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The Witches’ Voice and Other Recent Web Casualties: Yahoo Groups, Care2…

For some reason, I seemed to recall that last month’s announcement specified that The Witches’ Voice will be taken off-line on December 6, so yesterday, and I found myself meaning to write a quick post about it. However, now that I actually looked at it again, I saw that it doesn’t specify a clear date, but says it’ll happen “in late December”, so those who have anything they want to retrieve still have a chance to do so, though if you haven’t signed on in a long time you’ll need to reactivate your account and I have no idea what could still be found there. I for one can’t find that article I wrote back in the day by searching the site, and wonder whether I didn’t actually delete my account, so including that article, at some point after they pretty much ensured the site’s “death” years ago, by removing the news section and just sticking to posting those links on their Facebook page.
It’s sad when you see sites just giving up on their actual on-line presence completely and making a clear choice to just stick to social media, and primarily Facebook, now when we need to take back control and move away from that sort of centralization, so communities can be formed again and people who are interested in something can actually follow the topics, see the articles and posts, without being at the whim of algorithms and without the authors and administrators needing to pay to have their content distributed at all. But, as I already mentioned, in their particular case, the choice was made years ago and, to be honest, I have considered the site as gone since then.
Either way, I still remember finding it back in the day, while living with Andra, at a time when I was much more interested in spirituality and was actually returning to Neopaganism, after having sort of scared myself away from it a few years earlier, even though it had remained the one spiritual path that made some sense to me ever since first coming into contact with it. I remember the useful information I found, either directly on it or through links to other sites, the community, the few messages exchanged with a few others from here, meeting Liz, sending her a message to, I guess, attack some of the views she had expressed in an article and ending up with a friend, then, at some later point, ending up on a group for a while… Always was rather put off by those who were too much into the actual spiritual aspects, not to mention magick, and while I was more active on the site I actually made a point to try to set those who occasionally ended up defending those that are usually seen as “witches” over here straight, but there were things that just spoke to me, people who felt different in the right way, even great people, and I mean that in the sense of “greatness”, not “being cool” or something like that. And for that… I guess I wanted to write this as a little way to honor it, in its final moments.

Seeing as The Witches’ Voice hasn’t actually vanished quite yet, the above could have waited a little longer. However, I also mentioned ending up in a group, and that was on Yahoo Groups, and today I received what’s apparently the final notification about Yahoo Groups having their functionality greatly reduced. No idea how many still use them actively; I haven’t since leaving that one I ended up on from The Witches’ Voice, and otherwise just had a quick look at one for Romanian Pagans at the time of the last census, when I was wondering how to tell dad to list me, and recently, after receiving the first notification, at the two I was still in, confirming that they’ve been inactive for a very long time and leaving one, though I decided to stay in the other, since it’s for the SETI@home team I ended up joining back then and don’t care to look for another one. Nevertheless, to say that the groups aren’t going away but all content will be removed and it’ll also be impossible to have them set as public anymore makes little sense, since it means that the system will only still be used to send e-mails to a number of people, which can simply be done by clicking on “Reply All”…
Not that it’s strange for Yahoo to kill off their properties, though they usually tend to do that for those they purchase, buying good sites, good communities, to quickly destroy them and eventually close them down for good. But I have some pretty good memories from a few groups, back when they were active and I was active on them, and think that something could have been done to revitalize, or at least preserve, those communities, and the content they have created and shared over the years. Those who do still use them now, as well as those who had used them in the past and created content for others to see, enjoy and make use of, and those who may simply want to rekindle some memories, for whatever reason, will likely be hit hard by this. Then again, it is a good example of what happens when you do rely on something centralized in such a manner for communities, content and communication…

While I’m here, should probably point you to my previous post about lost communities and platforms, even if that also included those that changed in awful ways, and also mention the one site that went away in recent months that I was still actively using. I’m referring to Care2, which all of a sudden announced getting rid of everything else to just focus on petitions as of August. What made matters worse then was that, while it’s possible that the announcement was posted there, on The Petition Site, a bit earlier, it was definitely only brought to the attention of Care2 users, through a notification at the top, on August 1, which was the day when the Butterfly Rewards were removed, so users should have spent their remaining credits before that day without having been notified of that need. And everything else went away on August 15, Care2 also switching entirely to social media, and using that just to share links to petitions, since they no longer produce or host any other content, also destroying communities and anything and everything useful people might have stored there, or wanted to find again, be it discussions, articles, news, profiles or anything else.
Since I was still doing my daily clicks, for their Click to Donate program, having been doing that ever since Andra first pointed me to the site back in the day, I was obviously still going on Care2 every day when that happened. And going there daily for those clicks also meant I saw the articles that showed up on those pages, and occasionally clicked some and possibly saw some others after doing so, or just felt like checking the front page or the news now and then and found more things there, and that led to me seeing and signing a large number of petitions as well. Ever since they did away with all of that, I have no reason to go there anymore and therefore only see the odd petition link that they share and Facebook decides to put on my feed. So if the reason for the change really was to focus more on petitions and help them succeed even more, it backfired completely in my case and I believe there are plenty of others in a similar situation, making this not just another piece of evidence against relying on such centralized services, but a terrible move even for their stated mission, for the causes they claim to support and the activists relying on them.

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