Yahoo Group Importer

Do you have a Yahoo Group that wants to join the 20th century? Want to use a fully featured forum (ElkArte, PHPBB3, MyBB, etc)?

Your own forum allows access to features that are not available on a Yahoo Group. It allows you to control the content, no more random ads cluttering up the content. Maybe you just want a search that works, or the ability to like posts, or better file / photo attachment experience, a better user interface etc

It can be done!

Yahoo does not offer an export function, however programs can be used to access the group archive and download (scrape) the content as a mail archive. Depending on the size of the group this can take hours or days to fetch all the data.

This data can then used to create your new forum. Members are created, posts and topics are created, attachments are added, you don’t loose any of that valuable data.

Importing / Converting

The process of importing and then converting the yahoo data to a forum involves several steps.

  • Creates member accounts with secure random passwords:
    • The members login user-id will be their username as shown on the Yahoo Group list.
    • A Member “display name” will be, as best possible, created from the user data
    • Members will be required to use the “forgot my password” function to reset it when they first logon.
    • Valid email address are needed from the Yahoo Group. The group owner will have access to this list. Invalid / old / wrong ones will require the user contact the forums admins / moderators
  • Creates Topics
  • Attempts to correct several common Yahoo topic problems including:
    • Replies that go to the wrong topic
    • Replies that improperly start a new topic
    • Due to the number of ways Yahoo can inadvertently break proper threading, you will find the need to merge / split imported topics
  • Creates the messages in the threads
    • Maintains some rich formatting such as bold and italic
    • Attempts to re-flow messages so they are not chopped up. Many yahoo posts have short lines and incorrect paragraphs.
    • Attempts to cut off unnecessary reply to “quotes” that are often in a yahoo group. It is very common to see a 10 post thread with post number 10 containing all of the previous posts quoted with the added text of “me too”. All you really want is the “me too”. Additionally the quote nesting is often broken, leading to a post that’s impossible to read.
    • Removes some ads and other unnecessary data as it can
  • Creates attachments for posts that have attachments

Its not perfect

The process of converting a group takes some time and effort, although a much can be done “Auto magically”, manual effort will be required on the part of the forum owner to fix various problems that will arise.

Yahoo groups are filled with a large variety of corrupted data, replies inside quotes, broken quotes, replies to wrong topics, topics that should have been the same, N+1 level quotes, character encoding issues, ads, broken links, poor formatting, empty posts, etc.

If you are a group owner, or user, you have seen all of the problems. A lot of this can be fixed during the import, but by no means all of it. How much more you want to fix is really up to how much time you want to spend cleaning the data that is produced from the conversion.