Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh, those little dickens at Yahoo! / Repost from Multiply


There are times when, gee gosh, you just have to laugh. I recently encountered one of those moments when, breathlessly waiting for that new universal profile that Yahoo 360 (my old blog service) is being destroyed to make way for, I discovered that without my knowledge or consent, Yahoo had changed the look of one of my profiles in such an interesting way. In reverse chronological order, here is the discussion to date, right below the profile image in question.

FROM ME TO YAHOO, Mon, May 19, 2008 at 8:39 AM CHICAGO TIME

Well, Amy, could you at least delete the image from my (name of id deleted) profile? Because I didn't put it there, and a reddened image of Satan does seem a little inappropriate for the membership I used to join a few religious discussion and Middle Eastern cultural groups. On the whole, the Arabs are likely to have a few questions about that, and I can't say that I blame them.

Of course, if you prefer, I can tell them how that image got onto my profile, and whose idea it was to leave it there for "just" another few months, and I'll bet they'll understand. I mean, if there is one group of people who have a happy, laidback, devil may care attitude about casual blasphemy, it would surely be the Muslims and as much as this Jew would just love love love to be able to be thought of as being the life of their party, as I'm sure I will be if this isn't fixed REALLY SOON - hey, credit where credit is due. I'll make darned sure that they know that this is Yahoo's sense of humor and not mine, because as retrograde an attitude as this is, I actually tend to be in the habit of respecting the cultural sensibilities of others. Can you imagine such a thing?

So in case, as I suspect will be the case, Yahoo's only response to this will be another handholding form letter, good luck to all of you with your newfound friendships because there's nothing like passion to make a friendship memorable, and I can just about guarantee that you're on the verge of seeing more than a little of that. So either way, have a nice day, and please do note the cc to a non-yahoo address, made just in case somebody at Yahoo decides to "accidentally" delete this account, because I have been holding onto complete records of this exchange. BTW, what's Jerry Yang's e-mail address?

FROM YAHOO TO ME, MON, 19 MAY 2008 01:02:39 -0700

Hello Joseph,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Member Directory.

I understand that you are unable to edit the picture on your profile.
We apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.

We are aware of this problem and hope to have it fixed within the next round of enhancements that we implement to Yahoo! Profiles.  The development team is focusing all of its resources on building a new universal Yahoo! Profile which we are certain will delight you.

As we are focusing our efforts on the new solution, this bug will not be resolved. These changes may take several more months, and we apologize for the inconvenience in the interim.

We appreciate your reporting it to us -- your input helps us to identify
ways to constantly maintain and improve our service. Thanking you for your patience and time.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Member Directory.



Yahoo! Customer Care


FROM ME TO YAHOO, SUN, 18 MAY 2008 04:54:58 -0700 (PDT)


You've been given every piece of information that exists in this case, and come back with nothing more than the usual Yahoo form letter. This is not help, this is footdragging.

Did you notice the request at the top of my message to read it before you responded to it?

FROM YAHOO TO ME, SAT, 17 MAY 2008 22:40:05 -0700

Hello Joseph,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Member Directory.

We appreciate your patience in helping us to understand how we may assist you. Please respond to this email and provide additional details about what you are trying to accomplish. Be sure to include:

- Your Yahoo! ID or Profile name

- The detailed steps that you took prior to encountering the problem, including the URL or web address the page you started and any links that were clicked in the process.

- The exact text of any error messages that you have received.

Yahoo! Profiles can be used in many places within Yahoo! and the answer that will help you may be different depending on what part of Yahoo! you are trying to use. We need to know what Yahoo! service your question is in reference to. Is this question in regards to Yahoo! Messenger, Chat, Groups, Games, Personals, etc.?

The more information we have about the situation, the better we will be able to duplicate your steps, investigate what you describe, and offer a solution.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Member Directory.



Yahoo! Customer Care


Subject: How do I add a picture to my profile?


I discovered, much to my unhappy surprise, that the picture on my (name of id deleted) profile had been changed for me, without my consent, to something entirely and offensively inappropriate for the groups I had subscribed to using that id, and that your system would not let me change that picture. The link labelled "edit picture", instead of taking me to a page where I could edit my picture, now takes me to

leaving me with no way of replacing the location inappropriate image that was inserted into that profile for me, against my wishes. Please take care of this immediately.

While Viewing:

Form Name:

What had happened was this: I had set up an absolutely G-rated, family friendly profile for use on absolutely G-rated, family friendly groups; there is a time and a place for everything, and irreverence does not belong everywhere, especially in places where the context gives the irreverence a disrespectful air that wasn't intended. There are jokes one tells in a coffeehouse that, for example, should not be heard in a place of worship. Not if one has any respect for He who is being worshiped, or for His worshipers.

On this G-rated profile, I had a G-rated image of some palm trees, snapped along a Florida beach, accompanied by a caption reading "where I'd rather be right now", which I put in place in the middle of a bitterly cold February day in Chicago, a few years ago. While I wasn't looking, Yahoo replaced that very innocent image with the picture you see at the top of this post, completely changing the meaning of my caption. What had been an innocent "wouldn't it be nice to be in Miami right now" became something that could be taken as me saying "hey! take me down to the netherworld, dark daddy ... whoo!", mocking the beliefs of those meeting in a number of predominantly Muslim or Christian discussion groups I had been interested in (eg. Arab Classical Music). I would never do that, but Yahoo, in effect, did that in my name, and refused to stop doing that when I asked them to, in the civilized manner you see above, more than civilized, I would say, given the level of reasonable feeling of exasperation on my part.

Given the fact that one can see Yahoo doing absolutely nothing other than stalling, I did what I had to do, unsubscribing from all groups in which such imagery is not fitting. I was saddened to discover that this was a far shorter list than it should have been; apparently, a few moderators had seen my involuntarily redone profile before I did, and unsubscribed me, assuming that the profile was as I had made it, and taking great offense at the attitude they perceived. If I was one of them, I probably would have reacted in the same way. I may, in some of my theatrical efforts, mock the absurdities that human beings are capable of, but I will not mock G-d or the reverence others feel for Him. Not now, not ever.

I feel that there are some lines that one just doesn't cross. What a shame that Yahoo feels otherwise. (Posted May 19, '08 9:02 AM)


1.  Vote for the Yahoo Team Blog.
2.  Probably my last word on Yahoo