Yahoo! has announced that Yahoo Groups will be permanently closing, and deleting all previously posted material on December 14, 2019. Some of you may be wondering what you can do to preserve fannish content posted to Yahoo Groups before it is deleted, and what the Organization for Transformative Works can do to help.
What can Open Doors do?
The Open Doors project is dedicated to offering shelter to at-risk fannish content. At this time the Organization for Transformative Works has no way of serving as a replacement to active Yahoo Groups that would like to continue to function as groups or mailing lists. However, we are prepared to work with moderators to preserve fanworks from their groups on the Archive of Our Own and provide tools so Yahoo Groups mods and users can archive messages and other content.
We have two processes in place — one to move fanworks from Yahoo Groups onto the Archive Of Our Own, and one to download and preserve messages and other content from Yahoo Groups in file systems so moderators and Yahoo Groups users have more than nine weeks to figure out how to preserve and possibly share that content.
Open Doors can only import fanworks archived in Yahoo Groups onto the Archive of Our Own with the consent of the moderator(s). If you are a moderator and would like to import fanworks from your Yahoo Group(s) to AO3, you are welcome to contact Open Doors via our contact form.
While fanworks posted to public Yahoo Groups can be imported using our usual process, we have internal restrictions on what fanworks we can import from private Yahoo Groups, to protect the privacy of fan creators and respect their copyright of their fanworks. Since Yahoo’s announcement is sudden news for everyone, including us, we are still working out the fine points of what we can and cannot import from restricted groups based on the Archive of Our Own Terms of Service. However, moderators are still welcome to contact Open Doors and discuss preservation options for their groups. If we cannot import a group’s fanworks to AO3, we can direct moderators to other fandom preservation efforts that are taking place.
Because the content in many Yahoo Groups has historical, cultural and sociological value to each Group’s members, and also to fandom-focused scholars, Open Doors is also open to providing storage of Yahoo Groups backups that are assembled by moderators and non-moderators alike. Please note that at this time we cannot promise how or if the backups we store will be able to be migrated or accessed in the future by anyone other than the uploader(s), the moderator(s), the Open Doors team and affiliated volunteers.
What can you do – if you are a moderator of a Yahoo Group?
If you are a moderator, you can contact Open Doors via our contact form. You can also email your group notifying them of the closure and encouraging members to save their fanworks.
Right now, we believe the most important thing for any administrators to do, if they are interested in preserving fanworks from their Yahoo Group, is to download and back up those fanworks, as it is likely that the ability to do so will diminish or disappear as Yahoo Groups shuts down. Open Doors can then work with moderators to figure out whether we can import fanworks from their group. Information on how to download files and messages from groups can be found here.
What can you do – if you are a member of a Yahoo Group?
Anyone who posted their own fanworks to a Yahoo Group is welcome to post those fanworks to AO3 themselves. You can download your own fanworks and upload them to AO3 at any time. If you need an AO3 account, you can request an invitation at this link.
If you’re not a moderator, but are willing to download the files and messages from a group, please do so to help preserve them! You can find information about how to do this here. You can send these to Open Doors for storage, and we will store them for you. Please note that at this time we cannot promise how or if the backups we store will be able to be migrated or accessed in the future by anyone other than the uploader(s), the moderator(s), the Open Doors team, and affiliated volunteers.
Additionally, If you are not a moderator but would like to see a Yahoo Group preserved, you can contact us via our our contact form with a link to the Yahoo Group and, if you have it, contact information for the moderator. You can also contact the moderator to request that they get in touch with us.
If you would like to help preserve the history of a Yahoo Group, please consider documenting it on Fanlore. If you’re new to wiki editing, no worries! Check out the new visitor portal, or ask the Fanlore Gardeners for tips. Fanlore has also recently made a helpful Tumblr post with tips for preserving the history of Yahoo Groups.
Thank you for your interest in helping Open Doors to preserve fannish content from Yahoo Groups!