Well, it’s official. Yahoo Answers is kicking the bucket. The days of asking Yahoo questions and getting Yahoo comments are over. The name is indicative of the platform, I suppose. Through its illustrious (most would say infamous) 15-year history, it has produced several great moments, from the finest in philosophy:
What’s worse? Ignorance or apathy? / I don’t know and I don’t care
to an earnest suggestion where the description was the true winner here:
Do you think humans will ever walk on the sun? — I know its really hot but im thinking if you go in the winter when the sun is like 30 degrees i bet the could do it
But now it’s all coming to an end. So how did this happen?
I think there were three main issues that led to its continued irrelevancy and ultimate demise: user base, lack of vision, and pour moderation controls.
Anyone was allowed to ask and answer questions on Yahoo Answers. This produced its most iconic moments (How is babby formed?) but also made it virtually useless as a true ask and answer tool. The answers were equally… questionable:
How to lose 50 pounds in a month? /Amputation
Who goes to Yahoo Answers for answers? Competitors like Quora knew what
they wanted their platform to be. They were invite-only early on, with professionals answering questions in a thoughtful manner.
With just about anyone able to say just about anything without fear of reprisal, Yahoo Answers became known as the place for yahoos.
The Yahoo Answers homepage right now says it all. It’s become a cesspool for trolls and memes. While competitors specialized and carved out an identity, Yahoo floundered. It’s unlikely anyone can tell what Yahoo Answers does anymore. It’s become a meme space, and that’s irreparably damaging.
When no one goes to Yahoo Answers for answers, the platform is doomed to fail.
This means that even in situations where there is inappropriate content, enforcement is nonexistent. Try this yourself:
Report an answer for abuse
You’ll get a notification that your report means something
The answer is removed from your own feed.
But open up a new window, log off your account, and look back at the question? You’ll see the answer still there, no worse for the wear.
When moderation is lackadaisical and not a first-class citizen, your platform suffers. It’s quite possible to take this to the extreme as platforms like StackOverflow tend to. But give them credit, the content is top-notch there and people REALLY try to help each other.
Poor moderation further compounded the issues that Yahoo Answers was already facing. Ask Yahoo was a joke, not a serious action. If you wanted answers, Yahoo wasn’t the place to be. Compared with its competitors, which have more stringent moderation and stronger guidelines, Yahoo became increasingly irrelevant.
Today, Yahoo Answers is an unproductive mess. Evidently, Yahoo did not feel as if they could salvage anything from this wreck.
And so the age of Yahoo Answers has ended.
If you’re recently displaced from Yahoo Answers, here are a few alternatives:
Founded in 2020, Sage is a knowledge marketplace focused on efficiently getting people answers from vetted sources. Similar to Yahoo Answers, Sage includes public forums that are free and open to the entire community. Questions are rated and sorted by the quality of the content. The higher the quality, the more likely your question will rise to the top to be answered by the community.
Additionally, you can pay for 1:1 advice from vetted experts or post your question with a bounty to really get the community activated.
This incredibly popular site is still going strong. It has a good user base that will be helpful and enthusiastic. Founded by Adam D’Angelo, its main claim to fame is high quality content created by users who care about helping each other.
If you’ve got an interest in a field, chances are Stack Exchange has a group for you. Join to find answers among like-minded peers. Stack Overflow is just one of the many websites there that have a loyal and helpful following.
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Read our additional coverage on the shuttering of Yahoo Answers!