YAHOO! ANSWERS is a community-driven question-and-answer (Q&A)
website or a knowledge market from
Yahoo! , that allows users to both
submit questions to be answered and answer questions asked by other
* 1 History
* 2 Site operation
* 3 Level table
* 4 Badges
* 4.1 Top Contributor
* 4.2 Staff
* 4.3 Official
* 4.4 Knowledge Partners
* 5 Academic studies
* 6 Quality of answers
* 7 Promotions and events
* 7.1 Yamster
* 8 Site statistics
* 9 In popular media
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 Further reading
* 13 External links
Yahoo! was officially incorporated on March 2, 1995, and
was created by
Jerry Yang and David Filo. The website began as a
search directory for various websites, and soon grew into an
established Internet resource that features the "
Yahoo! Answers was launched on June 28, 2005, while in
internal alpha testing by Director of Engineering, Ofer Shaked.
Yahoo! Answers was launched to the general public while in beta
testing on December 8, 2005, which lasted until May 14, 2006. Yahoo!
Answers was finally incorporated for general availability on May 15,
Yahoo! Answers was created to replace ASK YAHOO!, Yahoo!'s former Q">
An Arabic language Q&A platform called SEEN JEEM is available through
On December 8, 2016,
Yahoo! released an app for the platform called
Yahoo! Answers Now (formally known as
Yahoo! Hive) for iOS and Android
The number of poorly formed questions and inaccurate answers has made
the site a target of ridicule.
Yahoo! Answers allows any questions that do not violate Yahoo!
Answers community guidelines. To encourage good answers, helpful
participants are occasionally featured on the
Yahoo! Answers Blog.
Though the service itself is free, the contents of the answers are
owned by the respective users – while
Yahoo! maintains a
non-exclusive royalty-free worldwide right to publish the information.
Chat is explicitly forbidden in the Community Guidelines, although
categories like Politics and Religion a successful one reinstates the
post and reduces the 'trust rating' (reporting power) of the reporter.
If a user receives a large number of violations in a relatively short
amount of time or a very serious violation, it can cause the abuser's
account to be suspended. In extreme, but rare cases (for a Terms of
Service violation), the abuser's entire
Yahoo! ID will be suddenly
deactivated without warning.
To open an account, a user needs a
Yahoo! ID but can use any name as
Yahoo! Answers. A user can be represented by a
picture from various internet avatar sites or a user-made graphic
uploaded to replace their default Yahoo graphic.
Yahoo! Avatars was
discontinued in 2012. When answering a question, a user can search
Yahoo! or, or any source of information that the user
wishes, as long as they mention their source.
Questions are initially open to answers for four days. However, the
asker can choose to pick a best answer for the question after a
minimum of one hour. However, comments and answers can still be posted
after this time. To ask a question, one has to have a
with a positive score balance of five points or more.
The points system is weighted to encourage users to answer questions
and to limit spam questions. There are also levels (with point
thresholds), which give more site access. Points and levels have no
real world value, cannot be traded, and serve only to indicate how
active a user has been on the site. A notable downside to the
points/level system is that it encourages people to answer questions
even when they do not have a suitable answer to give to gain points.
Users also receive ten points for contributing the "Best Answer" which
is selected by the question's asker. The voting function, which
allowed users to vote for the answer they considered best, was
discontinued in April 2014.
In addition to points awarded for activity,
Yahoo! Answers staff may
also award extra points if they are impressed with a user's
Yahoo! Answers community manager has stated that
"power users" who defend the company should be thanked and rewarded.
Note: All limitations are per day.
Users begin on level 1 and receive 100 free points. Prior to this,
they began on level 0, could only answer one question, and then were
promoted to level 1.
Before April 20, 2012, users levels 5 and above could give an
unlimited amount of questions, answers, and comments.
established an upper limit to curb spam and unproductive answers.
Before April 2014 users were also able to vote for a best answer if
the asker did not choose one, but this was discontinued.
The point system ostensibly encourages users to answer as many
questions as they possibly can, up to their daily limit. Once a user
achieves and maintains a certain minimum number of such contributions
(See Note*, further...), they may receive an orange "badge" under the
name of their avatar, naming the user a Top Contributor (TC). Users
can lose this badge if they do not maintain their level of
participation. Once a user becomes a "Top Contributor" in any
category, the badge appears in all answers, questions, and comments by
the user, regardless of category. A user can be a Top Contributor in a
maximum of 3 categories. The list of Top contributors is updated
every Monday. Although
Yahoo! Answers staff has kept secret the
conditions of becoming a TC, many theories exist among users, for
* Maintaining a weekly (mystery) "quota" of answers in the category.
* User wanting to become a TC must have more than or equal to 12%
* User should be at least on level 2, although there have been
claims that first-level users with TC Badge have been seen.
* User should concentrate only on one particular category to become
a Top Contributor for that category.
Out of these, none have an official status. This feature began March
Badge is seen under the name staff members of
This type of badge is found on the name of celebrities (like
mentioned above) and government departments like the health
These badges are found under the name of the companies or
organizations who share their personal knowledge and experience with
the members of
A number of studies have looked at the structure of the community and
the interaction between askers and responders. Studies of user
typology on the site have revealed that some users answer from
personal knowledge – "specialists" – while others use external
sources to construct answers – "synthesists", with synthesists
tending to accumulate more reward points. Adamic et al. looked at the
ego networks of users and showed that it is possible to distinguish
"answer people" from "discussion people" with the former found in
specialist categories for factual information, such as mathematics and
the latter more common in general interest categories, such as
marriage and wrestling. They also show that answer length is a good
predictor of "best answer" choice. Kim and Oh looked at the comments
given by users on choosing best answers and showed that content
completeness, solution feasibility and personal agreement/confirmation
were the most significant criteria.
QUALITY OF ANSWERS
Researchers found that questions seeking factual information received
few answers and that the knowledge on
Yahoo! Answers is not very deep.
Despite the presence of experts, academics and other researchers,
Yahoo! Answers' base consists of a much more general group; hence, it
has been criticized for the large number of dubious questions, such as
"how is babby formed how girl get pragnent" , which sparked an
Internet meme .
This "Internet language" of incorrect spelling and improper grammar
also contributes to
Yahoo! Answers' reputation of being a source of
entertainment rather than a fact based question and answer platform,
and for the reliability, validity, and relevance of its answers. A
2008 study found that
Yahoo! Answers is suboptimal for questions
requiring factual answers and that the quality decreases as the number
of users increases. One journalist observed that the structure Yahoo!
Answers provides, particularly the persistence of inaccuracies, the
inability to correct them, and a point structure that rewards
participation more readily than accuracy, all indicate that the site
is oriented towards encouraging use of the site, not offering accurate
answers to questions. The number of poorly formed questions and
inaccurate answers has made the site a target of ridicule. Likewise,
posts on many Internet forums and
Yahoo! Answers itself indicate that
Yahoo! Answers attracts a large number of trolls .
The site does not have a system that filters the correct answers from
the incorrect answers. At one time, the community could vote for the
best answer among the posted answers; but that option was disabled in
March 2014. For most of the life of
Yahoo! Answers, once the "best
answer" was chosen, there was no way to add more answers nor to
improve or challenge the best answer chosen by the question asker;
there is a display of thumbs down or thumbs up for each answer, but
viewers cannot vote. In April 2014, this was changed to allow for
additional answers after a best answer is chosen, but the best answer
can never be changed. Also, while "best answers" can be briefly
commented upon, the comment is not visible by default and is hence
hardly read. (Even the user who posts the question isn't notified,
before or after the best answer is picked, about a comment on the
question or on the best answer.) If the best answer chosen is wrong or
contains problematic information, the only chance to give a better (or
correct) answer will be the next time the same question is asked. The
older answer will likely get higher priority in search engines. Any
new answer will most probably not be seen by any original questioner.
PROMOTIONS AND EVENTS
Yahoo! Answers green smiley.
Yahoo! Answers mascot is a cartoon hamster called
Yamster. Yamster is a combination, or portmanteau , of the words
"Yahoo" and "hamster". The mascot is also used as an avatar for Yahoo!
During beta testing of
Yahoo! Answers in 2005, the Director of
Product Management would use a Gemmy Kung Fu Hamster to summon
employees to meetings. The toy was a battery-operated, dancing,
musical plush hamster clothed in a karate uniform. A
employee selected a photo of the toy as the staff avatar. A user then
questioned the potential trademark/copyright infringement of using
such an avatar. At that time, the photo was replaced with the Yahoo!
Answers green smiley face. At the beginning of 2006, the green smiley
face was replaced by the cartoon Yamster clad in a karate uniform. As
of November 2009 , the history of Yamster, complete with photos of the
toy, was available on the
Yahoo! Answers Team Vietnam blog.
Several celebrities and notables have appeared on
Yahoo! Answers to
ask questions. These users have an "official" badge below their avatar
and on their profile page. During the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign
Hillary Clinton ,
John McCain ,
Barack Obama , and Mitt Romney
posted questions on
Yahoo! Answers, in addition to YouTube. In an
awareness campaign, "
UNICEF Up Close 2007", nine
asked questions. The launch of Answers on
Yahoo! India included a
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam , the President of India at that
time. Other guests have included international leaders (Queen Rania
of Jordan , candidate for
United Nations Secretary-General
United Nations Secretary-General Shashi
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize laureates (
Al Gore ,
Muhammad Yunus )
and other international activists (
Jean-Michel Cousteau ),
Stephen Hawking ,
Marilyn vos Savant ), and numerous
Yahoo! used comScore statistics in December 2006 to proclaim Yahoo!
Answers "the leading Q&A site on the web". Currently
is ranked as the second most popular Q&A site on the web by comScore.
The slogan "The world's leading Q in November 2015, that had fallen
by 77% to 5.6 million.
Quantcast traffic statistics for Yahoo!
Answers, January 2010:
* 24,201,619 people per month (US)
* 62,171,200 visits per month (US)
For January 1–30, 2015:
* 11,273,839 people per month (US)
For October 31 – November 29, 2015:
* 5,555,080 people per month (US)
For December 1 – December 30, 2015:
* 4,546,016 people per month (US)
Google Ad Planner traffic statistics for
Yahoo! Answers, December
* 26,000,000 unique visitors (users) (US)
* 110,000,000 total visits (US)
Compete Site Analytics traffic statistics for
* 33,090,163 unique visitors (US)
* 64,928,634 visits (US)
Yahoo! Answers represents between 1.03% to 1.7% of
IN POPULAR MEDIA
The comedy/advice podcast
My Brother, My Brother and Me
My Brother, My Brother and Me features a
reoccurring segment in which co-host Griffin McElroy selects and reads
a particularly humorous or outrageous question from
The hosts then discuss and attempt to answer the question, to comedic
Ken M is a regular user on
Yahoo! Answers, posting
comments that confound and annoy other users. There are several
communities on social media sites such as
Reddit and Facebook
dedicated to observing his antics, especially on
Yahoo! Answers. Ken
was named as one of Time 's most influential people online in 2016.
List of question-and-answer websites
* Q -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type:
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* ^ "Yahoo -
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Answers to Improve Web Search;
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2006-05-15. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
* ^ Schwartz, Barry (December 13, 2006). "Yahoo Answers Birthday:
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* ^ A B Ahmed, Murad (January 3, 2009). "Ask a silly question.."
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Yahoo! Answers. Retrieved April 20,
* ^ "
Yahoo! Terms of Service".
Yahoo! Terms. Retrieved August 22,
2012. 9) Content submitted or made available for inclusion on the
Yahoo! does not claim ownership of Content you submit
or make available for inclusion on the
Yahoo! Services. However, with
respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on
publicly accessible areas of the
Yahoo! Services, you grant
following worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license(s), as
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Answers seek advice, opinion, expertise". University of Michigan News
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Help. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
* ^ A B "
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Retrieved August 22, 2012.
* ^ "A person in my category has -9,000 points this week. (Yes,
that\'s a minus.) Someone else has -22% Best Answers. (Also a minus)".
Yahoo! Answers Suggestion Board. Archived from the original on January
15, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2012. Sometimes when we are impressed
with a user's answer quality or overall contribution to make Answers a
better place, we award extra points as a mark of encouragement.
* ^ "Managing the Mob: What to do when things go wrong".
Socialtext. Archived from the original on November 22, 2009. Retrieved
August 22, 2012.
* ^ "Limitations on Level 5, 6 and 7 Users".
Yahoo! Answers Blog.
April 18, 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
* ^ A B C "What is a Top Contributor?".
Yahoo! Answers. Retrieved
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* ^ A B C "What do the different badges on
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Yahoo!Answers. December 7, 2009. Archived from the original on
November 12, 2010.
* ^ Gazan, R.; et al. (2006). "Specialists and Synthesists in a
Question Answering Community". 69th Annual Meeting of the American
Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST), Austin (US),
3–8 November 2006. Richard B. Hill.
CiteSeerX 10.1.1.124.6014 .
Missing or empty url= (help ); access-date= requires url= (help )
* ^ Adamic, L.; et al. (2008). "Knowledge Sharing and Yahoo
Answers: Everyone Knows Something". WWW 2008 / Refereed Track: Social
Networks & Web 2.0 -Analysis of Social Networks & Online Interaction.
* ^ Kim, S.; Oh, S. (2009). "Users' relevance criteria for
evaluating answers in a social Q&A site". Journal of the American
Society for Information Science and Technology. 60 (4): 716. doi
* ^ "Stet". The New York Times. July 20, 2008. Retrieved April 26,
* ^ Modine, Austin (June 9, 2009). "Wolfram Alpha to venture beyond
boron nucleus". The Register. Southport, England: Situation
Publishing. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
* ^ Liu, Yandong; Agichtein, Eugene (2008). "On the Evolution of
Yahoo! Answers QA Community" (PDF).
* ^ Liebenluft, Jacob (December 7, 2007). "A Librarian\'s Worst
Yahoo! Answers, where 120 million users can be wrong".
Slate. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
* ^ Angwin, Julia (December 23, 2008). "Looking for a Few Good
Answers Online". WSJ.
* ^ "Important Changes to Answers".
Yahoo! Answers official blog.
March 20, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
* ^ "
Yahoo! Answers Team\'s Profile". Answers.yahoo.com. Retrieved
April 20, 2012.
* ^ "MyThings – View Item: KungFu Hamster". Archived from the
original on November 10, 2009.
* ^ "What is the history of the
Yahoo! Answers Hamster?".
Answers.yahoo.com. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
* ^ "Y! Answers _ Yamster". Archived from the original on November
* ^ Mills, Elinor (April 11, 2007). "Presidential candidates to
appear on YouTube".
CNET News. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
* ^ "Yahoo Answers Unicef And Widgets Vista". WebProNews. January
30, 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
* ^ "
UNICEF Up Close 2007". 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
* ^ "`
Yahoo! Answers\' launched". The Hindu Business Line. The
Hindu Group. January 14, 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
* ^ "Queen Rania of Jordan\'s Activity –
Answers.yahoo.com. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
* ^ "Shashi Tharoor\'s Activity –
Answers.yahoo.com. February 1, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
* ^ A B C Sample, Ian (July 8, 2006). "Hawking turns to Yahoo for
answers to his big question". The Guardian. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
* ^ A B Herman, Michele (June 23, 2006). "Answer Al Gore\'s
Question, Win a Prius". Extra Helping. School Library Journal.
Retrieved April 11, 2009.
* ^ "How can you help to create a poverty-free world? – Yahoo!
Answers". Answers.yahoo.com. December 6, 2006. Retrieved April 20,
* ^ "Jean-Michel Cousteau\'s Activity –
Answers.yahoo.com. June 7, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
* ^ "
Yahoo! Answers Celebrates One Year of Knowledge and Success as
Poll Reveals Use and Influence of Q&A Sites" (Press release). Business
Wire. December 13, 2006. Archived from the original on November 16,
2009. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
* ^ "Who\'s Scorched Up comScore In September, You Ask?". October
15, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
* ^ "Answers.com Announces September comScore Rank of No. 13, up
from No. 18 in August" (Press release). Business Wire. October 15,
2009. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
* ^ "
Yahoo! Answers hits 200 million visitors – December 14,
2009". Yanswersblog.com. December 14, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
* ^ "Did you know? – October 5, 2009". Yanswersblog.com. October
5, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
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* ^ "
Quantcast profile for
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* ^ "Site profile for
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* ^ "Site Profile for answers.yahoo.com". Site Analytics. October
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* ^ Hopkins, Heather (March 5, 2009). "
Yahoo! Mail More than One
Yahoo! Traffic". Experian Hitwise blogs. Retrieved April 20,
* ^ "
Yahoo.com site info". Alexa.com. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
* ^ "My Brother, My Brother, and Me". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 8
* ^ Lavender, Dave (8 November 2010). "McElroy brothers find
success with podcast". The Herald-Dispatch. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
* ^ "
Ken M dedicated
Reddit site". Reddit.com. Retrieved 28 March
* ^ "
Ken M official
Facebook page". Facebook.com. Retrieved 28
* ^ "Independent article on Ken M". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 28
* Gomes, Lee (August 23, 2006). "Portals: Success, greed in the new
economy of web point payouts".
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . The Wall
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* Official website