Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yahoo Groups

Whenever I log into yahoogroups, I see these two yucking it up. I am on a good many yahoo groups, but I can honestly say I have never had this good of a time on any of them. At best, they are great ways to find out information. At worst, they are spam havens. I run a few lists, and I find that yahoogroups seems to be totally ignored by yahoo. These two young people have been the face of yahoogroups for as long as I have been on yahoogroups. Don't they have any new people having fun on Yahoo? Also, the ability to post in html has been in beta test mode for at least 3 years. Aren't they ready to go production with it? Lastly, there's a problem with yahoo groups - which happens periodically, there seems to be no quick fix. There's no number you can call, no place you can email. Some have suggested that yahoogroups mess up when Mercury is in retrograde---I am not making this up, there's a pagan on one of my lists that claims this to be true. That's one of the great things about being on a yahoogroup, especially an Ann Arbor based one. You get to "meet" people you never come across in real life.

Here's a list of some Ann Arbor based lists I am on:

annarborfood - This list is about all things food and drink in Ann Arbor. It's got about 200 members. It's good for local restaurant reviews and recipes, generally people are polite and kind on it, but once the group got into an e-fight about BlimpyBurger.

AAHomeCanning - I started this list's just getting started and it's all about food preservation. It's got a little over 50 people on it. I was getting weary of another food preservation list I am on called homecanning, which is nationwide and huge, almost 2000 people. I got tired of it because there is a woman on it that knows lots about canning, but won't share the facts about what she knows, and she's rather mean about it. If you ask her a question , she'll give an answer but not explain why. If you ask why, she takes it as though you are questioning her authority or something. She dispenses her knowledge like the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz - never question the Wizard! I wanted to offer a smaller, local list that's more friendly....big lists get a little crazy, which brings us to....

arborparents - Now over 1500 people, I belonged to this list when it started and was actually about parenting. Now it rarely is about parenting. I have made and met some good friends on this list. Also, thanks to their posts, I have a short list of people that if I ever meet them in real life, I will know to give them wide berth. I'm always amazed at what people will post on this list, and using their real names, too! At it's best, the list is a great place to find out answers to questions about anything Ann Arbor. Are you looking for a place that sells a push lawnmower? Where you can donate your dryer? You can post and find your answer here. At it's worst, it is a microcosm of the darker side of Ann Arbor - sometimes we're smug and self righteous. I encourage local businesses to join the list so they can address any issues they have. There's a small group of folks on the list that will flame local businesses any chance they get, instead of taking their complaints to the owner of the business, which I think is really a sin. All in all, it's a good list to be on, but not for parenting advice. The list is way too big for that now. Every once in a while, discussions turn into wars on this list. Which brings us to the spawn of arborparents, which is.....

arborparents-politics This list was started because some of the arborparents got upset years ago when a member would post about local peace protests and they supported the war. Now it is used by the moderators to move discussions they deem "too hot" for arborparents, but they're pretty subjective about when they actually do this. I really don't like moderation of any kind. It's clear to me that the moderators are behaving subjectively, even if they don't realize it themselves. That being said, arborparents-politics is a much smaller list of about 100 people, and people are much more free about expressing their views about things, so you can get a really good judge of people's character on it. It's really fun when people post something really controversial and they accidentally cross post to arborparents instead. Then the fur really flies! Only post on arborparents-politics if you feel comfortable getting flamed, because you will.

So, what lists are you on?


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm on so many lists it's not funny, but I don't post on many of them. I'm on professional lists (writing, education), on food lists, on weight loss lists, on blogging lists, etc.

As bad as yahoo groups are, I FAR prefer them to google groups, although I prefer everything else google over yahoo.

TeacherPatti said...

I've heard so much about arbor-parents that I thought about dropping out a kid, just to join. Just kidding!!! :)

I'm on arbor-food, arborcanning, arborseeds, arbor wiki, a2b3, MI homebrewers, my neighborhood Yahoo! group, a group that gives teacher science experiment ideas, and the Redford Theater.

I also wonder about those two folks...what are they laughing about? Are they laughing at us? Do they know something we don't?

Mary Remmers said...

Oh, there is a flute group and the ukulele group and a few other specialized online communities. But in terms of local information I've got two I follow on yahoo groups:

WashtenawMichiganCommunity - This is a wonderful resource for local goods and serves. I've never been disappointed with advice I've taken from this site.

FreecycleAnnArborMichigan - Wow, things move lightening fast here and I'm continually amazed by what can be reused instead of fed to a landfill.

Heather said...

I'm with Jen.
I belong to BudgetHomemaking,a very small informal loop of friends, and FamilyPlayTime which is probably my locale's crunchy answer to Arbor parents. Through that one I've learned that while I'm crazy crunchy compared to my peers I'm actually quite soggy compared to what is out there.

Maggie said...

I've been on a couple of food allergy groups for years. Nothing terribly exciting (IE no flame wars) though there were some good ideas that came from them. They were more helpful when I was just getting used to Alex's allergies.

Because we're homeschooling Alex for this year I joined a bunch of homeschooling groups. The various lists of rules for posting are treaaach-er-ous! Whether you are allowed or not allowed to talk about religion (and how you can talk about it) is a big divider.

What do they talk about in the Redford Theater group? I haven't been there in over 12 years!

BabsMcPhee said...

I think it's unrealistic to expect the ArborParents moderators, being human beings and all, to *not* be subjective. I get that your real point is that moderation in general is not desired (and I'm not sure I disagree with that) but AP has been moderated since its inception and I don't see that changing. I am curious what you think gets banished as "out of line" as opposed to what doesn't, though - in terms of the "subjectiveness". Maybe I can educate you about our decision-making process.

Mom said...

Babs - you are totally right! It is unrealistic to expect moderators to be unbiased.