Jan. 10th, 2017

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

So - and I have to mention this for old time's sake, because I do - AOL's (fairly) new parent company, Verizon, is dissolving Yahoo as we know it and changing the name on what will remain after the company's gone (mostly investments) to Altaba, which I thought, at first glance, was some strange portmanteau of AOL and Alibaba, but the truth's worse: the name's a portmanteau of "alternative" and Alibaba.

Yep...Alternative Alibaba! Just rolls right off the tongue!

Now that it's known Yahoo was hacked not once but twice over the last few years - to the tune of 1 billion compromised accounts the first time, though just a mere half billion the second time - Verizon's dealing with warmth-challenged feet. Does this give you feels? Yeah, me neither.

So goodbye Marissa, maybe go back to Google where they know how to either contain or eliminate the damage you cause. I actually kind of liked Yahoo! before she got there. She's done so many things to destroy morale and to make end-user experience so bad that I can't even.

First she allowed the user interface to be back-filled with so many scripts, ads, popovers and other trash that on slower computers the online email was unusable. It would freeze, emails would fail to load when opened, popovers telling me what to do would fill my screen, and there really was too much purple and too many garish little icons and emoticons strewn all over the screen.

The interface became something it never was before: an unusable mess. And I only say "was" because a few years before learning of the hacks, I deleted every Yahoo! account I had (probably about three). I didn't delete my accounts in time to avoid being hacked, only in time to find out I'd deleted them too late.

Secondly, she treated Yahoo's security like an afterthought. This is why we were hacked (in some cases thrice counting this 2012 hack): she didn't care. This is why we never reset our passwords: she feared losing us over it. Someone who cut her teeth at a company that takes security seriously (one of the few things I'll give Google mad props for) shrugged off her own security team's concerns.

The arrogance - and the ignorance - are pretty spellbinding.

On a more personal note, there was a time (mid-aughts) where maybe a lot of us thought being a closet feminist or announcing we were not feminist was, like, the best idea. No doubt many of us noticed online men didn't like the online wimins so much, so we tried to accommodate the male predilection to dislike us and to fight the "feminazi" label we got pretty much just for logging on by claiming we were post or anti-feminism. I went through some of this.

I might have even believed renouncing feminism solved the whole problem. In a more ideal, femme-friendly world, of course we could afford to be past it. But it's like any ground an opponent tries to wrest away: if you give it up voluntarily, you might not be getting it back. In light of fracases like GamerGate and some say it's direct result: the misogynistic and hate-filled candidacy and election of Donald Trump, one could argue this might be true.

Luckily, I claimed (or reclaimed) the right to bask in my own feminism years before GamerGate happened or Trump ran for office. I can only wish more of us did before any of that occurred.

People who were not helpful on this front included Marissa Mayer, who many of us looked to for a good example of, well, anything, as she was one of the few women perched atop the daily operations of one of the most powerful companies in the world. Back when I was all, "Oh feminism, who needs it" she used to say she didn't consider herself a feminist.

I used to think this was the greatest line. The last few years I've come to re-think that, because firstly, it's impossible to say if it's true that misogyny never harmed her (she claimed she never noticed she was the only woman in science or math classes, for example, seeming to imply her gender didn't affect her).

More importantly, I don't think she can say if it affected her. For example, it could have cost her opportunities she was never presented with because she was a woman. I'm not saying she asked for such opportunities, only that she might have wanted them if they were put on the table, but perhaps they never were merely because of her gender. How can you speak to something no one would willingly admit to?

But none of this is to diss Marissa, only to point out where she's most visibly lacked. To her credit, she's smart and has permanently affected a lot of my web design choices; it's the one area where I think she shines in a really pure, unfettered fashion. But holy smokes, she could look at listening more to others (including feminists) before she speaks and before she fails to act in the best interests of users, which wound up screwing so many of us on Yahoo.