Grouply Evangelism

February 23, 2008

I guess this whole Grouply thing just means that now owners have two new responsibilities:

(1) constantly watching the group-related message boards for information about invading third party services and other risks, and

(2) educating all their co-owners and co-mods about it.

It’s not enough to just know how to use the Management settings in a group.  And Yahoo’s Moderator Central is weak in reporting things that many of us regard as problems and risks, though not useless.

You know how well that will work.  Many group owners and mods barely know how to use the service, much less become experts in third party issues.

Maybe someday Yahoo! will accommodate us by providing a firewall that by default blocks all third party access, and provide a checklist in Management settings where we can opt-in to third party services we want to offer our groups.

(One can dream, right?)

Otherwise, the whole notion of free online groups is going to go bad in a big way, and serious moderators of serious groups will have to sign up for a paid system that is truly secure.  It shouldn’t be expensive, though, given the continually decreasing costs of running a web service.

Did you know that there is a core team of GrouplyFans calling themselves Grouply EVANGELISTS?

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/grouply_evangelist_program/

I enjoyed noticing that it’s in the FINANCE section of YG.  Should be in the religion category.

The home page says:

“The Grouply Evangelist Program is a select group of Grouply users who help define and select new Grouply features and who broadly communicate the benefits of Grouply in order to expand the Grouply user base.”

That “broadly communicate” thing?  Spammming.  Why don’t they realize that spamming as a promotional tool is self-defeating?  It just arouses the ire of group owners.

Their other tool: propaganda blogs and groups.  But they’re not the only ones who can play that game.

Evangelist?  Hmmm.  Not a bad word for it, really.  When you dig into what it’s all about, and its roots in the history of web-scouring hooking-up for commercial purposes, it does tend to feel sorta like a kind of religion … or like a cultish thing that can give you the willies.

How much ya wanna bet a dollar (as my cousin useta say when we were kids) that these evangelists would scream bloody murder if someone spammed their group and members’ personal email addresses with commmercial messages for a service they don’t want, don’t need, don’t like?  They’d declare something like a jihadist war.

Grouply Evangelist Program group:
Created 11/23/07
14 members
Fairly active, I guess …
Postings:
Nov 07 = 47
Dec 07 = 410 (!!! – no wonder Grouply became such a hot topic recently)
Jan 08 = 181
Feb 08 = 55

Now I guess they’ll move to some other cave.

Given that kind of activity, and Grouply’s spamming machine, and YGOG and EL-M and GrouplyImprovements mods defending and advocating for Grouply, and their activity in the blogosphere, there is a NEED for vocal activism to counter the Grouply propaganda, to protect our groups and members and what integrity is left in the whole idea of free online group services.  If we don’t take a stand now, as other third-party invaders come along YG will never be the same.

Eventually I hope to be able to point to some investigative reporting on the core people behind Grouplyfication of the web’s free groups services.  It’s not just Grouply.  As always, follow the money.  It leads right to their front door.

– UnGrouply Atheist
(no offense whatsoever desired or intended toward adherents of true religions serving the spiritual good)

Advertisements

Press Conference?

February 18, 2008

Posted here by permission of the author:
——————————————————

In response to Grouply CEO Mark Robins’ announcement of a blog entry he called a “virtual press conference” … but did he actually INVITE THE PRESS?  How can you call something a press conference without inviting the press?

Speaking of a press conference …

It may be past due time the press, especially tech trade journals, and major, popular bloggers, along with mainstream news media, got involved in reporting these Yahoo! Groups owners’ concerns about Grouply.com, because it bears significance for what has been reported here as “100+ million” Yahoo! users.  That makes it a matter of considerable interest to the general public, worldwide.

And it is definitely past due time for Yahoo! to take a publicly broadcast position on the matter.  Until we know exactly where Yahoo! stands on it, I feel like we’re sort of three sheets to the wind, so to speak, in trying to do anything about it.

Tricia wrote, at:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/EmailList-Managers/message/91033
————————-
<begin quote>
2.  NO “Invite Your Group” capability.  Inviting an entire list at once, even once, never mind once a month, even if the owner doesn’t really care, is spamming the list members who did NOT sign up for the list to receive Grouply unsolicited commercial emails, even if Grouply uses the fingers of their users to send them rather than co-opting the computers of the unknowing to do so.  Same concept – get someone else to send your spam for you.

3.  OPT IN ONLY.  Not “send the list owner a message letting them know that someone on their list is using Grouply and they can opt out if they want to”.  True Opt In means that Grouply doesn’t lay a virtual finger on a list until the list owner says explicitly that they want their list to be made available for Grouply.
<end quote>
————————-

I agree, and intend to maintain this position and present it vociferously to Yahoo!  Thank you, Tricia, for persistently staying on target about the true fundamentals involved.

Spam is spam is spam, and is means is.  The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s mandate to enforce the CAN SPAM Act of 2003 needs to be applied to this situation, if the spam-encouraging feature of Grouply.com is not eliminated immediately.

Opt-in is necessary, by a group OWNER (not just any mod who may not be owner replying to an opt-out message sent to all the moderators via the group’s -owner address).  I find no opting-out scheme to be a satisfactory substitute for OWNER-chosen opt-IN.


Yahoo Should Block Them

February 18, 2008

Someone wrote, “And, Grouply isn’t the only ‘aggregator’ on the horizon… there’s another one still in early Beta testing called Klostu.com … so if we don’t want to have to go through the entire process a second time, let’s start working at getting Grouply adjusted to our satisfaction and then when Klostu.com makes its appearance we can point to Grouply and say … ‘They do it This way, why don’t You?'”

Yes, and more may be coming down the pipe.  This is why I feel that it would be best if Yahoo blocked any and all such aggregator / alternate-delivery services as they become available and provide an opt-in checklist of them to group owners.

Or, maybe it’s time to move my groups to a venue where this kind of thing can’t be done in the first place, so I don’t have to be constantly looking over my shoulder to see who’s coming in the back door.  Surely Yahoo doesn’t want a mass migration of that kind to start!


Countering GrouplyFan Propaganda

February 18, 2008

These GrouplyFans yakking it up in the GrouplyImprovements group think that we have no right to “interfere” in Grouply’s business.  Well, Grouply is going to find out that as word continues getting out about what they are doing, there will be many more moderators blocking them and banning their users.  This is just the beginning.  Many people never heard of Grouply.  None of my co-moderators did until I told them about it.  None of my freecycling group members heard of it until I told them not to use it or they will be removed from the group.  As more people find out what it is (a scheme to make money off our private message traffic), many will not participate, and will tell their friends and groups to stay out of it.

Some of these GrouplyFans are not defending Grouply because they truly believe in the product.  I see many of them posting messages to groups every day without using Grouply to do it!  If they like Grouply so much, why aren’t they using it?

Some of them just see dollar signs.  They think that Grouply is going to be the “next big thing,” and they want to get in on the ground floor buying shares when Grouply issues an IPO (becomes a publicly traded company), if they survive that long.  I have seen three of the leading GrouplyFans say things like this.  They think they are going to be the next Google or Microsoft first shareholders.  Nonsense.  Grouply does not stand a chance of ever becoming big, because there is no need for their product.  They will be lucky to get 2% of Yahoo and Google Group users to subscribe, especially with the bad publicity they have caused for themselves.

They’ll get lots of spammers and miscreants to join, because it’s a great tool for spamming and spying on group members.  Stalkers and pedophiles will just love it.  That will just generate more bad publicity for them.

It is not “good business” to barge in and demand that people surrender their private data so some stranger can use it to generate advertising revenue by mining their data to target advertising dollars.  Grouply has only ONE goal: making money.  Their propaganda about “improving your experience of Yahoo! Groups” is nonsense.  If that was their goal, they would include support of all features of Y! Groups, not just aggregation and mining of the message archives.

They don’t care what we think, but they will find out that many good people believe there is more to life than making money, and they don’t believe (as Shal and Srihari and TexasCritter other GrouplyFans do) that Grouply has some “right” to make money on our message traffic.

Grouply shot themselves in the foot when they gave spamming tools to their subscribers.  All it did was raise alarm bells, not generate good publicity for them.  I see it as conspiracy to violate the U.S. CAN SPAM Act of 2003, and the Federal Trade Commission needs to receive lots of complaints about it to get them to act on it.  We need to flood the FTC with email and postal mail about it.

Yahoo management and the public and the Federal Trade Commission are the people we need to be talking to, not groups run by GrouplyFans who suppress opposition to Grouply.

We need to stick to the fundamental principles involved:

(1)  It is dangerous and foolish to give up your password to a stranger.

(2)  Nobody has a “right” to take our private group message traffic and make money by generating advertising revenue with it.

(3)  Yahoo should provide group owners with the ability to block third party “aggregators” from this kind of activity, and to block external domain names from accessing our group content.

(4) The Yahoo! TOS prohibits transmitting group content to another web site.

I think it’s time for Yahoo to give us firewall-style tools to prevent access to our groups by DOMAIN NAME.  In other words, the ability to block any outside web site from accessing our group site, or any email address with a given domain name from joining.  Hotmail allows its users to block not just email addresses, but entire domains.  In my hotmail account, I can block @grouply.com, not just individual email addresses.  Yahoo should allow us to do that, too.  But blocking email addresses with a given domain name is not enough.  We need a firewall-style blocking that prevents external web sites from directly accessing our message archives via web connection (not just harvesting via Individual Emails member settings), even if they do have a member’s password to do it.

But I note with interest that people are not flocking in droves to sign up for Grouply, either.  Less than one percent of the EL-M group are Grouply subscribers.  Only about a dozen of the GrouplyImprovements members are Grouply subscribers, and at least two of them are Grouply staff, and two of them are GrouplyFan moderators.  Grouply hardly has any serious beta testers (which is why they have so many bugs and problems), and very few fans.

It’s a pretty lame product anyway.  I explored it pretty seriously, and found nothing about it that “improved my experience of Yahoo Groups.”

Grouply may end up just dying of natural causes and self-inflicted wounds.  I hope so.


I Should Care About Grouply’s Survival?

February 18, 2008

——————–
In http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/GrouplyImprovements/message/195
Shal said:
On a purely business level, you may as well ask them to turn out the lights and close the doors.
——————–

So?

In this sentence, and in the overall thrust of his post, Shal seems to refer to some sort of necessity that we take into account Grouply’s business interests.  I do not see any necessity for telling a group owner that they must now accept a new paradigm for their group’s experience just because someone’s business interests are at
stake.

Many (if not most) YG owners are volunteers running non-profit civic types of groups where nobody has a business interest except Yahoo!, who deserves to make money on the service they are providing to us for free, and does it in a way that costs group owners nothing but the sweat of their brows to make a good thing happen for their group members.  If Grouply offered those group owners an option (a true OPTION, not an imposed thing they must opt-out of), then perhaps they might also deserve a piece of the business pie, if what they offered had value in the opinion of the group owner.

How this massive movement of volunteers in online communities should be deemed NECESSARILY open to companies like Grouply making money off of our painstaking work for our group communities (I refer to Shal’s phrase, “on a purely business level”), against our will, is beyond me.

Grouply CLAIMS to be improving the members’ experience.  Some members may agree with that, and that’s their prerogative, of course.  Group OWNERS also have rights and prerogatives.  Those owners who do not agree with their Grouply-fan members should not be subjected to having the groups that they OWN “opted-into” a third party service that they find contrary to their groups’ interests, regardless of what anyone else thinks of those owners’ opinions about what is good or bad for their groups, especially when they are “opted-into” it by a tiny minority of members (or even JUST ONE member!) who have no right to unilaterally change the paradigm on which the owner built and manages the group.

Nobody is obligated to take into account another party’s business interests unless they are contractually committed to do so, or obligated to do so under some provision of law or morality.  I have no legal or moral obligation to take into account any business interest of Grouply in my groups’ existence.

————-
Shal said:
If each new subscriber finds that they can access nothing until they go and pester the owners of all their groups into each giving them the ok — well the would-be subscribers will just walk away.
———–

Yes, Grouply’s would-be subscribers may well just walk away from Grouply if they have a strong interest in a Yahoo Group that opts out of Grouply involvement.

Shal has been known to say, as he does in this thread (and I agree), “Your group, your rules.”  So yes, if my group members want me to change those rules, they will have to consult with me about it, lobby for it (“pester” me, in Shal’s words).  And if they don’t like the rules established by the owner for the sake of the good of the whole group (not just a few Grouply fans, or just one seeking to opt the group into Grouplyfication), then indeed, they can and maybe should “just walk away,” and I would bid them a farewell with best wishes, if I had opted-out my group from Grouply.

But clearly group owners who prefer not to have to deal with the behaviors of Grouply, or don’t like it, do not have that option to just walk away from Grouply, or will not have such an option until Grouply grants it to them through an opt-out procedure to reverse the decision of one group member who opted-in the group’s archive … a procedure offered to us only after many of us “pestered” Grouply for it.  Such group owners, unlike members of our groups “pestering” us for changes (which, by the way, almost never happens in the groups I own, because I usually consult the members BEFORE imposing significant changes on the environment they joined), never voluntarily joined Grouply the way our “pestering” members voluntarily joined our groups and accepted the rules as they were upon joining.  But Grouply subscribers decide to redirect our archives to Grouply’s web site, at Grouply’s profit, and we are left with only “pestering” Grouply to stop their interfering, if we deem it to be interference, an opinion which is our right to hold as the grantors of the keys to our groups’ archives.

Is it truly interference?  That is a subjective matter, and nobody has a right to tell a group owner what their subjective experience should be of something they own, and built with their own hard labor and the support of their members.

What happened to “my group, my rules?”  If my rules were to now say, “No Grouply,” Shal’s statements seem to say that he would oppose it “on a purely business level,” based on a notion that I should have some sympathy for Grouply’s business interests.  My degree of concern for Grouply’s business interest is entirely dependent upon the quality of their concern for me, and my realization of some benefit derived from their business activity, a benefit I have yet to see.

Treat me in an honorably businesslike fashion, and I will be happy to reply in kind.  Barge into my house and say, “New rules, folks!” and I may be rather defensive and intolerant of such a presence.  My group, my rules.

I didn’t create and run my groups for the past several years so that Grouply could come along and reap a profit off my  labor.  I already know that my biggest group’s co-owners, moderators, and leading members object strongly to the idea, simply on principle that our volunteer labors should not be used by anyone, anywhere, to turn a profit.

Recently I kicked another corporate entity out of one of my groups because they were found to be using a trojanesque member account to redirect postings to an external web site to generate revenue off them with Google context-sensitive ads (and Yahoo finally shut down that operation, I was glad to see, after an outcry by group owners  and members, one similar to what we are seeing about Grouply, and for similar reasons).  I also work to prevent thievish “sploggers” from doing the same.  I enjoy the use of alert services continually crawling the web to notify me of such activity, among other measures I take to prevent profiteering on my group’s non-profit volunteer activity.

My group expects me to practice such measures.  They are not happy with the Grouply situation.  They expect me to do something about it.

————–
Shal said:
Yes, eventually enough groups may have approved that a subscriber’s initial experience would be more positive, but with 7+ million groups out there that day would probably be too far off for Grouply’s survival.
————

“Grouply’s survival” is not a concern of mine, especially if I do not agree that their product is an improvement on the experience of my group, and doubly especially if I find it detrimental to my group.

————-
Shal said:
Granted that from a moderator’s point of view I often say “your group, your rules”, but from the point of view of a group member, the requirement of an owner opt-in is unworkable and unfair. It is likely to be at least as unpopular with group members as are those moderators that choose to mess with members’ email delivery settings.
—————

Shal is certainly entitled to an opinion of what is “workable and fair,” and so am I.  Under the terms and conditions of the Yahoo agreement under which my group exists, and to which I and the group members are accountable, Yahoo and I define what is workable and fair for my group, not the members.  (Though I do take their opinions into account, I don’t let any one of them change the handling of my group archive unilaterally, yet that does not abrogate my right as owner to change the group rules unilaterally, within the Yahoo TOS).

Shal’s opinion of what may or may not be “unpopular with group members” is as valid as mine, but I own my group’s site in the YG system and I have been granted owner-level rights and responsibilities by Yahoo for that group resource.  Shal does not own it, nor does Grouply, and neither of them are party to my contract with Yahoo.  That makes my opinions about usage of my group archive take precedence over Shal’s and the company whose business interests he appears to defend.

—————-
Shal said:
Before Grouply accesses any group there has been a positive opt-in — by the member.
—————-

On principle if nothing else, I am not comfortable with the idea that Grouply has enabled any single member of my group to choose unilaterally to grant Grouply an opportunity to forever make untold sums money on my group’s existence, its history of activity, its future activity, and its non-profit volunteer labors without my explicitly opted-in consent (and that of all other members of the group, as I would prefer).  People tend to be touchy about others using their volunteer group work to make money without something in return that they actually want or need and that serves the mission of their group.

Under the Yahoo TOS, members do not have the right to redirect group content to another web site.  They don’t own the group content.  They only own the content of their individual postings that they wrote.  They can send their own postings anywhere they like.  But they don’t have a right to “opt-in” all their groups’ entire message archives, past, present and future, to an external profit-making environment that the owner of the group opposes and the members were not given an opportunity to consult on.  (However, I will not mind if Grouply can find a way to make a few pennies on THIS post, and I won’t even ask for a royalty.  LOL.  Just kidding.)

Shal’s assertion that a SINGLE member’s decision to opt-in a group to Grouply.com seems to clearly imply that he thinks individual member rights are greater than owner rights, and greater than the majority of members’ rights, as any such rights may affect changes to the way the group archive is used.

Do you detect that I disagree?

———————-
Shal said:
To the extent that Grouply makes good on its promise to safeguard message access, mirroring the access afforded by Yahoo, I’d argue that Group owner opt-in is unnecessary.
———————-

That mirroring access Shal mentions is not being accorded to Grouply BY YAHOO, as he mistakenly asserts here.  It is done by individual members giving their Yahoo account IDs and passwords to Grouply, and, in all cases, by JUST ONE member initiating a relationship between Grouply and affected groups.

Opt-in by owner is the right way to go.
 


Who really likes Grouply?

February 18, 2008
People need to think carefully about what may be the real principles and values involved in the Grouply situation.  So far, I can’t see Grouply being about anything but a money-making scheme.  It does not make life any better for a YG member, and certainly has been nothing but headaches and worries for many very concerned YG owners.But somehow they’ve won the hearts and minds of the mods of these big, popular “groups about groups” like EMailList-Managers and Yahoo_group_of_groups, whose moderators are singing Grouply’s praises (as they also do in the GrouplyImprovements group).

But anybody looking under the hood will find that Grouply is NOT popular with the thousands of members of those groups.  For example:
the EmailList-Managers group at:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/EmailList-Managers/
has 3,322 members at this moment, and the Grouply case has been debated extensively there.Guess how many members of that group are using Grouply?

Thirty two.  Less than one percent.  And at least two of them are Grouply executives.  So if you discount them, it’s 30 [as of the original date of this writing].  And of that 30, many are likely just poking around in it out of curiosity, not seriously interested in using it or doing serious testing of it.

So, if a large group dedicated to the interests of LIST MANAGERS can’t attract more than one percent of its users to join Grouply, after it
has been one of the hottest topics going in postings there … well, read the writing on the wall.

Heck, even in the new “GrouplyImprovements” group, where Grouply’s biggest fans hang out, there are only 126 total members [as of the original date of this writing], and only about a dozen of them (including at least two Grouply staff, and two moderators singing the praises of Grouply) are using Grouply!  Among those 126 members, most them appear to be concerned group owners wanting to keep an eye on what’s going on rather than people who actually LIKE Grouply and want to help improve it.

But Grouply doesn’t need many members to get access to zillions of postings in Yahoo! Group message archives.  They only need one member in each group to give up their YID and password, Grouply’s key to the back door.

I guess I should run some stats on some of the biggest, hottest groups to show how really such a tiny percentage of people are using Grouply.  That may change over time, but it will never be anything near a majority of YG members.  I’d put money on it never getting above 10%.

It is also telling that there are far fewer defenders of Grouply than there are voices against it, or concerned about its potential risks and negative effects on groups and the lives of group owners.

Yahoo’s silence on the matter is the most disturbing thing of all.  Not enough people are complaining to them, I guess, or to the Federal Trade Commission about Grouply’s spamming tools.

I wonder if Grouply’s investors are watching the message traffic about it.


Goodbye Grouply

February 18, 2008

I obtained permission from the original author of this post.

The original author asked that I insert the foreword shown below.
———————-
Foreword from the original author:

I referred to Grouply as having “super-owner” / back-door access to
Yahoo! Groups.  That may not be technically correct, or may well be
perceived as incorrect by technical experts.  As far as I know and
understand, the access that Grouply has is caused by members
divulging their Yahoo! IDs and passwords to Grouply, not by some
special arrangement between Grouply and Yahoo! (though such an
arrangement may exist also; I do not know).  While it is my opinion
that members surrendering their confidential passwords in this way is
detrimental to their respective Yahoo! Groups’ best interests, and
their own personal interests, and the interests of many YG
owners/moderators, so far Yahoo!’s apparent silence on the matter
seems to indicate that they do not oppose it, despite the Yahoo!
Terms of Service clearly explicit requirement that members preserve
the confidentiality of their passwords.  Grouply’s silence (as far as
I have seen) on this assertion that they have “super-owner” or back
door access granted them by Yahoo! is also disconcerting to me.
————————

Original post in its entirety:

From the publicly accessible message archive at:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/EmailList-Managers/message/91320

EL-M Moderators: this is my last post on the Grouply topic, so please
indulge me this one more time.

This message below from Mark Robins settles it for me.

Mark, you refer to your service as an email aggregator, but my
groups’ activities are not just an email service.  (By the way, are
you going to start scraping … er, I mean, aggregating … hotmail
too, being just an email aggregator?)  My groups are a social
networking web site service that happens to have email-driven
features.  So you’re not just aggregating email.  You’re scraping web
site content without the permission of the owner (well, that is,
unless Yahoo! gave it to you without telling me), and you obviously
have super-owner access powers that you should not have, for which I
fault Yahoo!, now the reason I’m going back on the market for a
different group service, even if I have to pay an annual fee to get a
truly secure one.

You refer to this matter as your subscribers choosing to have “their”
email aggregated.  That is so contrary to the reality of my groups’
configurations and membership terms that now I can’t help but see the
Grouply concept as delusional.

The content of my restricted group message archive is not THEIR
email.  They don’t own it the way they own private correspondence. 
It is restricted-access web site content that they may receive VIA
email, under terms and conditions established for them by Yahoo! and
me, but the content itself is private, copyrighted by its authors
under law, and restricted from retransmission by the Yahoo! TOS and
by my groups’ internal rules.  It is web site CONTENT before it
is “email,” and my contract with Yahoo! gives me control of that
content in many ways, including ones you seem to think I should
surrender to you.

The members of my group don’t own that content except for the
postings that they write.  They have no right to retransmit that
content to your web site, which is not at all the same as their
privately keeping copies of group postings in private archives in
their private email accounts.

You have no legitimate right to have super-owner back-door access to
fiddle with the controls on my group’s content.  Apparently Yahoo!
has given you that power, or allowed it through neglect, but it does
not make it right, and you don’t seem to care about what’s right, now
that I see you rationalizing away all the real concerns by referring
to it as merely email aggregation.

The group members never had permission in the past (under the Yahoo!
TOS and my groups’ internal rules) to retransmit our restricted
archives to other web sites, so they don’t have any right to give YOU
permission to do it.  And now I will stop them, and make them
understand that if they persist in trying, they will be banned, and I
track their IP addresses so they can’t hide.

I have only just so much time to investigate a security breach before
I decide I have to prevent it from getting worse, or being allowed to
happen again.

You are rationalizing that I should accept your super-owner access to
my group, where you have the ability to override owner controls such
as prohibiting access to my restricted message archive for non-
approved/pending non-members.  Your having now shut that back door to
those pending members doesn’t mean as much to me as the fact that you
had the ability to open it in the first place.  NO EXTERNAL EMAIL
SERVICE PROVIDER HAS THAT ACCESS, and ESPs don’t have members’ YID
passwords to override the fundamental design and structure of my
groups established under a contract with Yahoo! and constituting part
of the basis for a covenant between my groups’ members and me about
how they get to use my groups’ services.  Along comes Grouply
rewriting the terms of the agreements I have in place with my groups’
members and with Yahoo!?  No thanks.

Yahoo!’s silence on the matter is very suspicious.

Soon, after I consult with my attorney about how to get it “just
right,” or maybe have him write the letters for me, formal complaints
will be filed in hard copy with the Federal Trade Commission and my
congressman (about the spamming, or what I suppose is really more
like conspiracy to violate the U.S. CAN SPAM Act of 2003, or being an
accomplice to the violation, since Grouply only gives its users the
spamming gun, but doesn’t pull the trigger, though they remove the
safety lock from the trigger), and with Yahoo (about the super-owner
back door access), and reported to national press media.

No user of Grouply will be allowed to be a member of any of my groups
from now on, and I will do whatever it takes to ensure that,
including requiring that before they are allowed to join, or to
maintain current memberships, they will have to agree to my new No-
Grouply (or UnGrouply) policy in writing.  It won’t take long to
establish this, and I’ve dealt with bigger problems that took more
work than this will take.  I already have a member policy acceptance
process like that in place for my biggest, most important group. 
Nobody gets into my groups without accepting the group rules in
writing before approval … not even Grouply users backed by a
company with special access to the group through a back door.

This is not the first time that I abolished external corporate
interference in my groups.  It will be easier to do the second time
around, and I’ll prepare better for next time.

The only thing that will satisfy me now is for Yahoo! to announce
that they have turned off access for Grouply (and all other such
services) and made it a strictly opt-in feature in the Management
tools of Yahoo! Groups, available only to owners to choose to enable
as a feature.  And I would not enable it in any of my groups.

It’s time for a formally constituted group owners association with a
good legal team and press team working for it.

Again I thank EL-M for hosting this discussion.  It was very
important, and you did a great job.  Thank you.

Goodbye, Grouply.