Postings (messages) on Yahoo! groups can be recieved by group members as e-mails, or read via the group's website, or both. Some features, such as shared files and images (called "photos") can only be accessed via the Web.
- permit messages to have attached files (which may be any kind of file at all), while other groups block attachments.
- allow only the group owner to post (newsletter groups), while most are discussion groups.
- allow anyone to see posted messages, but most restrict this to group members. Almost all groups require membership in order to post messages.
- allow anyone to join, while in others, a group owner or moderator must approve new members before they join.
- are "invitation only", which means that a user cannot request membership, but can only be invited by a group owner or moderator.
A user can join a group in an email-only mode without registering with Yahoo!. However, Internet users must sign up for a Yahoo! ID to use the web features of a Yahoo! group, or to create a new group. Anyone may sign up for a Yahoo! ID without charge. Some group owners require that a prospective member have a Yahoo! ID, and refuse membership to people who do not have one. Registering for a Yahoo! ID requires that a user provide a name, address, and birthdate. However, these are not verified, and many users supply fictious information. The birthdate is used to control access to "adult" areas of Yahoo!.
Yahoo! has a policy that groups containing "adult" content, which includes most spanking-related groups, must be categorized under their "adult" category. For several years, Yahoo! has disabled the search function for groups so categorized. Groups not so categorized can be found via Yahoo!'s internal search function, but if it comes to Yahoo!'s attention that a group with "adult" content is outside the adult category tree, Yahoo! employees may change its category or simply delete the group without warning.
Yahoo! has an extensive Terms of Service (TOS) document, which users must agree to. These prohibit, among other things, copyright violations, illegal content, slander, and libel. Yahoo! has staffers who monitor the contents of groups at random. If a complaint is made, or if a Yahoo! staffer reports that a group is in violation of the TOS, Yahoo! frequently deletes the group and all of its content without warning or appeal. In such cases it typically does not notify anyone of the specific reason why the group was deleted, nor does it make a distiction between violations made or condoned by the group owner, and violations by a group member against the rules of the group owner.
- Yahoo! Groups (main page)