Angela Lang

It’s over. At several point on May four, Yahoo Answers will be used offline — putting a good end to one from the weirdest, oldest and minimum organized communities of crowdsourced questions and answers. The site’s seemingly endless march of user-submitted queries went from intriguing thought-experiments (from other brands Stephen Hawking, no less) towards the absurdity of someone inquiring the city, “What did the dad just say in order to me?”


Why do you consider anyone on the internet would certainly know this?


Yahoo Answers screenshot by / Sean Buckley

Yahoo Answers grew to become notorious as a house for a very particular brand of chaos. Some questions grew to become famous memes unto themselves. Others became standards on “top 10 funniest” Yahoo Answers questions. The community became a wealthy mine of material intended for YouTube comedians, even PewDiePie. Famous podcasters used Yahoo Answers as a source intended for inspiration too: Dissecting strange questions was a regular segment on My Brother, My Brother and Me

Yahoo Answers had a legacy. Just not the one it had been designed to have.

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What Yahoo Answers was intended to be 

When Yahoo released its question-and-answer platform within 2005, becoming a pillar of internet comedy was not area of the plan. The firm billed the service because “a place where individuals can ask each some other questions on any subject, and get answers simply by sharing facts, opinions plus personal experiences.” Even so, Yahoo Answers didn’t can be found for its own benefit — it was made to help bolster Yahoo Search results. 


Yahoo Answers screenshot by / Sean Buckley

It may be easy to ignore how influential Yahoo as soon as was. It was the big company with public communities, email, directories plus, of course, the greatest internet search engine in the entire world. In 2005, nevertheless it was dealing with fierce competition. The wish was that Yahoo Answers can make the company’s research engine better by providing users numerous crowdsourced solutions to any question they will might have. 


A tech support classic.


Yahoo Answers screenshot by / Sean Buckley

“Long term, Answers has the particular potential to attract gradual users, increase time invested on the Yahoo! Platform,” Lehman Brothers analyst Douglas Anmuth told Forbes soon after the support launched, “and create monetization opportunities through additional subsidized links and page sights.” 

Yahoo Answers was never ever really about the solutions, which could be precisely why the service was finest known for that questions the users asked. 

What Yahoo Answers became

Regardless of what Yahoo Answers was designed to end up being, exciting known for the particular surprising and ridiculous queries people asked it. In fact, before news pennyless of the shutdown, many searches for Yahoo Answers upon Google, YouTube and some other platforms brought back listings of absurd and enjoyable ponderings.

There are tons of comedy videos mocking Yahoo Answers’ weirdest questions, plus teasing these often too-personal questions will forever take part in the service’s legacy. Despite the jokes, the system actually got kind associated with close to what was made to be. More serious searches could lead a person to awkward, but blameless questions about growing upward and human development — possibly the queries of these too embarrassed to request their parents. Lots associated with users were seeking home repair tips and technology support. 

Some queries were just students looking to get the internet to “help” using their homework.


When a person really didn’t feel such as doing your own research, Yahoo Answers was there.


Yahoo Answers screenshot by / Sean Buckley

Although the platform was created to reinforce Yahoo’s search motor, the site’s features assisted it find its very own weird identity once that will searchable trove expertise grew to become less of a concern for the particular company. Question askers could pick the best reaction to any provided question, which would assist the person writing that will answer earn points in order to gain levels in an inner ranking system. The factors and level didn’t in fact do anything, however it assisted create a sense associated with community.

That sense associated with community is one associated with the things that produced Yahoo Answers interesting. When this launched in late 2006, it debuted alongside several of today’s internet leaders. Facebook and Reddit had been both still in their particular infancy, and Twitter had been only months away. Yahoo Answers wasn’t built to contend with any of these systems, but it filled several similar roles. At the time when users on the web were moving away through traditional message forum board systems plus chat rooms, Yahoo Answers had been there — serving because a half-step between the particular internet communities of the particular late 1990s and the particular social media empires which were about to take more than the web.


Yahoo Answers screenshot by / Sean Buckley

Some Yahoo Answers customers were just learning regarding growing up.


Yahoo Answers screenshot by / Sean Buckley

It’s taking care of of the service that will survived to the finish. Browsing Yahoo Answers’ categories in the final days still appeared plenty of standard queries seeking answers (“Can oughout write on money,” or “How do I actually obtain a grease stain out there of concrete”), but a person could also find the particular same discussions you’d anticipate on Reddit. These variety from new parents inquiring in the parenting community forum what people thought associated with the their child, or even political partisans debating the particular latest headlines within the national politics and news sections. 

Yahoo Answers and the web afterlife

After May 4, the Yahoo question-and-answer service will go the way of GeoCities. There’ll be no standard attempts to preserve or even archive the service. Unless an outside group requires action, Yahoo Answers’ numerous queries — chaotic, hilarious plus sublime — is going to be dropped to time. 


Yahoo Answers screenshot by / Sean Buckley

Fortunately, this is the web, where there’s always somebody happy to preserve the bizarre database of horrible spelling and weird queries — even if it may not be worth preserving. When Yahoo announced it had been shutting the service lower, Gizmodo wrote that this created a script that could archive 84 million Yahoo Answers questions to the Internet Archive, but admitted that this would take two yrs to complete the procedure. Fortunately, a group known as Archive Team started a similar project in 2016

A large portion associated with Yahoo Answers’ publicly available queries are already backed upward, as well as the team has produced archiving the remaining their “warrior project” focus for springtime 2021. For better or even worse, Yahoo Answers’ weird heritage will be preserved upon the Internet Archive

Unfortunately, the archived pages’ research function doesn’t currently function, but at least we’ll have always all those MBMBAM segments