Update: Meetup had revived the group and are welcoming us back again. At the end, no data was lost, even though interim communications suggested it was.
We are happy that things had finally taken a positive turn and are happy to stay at meetup and grow our community to our next event and next next event. We are a little bit sorry that things went soar for awhile but what's important is that at the end both us and meetup had learned how to make things better for the next time.
Original post below....
TL;DR: Meetup had deleted my group, for what I beleive to be their mistake, yet they did not admit the mistake nor can they restore the data. I am deeply dissapointed from meetup and I've lost my trust in them.
In the past few months my co-organizer Ori Lahav and myself, Ran Tavory had been hard at work organizing a software developer focused event dubbed the Reversim Summit (it sounds better in hebrew).
This summit, or shal I say - conference, is a not-for-profit two days event hosted by Google in Israel and provided as a service by us to the local software developer community (and is a continuation to our four+ years software developer podcast reversim).
After months of preperation, with the help of a team of moderators, selecting the 30+ speakers, panelists, lab instructors, we finally were ready to open registration.
We chose to use meetup.com. The status quo was that this is the best platform for event registration and we were happy to pay money (or as a matter of fact, use Ori's alrady paid account) to open up the event's registration using meetup's platform.
And so we did, and less than 24h after publicly opening the regisration we had about 200 attendees and almost a full house, until last night (Jan 17th 2013), suddenly the group (broken link) is gone!
I was surprised so I asked Ori - did you, by any chance, or by mistake, delete this group or changed it's name?! Where's our group, then? Is meetup experiencing service issues?
Not long after, Ori gets a laconic email saying that our group had been shut down!
Your Meetup Group, Reversim Summit, was brought to our attention as specifically using the platform primarily as a lead generator or listing service, so we conducted a limited inquiry into the content.
We've determined that it's in violation of our Group Community Guidelines and Terms of Service. As a result of our inquiry, we've closed your Meetup Group.
Lead generator? Listing service? WTF? You can't be serious!...
We figured - this must be a mistake. Probably an algorithm found an anormaly and decided to blacklist the group. All we have to do is get in touch with a person, a human, and set this thing straight.
And so we did. We got in touch with meetup's support and their reply was even more dissapointing.
It's important that your Meetup Group's intentions be clearly stated in the Group description, especially during the initial start up phase. Your intentions were unclear, which is why we took action on your Group. [...] Once a Meetup Group has been removed from the site, it's final. However, if you would like to start a new Meetup Group, try answering the following questions in your description: [...]
So here's what I get from this reply:
- The description of the group was not clear enough. Clearly my fault, I take this blame.
- Because the description was not clear enough, meetup took action and deleted the group. Unrecoverable. Deleted permanently. Isn't that a bit out of proportion, meetup? And without a single word of apology.
- The team at meetup did not contact us before taking the group off and did not ask for clarification, which we'd happly provided if asked, we have nothing to hide.
- The group had been permanently deleted. There's no recovery for the 200+ members. Meetup decided to take an ireversible action based on 'unclear' description. Permanently deleted? Really? Don't you have engineers that know anything about bits in the database that are set to hide 'mutted' or 'hidden' or 'disabled' rows or something? (I still hope that the data is there somewhere, and the support team just doesn't know that). Developers don't just delete data, just like that, I know, I'm a developer too.
- Initially meetup accused us of Lead Generration and being a Listing Service. Then, they simply say that the description is not clear enough. No single word of apology.
Really? Meetup, I expect higher stardards of you. I trusted you.
I've been 12+ years in the internet business as a developer and I realize you have to protect your users and assets from illegitimate usage, but while doing so, you also have to preotect your legit users, and not throw them out the door like that.
Registration is gone, unrecoverable, and I'm thiking - How can I trust you again? How do I know you're not going to play that trick again on me, without a word of pre-notice, just because my description was not clear enough, or maybe I misspelled my title what have you?
I am deeply dissapointed both from your draconic policy and your customer service and I hope my case will serve as a red flag and a turning point to you in the future to come.
However, if you would like to start a new Meetup Group, try answering the following questions in your description [...]`
- yeah, right... with this level of trust I have no other choice but taking my business elsewhere.
Meetup, you've been bad, bad hosts, I am so sorry to say that.