Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Royal Enfield forums scramble as Yahoo pulls the rug out

Yahoo logo transformed to read 'Oh no!"
Lively Royal Enfield forums face the end as Yahoo Groups drop dead.
UPDATE: The Royal Enfields Yahoo Group is moving to Groups.io Moderator Martin Walton decided, "after 20 years of fun" in the group he created to begin all over again. Starting anew saves the expense of transferring memberships, photo and data. Members must sign up anew at RoyalEnfield

Royal Enfield Internet forums — whether on Yahoo Groups or the Classic Motorworks website — have added vastly to my enjoyment of my Royal Enfield motorcycle.

They taught me how to make my Royal Enfield go faster when it ran, and how to fix it when it broke. More importantly, the good advice always came with humor, irony, comradeship and passion. (Passion for the brand, of course, but often for off-topic things as well).

The forums make learning fun. I've constantly recommended them to Royal Enfield owners who've contacted me here at RoyalEnfields.com

So it came as a shock this month to learn that Yahoo is gutting its Groups and will start deleting material from them in December.

"Starting Dec. 14, 2019 Yahoo Groups will no longer host user created content on its sites. New content can no longer be uploaded after Oct. 28, 2019," Yahoo announced.

There's happier news at the Classic Motorworks Forum, responsibility for which has been taken over by Hitchcock's Motorcycles.

"We do not plan to make any major changes to the platform or face of the forum, and primarily we would like to address any of the operating/running issues that might be present so users can continue to enjoy the board," Dan Hitchcock posted on the Classic Motorworks Forum.

"Dan and his family taking the forum on warms my heart. I've worked with them since Dan was a little boy and they are the best thing that could happen here," responded Kevin Mahoney, whose Classic Motorworks Forum was the first Royal Enfield discussion group I encountered on the Internet.

Under his leadership, the forum, founded in 1999, grew up classy as well as Classic. Courtesy and common sense prevail there, and I'm delighted it is safe.

Yahoo, on the other hand, is trashing its Groups for all subjects, not just Royal Enfields. The Yahoo Royal Enfield, Bulletech and Interceptor Groups I followed closely are being "exterminated" in the words of one member. The accumulated knowledge of many years, best represented in the searchable messages they contain, will likely disappear.

"Sending/Receiving email functionality is not going away, you can continue to communicate via any email client with your group members," Yahoo announced.

But a list of 12 other functions will disappear, Yahoo says, including files, polls, links, photos, database, conversations, email updates, message digest and message history. Extermination does not seem like too strong a word.

The Royal Enfield Group lists 2,578 members; Bulletech lists 2,258; Ace Performance Bullets, 934; and the Interceptor Group, 535. (Like me, of course, some people belong to more than one group.)

Some members of these groups are scrambling to find alternative places for the material. Members of the Yahoo Interceptor group indicated in a poll that they would chip in to help pay the cost of moving it to a new venue.

There's even a suggestion that Hitchcocks Motorcycles, new host of the Classic Motorworks Forum, might also add some former Yahoo groups to its portfolio.

Of course, not everyone is terribly troubled by Yahoo's desertion. Traffic is down on most Yahoo Groups, as (in the opinion of many) the more transient, intrusive, insubstantial and ad-ridden Facebook dominates.

Message traffic on the Royal Enfield Yahoo Group reached 1,137 in the month of January, 2005 and stayed well into three figures a month into 2012. It fell to fewer than 10 messages some months in 2018.

Tom Lyons, creator of the Ace Performance Bullets Yahoo Group, indicated in a post that going forward he will simply try to offer any important material on his website.

Besides, nothing lasts forever, noted Nandan, the guru of the Bulletech Yahoo Group. He created Bulletech in 2000 with certain goals in mind.

"The focus was on troubleshooting from first-principles, and how to make the best of a very obsolete design, and respect and sensitivity for fellow human beings, in short, to become better men," he posted.

When news came of Yahoo's withdrawal from Groups, he wrote that he considers those goals met.

"After reading the last page, close the book," he mused, philosophically. But he did not rule out transferring Bulletech to a new platform and later messages from him show he's considering it.

"I need to find out more before I decide on a course of action," Martin Walton, who created the Royal Enfield Yahoo Group in 1998, wrote me an an email.

There may yet be another chapter. I frankly hope so.

2 comments:

  1. As you haven't mentioned it David, may I suggest an excellent English forum, though all nationalities are warmly welcome, Midland Bullet Riders.
    MBR is, like most RE forums, a great source of knowledge, chat and dreadful jokes.
    Well worth a peek.
    Regards,
    Simon.

    ReplyDelete

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