Yahoo Answers, a Haven for the Confused, Is Shutting Down

Sometimes people on Yahoo Answers asking questions to strangers rushed to the hallucinatory limits of human curiosity: What would a heaven for elephants be like? Should Scientists Give Squid Bones?

It has helped people see their self-esteem: why do people with baguettes think they are better than me? Is being popular in high school a good skill that I can use in a job interview?

It looked for explanations for the inexplicable: Is smoke coming out of my navel? Why is everything damp at my grandma’s?

And there were gaps in knowledge and licensing gaps that might not be found anywhere else: How does a hug feel like?

Yahoo, which is owned by Verizon Media, will shut down Q&A and delete its archives on May 4th. This will erase a corner of the internet that will be widely remembered as being nonprofit. enriching contributions to human knowledge since its arrival in 2005.

BuzzFeed News this week, less non-profitly, called it “one of the dumbest places on the internet”. Geier said it was “completely populated with Batman villains, aliens who pretend to be human, and that one strange neighbor you’d rather climb your fire escape in a blizzard than get involved in a conversation with them.” “

There is a lot of evidence to support this position. People asked: can you milk gushers to make fruit juice? Can I cook raw chicken in Michael Wave? I forgot when my interview is? Which animal is Sonic the hedgehog? IS THIS YAHOO EMAIL SUPPORT?

It is best known that on a question that triggered a meme, a puzzled soul who had learned little about reproductive science or spelling asked, How is Babby formed?

It was never known how many of the questions were based on serious ignorance and curiosity, and how much was deliberate trolling. The answer did not require any specialist knowledge and often showed little of it.

However, some people, including children, clearly saw the site as a convenient place to ask questions – sometimes important ones – that they would never dare ask friends, families, and teachers.

“Yahoo Answers was a place where people could ask questions they were too embarrassed to ask the people they knew in real life,” said Justin McElroy, co-host of the comedy podcast “My Brother, Mine.” Brother and I “Questions from the Ministry since 2010.” The weird, the stupid, the really, really insane: It all found a place on Yahoo Answers.

Drew Davenport, a 34-year-old in Camarillo, Calif. Who had been sifting through questions to put on the podcast for seven years, said people told him they really used the service to get over problems or one at school receive sexual education You did not get anywhere else.

That is not to say that the answers they received were good.

“Do you remember the idea of ​​the internet that people were talking about before it really mattered?” he asked. “The idea that such a global meeting place would be for the free exchange of ideas?”

He replied, “Yahoo Answers is what we feared. You have real human reactions, for better or for worse. “

The service has lost its huge popularity in recent years, and there are more competitors now than when it was created. Quora positions itself more as a high-profile network that is more likely to generate expert feedback, and Reddit provides a forum that invites people’s idle curiosity to roam freely.

In a letter to users, Yahoo stated that it had “decided to turn our resources away from Yahoo Answers to focus on products that better serve our members and meet Yahoo’s promise to deliver trusted, premium content.”

Questions and Answers will be posted on April 20th and deleted from the Internet on May 4th. It’s not the first time Yahoo and other tech companies have killed off once popular products without the benefit of archiving. Content posted to Yahoo Groups for 20 years was deleted in 2019, and Flickr deleted 15 years of photos that same year.

Mr McElroy said he wasn’t sure what the podcast would do without his numerous discussion prompts. When the show started in 2010, they used Yahoo Answers questions to hide posts from listeners, he said.

While some of the questions found him performance art and others seemed like a lazy refusal to seek answers, he said he was sympathetic to many of the questioners. We all have some bad questions inside of us, he said.

“I think you get in trouble if you think that no real person would be surprised because people wonder about a lot of things,” he said. “You don’t want to set limits to the depths of humanity’s curiosity-slash ignorance.”

Although Yahoo won’t archive the questions, enterprising Internet users have cataloged some for posterity. The following is a small selection of the 1,700+ questions covered on Mr. McElroy’s podcast:

Did American Revolution soldiers ever take off their shirts / coats during battles?

How many calories does soap contain?

What if one day the cows hit back?

Are planes moving fast or slow?

How do I get a haircut similar to Joseph Stalin without showing a picture of Joseph Stalin to the girl who is cutting my hair?

I accidentally ate the “Don’t Eat” package in my shoebox. I will die

What was the point of Ross on Friends TV show?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a toucan?

My boyfriend and I both applied for the same job. He got the job, but I didn’t. Can I sue Papa Johns?

I accidentally switched to capital letters. How do I get back in capital letters to make my passwords work?

What do Canadians download?

How do you eat a hot dog in a fancy way?

How deep in an apple is most of the nutrition?

Why do New Jersey people ski in their jeans?

Should spaghetti be a lot shorter?

How can you make your parents think you found a lizard even though you bought it online?

Why does the Grand Canyon have no rides?

Why can’t we grow a burger in the tree?

Do you all realize that we are the mockery of the internet?

Did anyone have sex in the 1990s? did it feel different than now?

I like space and dinosaurs?

Can I bring frozen pizzas in my hand luggage or hold them in my hand?

Did dragons live before, during, or after dinosaurs?

Ladies, I take my guitar almost anywhere to impress women. Does it work?

Why are there no beef nuggets?

My friend gave me a box of 60 waffles for Christmas. He seemed so excited about it, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings?

How old do i have to be to get nunchuks?

I kissed a guy a year ago. Is his spit still in my mouth?

Help eel! Has he gone mad?


How do the people at risk know the answers?

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