The company behind the webportal Yahoo.com recently announced it was discontinuing the Yahoo Groups feature which was launched 20 years ago. Moderators of a Madison-area group called leztalkmadison were left with questions about the future of the community they built over the last 13 years with around 900 members.
Patti Thompson began leztalkmadison as an electronic replacement to the bulletin boards you’d find in public places like A Room of One’s Own bookstore. It was an online way to exchange information and referrals, announce events, find roommates or a supportive community. There was even an offshoot group geared for dating called lezdatemadison. All posts to the group were moderated and sent out as emails or a digest newsletter.
“I would like to thank my co-moderator Leanne Gray, and of course, our beloved Dana Alder for moderating for many years with me,” said Thompson. “And thanks to Donna Wess who co-moderated the first few years and helped us lay the groundwork. Thanks to Amber Ault who inspired the name while we sipped coffee one day in Lazy Jane’s Cafe in 2007(?). And thanks to Deb Vandenbrouke who created our beautiful logo. And to all the women who have posted over the years. It’s been great!”
As other online communities evolved and grew—most notably Facebook’s capacity to disseminate information for groups and events—the leztalkmadison Yahoo Group became more quiet. Moderators of the group say they don’t plan to maintain the discussion list on another platform, though a Facebook group called leztalkmadison exists and may be an iteration of the lesbian-identified community in Madison’s future.