Yahoo Answers is dead, but the internet never forgets

Yahoo Answers is finally being shut down

Angela Lang / CNET

it’s all over. At some point on May 4, Yahoo Answers will be taken offline – eliminating one of the strangest, oldest and least organized communities’ questions and answers. The site’s seemingly endless parade of user-submitted questions, from the community’s ruthless (no less than someone Stephen Hawking’s choice) ask of the community, “What did my dad tell me?”


Why do you think anyone on the Internet would know this?

Yahoo Answers Screenshot by CNET / Sean Buckley

Yahoo Answers became notorious as a home for a very specific brand of chaos. Some of the questions themselves became famous memes. Others became the standard for the “Top Ten Funniest” Yahoo questions. The community became a rich mine of content for YouTube comedians, even PewDiePie. Famous podcasters also used Yahoo Answers as a source for inspiration: cracking awkward questions was a regular segment on my brother, my brother, and me.

Was the legacy of Yahoo Answers. It is not just that it was designed.

What was yahoo answer supposed to be

When Yahoo launched its question-and-answer platform in 2005, becoming a mainstay of Internet comedy was not part of the plan. The company billed the service as “a place where people can ask each other questions on any topic, and find answers by sharing facts, ideas and personal experiences.” Nevertheless, Yahoo Answers did not exist for its own sake – it was created to help with Yahoo search results.


Yahoo Answers Screenshot by CNET / Sean Buckley

It can be easy to forget how influential Yahoo once was. It was a large company with social communities, email, directories and is, of course, the largest search engine in the world. In 2005, however, it faced fierce competition. The expectation was that Yahoo Answers could improve the company’s search engine by answering millions of crowdsourced responses to users.

Cup holder

A technical support classic.

Yahoo Answers Screenshot by CNET / Sean Buckley

“Long-term, North has the potential to attract incremental users, increasing the time on the Yahoo platform,” Lehman Brothers analyst Douglas Anmath told Forbes shortly after the service began.

Yahoo Answers was never really about answers, which may be why the service is best known for the questions asked by its users.

What did yahoo answers become

Despite what Yahoo Answers was designed for, it is best for surprising and funny questions asked by people. In fact, before the news stopped, most searches for Yahoo Answers on Google, YouTube and other platforms brought back the list of absurd and entertaining tanks.

There are dozens of comedy videos mocking Yahoo’s weird questions, and these often-personal questions will be part of the service’s legacy forever. Despite the jokes, the stage got really close to the way it was made. More earnest searches may seem strange to you, but innocent questions about growing up and human development – are probably embarrassing to ask those questions to their parents. Many users were seeking home repair tips and technical support.

Some questions were simply students trying to get the Internet to “help” with their homework.

Homework 1

When you didn’t really feel like doing your own homework, Yahoo Answers was.

Yahoo Answers Screenshot by CNET / Sean Buckley

Although the platform was designed to enhance Yahoo’s search engine, the site’s features helped it find its own strange identity, as knowledge searchable priority for the company was reduced. Question askers can best answer any question, which will help in writing the person who earns the answer up to a level in an internal ranking system. Points and levels didn’t really do anything, but it helped to create a sense of community.

This sense of community is one of the things that has made Yahoo Answers interesting. When it launched in late 2005, it debuted with many Internet giants of today. Both Facebook and Reddit were still in their infancy, and Twitter was only a few months away. Yahoo Answers was not created to compete with any of these networks, but it did fill some similar roles. At a time when users were moving away from traditional message board systems and chat rooms online, Yahoo Answers was there – acting as a half-step between Internet communities and social media empires of the late 1990s. Web.


Yahoo Answers Screenshot by CNET / Sean Buckley


Some Yahoo Answers users were just trying to figure out how to grow up.

Yahoo Answers Screenshot by CNET / Sean Buckley

This is one aspect of the service that survived to the end. In its last days browsing Yahoo Answers categories are still seeking answers to a lot of standard questions (“can you write on the money,” or “how can I get a grease stain from concrete”), but you can avoid those discussions. Can also find hope on Reddit. They ask new parents in parenting forums what people have thought about their child’s name, or political advocates who are in the latest headlines in politics and news sections.

Yahoo Answers and Internet Afterlife

Yahoo will serve a question-and-answer service after May 4 Walk the path of geocity. There will be no official attempt to preserve or store the service. Unless an external group takes action, millions of answers to Yahoo’s questions – chaotic, hilarious and sublime – will be lost to time.


Yahoo Answers Screenshot by CNET / Sean Buckley

Luckily, this is the internet, where one is always happy to preserve a sparse database of terrible spellings and awkward questions – even if it is not worth saving. When Yahoo announced that it was shutting down the service, Gizmodo wrote that it created a script that would store 84 million Yahoo Answers queries for the Internet Archive, but acknowledged that the process would take two years to complete. Fortunately, a group called the Archive Team started a similar project in 2016.

A large portion of Yahoo Answersheet’s publicly available questions are already backups, and the team has focused the rest of its “Warrior Project” for Spring 2021. For better or worse, Yahoo Answers’ strange legacy will be preserved on the Internet Archive. .

Unfortunately, the search function of archived pages does not currently work, but at least we will always have all those MBMBM segments.

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