|Someone is wrong on|
“”how is babby formed? how girl get pragnent?
|—An average Yahoo! Answers user|
Yahoo! Answers was an "answer site" where people could ask and answer questions. The doubts of its members varied from "I have ate two whole tangerines in about two hours what will happen to me?" to "Is there any possible way of making 2+2=5?". The site was shut down on May 4, 2021.
One signed up in Yahoo! to be a member, and started with 100 points. Asking a question would cost 5 points. Answering a question would give a member 2. If the asker designated one answer to be the best, the latter received 10 extra points, plus an additional 1 point for every thumbs up that answer got.
Prior to the new format change in 2014, questions were open for only a week, though they could be extended for a few days upon request. Later, questions were always open, even after the best answer was selected. If a question ended up being reported by some other anonymous member, it was likely removed, and the asker would lose 10 points. There is a process to appeal a removal, but appeals were rarely granted, and in the event of a rejected appeal, the user would lose an additional 10 points.
The good, the bad, and the fugly
While there were a lot of trolls and right-wing hacks there, there were also some good folk there. Among them were "justgoodfolk", who proved that one can indeed be a rule-abiding Trotskyite and still flourish there; "Blessed Cheesemaker (cancelled)", a former evangelical Christian who asked lots of loaded questions based on lesser known Biblical passages; and "Morteza", a cool Iranian (ex-pat?) who had his own forum that included a section for Y!A. Even Barack Obama had an account in Y!A. Wikinfo’s creator Fred Balder also had a Y!A account and often answered questions in the Wikipedia category.
As time passed, though, the site became increasingly filled with wingnut propaganda and users who usually got the most upvotes, though how many of these upvotes were caused by one user with multiple accounts is unknown. Then there are those who were crowned "Best Answer" with only one vote. In terms of how right wing the users tended to be, they were usually somewhere in between Fox News and Free Republic, with constant ranting being directed towards liberals, Barack ☭HUSSEIN☭ Obama, and on occasion minority groups. The UK version wasn't a lot better. For a while around 2012 or so, the Tea Party movement began to lose momentum and the site became slightly more balanced. However all bets are off in the post-truth era. Nevertheless, one could usually find informative answers and users to balance the wingnuts and trolls; for example, a question on life in Somalia before its Civil War has quite a nice answer as the best answer.
In the Religion & Spirituality category, atheists held a significant (if not majority) presence (surprisingly, but understandably due to the ability to be anonymous and avoid real-life bigotry et cetera), although sometimes it seemed, for brief but notable periods, that there were high Christian concentrations. It was clearly the most active category (due to the controversial nature) on the site within the larger, overall active Society & Culture category, while others about dogs and hunting took hours and commonly a few days to get real/any answers. It was about religion—not a religious section but many Christians failed to understand this and attempted to criticize non-Christians for posting on what they considered "their" forum. Hop right in for the hellhole (not recommended). Very fast-paced and active, many bigots however.
And of course, an amazingly high fraction of the site's users seemed to be either completely insane or so incredibly stupid that it could qualify as a miracle that they could even figure out how to use a computer.
Example of the typical level of intelligence on Yahoo! Answers
- Changes with little warning
- Many pages