Regarding Yahoo EMRFD Group
Wes Hayward, W7ZOI, 3Nov07
We are presently considering a complete shut-down
of the EMRFD Group. See details below.
About a year and a half ago my son Roger (KA7EXM) set up a Yahoo group
devoted to radio experimenters, especially those investigating things similar
to those presented in the ARRL book Experimental Methods in Radio Frequency
Design, a.k.a. EMRFD. This is the book that I coauthored
with Rick Campbell, KK7B, and Bob Larkin, W7PUA. The Yahoo group
has worked well. In the period since it first appeared, there were
over 1000 postings. Many of them have introduced and discussed some
interesting and innovative ideas. The group has provided us all
with a view of the interests of the RF circuit experimenter community.
We have recently encountered a major problem, one created by the
hands of the people who maintain
the Yahoo Group web site itself. While the details are obscure,
at least to me, it seems that Yahoo was criticized because some Yahoo Groups
deal with subject matter that is "of an adult nature." I'm
not sure how this is operationally defined in this case, but we know that
it is not the sort of thing that you want your ten year old kids
to be seeing. The critics have apparently approached
Yahoo and have insisted that they keep the bad stuff off of the web.
Yahoo has, evidently, tried to do something to respond to the critics, which
we understand. But how can this be done? There are tens of thousands
of Yahoo Groups and the Yahoo staff can't look at them all to decide what
is "adult" and what is not. So the Yahoo staff created
a software robot ('bot) that scans all
of the Groups and decides if it is of an adult nature or if it is
just the casual, harmless information that it was advertised to be.
Mistakes are made, even by the 'bot.
You guessed it: The EMRFD Group has been labeled as
containing "adult content." We are not alone.
Among other sites that were marked as adult was one sponsored
by the Girl Scouts. Go figure.
Both Roger and I have read all of the postings that have appeared on the
site and we recall nothing that even hints of adult content. Roger
was trying to communicate with the Yahoo people in this matter and finally
got through. But they seem to be overwhelmed by the monster their
'bot has created. Even when a
real person at Yahoo does reset a Group to a non adult status, the now active
and powerful 'bot may come along and
reset the Group to again "protect" the world from the scandalous
We felt that it was important to have the EMRFD group listed as something
other than one with adult content. The material was
NOT sensitive, age specific. We were merely kicking
ideas around related to electronic circuits and nothing more. It
should not be advertised as anything other than this. I feel
strongly that the group should be open to a youngster who might
come along with an interest in amateur radio and the related electronics.
Roger was finally able to communicate with a real-live person at Yahoo and
the EMRFD Group has been restored as an amateur radio related entity.
We will monitor this to see how long it lasts.
So please do not be surprised if the Group disappears completely.
At this time we are not willing to tolerate any more of this.
Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you who have
contributed to the EMRFD Group. There have been some
really interesting and insightful postings. I especially want
to acknowledge postings from Harold Johnson, W4ZCB; Bob Kopski, K3NHI;
and Allison Parent, KB1GMX. Thanks also go to my partners
in this book enterprise: Rick Campbell, KK7B, and Bob Larkin, W7PUA.
In spite of my present anger, I will thank Yahoo for providing this
facility, albeit flawed and frustrating. Finally, many thanks to Roger
Hayward, KA7EXM, for his efforts in establishing and moderating this group.
Please continue to experiment.
Do more than just think about new circuits. Build them
and see just how well they work. Simulate them on your computer, although
with moderation. If you encounter a youth with an interest
in this wonderful field that we so enjoy, do all you can to encourage and
help him or her. The questions that were presented to and discussed
on the group can better be answered by plugging in your soldering irons,
building the circuits, measuring them, and putting them on the air.