Friday, August 05, 2005

Fun with Yahoo! Groups

Not trying to bury the lede, but last week pretty much my whole department got laid off. Exciting times. Honestly, I didn't really want to be there, so it wasn't terribly surprising nor disconcerting. The writing was on the wall when they completely cut the funding for the project I had been brought in to work on. I'll write more about this someday. The events over the past 1.5 years are ripe for many a posting.

Still, I liked the people I worked with, so that part sucked. I decided to follow the example of one of my co-workers from my previous job, who had set up a Yahoo! Group so ex-employees could easily keep in touch. It works really well, and Yahoo! had bought out eGroups (I think that is who it was) and built up a little more onto the interface. And the price is right -- free.

So I set it up and invited some co-workers. Or ex-co-workers I guess. Smooth as silk. Then I say to myself "Hmm, I'd love to be able to add this to My Yahoo! page or my aggregator of choice." I do a few searches and lo! Yahoo! Groups support RSS! Fantastic. The help page says to go to the Group homepage and there should be both an XML and Add to My Yahoo! badge.


I search around, try to figure out what setting I need to tweak. Finally, I stumble upon it -- in the Yahoo! Groups help section it mentions that if your messages aren't set to public, you can't get the RSS feed and cannot add to My Yahoo!.

That makes no sense to me. Surely the RSS feed can live behind authentication, just like 90% of the other Yahoo! features, right? Why can't groups with private messages simply have RSS feeds that require authentication. For 95% of users, they're going to access the feed through their My Yahoo! page anyway, so they will already be authenticated, i.e. they won't ever realize that they need to be authenticated to consume the feed because they have to be authenticated to use their aggregator anyway. For everyone else, if they're smart enough to setup an aggregator, surely they can figure out how to access a private feed. I mean, I can do it for my Gmail, why not for my Yahoo! Groups?

Anyway, I'm going to throw this out here and hope that Jeremy Zawodny or Jeffrey McManus are doing Pubsub or Technorati or Feedster searches for their names. I guess email would be the normal way, but I don't want to add noise to (what I assume) are already overflowing mailboxes.


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