13 May 2006

Yahoo pulls the plug

About 10 years ago I started a personal Web page at Geocities. The site grew as I shared information with other people. Eventually Geocities was taken over by Yahoo, and today, suddenly and without warning, Yahoo blocked access to my web pages, and to my e-mail address (hayesstw@yahoo.com)and everything else linked to that Yahoo ID.

The implication is that I had somehow violated their terms of service. I'm not sure how I might have done that, but the only thing I can think of is that someone sent me one of those address update thingies, through a web site called Plaxo. I thought I would try out the Plaxo thing -- it's a sort of on-line address book, like the one Yahoo has, but with automatic updating. It had an option to import my Yahoo address book, so I did that, and the next thing I knew was that my Yahoo membership was terminated.

So the problem seems to be one of these turf wars between Internet companies. I can't think of what else it might be.

The biggest problem, however, is that a few months ago I moved some academic research discussion forums, and a couple of fun ones, from the FamilyNet BBS network to YahooGroups, in the mistaken belief that they would be more versatile and reliable. Boy, was I mistaken! My BBS computer died, and I thought it wasn't worth repairing it, and gatting the discussion forums between BBS echoes, E-mail lists and newsgroups. But perhaps BBSs are still better, even though the technology has not been updated for a long time. At least each BBS was under the control of its sysop, and the whole network was not at the mercy of a big company which could punish people arbitrarily if they were seen as somehow being unsupportive in their turf wars. Shades of Mr Vorster's bannings and detentions in the "old South Africa". Why were you banned? "The Minister in his wisdom sees fit."

The discussion forum on African Independent Churches was quite small, but it was a useful contact medium for researchers. But I can no longer maintain it, or even hand it over to anyone else to maintain. Gone! Same with the New Religious Movements forum, which started on a university server in Canada, was gated to FamilyNet, then moved to YahooGroups. Gone.

And so on with all the others.

A blog is a poor substitute.


Unknown said...

I feel your sorrow, Steve. Your faithfulness in these forums over all these years comes to this. Time for some new thing? Time to explore what God can do in all this? All things work together for good...?

Blessings and bliss

Steve Hayes said...

It just goes to show how ephemeral and unreliable electronic communication is.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see so much good work lost, Steve, and lost for such a lousy reason. I'd like to register my appreciation for your service to the whole group over the years. Blessings on your redirected energy.

Steve Hayes said...

The work isn't lost, just not available. I still have the web pages on my computer, though of course all the many links are broken.

The SAMS web pages with the AIC stuff are still there, but of course they could disappear at any time too, so there's not much incentive to try to keep them up to date.


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