Regarding Yahoo EMRFD Group Problems
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 information.  

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.    

73, Wes