On Thursday, Kansas City sportswriter Martin Manley killed himself and left a sprawling website explaining his decision. Yahoo took the site down Friday night, calling it a violation of its terms of service. But Martin Manley's sister, Barbie Flick, told me on Saturday that she is trying to reach Yahoo to get the site restored. She gave me the following statement:
"I am very saddened that Yahoo would dishonor my brother's contract that he made with them. I learned from my brother posthumously that he had worked on this web site for over a year. Martin had been a very private person in many ways. It was incredibly important to him that all who cared for him be able to see who he really was. I speak for all of his friends and family, when I say that we want to be able to have access to this site.
A cursory read will tell the reader that Martin was not advocating suicide for others. There is nothing offensive about his site. While it is painful for me, I believe that he handled the topic very appropriately. Since Martin did have a pre-paid contract with yahoo for the next five years, I am pleading with Yahoo to either republish the site, or allow the family to have the files so that we can find another way to carry out Martin's wishes."
Flick isn't the only one who thinks the site should live on. Activists claiming affiliation with the hacker group Anonymous have set up a website of their own, martinmanley.org, providing a mirror version of the original site and adding a message of sympathy for Martin and his loved ones. The activists say they don't condone suicide but believe Manley deserves to have his writings preserved after his death.
I've emailed Yahoo for further comment and will update if they reply.