Yahoo Gives up on forums


It looks like Yahoo gave up on forums "Yahoo! News message boards allowed a small number of vocal users to dominate the discussion"

To Yahoo! News readers:

Yahoo! News is working on new ways for readers to comment on the news and participate in a discussion around it. While we work on our new community features, the message boards that were linked from individual news articles have been taken offline.

As they were set up, the Yahoo! News message boards allowed a small number of vocal users to dominate the discussion. In addition, related discussions from similar news articles were not easily linked.

Over the next few months, we plan to offer new discussion forums based on topics in the news and incorporating the latest features to foster a better discussion for all of our readers.

Neil Budde
General Manager
Yahoo! News



Its about time.

They had the worse moderation and the most amazing trolls that took up residence there. It really was of no value to the yahoo site or the users who dared look.

I'm looking forward to the re-launch, hopefully with a few full time paid moderators.

You're going to see this

You're going to see this happen all over. Effective moderation/admin can extraordinarily time-consuming. "Social" can be a real PITA, particularly once griefers set up camp. And they didn't mention the unexpected overhead of complying with law enforcement subpoenas, Topix has mentioned that little added surprise as a real shocker to them.

Moderation is key to keeping forums healthy

95% of Topix moderation is done with software...but we still need a full time editorial staff to handle the rest. We get weekly requests from law enforcement for information about people posting stuff in our local forums...about stalkers, murders, slander and libel, we even had a kid who said he was going to go to his prom and shoot was just bs but the police wanted to talk to him just the same. It's a small fraction of the overall activity, but a few bad apples can ruin the environment for everyone else, so you have to stay on top of it if you want your forum to grow. If you don't have a committment to deal with the issues that come with growth then the boards can go down real quick.

A lot of sites think you can just throw up some commenting software and voila, community... I would think yahoo would have more depth of expertise here given all their different social platforms, but it's still hard when you're as big as they are to keep the bad stuff out.

message boards allowed a

message boards allowed a small number of vocal users to dominate the discussion

It's not a software fault - this is the way of the world.

That is a shock

message boards allowed a small number of vocal users to dominate the discussion

Sound familiar, domination of the boards by a small number of loud diggers sorry I mean users

>weekly requests from law

>weekly requests from law enforcement for information about people posting stuff in our local forums

I can imagine. I've watched one of your threads, which started out with the topic-line of "We're thinking of moving to XYZ State" follow a tortuous path through a virtual food-fight (regional foods), racial issues, and the ongoing war between the North and South. What started out as a good, helpful thread is now actually painful, no, infuriating to read.

You (the generic you, as DianeV keeps saying) cannot have or, -more importantly-, maintain forums without very, very strong, very, very specific, very, very censuring terms of service. And that's just the groundwork. A TOS needs willful, dominant bouncers there backing it up on each and every thread. For large public forums like Y and those that will be tried (and abandoned) by newspapers and other media, that moderation is going to be expensive ...particularly when one considers the usually low percentage of conversion of those members with regards to monetization.

I just recently sold a forum

Indeed what a PITA they can be. Probably won't ever run one again.

Forums can be great to run,

Forums can be great to run, but all too often people approach the subject in completely the wrong way - they end up with some completely half-assed project with no applied aims, accountability, or concern for social and technical management issues.

The pitbull threads on Topix

The pitbull threads on Topix are my favorite.

> recently sold a forum >

> recently sold a forum

Six or seven years ago, I bought a THRIVING forum site (military) for $5k. I gave the members a couple of weeks to find a new home, copy their posts, whatever. I couldn't nuke those forums fast enough. The old owner couldn't believe it, but after I showed him how he had been dancing on the 3rd rail all that time, he got pretty quiet.

And this was waaay before local law enforcement, lawyers, reporters, bloggers, etc. were patrolling. The keystrokes of troglodytes aren't worth the hassle.

related, I'm guessing

(Threadwatching is often a form of mad-scientist chemistry; a dash of this, a beaker-full of that, and you can see a spark. So, I'm burying this here, rather than giving it the full thread it deserves.)

Skrenta: But, like nearly every News 2.0 venture so far, Dan's Bayosphere was a failure.

He has a lot of company. The dog's breakfast of new media startups includes Gather, Backfence, Newstrust, Daylife, TailRank, Associated Content, Pegasus News, Tinfinger, Findory, Inform, Newsvine, Memeorandum, NowPublic. The highest distinction on this list is to be one of the few still spoken of in the present tense (or present perfect -- "They haven't yet succeeded...")

And yes, I would include Topix here as well. We are, in fact, the most successful News 2.0 company, with over a million pageviews/day, 10M server/4.6M Comscore uniques, a million participants in our forums, a $60M exit, yada yada. But, we can face it, even we haven't yet burned down the world, or upended the news industry.

There is actually a media revolution in the works. So what's going on here? By implicit definition, participatory media is non-commercial. If it's commercial, someone owns it, and it's not "we" anymore.

Furthermore, as soon as a new media venture crosses the line and tries to become a business, it either becomes a successful business or a failed one. Businesses aren't about ideology, they're about getting a job done and earning revenue to keep the thing going. Even wild success tends to leave ideology behind. Ideology is the realm of nonprofits and failures.

The Failure of We (the) Media

hmmm. no spark.

good stuff

That's a great paper by Shirky. He pretty comprehensively nails most of the issues, and in 2003 to boot.


(wmw still blocking links from TW? testing, 1-2-3... apparently not.)

>in 2003 to boot

I retired as admin in September, 2003. Shirky's article wasn't the only influence, but it was certainly part of the reason.


> moderation is the key

Wonder how long the lawyer-ing money will hold up on Wikipedia? I'll bet the legal dogs are gnawing them a new one, too.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.