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31 October, 2005

Scary security

Last Wednesday, for a reason I've yet to have explained, I was kicked out of Yahoo! Groups.  I received an automated e-mail saying that usage of my account had been "identified to be in violation of the terms of service", and shut down.  I could no longer log in.  I contacted Yahoo! immediately, demanding reinstatement or at least some explanation, but I've received no reply.
Accountability isn't on offer, apparently.

I've still been receiving notification e-mails from the Groups I moderate, requiring me to authorise member activities; I just haven't been able to act on them. This evening, I lost patience, and signed up to Yahoo! afresh, using the same contact details as before, just with a new username and password. I thought I'd have to join my own Groups as a new member, and ask my fellow Moderators to upgrade me back to admin positions with the new ID.

However, that wasn't necessary. As soon as I'd registered and validated my e-mail addresses, Yahoo! informed me that there were existing memberships associated with those addresses, and let me readopt them as if nothing had happened, without my even having to inform the other Moderators that I was back. Great!


I'm no trouble-maker or sp*mmer, but I could have been. What if my Yahoo! membership had been cancelled for a genuine reason? Is it a good thing that I'd be able to adopt a different screen name and log right back in, totally unrecognisable to the other members and Moderators until the next time I struck?

[Update 3/11/05: A full week after my summary expulsion, I've received some explanation.

Several years ago, I had a 'holding' site at Geocities for a month or so, just to make some files available temporarily. When I abandoned it (on 15 May, 2001 – that's the date of last editing access), I cut it down to one page, merely a redirect to the Ministry itself. I didn't realise, and maybe it wasn't at the time, but that's against Geocities (i.e. Yahoo!) rules.
This morning Yahoo! told me that, and reinstated my account, giving me until Monday to make the site compliant. I deleted it outright: sorted.

Why couldn't that have been done a week ago? A warning and ultimatum would make drastically more sense than 'shoot first, accuse later'.]

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