Fact Check

Yahoo Community Monitor Warning

Is someone claiming to be the Yahoo Community Monitor joining discussion groups and deleting them?

Published Nov. 16, 2002


Claim:   Someone claiming to be the "Yahoo Community Monitor" is joining discussion groups and mischievously deleting them.

Status:   Undetermined.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2002]

I saw this on another group and thought I'd pass it along. Someone has been joining communities with the nickname YAHOO COMMUNITY MONITOR, and then posting the following:

Yahoo Community Monitor says:

Yahoo Group Managers have been receiving a few complaints about your group. I am required to join your site and monitor it for about one month. I will not do anything to damage or ruin your site, I am only
required to monitor it. The only thing required of you is to accept my application and make me a Manager of your group for the time I am there. If you cannot meet these requirements, Yahoo will have to shut your group down.

This person is a fake, and has been deleting groups once made a manager. Ban the person immediately. Please let other groups know about this problem. And remember to report the incident immediately
to yahoo if this person does join your group!!

Origins:   We don't quite know what to make of this warning, which began appearing in inboxes in mid-November 2002. The scenario it describes is plausible, but we've heard only a few anecdotal reports of any Yahoo! discussion groups deleted by a prankster who joined them claiming to be a "Yahoo Community Monitor":

Pardon the crosspost (and I'm going to post this to several other lists, too, later on), but this is very important. As detailed in the message below, a deranged individual has been using lies to intimidate
listowners into granting this person moderator privileges on their lists - and then using those privileges to DELETE the lists.

Sadly, I have proof that this is not just an "urban legend", because the buffyNcordy list has been deleted, apparently in this manner.

Moderators, please read the attached message and DO NOT grant this person the power to destroy your list.

Were a Yahoo! list owner or moderator (Yahoo! Groups terms the person who starts a discussion group its "owner," and "moderators" are persons to whom the owner grants administrative privileges) to bestow moderator status upon an ill-intentioned party, that person could indeed delete the group. Whether someone has really been pulling this off or not, the deeper message of the warning, not to hand over moderator privileges to someone unknown to you, is a valid


Yahoo! does not maintain a staff of "community monitors" to supervise suspect groups, and no mention of "community monitors" appears in Yahoo!'s Terms of Service. The curious wording of this message — Yahoo! Groups are "discussion groups" not "communities," and they have "owners" and "moderators" rather than "managers" — indicates that it was probably a warning originally applicable to former MSN Communities (now known as MSN Groups) members and has since been modified to apply to Yahoo! Groups.

Yahoo! Groups' policing policy is that they may remove objectionable groups or ill-behaved users once those issues are brought to their attention, but Yahoo! itself doesn't go looking for them. Moreover, Yahoo! specifically states they do not control the content of the groups they host:


Yahoo does not control the Content posted via the Service and, as such, does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of such Content.

In essence, every list member is a "community monitor" in that each of them has the power to report abuse to Yahoo! Groups. Those who take issue with a particular discussion group housed at Yahoo! Groups or who object to a certain listmember's behavior should report the problem using this handy shortcut.

Barbara "gaited community" Mikkelson

Last updated:   30 October 2007

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