For the Press

Owl Banner Press 2

 

We welcome the media to the Yahoo Users Crusade Blog. You’ll find a wealth of information on here about the failures of the Yahoo NEO redesign.For a comprehensive list, click on the Index Tab.

You may reprint anything on this blog, including images, if you choose to do a story about us, or include a link to this blog  in any story you may choose to do about Yahoo in general.

NOTE TO ALL: There are a number of links on this site that don’t seem to work, maybe pages were taken down, URLS were changed, etc. If you run into one just let me know, and we’ll see if we can fix it. Meanwhile, we’ll see what we can do to get them back on track.

THANKS for your patience!

Nightowl >8#

****************************************

UPDATE FOR THE PRESS — August 12, 2016! —

August 31st, 2016, will be 3 years from the day we first started this crusade .

As far as Yahoo  Classic Groups are concerned, nothing has changed much. They still are broken, faulty, unusable by many, and have a host of other problems. Yet, Yahoo doesn’t seem to care, and we have been unable to get the media to bring it to the attention of the public.

Many Groups users simply gave up hope, and abandoned their groups. Others are struggling along, hoping things will get better. Still others have started to migrate to a new site that is in Beta testing. That seems to be our best option if nothing changes with Yahoo Groups.

The new site, called Groups.io,  is being created and customized for us by Mark Fletcher, the creator of ONElist. Yes, the same ONElist that was part of the original basis for Yahoo Groups.

Groups.io is currently in Beta, but Mark is working personally with us in his Beta group, and asking for and  listening to the users’ input and making changes to meet our needs.  Something Yahoo has not done.  You can read more about Groups.io here.

Meanwhile, the fight mode of our crusade has slowed considerably, as people left Yahoo, and thus my team diminished.

In addition, real life took my time and energy, as I was not only dealing with my elderly parents, but also the turmoil of Ferguson, MO, as I live only 6 miles away. I grew up in that area, and my mother still lives on the edge of Ferguson. You can read more about why the Crusade crashed to a halt here:

Sadly, I had to reduce my involvement in the fight, but I never lost my enthusiasm or drive to try and save our Classic Groups. And even if that is now a lost cause, I still have the desire to let the world know what Mayer and Yahoo did to one of it’s most devoted user bases. We didn’t deserve it.

So we can still use help from you, the press. Tell our story or include a link to this blog in another story. Promote Mark’s Groups.io as a possible alternative to what was once Yahoo Classic Groups.

We haven’t lost hope in getting our story out there. With Yahoo being purchased by Verizon, and Mayer still there, we intend to work even harder to get her removed, and get our interface fixed. 

 We are the Forgotten Users. But we won’t forget.

And we hope that we aren’t really forgotten. Will you share our plight with the world?

Thanks,

Nightowl >8#

****************************************
Below is a brief summary of the Redesign problem and more; just scroll down past the BREAKING NEWS to UPDATE FOR THE PRESS, March 12, 2014.

***************************************
— BREAKING NEWS!—


We finally got one story published about our fight with Yahoo!  Go here to see it!

I am still willing to talk to any and all media who want to pursue this issue any further. We will do whatever it takes to get Yahoo to see the damage they have done and undo it!

A huge thanks to Gabriela Vatu from all of us!

Nightowl >8#

****************************************

UPDATE FOR THE PRESS – March 12, 2014!

Here is a basic summary of the problem:

In August of 2013, Yahoo decided to turn Group Users into their own personal guinea pigs. Overnight, a large number of Group users were switched from Classic Groups to a test version called NEO groups. We weren’t warned or told anything about it.

Yahoo Groups are not a “social network.” They are critical to many people. (1)

There were support groups, Freecycle groups, and research and scientific groups. There were groups that were memorials to loved ones passed and groups for causes. There were education groups and medical groups. For years they worked just fine for all ages — easy to use, functional and important.

Under NEO, Groups became nonfunctional. NEO was broken. Mod tools didn’t work; disabled and elderly couldn’t use it. The flashing hidden controls and newfangled ads caused disabled people to have seizures and vertigo. (2)

The elderly couldn’t understand their groups and how they worked (quite frankly, we who weren’t older couldn’t either), so many elderly people had high blood pressure spikes and other issues. NEO does not meet ADA requirements. (3)

Seriously ill users couldn’t get to their support groups or medical assistance groups. (4)

Those who were bedridden or home-bound couldn’t use Groups because NEO didn’t function on their mobile phones. Yes, NEO was created for mobile, but is a mobile failure. (5)

At least two members became overly suicidal when they lost their suicide support group. (6)

Users rushed into the Uservoice forum and complained, but their cries were not heeded. Many users lost access to years and years of archives, photos, and critical support groups. (7)

Business groups couldn’t function, Freecycle groups found that their information had gone public when it was supposed to be private — public to 18,000 people. (8)

Many quit outright. (9)

Some complained awhile then dumped their stock and left. Freecycle groups immediately found other ways and fled Yahoo due to the serious security breach, but other users had another idea. I had won back Classic Groups for us in 2010, so those users came to me in August and begged me to help, so I started fighting Yahoo on August 31st.

We organized a widespread boycott of Yahoo’s advertisers, created a base of operations (that later became our Yahoo Users Crusade HQ Blog), and started a letter writing campaign. (10)

We wrote Marissa Mayer & Henrique De Castro on September 3rd and told them what was happening. (11)

We begged them to stop destroying groups. We told them that disabled & elderly were being harmed and that their assistive equipment wasn’t working with NEO. They didn’t care.

Nothing changed, and we’ve been stuck in this mess since then. We’ve communicated with Bonforte; he knows everything, and nothing happened. I sent him a letter and we also communicated in several Tweet conversations. (12)

Over half a million users have left. (13)

We haven’t been able to count much more because Yahoo broke the “remove or delete member” and “leave group” functions. They even broke “delete group” function for some time. (14)

Spammers overran many groups, and couldn’t be stopped. (15)

This hasn’t only happened to members who use free services. This has happened to members who PAY for their services, premium mail accounts and premium group accounts. (16)

It also happened to the Finance pages, sports pages, and others.

We’ve written letters to the media, stockholders, and advertisers (gotten good results with them), telling them the NEO interface is broken. On my own group, the ads didn’t even work. We’ve written execs and begged them to help us. Nothing.

Recently, when I was close to getting our story done, Yahoo started trying to “rush fixes” for things in Groups that weren’t really fixed. (17)

They started hiding data, hiding complaints, and claiming things were fixed when they aren’t, all in an attempt to mislead the press and the public. (18)

Even the younger users hate NEO. One group of teenagers & twenty somethings who lost a 130,000 member network, came back to Yahoo and created a group solely dedicated to fighting NEO and restoring Classic for the elderly and disabled. They now have almost 5,000 members in the group, and have created other resources to fight NEO with over 5000 more. (19)

Mail had problems, Yahoo destroyed their interface as well. We invited them to join our crusade. They got their story out into the press and Yahoo acknowledged it immediately, apologized and helped them.

We’ve been coping with this broken, buggy mess for seven months and can’t get our story out. Please consider helping us do that. I’ll be happy to explain anything else or point you to anything on the blog. There are people willing to talk to the press (I have a list), and you can reprint anything on the blog you want.

Thank you for taking the time to write me, and I hope you will consider helping us.

Footnotes below:

(1) The Treasure Of Our Classic Groups

(2) Seized By NEO

(3) NEO fails ADA Requirements

(4) GEOFF’S BATTLE AGAINST CANCER AND NEO

(5) No Mobile For the Immobile

(6) Holding On For A Lifeline
…….Situation Critical, User Feeling Suicidal

(7) How Yahoo’s Mistake Affected One Business Community

(8) The Freecycle Debacle

(9) Fled in One Day

(10) Addresses To Contact (To Complain About Yahoo)

(11) Letter To Marissa Mayer & Henrique DeCastro
……..Yahoo Users All Mad About Ads

(12) Letter to Jeff Bonforte

Tweet Fest

Twitter Debate

(13) Tallying The Exodus

(14) Yahoo Now Holding Users Hostage

(15) Overrun With Spam

(16) See Ed Wetschler’s comment (scroll down)
……..My Last Yahoo

(17) Hasty Fixes To Groups Won’t Fix Revenue Woes

(18) Yahoo Hiding Stats and Losing Ground

(19) The Story Of Cory

You can also request archived sections of the uservoice by asking me and I can provide them.

You can get a really good overview of the destructive path Neo has taken by reading this post.

****************************************

UPDATE FOR THE PRESS – November, 2013

Since we first put this Blog up, there have been many new developments. For example, the letter found at the bottom was written  near the end of September 2013. It still has factual statements and still is a relevant letter, but it lacks a lot of what’s gone on since.  So here are the basic changes that have occurred since the end of September 2013.

  • Flickr users had their interface switched on 5/20/13.
  • Sports users had their interface switched on 8/27/13 and found themselves looking at white writing on a black page and unable to get the information in the familiar manner they knew. They were very upset and made their feelings known in the Sports Feedback Trench, but nothing was done for them either, so we made an “Other Services” page and invited Sports and any other services (Flickr, Tumblr, etc.) to join our crusade.
  • Yahoo mail users were switched to a new interface on 10/8/13, removing their beloved tab feature, and an outcry from thousands of them in the Mail Trench managed to reach the press. But nothing was done by Yahoo to change back and still hasn’t been, so we made a “Mail” page and invited them to our crusade.
  • Then came the most recent one. On 11/6/13 Yahoo changed the Finance page. Many users lost their portfolios and other  important and critical data. They didn’t bother to complain too much, but where they did, Yahoo deleted their top feedback thread three times.  Many simply exited, selling their stock and advising others to sell their Yahoo stock or not to buy any, so we made a “Finance” page and invited them to join our crusade, too.

TALLIES:

– At last count, Groups had lost 606,960 users. Many more have attempted to leave or delete groups, but are not able to do so currently.  (See here.)

– In the most recent information on Mail, someone from the Mail trench estimated that about 100,000 mail users had left Yahoo. I have not verified that number yet, but plan to count them this week.

– At last count Finance had lost at least 77 users based on posts in the top thread of their Finance trench. That thread was deleted, but I archived it first and I have it. My count came from there, and I can provide it if needed.

– I don’t have any kind of count on Sports users, Flickr users, or others at this time. I do plan to count the Sports trench top thread as soon as I can.

BOTTOM LINE:

Yahoo recklessly continues to change and destroy every service it has with no thought to the users and their lives and history. People in groups have lost archives, photos, lifelines to support groups, outreach sites for the elderly, disabled access to groups, and more.

We have been contacting the stockholders, board members, executives, and media for the last three months. We have also contacted a huge list of advertisers, and many yahoo users have threatened a boycott of their products until we get our groups back.

The SayNo2Neo Yahoo group, is a group of teenagers & young adults who, after having to close their extensive group network of over 130,000 users because it would no longer serve their needs in Neo, returned to Yahoo to create a group whose sole purpose is to fight Neo and get it rolled back.

This group has been making it their ultimate goal to get the Classic group format restored for the disabled, elderly, and veterans. They have contacted newspapers, radio stations, and government officials, and are even working with the DOJ in hopes of getting this format returned, especially for those users who can’t manage Neo.

My group and theirs have been working side by side to bring these issues into the light and explain to the stockholders, advertisers, board members, and media exactly what is happening to users under Yahoo’s new changes. All is not as bright and shiny new as Marissa Mayer makes it seem. Underneath it all, people are being treated with disrespect and lack of consideration.

Disabled users can’t use their special adaptive equipment; it won’t work. Screen readers fail, and many disabled are also having seizures from the flashing movement, vertigo, or worse.

PTSD sufferers are having the same issues, only theirs can set off their triggers for their PTSD disorder. And veterans are returning home from service to find their e-mail account has been sold off – no notice, nothing.

Veterans who had abandoned a WWII group were treated with disrespect during a public tweetfest with Yahoo Communications SVP Jeff Bonforte. A tweeter explained that they were offended by the word Neo because it reminded them of Neo Nazis, and Bonforte was no help, saying they shouldn’t have quit over something like that. He displayed no understanding at all.

Elderly people cannot navigate Neo. It’s causing them to experience high blood pressure, disorientation, headaches, and undue stress. Many have fallen into depression, and some users cut off from critical support groups have even been suicidal.

Yahoo sprung all this on us, no warning, no careful selection of users for the test, and no beta testing. Neo is a disaster. It does not work, it hurts people, and it’s destroying memories and lives. It destroys or wrecks everything in it’s path.

Our goal is to get it rolled back and get Yahoo to see reason and return us to our precious classic groups, beloved classic tabbed mail, and so on until all users are once again restored to normalcy and this chaos ends.

Please help us tell our story and stop Yahoo from hurting people and destroying all we care about online.

**UPDATE 1/3/13 — I have been unable to get much of a count, because for some time, users were unable to delete their groups or leave them. Some have reported that they can now, but not all. So now I’m working to get an estimate of how many will leave soon if nothing is done.

THANK YOU FOR READING OUR BLOG.

PLEASE HELP US GET OUR STORY OUT THERE AND HELP US STOP THE CHAOS THE YAHOO COMMUNITY HAS BEEN IN FOR MONTHS.

Thank you,
Brenda
Nightowl >8#
@featheredleader

Open Letter to the Press

Originally written 9/27/13

I am Brenda (removed last name) and I’m speaking for millions of Yahoo Groups Users. I am so afraid of letting them down, and I have been trying to get someone to tell our story! We are desperate for someone to listen and to help us; the situation is dire and grows worse every day. Some people are so despondent, they are even contemplating suicide! (1)

On 9/27/13, 29,000 members in a 38,000-member group quit.

And another 500,000 members are ready to leave if nothing is done! Go here.

Yahoo claims to care, but it doesn’t care, or it would not leave thousands of people suffering real world harm from their failed Yahoo Groups Interface called Neo. The disabled can’t use it, and it’s causing everything from seizures to vertigo in many disabled users. (2) The elderly can’t use it, and many of them are suffering high blood pressure, disorientation, and even severe depression. (3)

And even regular users can’t use it because it does not work! It’s so full of bugs and untested code that it’s been a complete nightmare to so many users. (4)

In 2010, I created a group called Mods and Members to stop a previous Yahoo Groups remodel. Jim Stoneham intervened, the press helped, and we won the right to keep our Classic Groups. (5)

Well, a couple of months ago, Yahoo did it to us again, but this time there was no warning. There was no notice. There wasn’t even any beta testing. In one of the most unethical moves Yahoo has ever done to us, it took random users and overnight tossed them into this “new” interface called Neo. No one knew what was going on!

When people began asking Yahoo what had happened in their Uservoice Feedback area, at first they denied it. Then they finally admitted it was a test and people had been randomly put into it. People then began to ask to get out of the test and were told they could not. That’s when it really got bad. Users began complaining daily in the Feedback Thread until there were thousands of comments. (6) I wasn’t aware of the situation until August 31st, and I was approached for help from them.

When I investigated and found out what was going on, I was stunned. The users themselves were Neoized, but not everyone of every group. Sometimes half could see one thing and half another! Moderation tools were broken, privacy was violated in the Freecycle groups and some others, with private, personal contact information for the Freecycle users being sent out to the entire group of 19,000 people. (7) People’s archives were inaccessible, photos and information gone. Users were heartbroken – so much devastation so needlessly done to people who had owned these groups since the beginning when they were One List, in some cases. And still, nothing! Yahoo was doing nothing! Even the fact that Yahoo SVP Jeff Bonforte was reading my group wasn’t helping! (8)

There were over 40,000 votes to stop Neo and return Classic when I found the Uservoice Feedback thread, and over half a million users had left Yahoo Groups in just a few weeks. (9) That number is now probably over a million. People are crying out to Yahoo to help them, to fix their groups. People have been cut off from their support groups, their health information groups, and their families and friends. School PTAs and town meetings were unable to function. Students who used it for tutoring across a wide network of high schools could not access their information anymore. Even more remarkably, although Mayer says Neo is designed to be appealing to the younger people, Cory’s House, an extensive high school network of groups with 130,000 users, disbanded because it could not function. (10)

So I started up another crusade to stop Neo, and I have been at it since September 4th. My group has been working with another group that consists of more than 500 of the students who had been in the high school network. (11) We decided to make a stand against Yahoo and this Neo disaster for the disabled and elderly and those who could not do it for themselves. We demanded they let everyone out of this “test” and put back our Classic groups. They began trying to “fix” some features, but that only made it worse, more like building a house with people sitting on the rafters. Then they began hiding items in the Feedback thread by claiming they were fixed, but they aren’t. (12)

We know the Classic format still exists because many of us still see it. I saw it until a few days ago, but with a Neo-buster plugin someone found, we can still see it, and fortunately, using that, many of us can control our groups to some degree. But these people who have been a loyal customer base for Yahoo for years deserved better than this. Even the paying groups are being treated the same way, and all the while, Marissa Mayer smiles and tells the world that she has 800 million users…nevermind that under the surface nearly a million have left. She tells them everyone loves the new look and interface when it’s hard-pressed to find one person that does. That goes for the Neo Mail interface, the Flickr interface, and the Sports Interface as well. She continues “painting the hull” by announcing her new logo while the users leak out the hole in the bottom.

The world needs to know the devastation that lies beneath Mayer’s supposed “successful transformation.” They need to know that if Neo isn’t stopped soon, more users are prepared to leave, (13) and nothing I can do will stop them. The streamlined new ads that the advertisers have bought for those pages will be showing to empty “halls” because the users won’t be there. These groups were our “homes,” and Neo came and bulldozed them flat. Marissa Mayer is completely destroying the entire Yahoo Group Community, smiling for the world while crushing it under her shiny NEO shoe. She and Yahoo do not care.

Groups are not a social network. They are the product of many years of intellectual discussion, sharing, research, archives, and more. They are for doctors, writers, and researchers. They are for genealogy and adoption records, education, and critical support groups. (14) In many cases, these groups are the only link to the outside world for those who are disabled, bedridden, or elderly. Neo doesn’t even work on the mobile devices they claim to have made it for! (15) Groups will not fit into a page where the 150,000 messages endlessly scroll down the page. They weren’t meant to have the information written out in a tiny little box where you can’t even see all of the text.

I’m hoping and praying that you will care. I’m hoping we can get these distraught users out of this Neo hell. I’m hoping that you’ll come check out the links I’ve included and please consider helping us get this story out. If the world finds out how the disabled, elderly, and less computer literate people are being so badly treated by Yahoo, maybe Yahoo would finally have to stop Neo in its tracks and restore order to the Classic Groups once again, at least until they get something in place that actually works as a substitute for the Group format.

I’ve included a list of links at the bottom to let you see for yourself what is happening to our beloved Groups. You may reprint anything in this letter or anything from my group, not just the group links.

Thank you sincerely for your time, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any more information.

Brenda (removed last name)

Nightowl >8#

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/modsandmembers/

(Public to read)

Links Below:

  1. Suicide
  2. Disabled
  3. Elderly
  4. Doesn’t work
  5. Gigaom Article
  6. Uservoice Feedback Area
  7. Freecycle Privacy Breach
  8. Jeff Bonforte reading my group
  9. Count of users leaving
  10. Cory’s House
  11. SAYNOTONEO
  12. Hiding “fixed” items
  13. More prepared to leave
  14. Adoption group
  15. Bedridden/mobile Fail

Links to UserVoice change frequently, and we are attempting to keep them updated.  If you happen to encounter a link that is no longer working properly, please leave a comment and let us know.

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