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Yahoo Groups - Are they as personal as they seem?

Original post made by Yahoo Group Member, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 21, 2007

I have been a member of many Yahoo Groups, kids' sport team groups, classroom groups, Church discussion group, on-line book club, to name most. I had always assumed I was in a friendly group of like minded people and that what I had to say (after all the membership was people I knew and would have chatted to elsewhere for the most part) was as confidential as if I had been in a real discussion group instead of a virtual discussion group. It seems that this is not the case. When any of us join a Yahoo group, all the comments made are deep in the vaults of the internet and may be resurrected at any time to haunt us. For this reason, I think we should remember that any time we agree to join one.

Is this true, or am I being over-cautious?

Comments (6)

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Posted by Erik K.
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 21, 2007 at 10:18 pm

I don't know what to say to that. You're quite right. If you post to a Yahoo Group it's kept on Yahoo's servers. If you don't want something put in writing or copied, don't say it online.

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Posted by proverb
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 21, 2007 at 10:55 pm

wise is the fool who keeps their big mouth shut.

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Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2007 at 9:38 am

This is the main reason why so many of us remain anonymous in this forum, and probably one of the main reasons why it is so successful!

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2007 at 2:38 pm

I agree with all that has been said.

I would like to think that no one I know would abuse the Yahoo groups I am in by passing on the information to something like this forum, but I suppose I can't tell. It is a pity that we can't really trust the people we think we know that their integrity is what we expect.

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Posted by dnftt
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 23, 2007 at 3:47 pm

Rule #1 of internet use: Assume *everything* you put in an email (or post on a forum) may end up being made public.

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Posted by Googlified
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2007 at 5:09 pm

<i>Is this true, or am I being over-cautious?</i>
It is absolutely true. I am a member of an international Yahoo group for independent business professionals. The discussion turned to how "private" our conversations were. At the time, if you searched for my name in Google one entry contained comments from that Yahoo group. (!) People were in disbelief, nearly calling me an alarmist liar until they tried it themselves. Several months later I received a Google Alert for my name that was again attached to that Yahoo group. Again, I had to forward the email to the group before I was taken seriously.

I do believe it was a freak anomaly, but anomalies happen. So do participants with unscrupulous values or those who develop axes to grind. I'm not advocating paranoia, but do think twice when writing of deeply personal or potentially embarrassing or slanderous topics.

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