The story of the SolidWorks Yahoo! Group revival began way back in Feb 2006. I was looking for new macros to improve work flow on SolidWorks at my company. I looked everywhere online. One of the places I found was the SolidWorks Yahoo! Group. It was fairly active, with professional participation in discussions about SolidWorks. There was a problem, however.
I tried to contact the group owner, but never got a reply. Eventually, I started looking into why the group was unmoderated. The owner had disappeared; bouncy, bouncy. No one else was assigned to run the group, so the group was left to the elements, those dreaded spammers. Well, the rule with Yahoo! Groups is ownership cannot be transferred except by the owner. Since the owner was bouncy, there was no hope. I forget about the group for awhile. Then, in November 2006, I checked it on a whim. It appeared that SolidWorks users where still actively using the group to post questions and answers.
This got me thinking that maybe, just maybe I could take ownership of this group to revive it. So, I contacted Yahoo! Groups with the following feedback comment:
Are you a… Member
Type your feedback here: The moderator of SolidWorks yahoo group is not maintaining it, and has a bouncy email address. How does one claim control over a group that is experiencing this kind of neglect [but] still has large potential value to its members?
I waited for a few days before receiving this boiler plate response:
In a message dated 11/28/2006 11:49:36 P.M.
Pacific Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Groups.
Shelley, Yahoo! Customer Care
Well, the bureaucratic wheels are churning. There was even double-speak that was self-referencial. At this point, I know I have one chance at getting what I want. My reply will have to be forceful and direct, including points that cannot be argued. Here’s my Hail Mary:
Thank you for your reply.
I do realize that there is a Yahoo policy against the transfer of ownership
for yahoo groups. However, in light of this situation with SolidWorks yahoo group, I (as a Yahoo customer) feel that such a rigid and absolute rule on the matter is counter productive to members of Yahoo Groups in general (not just in regards to SolidWorks yahoo group). Though I don’t speak for the SolidWorks Corporation, the name “SolidWorks” is a trademarked name whose customers would benefit from having the only Yahoo Group that bares that exact name being made active again. Customers are users that are working, educated professionals that seek convenient interaction with other customers of SolidWorks. A new group creates confusion and increases the lack of interest in using Yahoo Groups at all for this purpose.
Also, if the current state of SolidWorks yahoo group is an indicator, with so many groups without reachable owners or moderators, Yahoo Groups appears to be cluttered, which makes Yahoo Groups less valuable as a service. As a matter of customer service, I request that you reconsider your policy in regards to the transfer of ownership for groups whose owners are bouncy for more than six months. Moderators should be able to claim a group at that time. If no moderators exist, members should be able to petition for ownership directly to Yahoo. To avoid spammers from taking charge of groups for professional purposes, set criteria for the approval of those petitions.
Santa Clara, CA
The reply I then got surprized me. Yahoo! Groups staff stepped up the plate.
Thank you for
writing to Yahoo! Groups.
We appreciate your comments on this matter and can understand your concerns.
Because your group is not currently moderated, we may be able to appoint a new moderator for the group. If you would like a new moderator for the group, please start a poll using the group’s polls feature and list the member names of a few members, who would like to be a moderator, as choices for the poll. Please announce the poll to your group and ask the members to vote on who they would like to be moderator. Once the poll has closed, please email me back and I will appoint the “elected” moderator. I do apologize for any inconvenience.
Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.
Gidget, Yahoo! Customer Care
The squeaky wheel gets the grease! This is how we do it! And I even got a reply from some girl with an overly cute name.
So, I left a message on the group asking for volunteers. Two people piped up. Of those two, only one had a history of contributing to the site, Chris McCormack. So, I put him up, and myself as the two options in the poll. A month later, I closed the poll and notified Yahoo! Groups staff. I wondered if I would hear from this “Gidget” again?
Gidget (Customer Care),
Per your requirements (see Customer Care email below), I have run a poll for the SolidWorks Yahoo Group to determine a new “elected” group moderator, because the group is not currently being moderated. Two individuals with a history of contributing to the site were self-nominated for this poll. The person with yahoo id maccormackc (Chris McCormack, who is cc:’d on this email) won the poll results. Please appoint maccormackc as the new group moderator for the Yahoo! Group SolidWorks as soon as possible.
Thank you for your prompt action in advance.
Well, Gidget did not respond back. However, Derek did respond back with the happy news.
Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.
The situation you describe has been completed.
We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused you. Please be assured that we’ll do our best to prevent such problems in the future. If you continue to experience the problem, or if we can be of assistance in another matter, please let us know by replying to this email. If you can describe in as much detail as possible the problem you are having, any steps you take leading up to it, how frequently it occurs, and the exact text of any error messages you receive, it will help us to provide a solution more quickly.
Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.
Derek, Yahoo! Customer Care
Derek was no Gidget, and his response didn’t make much sense, but he gave me what I wanted, and that’s all that mattered! 😉 After a couple of days, Chris and I began to revive the group, adding content, removing spam, banning spammers, approving new members, etc. And
it appeared to be getting the attention it deserved! Icing on the cake was when Richard Doyle joined the group soon after the revival. Kudos!