Yahoo! Groups Feedback Forum at:
http://yahoo.uservoice.com/forums/209451-us-groups

Find the community Yahoo! Groups Neo Status Report at:
http://tinyurl.com/nltqkmn

David Halfpenny