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
2 Site operation
3 Level table
4.1 Top Contributor
4.4 Knowledge Partners
5 Academic studies
6 Quality of answers
7 Promotions and events
8 Site statistics
9 In popular media
10 See also
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
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, 2006.
Yahoo! Answers was created to replace Ask Yahoo!, Yahoo!'s former
Q&A platform which was discontinued in March 2006. The site
gives members the chance to earn points as a way to encourage
participation and is based on Naver's Knowledge iN.
Yahoo! Answers is
available in 12 languages, but several Asian sites operate a different
platform which allows for non-Latin characters. The platform is known
Yahoo! Chiebukuro (Yahoo!知恵袋) in Japan and as Yahoo!
Knowledge in Korea, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong. An
Arabic language Q&A platform called Seen Jeem is available through
Yahoo! subsidiary Maktoob.
On December 8, 2016,
Yahoo! released an app for the platform called
Yahoo! Answers Now (formally known as
Yahoo! Hive) for iOS and
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
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 &
Spirituality are mostly opinion. Users may also choose to reveal
Yahoo! Messenger ID on their Answers profile page.
Yahoo! Answers is handled by a user moderation system, where
users report posts that are in breach of guidelines or the Terms of
Service. Posts are removed if they receive sufficient weight of
trusted reports (reports from users with a reliable reporting
history). Deletion may be appealed: an unsuccessful appeal receives a
10-point penalty; 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
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 Yahoo!
account 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
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% Best
User should be at least on level 2, although there have been
claims that first-level users with TC Badge have been
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 department.
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
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" [sic], which sparked an
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
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
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.[original research?]
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
Yahoo! Answers 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[update], the history of Yamster, complete with
photos of the toy, was available on the
Yahoo! Answers Team Vietnam
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
Yahoo! Answers, in addition to YouTube. In an
awareness campaign, "
UNICEF Up Close 2007", nine
asked questions. The launch of Answers on
included a question from 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 Shashi Tharoor),
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize laureates (Al
Gore, Muhammad Yunus) and other international activists
(Bono, Jean-Michel Cousteau), intellectuals (Stephen
Hawking, Marilyn vos Savant), and numerous other celebrities.
Yahoo! used comScore statistics in December 2006 to proclaim Yahoo!
Answers "the leading Q&A site on the web". Currently[when?]
Yahoo! Answers is ranked as the second most popular Q&A site on
the web by comScore. The slogan "The world's leading Q&A
site" has since been adopted by Answers.com.
Yahoo! Answers staff claimed 200 million users worldwide
and 15 million users visiting daily. Google Trends has reported
around 4 million unique visitors (Global) daily. In January 2010,
the web analytics website
Quantcast reported 24 million active users
(US) per month; in November 2015, that had fallen by 77% to 5.6
Quantcast traffic statistics for
Yahoo! Answers, January
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
Yahoo! Answers, December
33,090,163 unique visitors (US)
64,928,634 visits (US)
Yahoo! Answers represents between 1.03% to 1.7% of Yahoo!
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
^ Mccullough, Brian. "On the 20th Anniversary – The History of
Yahoo's Founding". Internet History Podcast.
^ "First/oldest Y!A account - Director of Engineering, Ofer Shaked's
Yahoo! Answers account, created on June 28, 2005".
2005-06-28. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
^ "SiliconBeat: Yahoo Answers". SiliconBeat. 2005-12-07. Retrieved
^ "The Birth of Yahoo Answers - Search Engine Watch". Search Engine
Watch. 2005-12-07. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
^ "Yahoo launches Q&A service -
CNET News.com". CNET. 2005-12-07.
Archived from the original on December 10, 2005. Retrieved
Yahoo! Answers - Home on December 10, 2005". Wayback Machine.
December 10, 2005. Archived from the original on December 10, 2005.
Retrieved February 28, 2016.
^ "Yahoo -
Yahoo! Search Leverages Human Knowledge From
to Improve Web Search;
Yahoo! Answers Surpasses 10 Million Answers to
Everyday Questions From Real People".
Yahoo! Investor. 2006-05-15.
^ Schwartz, Barry (December 13, 2006). "Yahoo Answers Birthday: One
Year Old". Search Engine Land. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
Yahoo! Chiebukuro Website". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
^ "Yahoo Answers Now on the App Store". iTunes. Retrieved
^ "Yahoo Answers Now - Android Apps on Google Play". Google Play.
^ "Yahoo Answers Now is a standalone app for iOS". Engadget.
2016-11-29. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
^ "Yahoo officially launches its Yahoo Answers Q&A mobile app -
VentureBeat". VentureBeat. 2016-12-08. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
^ "Yahoo Answers makes its official mobile debut - TechCrunch".
TechCrunch. 2016-12-09. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
^ a b Raphael, J. R. (December 17, 2009). "The 20 Dumbest Questions on
Yahoo Answers". PC World. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
^ a b Ahmed, Murad (January 3, 2009). "Ask a silly question..." The
Times. London. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
^ "Community guidelines".
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!
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
^ a b Moore, Nicole Casal (April 21, 2008). "Users of Yahoo Answers
seek advice, opinion, expertise". University of Michigan News Service.
Ann Arbor, Michigan. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
^ "What if my question doesn't receive any answers?".
Retrieved August 22, 2012.
^ a b "
Yahoo! Answers – Point System".
Yahoo! Answers. 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 [Yahoo!Answers
employees] 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,
^ "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 August
^ a b c "What do the different badges on
Yahoo! Answers mean?".
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.
^ "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 the
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
^ "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
^ "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 17,
^ Mills, Elinor (April 11, 2007). "Presidential candidates to appear
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 –
Yahoo! Answers". 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,
^ a b Herman, Michele (June 23, 2006). "Answer Al Gore's Question, Win
a Prius". Extra Helping. School Library Journal. Retrieved April 11,
^ "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.
^ "Google Trends for
Yahoo! Answers". Google. Retrieved April 20,
Quantcast profile for
Yahoo! Answers". Quantcast.com. Retrieved
April 20, 2012.
^ "Site profile for
Yahoo! Answers". Google. Archived from the
original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
^ "Site Profile for answers.yahoo.com". Site Analytics. October 26,
2011. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
^ Hopkins, Heather (March 5, 2009). "
Yahoo! Mail More than One Third
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 February
^ 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 March
^ "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
Street Journal. Archived from the original on March 6, 2008.
Quicken Support Phone Number
Yahoo! Answers Suggestion Board
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Python wrapper over Answers API
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Yahoo! Query Language
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