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back to article Ghastly! Yahoo! Groups! gripes! grip! grumpy! gremlin! grumblers!

Thousands of Yahoo! users are clogging up the site's customer feedback forums with complaints about its makeover of Groups, an online discussion board system. Some are upset the redecoration job has locked out the blind and disabled folk. It was Yahoo!'s first major redesign of Groups in years and the response to the changes …

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Bronze badge

Never mind the quality, feel the width!!

Oh, and how do I get to type a whimsically slanted bang?

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Facepalm

@Alister

You spaff 500k to a branding consultant.

(failing that, picking an italic font probably works)

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Hypertext! Is! Your! Friend Frenemy!

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!

"Oh, and how do I get to type a whimsically slanted bang?"

Probably why they did it!

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Coat

How to get that oh, so whimsically slanted bang (exclamation point (Am.))?

Just fire up the True Type font Whimsy Italic, and off ya go!

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email still works (thankfully)

At present, they've managed to not break the Groups participation through email (from the old eGroups days), so their shiny new design has passed me by.

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FAIL

Re: email still works (thankfully)

Really?

Try setting up email forwarding to a gmail account, then tell me it works.

I raised this with their support team almost a year ago, and they said it will be fixed "soon"...

Still waiting.

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Joke

@Anomalous Cowturd

Well, it works with a real email service... <ducks>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: email still works (thankfully)

"At present, they've managed to not break the Groups participation through email "

As of tonight there seem to be some broken bits in email notifications.

My Yahoo group account still says "send me email notifications".

However there hasn't been a notification email to me for a web UI posting that was accepted and visible on the web UI.

Several changes to a "Links" data table have taken effect - and racked up the count on the group's home page. ...but no notification posts have appeared in the group web UI. Needless to say there have been no emails for them to me either.

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Anonymous Coward

Determination

Yahoo really seem hell bent on pissing off their users, one site at a time. Interesting tactic...

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Holmes

Reminder

Can somebody remind me: why do Yahoo! exist again?

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Re: Reminder

To show everyone else how it shouldn't be done.

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Re: Reminder

The weird thing is there seem to be some pretty awesome engineers at Yahoo! they are just harnessed in the direction of maximum idiocy most of the time.

Yahoo somehow manage to be one of the great online also-rans, never seeming to quite be able to make the most of the talent and user base they have.

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Gold badge

Re: Reminder

Can somebody remind me: why do Yahoo! exist again?

The world has not yet reached peak punctuation. While punchy punctuation production continues to thrive, there will always be a need for an exclamation mark buyer of last resort. Yahoo! clearly fill that niche.

Alternatively:

These changes are an important step to building a more modern and personalised Yahoo!

It could be that they will soon exist to ruthlessly track and exploit their users' data... As that appears to be the standard Web 2.0 meaning of the word personalised... Or are we up to Web 3.0 yet?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reminder

"To show everyone else how it shouldn't be done."

No - they are just playing "me 2" with FaceBook in the hope they can capture a younger mobile population.

I left Flickr as it became unusable with the new format. If Yahoo! Groups becomes similarly fraught then it will be a case of trying to introduce a specialist group's users to usenet type fora - or using an emailing list of existing members.

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Re: Reminder

Ah yes. The great flickr disaster.

Yet again, Yahoo! have gone in with the attitude of "If it ain't broke, break it".

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Coat

@breakfast Re: Reminder

Yahoo somehow manage to be one of the great online also-rans, never seeming to quite be able to make the most of the talent and user base they have.

In my experience, when a talented group of engineers cannot provide a useful or quality product, you need to look at "management". (Or "marketing". Or "both".)

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Thumb Up

Lovely to see the slanted exclamation marks!

Especially since I suggested it last time :)

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the [..] company is refusing to undo the revamp

And so continues the slide of Yahoo! past irrelevance and into oblivion.

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Flame

Always was rubbish, nothing new in that.

I had to deal with Yahoo for a while, when a relative insisted on BT broadband (cause phone stuff comes from BT) who had (still have?) outsourced their email to them A real nightmare.

Now I just use Freecycle, but I have the posts emailed to me, so I only log in to Yahoo itself when I need to change settings - which is also a nightmare, different on every local group. And they wonder why nobody uses their community forums.

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Re: Always was rubbish, nothing new in that.

But before the advent of The Great Coloured Balls Yahoo! was the free web(fied) services portal. Website hosting, e-mail, mailing lists (as we called "discussion groups" back then), online bookmarks, news stories... I would spend my whole day logged to one Yahoo! service or another, much like I do with Google nowadays.

It took Yahoo!'s disastrous attempt at revamping their webmail service's interface* for me to switch to a Gmail account – which I had from the days the service was invite-only, thanks to a friend, but languished for years until that faithful day. The rest is history – Google kept piling up functionality while Yahoo! couldn't even keep doing right what they once had nailed.

It's sad to see it ending like this. Yahoo! was created before many of us figured what good could come out of the Internet, and for a time it embodied much of that good – a resource for doing productive work. But now it seems determined to devolve into some kind of pointless time-sink, a less-successful Facebook.

* So yeah, they do have form in losing users over unwarranted UI revamps.

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Repository of Wisdom

Yahoo! Groups can be fixed.

It's one of the greatest repositories of wisdom in history.

It has an unpaid army of millions generating Content drawing people to Yahoo!

Yahoo! isn't wrong to give it a new interface - it probably needs a new data structure as well - because the source code has long been lost and the product was fraying round the edges.

The Disaster Movie came from releasing untested code on live users.

Does Yahoo! have the will to fix it though?

I really hope so!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Repository of Wisdom

Totally! I always thought the Library of Alexandria was probably way overrated, or why else would they burn it? The British Library and Library of Congress are OK, but they just don't deal well with the vital everyday stuff like how to shave armpits properly or delouse the dog.

With Yahoo! Groups! as my constant companion I found the confidence to tackle all manner of dangerous and otherwise bewildering tasks around the home while still making sure my nail varnish complimented my attire!

I'm beginning to see the upside of this...

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Web2.0?

I thought that was round corners?

This is like Web 8.1, surely? And about as welcome?

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Happy

Re: Web2.0?

Maybe more like Web 8.3

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Go

yo-hoo!

maybe yahoo just finally realized what utter crap yahoo groups were, and trying to kill it, as a gesture to society. and we say thanks!

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Facepalm

PR Bingo

We deeply value how much our users care about Yahoo! and are constantly engaging with our products. A few weeks back, we made some design changes to many of our core sites.

These changes are an important step to building a more modern and personalised Yahoo!. We recognise that this is a lot of change and are listening to all of the community feedback. Additionally, we're actively measuring user feedback so we can continuously make improvements.

Let's see, "value", "care", "constant(ly)", "engage", "core", "modern", "community", "feedback", "improvement".

Did I get them all? Hope so, I ran off quotation marks.

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Re: PR Bingo

You missed the entire phrase "Additionally, we're actively measuring user feedback so we can continuously make improvements." This means it's a badly-managed agile development car-crash which was pushed out before they reached version 0.1 alpha.

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Re: PR Bingo

You missed the entire phrase "Additionally, we're actively measuring user feedback so we can continuously make improvements."

Well, they did use "feedback" and "improvement" before... I thought of including "actively" and "measure", but felt that would set the PR-speak detection bar too low – lots of legitimate professions deal with measuring stuff, and "actively" could just as well be dismissed as random noise.

This means (...)

Wait, you're saying that was supposed to mean something? I thought it was just a PR blurb! Since when have those had anything to do with meaning?

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Alert

Re: PR Bingo

We deeply value how much our users care about Yahoo! and are constantly engaging with our products. But we're going to do this our way, and if you don't like it, fuck off!

There, that's more like it....

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Anonymous Coward

repeated for general interest - if any

As of tonight there seem to be some broken bits in Yahoo Groups email notifications.

My Yahoo group account still says "send me email notifications".

However there hasn't been a notification email to me for a web UI posting that was accepted and visible on the web UI.

Several changes to a "Links" data table have taken effect - and racked up the count on the group's home page. ...but no notification posts have appeared in the group web UI. Needless to say there have been no emails for them to me either.

As most users of that group rely on email notifications then there is no point in adding new posts.

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Flame

Trying to moderate spammers in Yahoo! groups now is abysmal!

I myself just experienced the sheer horror and lunacy of the new Yahoo! Groups user-interface first-hand. For nearly a decade now I have been the moderator of a small special-interest Yahoo! group. The Yahoo! Group that I moderate, while at one-time was once fairly active many years ago, has been completely dead since 2006 or so. Still, I refuse to look into shuttering the group completely because there are some interesting discussions, files, and other such stuff uploaded there, and I would like to leave that available for any members still remaining that might want to access some of that stuff someday. It's almost a nostalgia thing from a different era, you know? Since the group is for the most part completely dead, I don't check it as much as I should. In fact, I don't even log into the Yahoo account that I moderate the group with very much anymore-- I pretty much only log into it just often enough to keep Yahoo! from closing it.

With a long-dead Yahoo! group it is easy to become completely complacent about it, which to my discredit, I allowed myself to do. Well, I logged into the group earlier tonight, and despite the fact that all new members to the group are supposed to be moderated until I approve them to be able to post content, some spammers still managed to get into the group a few months ago somehow, and absolutely *trashed* the entire Yahoo! group on me. Yeah I know, it's my fault for not checking how the group was doing sooner, but as I said, after years of seeing nothing but tumbleweeds there you grow complacent. Anyway, in a relatively short amount of time the spam-accounts had posted several hundred new files to the group, new photo albums, dozens of new links, and worst of all, set up a daily re-occurring "event," which of course only contained a message on how to get to some spam site, that then posted daily reminders to the group for every single day for months, choking out the group's "conversation" section with dozens upon dozens of spammy reminder messages. This is where the insanity of the new Yahoo! Groups user-interface comes in, because removing all of the spam content and then the spammers themselves became a tedious chore of monumental proportions.

To explain what I mean, do you know how in most web-mail user-interfaces you can select several e-mail messages at a time, usually through check boxes, and then perform the same action on them simultaneously, such as deleting them all? Considering the fact that you have been able to do that sort of thing in web-mail user-interfaces for at least a decade-and-a-half now if not longer you would think that such a feature would become obvious to have when it comes to any web application where you have to manage a lot of messages. Sadly, whoever designed Yahoo! Groups "Neo" is apparently oblivious to the obvious, because I found myself having to select every single spam message one-at-a-time and then deleting them one-at-a-time, then repeating that process for the spam links, and then again for the spam files... It took me almost two hours to get rid of all of that cruft! The only thing that I was able to do in one go was delete the daily reoccurring spammer-created "event" all at once, which was nice because I was about to lose my ever-loving mind at that point!

I mean really, why can't I select a whole bunch of messages, or files, or spam links, or photo albums, or what have you, and delete them all with one click of my mouse? Why do I have to go through them all one-at-a-time? It's such a miserable and unproductive site design that it's absolutely painful! There is only one thing that I can say which must be painfully obvious to everyone by now (well besides the fact that I am apparently not that great of a group moderator that is), and that's that whoever redesigned the Yahoo! Groups site must never have actually *used* a Yahoo! group before in their lives! The usability of the new site-design is just so unbelievably poor its unfathomable! The horribleness is simply beyond words! There is no easy way to quickly do *anything* that you need to do as a moderator to maintain a functioning group! All I can ask at this point is what in the heck were the people at Yahoo! thinking? Why has 2012 and 2013 become the years that all user-interface design for just about everything gone off the rails? When did the patients start running the asylum? I just can't understand how so many organizations (Yahoo!, Microsoft, Ubuntu, The GNOME Project, et al.) could all lose the plot when it comes to UI design so quickly and completely! It's as if the people at these companies simply hate us, and want to make us all suffer for their pleasure or something! Either that or they are all hiring trendy hipsters to rewrite their UI's while simultaneously kicking sensible people out the door! I really hope that Yahoo! back-peddles on their new Groups UI design at least to some degree, because it is an absolutely abysmal user-experience as it currently stands!

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Big Brother

Well - the advertisers (popups/links) surely pay the Yahoo Empire some pretty good bucks to advertise. So, if Yahoo succeeds in running off the loyal users/groups (on which the advertising blinks incessantly), then the advertisers will eventually depart (?). If Yahooties is indeed trying to "destroy itself by running us off", wouldn't it be better to do it not gradually - not with a whimper - but as a BIG BANG - just stop operating? We may not know it yet, (after depending on the availability and usability of YAHOO "classic" for so long) -

but there "really is life after Yahoo". I've enjoyed 'owning/operating' 3 groups and being member of about 22 others - but it is rapidly becoming less enjoyable -- which seems to be Yahoo's goal.

Of course, the comment that we should "work around it"..."be adaptable to change" sounds more and more like the sci-fi novels written so long ago and sci-fact of them now catching up with us.

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FAIL

Simple things like links not working, still broken three weeks on.

I've a collection of about a dozen email exchanges with their various customer "care" folks and I think their support "department" is a program that sniffs out keywords in incoming trouble reports, drops them in a hopper, and spins the Big Wheel o' Bull to determine what canned uselessness you get today. The entire email thread contains what I've been told before by other techs, what my responses were, and so on, so having "clear your cache and cookies" suggested AGAIN, for the fifth or sixth time, indicates they are not reading the whole ticket and/or just don't care. I shouldn't be surprised or angry about pandemic incompetence any more, should I. *sigh*

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Yahoo gives the same canned response to The Reg?

In many of the Issues posted to the User Forum, I have read the same response that Yahoo has given to The Reg. The Neo format of Groups is not an improvement. I think Yahoo's new target audience is the 15-23 year old crowd. Maybe the range could be expanded to 30. Yahoo Groups users should have a choice.

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This groups change was a full rewrite of very old code. What most likely happened is that the rewrite took far longer than planned and had not progressed to testing when non-techie management decided to release it anyway in order to coincide with their logo change.

What they got was a mess. From what I've seen, members are having trouble posting messages and groups are suffering from losing members and member activity. Apparently some large group owners are abandoning Yahoo for other providers. Yahoo has stated that part of the reasons for the change was to handle tablets and other mobile devices. However, from what I've seen, it's essentially impossible to respond to a Yahoo group post on an iPad.

I wonder what all this is doing to their ad revenue? It can't be good!

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Anonymous Coward

Blind access

The following NEO version options require work in order to function for persons using screen readers for the blind.

The testing software used was:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/nvda/files/releases/2013.2/nvda_2013.2.exe/download

This is the Yahoo listed screen reader for access to Yahoo services. Feedback to this post from others will be apt to mention other items missed or from other accessibility softwares.

Using NVDA and the most common options a user of a group will need adaption in the following:

When replying to to a message

1- The 3 dots to manage the quote give no signal when moused over that it is there. This is particularily problematic as the quote headers for digest messages do not have normal screen reader hooks.

2- More user menu. No indication of a drop down but if you scroll down you can read them. You have to know to scroll down.

Moderator functions:

1- Click on Management, there is no indication a drop down was below it. Once clicked, it does read the below options.

2. Skip to approve a message. There is no indication as you mouse over the approve or edit or reject buttons. This is a complete show stopper for any blind/ screen reader moderators in NEO at this time.

3- Files, drop down for edit, cut, delete gives no notification. moving mouse down skips to next in the file series. Blind users can not edit any files or even 'see' if they are about to delete one. There is a warning if you try to delete one but no option to edit, only delete or cancel.

4. Search groups. The box to place what you want to search for is a no-seeum. Clicking 'Search groups' does nothing if that box is empty. Copying and pasting to the search box for a moderator will require a visually sighted person place the cursor for them.

5. Access settings under control panel. There is no indication of what bubble option is clicked. The only notifcation is you changed a button but not what you changed it to.

http://yahoo.uservoice.com/forums/209451-us-groups/suggestions/4463600-yahoo-neo-issues-for-blind-users

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Disability access

The following NEO version options require work in order to function for persons using screen readers for the blind.

The testing software used was:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/nvda/files/releases/2013.2/nvda_2013.2.exe/download

This is the Yahoo listed screen reader for access to Yahoo services. Feedback to this post from others will be apt to mention other items missed or from other accessibility softwares.

Using NVDA and the most common options a user of a group will need adaption in the following:

When replying to to a message

1- The 3 dots to manage the quote give no signal when moused over that it is there. This is particularily problematic as the quote headers for digest messages do not have normal screen reader hooks.

2- More user menu. No indication of a drop down but if you scroll down you can read them. You have to know to scroll down.

Moderator functions:

1- Click on Management, there is no indication a drop down was below it. Once clicked, it does read the below options.

2. Skip to approve a message. There is no indication as you mouse over the approve or edit or reject buttons. This is a complete show stopper for any blind/ screen reader moderators in NEO at this time.

3- Files, drop down for edit, cut, delete gives no notification. moving mouse down skips to next in the file series. Blind users can not edit any files or even 'see' if they are about to delete one. There is a warning if you try to delete one but no option to edit, only delete or cancel.

4. Search groups. The box to place what you want to search for is a no-seeum. Clicking 'Search groups' does nothing if that box is empty. Copying and pasting to the search box for a moderator will require a visually sighted person place the cursor for them.

5. Access settings under control panel. There is no indication of what bubble option is clicked. The only notifcation is you changed a button but not what you changed it to.

http://yahoo.uservoice.com/forums/209451-us-groups/suggestions/4463600-yahoo-neo-issues-for-blind-users

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Neo started Aug 4

The one flaw I see in your article is your statement that the Neo format was rolled out in late August.

I personally was put into the Neo format on August 4 !!! I posted a question on August 7 and other questions soon followed on August 7 from other people who had been put into the Neo format. I was told about 2 Group Manager groups and joined them to find I was not alone. Many had been put into the Neo format between August 4 and August 7. At that time it appeared to only be group Owners, but Moderators soon followed. It was late August or early September before general members appeared to have been put into Neo format.

They are finally working hard to fix the flaws that should have been BEFORE they rolled out this version.

I see that Yahoo Answers has now been revamped, but the new appearance is not the drastic change we see in Groups.

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Incompatible with iPads

I find it odd to read how Yahoo decided to make this huge (and clearly untested) change to its groups interface with the aim to making it work best on moblile devices. So far, I've found it to be virtually unusable on an iPad....

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