Yahoo Groups are icky

Here’s a little self-serving rant. Can I just say that I despise “Yahoo! Groups”? Kate and I belong to a client-run yahoo group for members of our adoption agency. It’s a wonderful group with a wealth of great information and constantly buzzing with activity. The content and people of the group are simply awesome. Very active, very supportive, and let’s not forget super-friendly.

What I don’t like is the format and user interface of Yahoo Groups in general. It’s like a giant mailing list mated with an ugly, hard to use Web site.

User management

Your default posting name is your “Yahoo! ID”. News-flash: this means everyone will know you as the first part of your Yahoo email address … which probably isn’t your main email address anyway. You probably only have a yahoo email address in the first place so you can use things like yahoo groups. This means most people are known by catchy monikers such as “34bearzfan56pdx@”.

Ah, but you can change the email address you use to receive email digests so it’s not your yahoo email address. Why does this matter? Well because yahoo groups displays the first part of your email address up to the at (@) sign for all of your posts. This is because it’s sort of a mailing list. But I feel most people use the Web interface exclusively.

Finding all posts by a specific user is not intuitive either. You have one way to find posts by a user. Click on the miniscule “Advanced” link by the search box. There you can search by user. But shouldn’t this be available when I click on a username from a post? You know, from the user’s profile page? Yahoo, what the heck are you doing?


It’s funny, the message handling is the most frustrating part of the entire experience, but I have the least to say about it because it’s so obvious in it’s suckyness. Yahoo groups are trying to be a forum … but it’s also a mailing list. The issue is that it’s failing at both.


Personally, I feel most yahoo groups would be better served with a good and proper forum. And I’ll say it again: the content of the adoption yahoo group is just awesome. I only wish I could access the wonderful things they’re talking about with less frustration.

Ok, I’m done. Sometimes you just gotta’ vent! 🙂