Sometimes on Yahoo Answers, people asking questions of strangers rushed to the hallucinatory limits of human curiosity: What would an elephant paradise look like? Should Scientists Donate Octopus Bones?
It has helped people identify their identity: Why do people with chopsticks think they’re better than me? Is being popular in high school a good skill I can use in a job interview?
He was looking for explanations for the inexplicable: Smoke coming from my navel? Why is everything damp at my grandmother’s house?
And it gave air to gaps in knowledge and admissions that may have had nowhere to go: What does a hug look like?
Yahoo, which is owned by Verizon Media, will shut down the question-and-answer service and delete its archives on May 4, wiping out a corner of the Internet that will be widely remembered for its – charitable – less than – enriching contributions to human knowledge ever since. its arrival in 2005.
Less charitably, BuzzFeed News this week called it “one of the dumbest places on the Internet.” Vulture said he’s “fully populated with Batman villains, aliens pretending to be human, and that weird neighbor you’d rather go down your escape route with in a blizzard than get caught up in a conversation. . “
There is plenty of evidence for this position. People asked: Can you milk Gushers to make fruit juice? Can I cook raw chicken in Wave Michael? I forgot when my job interview is? Which animal is Sonic the Hedgehog? IS THIS YAHOO EMAIL SUPPORT?
Most famously, in a question that started a meme, a confused soul who had learned little about reproductive science or spelling asked: How is Babby formed?
It was never known how many questions were based on genuine ignorance and curiosity, and how much intentional trolling was. Responding required no expertise and often showed little.
But the site was clearly seen by some people, including children, as a comfortable space to ask the – sometimes important – questions 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 people they knew in real life,” said Justin McElroy, co-host of the comedy podcast “My Brother, My Brother. and me, “who has featured questions from the service since 2010.” The Weird, the Dumb, the Really, Really Demented: Everything has found a place on Yahoo Answers. “
Drew Davenport, a 34-year-old man in Camarillo, Calif., Who for seven years sifted through podcast questions, said people told him they were actually using the service to overcome difficulties in the school or to receive sex education. they weren’t going anywhere else.
This does not mean that the answers they got were good.
“Do you remember the idea of the Internet that people were talking about before it really mattered?” He asked. “The idea that like this was going to be a global meeting place for the exchange of ideas in a free way?”
He replied, “Yahoo Answers is what we were afraid to happen. You have a real human reaction, for better or for worse.
The service has lost its popularity in recent years, and there are more competitors today than there were when it was created. Quora is positioning itself more as a top-tier network that’s more likely to attract a response from experts, and Reddit offers a forum that invites people’s idle curiosity to roam free.
Yahoo, in a letter to users, said it has “decided to move our resources away from Yahoo Answers to focus on products that better serve our members and deliver on Yahoo’s promise of delivering high-end, trusted content.” .
Questions and answers will be discontinued on April 20 and deleted from the Internet on May 4. This isn’t the first time Yahoo and other tech companies have killed once popular products without the benefit of archiving; 20 years of content posted to Yahoo Groups were removed in 2019, the same year Flickr removed 15 years of photos.
Mr McElroy said he was not sure what the podcast would do without its abundant source of discussion. When the show started in 2010, they used Yahoo Answers questions to supplement listener submissions, he said.
While some of the questions struck him as performance art, and others seemed like a lazy refusal to seek answers, he said he was sympathetic to a lot of people who asked them. We all have bad questions inside of us, he said.
“I think you get in trouble when you think that no real person would wonder that, because people wonder about a lot of things,” he said. “You don’t want to put limits on the depths of humanity’s curiosity-slash-ignorance.”
While Yahoo doesn’t archive questions, enterprising Internet users have cataloged some for posterity. Here is a small selection of over 1,700 questions that were featured on Mr. McElroy’s podcast:
Did the American Revolutionary Soldiers ever take off their shirts / coats during battles?
How many calories are there in soap?
What if one day the cows retaliated?
Are planes moving fast or slow?
How can I get my hair cut like Joseph Stalin without showing the girl who cuts my hair a picture of Joseph Stalin?
I accidentally ate the Do Not Eat package in my shoebox. Am i going to die?
On the Friends TV show, what was Ross’ interest in?
I don’t think I’ve seen a toucan before?
My friend and I both applied for the same job. He got the job, but I didn’t. Can I sue Papa Johns?
I AM ACCIDENTALLY PUT INTO ALL CAPITALS, HOW CAN I RETURN TO LOWER CASE TO MAKE MY PASSWORDS WORK?
What do Canadians download?
How do you eat a hot dog in a stylish way?
How deep is an apple the most nutritious?
Why do people in New Jersey ski in their jeans?
Should the spaghetti be much shorter?
How do you make your parents believe that you found a lizard when you bought it online?
Why doesn’t the Grand Canyon have rides?
Why can’t we grow a burger on a tree?
Are you all aware that we are the laughing stock of the Internet?
DOES ANYBODY HAVE SEX in the 1990s. Did it feel any different from now?
I like space and dinosaurs?
Can I bring frozen pizzas in my carry-on baggage or in my hand?
Did dragons live before, during or after dinosaurs?
Ladies, I bring my guitar all over the place to impress women, does it work?
Why aren’t there any beef nuggets?
My boyfriend 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 saliva still in my mouth?
Help the eel! Has he gone mad?
WAS THIS DOG EDDIE ON FRASIER GENERATED A REAL DOG OR A COMPUTER?
How do people on Jeopardy know the answers?