Disappearing Yahoo! groups

Posted by  Mark Schenk —January 25, 2006
Filed in Collaboration

My holiday at the beach last week was interrupted by the news that the actKM Forum discussion group, of which I am currently the Convenor, had disappeared off the Yahoo! Groups site.  As it turns out, on 15 January, a number of Yahoo groups related to Knowledge Management disappeared completely from Yahoo! without notice or known cause.  The groups were actKM, KM-Malaysia and NCSI-KM-Forum (based in India).  To date, Yahoo! has provided neither explanation or assistance regarding the disappearances, and the groups don’t know if the disappearances were the result of administrative activity by Yahoo! or if they were malicious. 

 The most prominent of these groups was actKM.  It has been operating on Yahoo since 1999, it had over 1500 members and many thousands of messages covering every dimension of the knowledge management discipline.  actKM has been studied and written about extensively due to its prominence as a virtual community of practice. 

Since 15 January, all three groups have taken steps to recover the situation and continue their activity.  actKM is migrating to its own discussion list at www.actkm.org and is encouraging all those who were part of the Yahoo group to join the new list.  The new actKM website is based on a blog.

KM-Malaysia has been superseded by the KMAM Yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kmam/.   NCSI-KM-Forum has started a temporary Yahoo group while they determine the best way forward http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/IKM-Forum/

One of the positives to come from the disappearance of these groups is the way in which many individuals and KM communities of practice across the globe have rallied to support the affected groups.  I would also call on fellow bloggers to help spread the word so that members of these groups know what’s happening.  It’s also a big wake-up call to those with communities hosted on Yahoo! Groups and the like.

Mark Schenk About  Mark Schenk

Mark works globally with senior leadership teams to improve their ability to communicate clearly and memorably. He has been a Director of Anecdote since 2004 and helped the company grow into one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultancies. Connect with Mark on:


  1. jackvinson says:

    Mark- Do you have any clues as to how one might go about recovering a missing YahooGroup? Did ACT-KM learn anything about dealing with Yahoo that could be helpful? (Did someone post about it elsewhere?) Another one I belong to has vanished in the past few days.

  2. Mark Schenk says:

    Sorry to hear about your lost group. We discovered many things about dealing eith yahoo. I guess a key learning is that they do in fact care about their reputation and are concerned to correct the lack of due process that has resulted in groups being ‘terminated’ without notice or defence. I have the contact details of someone in Yahoo that might be interested in helping. The volume of comments on other lists and by bloggers about actKM’s disappearance also made a big difference, so if you have a sizeable group and can start a ‘buzz’ happening it makes it hard for Yahoo to ignore. I will send you the address directly. Good luck getting your group back. I would also like to get more details and get an idea of any similarities in the disappearances.

  3. Collaboration tools for communities

    Martin Dugage has a relevant piece for me today: “Collaboration tools for communities of practice.” An email discussion group I belong to vanished and is rebuilding itself in two directions: either as email discussion or a message board.

  4. Myrna says:

    Hi, the same thing happened to my group. I created a group for my high school batch mates last Sept 02, 2009. Then suddenly it disappeared from the yahoo groups listing this afternoon. Yahoo customer care assured me that they will have answer for my problem within 24hrs. I just hope I can recover my missing group!

  5. My advice Myrna is to just be persistent. They will have the data. Good luck and I hope they can return your group to working order very soon.

  6. shan says:

    I set up four groups last week in connection with a course I run at California State University, Northridge. All four groups disappeared without any warning or reason. These were small groups, with nothing but education content on software requirements analysis. I would be interested in finding out who in Yahoo can help me recover these groups. This is only the start of the semester, if this were to happen midsemester, it would be disasterous for the students. I wonder if I should move to Google groups.

  7. Hi Shan, I would start with the support folks at Yahoo and if you don’t get any joy there call the Yahoo Headquarters and ask to speak the the VP of Communities. Hopefully this will get the action you need.

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