Yahoo! Groups/Archiving Project FAQ for group members
ArchiveTeam Yahoo Groups Archiving Project FAQ for members, mods, and owners of Yahoo Groups
We've received a variety of questions from Yahoo Groups members, mods, and owners about 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, scroll down to the bottom for our contact information.
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 once the deadline is reached. It could be immediately or it could be delayed. We encourage people to make data requests ASAP to save anything not yet saved, and to continue to do so for as long as making requests remains possible. If you cannot file a data request or you get back incomplete data or just want to put pressure on their decision to shut things down, please contact Yahoo/Verizon every way possible and politely express your displeasure at their actions.
ArchiveTeam (https://www.archiveteam.org) is trying to save this data, as well as spread information about how you can save group messages and files yourself by filing a request via Yahoo's "GetMyData" (GMD) downloads process (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/getmydata).
Q. Who are you? Where do you live? What is your address?
A. We are volunteers with ArchiveTeam. We have volunteers that hail from all across the United States, Europe, and Australia.
Q. Who is ArchiveTeam? Is ArchiveTeam team legitimate?
A. 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. Our wiki has many pages where you can learn more about us (https://www.archiveteam.org/index.php?title=Who_We_Are) and also about some of our media coverage (https://www.archiveteam.org/index.php?title=In_The_Media).
Q. Why do you want to archive Yahoo Groups? What's the benefit?
A. 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 (https://www.archiveteam.org/index.php?title=Projects).
Q. What happens if I deny ArchiveTeam access to my group and prevent them from creating an archive of it?
A. The group data will likely be forever lost (unless someone else has taken steps to preserve the data)(we know of no other large scale preservation effort working on Yahoo Groups).
Q. Why aren't you sending emails from the archiveteam.org domain?
A. As a loose band of volunteers, we use a variety of email addresses. Basically whatever we have available.
Q. If you are using a variety of email addresses, how can I tell whether or not the group join request I received is actually from an ArchiveTeam volunteer?
A. Come visit us in our IRC channel (details elsewhere in this FAQ) and we'll figure it out.
Q. Is ArchiveTeam part of the Internet Archive (https://www.archive.org)?
A. 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.
Q. Where is the ArchiveTeam collection at the Internet Archive?
Q. My group is no longer active, or it was for a very specific purpose, or has moved elsewhere (like to Groups.io, Facebook, Google Groups, a web forum, etc). Do you still want to archive it?
A. Yes; inactive and/or niche groups are still part of our digital heritage. 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.
Q. My group is restricted/private. Why are you trying to join it?
A. We are trying to reach out to as many groups as possible and we also know that some restricted/private groups were set that primarily as a way to control spam and not because of the content. We also believe that it should have been Verizon/Yahoo’s responsibility to notify all users about the changes and give them ways to easily save their data on a reasonable timeframe.
Q. My group is private, for very specific people only. Why do you want to join my group? Do you still want to archive it? Can I create an archive of my group(s) without ArchiveTeam's help?
A. We try to prevent data from being lost, since once it's gone it can’t be brought back. If you want us to archive your group, accept our join request and we will try to save it. See below for more information on what happens to the archived data. If you do not want us to archive your group, deny our join request and we won't (but we encourage you to do it for yourself and your members via Yahoo's data download request process at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/getmydata ).
Q. When you say 'public archive', how public is 'public'? Where will the archived data go? How can we get access to the archived information?
A. ArchiveTeam uploads archived data to the the ArchiveTeam collection at the Internet Archive. The Yahoo Groups data will be added to that collection. 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.
Q. Can I create an archive of my group(s) without ArchiveTeam's help?
A. Yes. Make a "GetMyData" (GMD) download request at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/getmydata . In about a day (if the processing backlog is short), you will be notified that your data is ready for download. We have seen it take 10 days when the backlog is long. If you are members of many groups, you may see the data split up into multiple ZIP files of 2 GB each. The groups are randomly placed within the ZIP files.
Q. Can I share GMD downloads with ArchiveTeam? Do you want them?
A. Yes! You can upload your GMD files to a fileshare like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Mega.nz and send a link to firstname.lastname@example.org, or (for technical users) rsync them to rsync://marked-rsync.ddns.net/ateam-airsync/yahoo-gmd/$USERNAME/ (-avz recommended).
Q. What data can you still save? I thought Yahoo disabled the web interface. What aspect(s) of our group do you wish to archive?
A. 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).
Q. Is this a free service?
A. Yes. ArchiveTeam is an all-volunteer effort.
Q. Who pays for the computing/transfer/storage resources you use?
A. Some resources are paid for by ArchiveTeam volunteers. ArchiveTeam depends heavily on the Internet Archive to host the archived data. We encourage donations to Internet Archive, if you would like to make a financial contribution somewhere. ArchiveTeam is not the Internet Archive.
Q. Do you need group admin rights to create the archive?
A. No. We are using the "GetMydata" (GMD) download request process. This can be used by any member.
Q. Are you affiliated with Yahoo/Verizon? Are you Yahoo programmers/employees/contractors? Do you work for Yahoo?
A. No. If we had the ability to stop the changes Yahoo has been making to groups, we would. Sadly, we have no such ability. We can only attempt to minimize the damage they are inflicting on our shared digital heritage.
Q. Has anyone tried to tell Verizon/Yahoo to stop what they are doing to Yahoo Groups?
A. Yes, for years actually. See https://modsandmembersblog.wordpress.com/ by Brenda Fowler of the Yahoo Groups Users Crusade
Q. Can Internet Archive host my live group/mailing list/etc.?
A. No, the Internet Archive does not offer groups or mailing lists. It is a data-at-rest (data archival) facility, not a service provider. You may want to try Groups.io for something similar to traditional pre-Neo Yahoo Groups; it can import message archives (MBOXes) from GMD downloads if you have them (either through your own request or one of ArchiveTeam's).
Q. What are archives? You keep saying that word...
A. Saved historical records. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archive
Q. I have more questions. Who can I talk to?
A. The best way to reach someone at ArchiveTeam is via IRC. We have links on our homepage and below (for extended conversation with us we recommend a dedicated IRC client such as HexChat or mIRC). Please be patient if no one replies right away, as it may be a few hours before someone who knows the answer is online. :
- http://chat.efnet.org:9090/?channels=%23pythons-attack-y! (Yahoo Groups project, phase II; highest traffic)
- http://chat.efnet.org:9090/?channels=%23yahoosucks (Yahoo Groups project, phase I)
- http://chat.efnet.org:9090/?channels=%23archiveteam-bs (General ArchiveTeam conversation, also used for some followup questions after a project wraps up)