Yahoo! Groups/Archiving Project FAQ for group members

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ArchiveTeam FAQ for members, mods, and owners of Yahoo Groups

We've received a variety of questions from Yahoo Groups members, mods, and owners asking what ArchiveTeam is and what we are trying to do with Yahoo Groups archives. This is a list of answers to those questions. If there is something you still want to know, our contact information is at the bottom.

Yahoo/Verizon has said they plan to permanently delete all Yahoo Groups files and message archives sometime after (but no earlier than) 11:59 PM PST (UTC-7) on January 31, 2020. We do not know how soon they will take action after the deadline has passed. It could be immediately or it could be delayed.

ArchiveTeam is trying to save this data, as well as spread information about how you can save group messages and files yourself using Yahoo's "GetMyData" (GMD) request process.

We encourage people to make requests ASAP to save anything not yet saved, and to continue to do so for as long as making requests remains possible. Update: As of early February 4, 2020, no new GetMyData requests are being accepted. If you cannot file a data request, or get back incomplete data, or just want to put pressure on the decision to delete Yahoo's history, please contact Yahoo/Verizon and politely express your displeasure at their actions.


Contents

ArchiveTeam and volunteers

Who are you? Where do you live? What is your address?

We are volunteers with ArchiveTeam. We have volunteers that hail from all across the United States, Europe, and Australia.

Who is ArchiveTeam? Is ArchiveTeam legitimate?

ArchiveTeam is a loose band of volunteer archivists, programmers, and writers dedicated to saving our digital heritage. It has been a real thing since 2009. This wiki has many pages where you can learn more about us, including some of our mainstream media coverage.

Why do you want to archive Yahoo Groups? What's the benefit?

We value digital heritage, particularly user-generated content. Countless sites full of user-generated content have been lost over the years. We try to limit those losses; you can see some of the sites we've saved on our Projects page.

Why aren't you sending emails from the archiveteam.org domain?

As a loose band of volunteers, we use a variety of email addresses—whatever we have available.

How can I tell whether or not the group join request I received is actually from an ArchiveTeam volunteer?

Come visit us in our IRC channel (details below) and we'll figure it out.

Is ArchiveTeam part of the Internet Archive?

No. It is separate. It does not take direction from Internet Archive. We do use the storage space the Internet Archive makes available for preserving digital heritage; our archived data is submitted to the ArchiveTeam collection.

Where is the ArchiveTeam collection at the Internet Archive?

It is at https://archive.org/details/archiveteam.

Groups we want to archive

My group is no longer active, or it was for a very specific purpose. Do you still want to archive it?

Yes! Inactive and/or niche groups are still part of our digital heritage.

My group has moved elsewhere (like to Groups.io, Facebook, Google Groups, a web forum, etc). Do you still want to archive it?

Yes! Historical context is important. In addition, we know that some of the groups that moved platforms were unable to transfer some or all of their archives; we can help bridge that gap.

My group is restricted or private. Why are you trying to join it? Do you want to archive it?

Since data can't be brought back once it's gone, and since Yahoo/Verizon has failed to reliably notify users of the changes or give them options to save their own data in a timely manner, we are trying to reach out to as many groups as possible.

We know that some groups were set to restricted or private primarily as a way to control spam and not because of the content. We also know that in the case of groups intended solely for specific people, content that was once sensitive may no longer be sensitive, simply due to the passing of time. We prefer to err on the side of asking rather than not asking at all. (Many moderators have accepted us.)

We would still like to join and archive your group, if you're willing to give us permission. Either way, we encourage you to archive the group for yourself and your members.

Archiving process and results

When you say 'public archive', how public is 'public'? Where will the archived data go? How can we get access?

The Yahoo Groups data will be added to the ArchiveTeam collection at the Internet Archive. This is not available through the WayBack Machine, not indexed by web crawlers, and not deeply searchable. However, people looking for specific data will be able to find it.

Can I create an archive of my group without ArchiveTeam's help?

Yes. Make a "GetMyData" (GMD) download request at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/getmydata).

Update: As of late February 3, 2020, no new GetMyData requests are being accepted. Pending requests are still being honored. Groups joined between submitting a GMD request and receiving the results do seem to be included, so you can still get data for your group by adding an account with a pending request. (ArchiveTeam still has some such accounts.)

Update: As of late February 29, 2020, ArchiveTeam no longer has any accounts with requests pending.

In about 1–10 days (variable, and possibly longer, depending on Yahoo's backlog) you will be notified that your data is ready for download, after which download links will be available on the GetMyData page.

The download will be one or more ZIP files, which, when unzipped, contain a folder for each group you are a member of; in each group's folder will be more ZIPs, for messages, files, and links. If you have a lot of data (perhaps because you are a member of many groups), the download is likely to be split up into multiple ZIP files of 2 GB each. Unfortunately, coverage is sometimes spotty, so you may wish to have multiple members make requests.

We do not know how long Yahoo will keep the GMD downloads available after they notify you that the downloads are ready. We advise saving them as soon as you are notified of their availability.

Can I share GMD downloads with ArchiveTeam? Do you want them?

Yes!

You can upload your GMD files to a fileshare like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Mega.nz and email us a link.

Technical users may wish instead to rsync -avz *.zip rsync://marked-rsync.ddns.net/ateam-airsync/yahoo-gmd/$USERNAME/.

Some private groups have asked to send us their files and/or photos, but not message archives. This is fine with us.

Do you need group admin rights to create the archive?

No. The "GetMyData" (GMD) download request process can be used by any member.

What data can you still save? I thought Yahoo disabled the web interface.

Our experience so far is that message archives and files can still be saved via GMD requests, but that photos from the photo sections are lost (unless perhaps you personally uploaded those photos).

What do I do if I want ArchiveTeam to archive my group?

Accept our join request and we'll do our best.

What do I do if I do NOT want ArchiveTeam to archive my group?

Deny our join request and we'll do nothing (but we encourage you to archive the group for yourself and your members).

What happens if I deny ArchiveTeam access to my group?

We cannot create an archive of it. Unless you have (or someone else has) taken steps to preserve your files, message history, and other data, it will likely be lost forever. Important Update: Unfortunately Yahoo is no longer honoring new data requests. This means that while you can deny our request to join, you most likely will not be able to issue your own data request as the deadline + grace period has passed.

Miscellaneous

Is this a free service?

Yes. ArchiveTeam is an all-volunteer effort.

Who pays for the computing/transfer/storage resources you use?

Some resources are paid for by ArchiveTeam volunteers. Most of our hosting is courtesy of the non-profit Internet Archive. Although we are not the Internet Archive, we encourage donations there if you are so inclined. Their continued existence is critical to our efforts.

Can the Internet Archive host my live group or mailing list?

No, sorry. The Internet Archive does not offer groups or mailing lists. It is an archival facility for data at rest, not a service provider.

Where can I host my live group or mailing list?

You may want to try Groups.io for something similar to traditional pre-Neo Yahoo Groups. The paid version of Groups.io can import message archives (MBOXes) from GMD downloads, if you have them (either through your own request or from an ArchiveTeam request). However, Groups.io has tighter content restrictions than Yahoo Groups, so not all Yahoo Groups are eligible to be transferred to them. You can always try setting up your own hosting solution if you cannot find what you need.

Are you affiliated with Yahoo/Verizon? Do you work for them? Can you stop the changes Yahoo is making?

No. If we had the ability to stop the changes Yahoo has been making to groups, we would. Sadly, we cannot. We can only attempt to minimize the damage they are inflicting on our shared digital heritage.

Has anyone tried to tell Yahoo/Verizon to stop what they are doing to Yahoo Groups?

Yes. Pressure from Mods and Members/the Yahoo Groups Users Crusade (which has been advocating for Yahoo Groups users since 2013) and the Organization for Transformative Works was partially successful, in that Yahoo agreed to extend the deadline for submitting "GetMyData" requests.

What are archives? You keep saying that word...

Saved historical records.

I have more questions. Who can I talk to?

The best way to reach someone at ArchiveTeam is via IRC. Try our chat channels via your web browser or, even better, via a dedicated IRC client:

IRC Channel Full IRC URL Web Chat URL for Web Browsers Comment
#yahoosucks irc://irc.hackint.org/#yahoosucks https://webirc.hackint.org/#irc://irc.hackint.org/#yahoosucks This channel is specific to the ArchiveTeam Yahoo Groups efforts
#archiveteam-bs irc://irc.hackint.org/#archiveteam-bs https://webirc.hackint.org/#irc://irc.hackint.org/#archiveteam-bs This channel is for general ArchiveTeam conversation.

Please be patient if no one replies right away, as it may be a few hours before someone who knows the answer is online.

Note: Previously there were 2 related channels, #yahoosucks (for the Warrior effort) and #pythons-attack-y! (for the Python effort), on irc.efnet.org. Those channels have been consolidated under #yahoosucks on Hackint in part for improved reliability and in part for working web browser access.


Thank you!