Yahoo! Answers: the funniest questions

Yahoo! Answers: the funniest questions

Yahoo! Answers

The news is now known worldwide: Yahoo! Answers will close on May 4th. The site since 2005, in addition to resolving the doubts of the myriad of users who looked out to the fantastic world of the internet for the first time, gave us emotions, laughter and even moments of obvious embarrassment. From "sciura scero sciura go", passing through "that song that makes ambaradast" to the very famous "summary of the second world war".

We at have wandered a bit on the portal, trying to collect ( and to keep for posterity above all) those that have been the strangest and funniest questions of the last 16 years. It is a real shame that future generations will not be able to enjoy it, but it will still remain one of the most beautiful stories ever linked to the world of the Internet. And for this, the whole population thanks you and will always remember you with affection, Yahoo! Answers.

Your high school Greek literature teacher would be more than happy to hear these words again on your next question.

Yahoo! Answers also rises to degrees of abstraction that surpass all that is labeled as "natural".

This I think made me laugh even more than I should have.

This was to please also the history teacher. I'm starting to miss high school.

Yahoo! Answers taught us that romance isn't dead yet. Boy, Shakespeare would be proud of you.

I don't know whether to be more baffled by the fact that Ross Geller writes on Yahoo Answers Italy, or by the effort dedicated to giving such a precise and elaborate answer. If in doubt, I'm going to order a pistachio cone.

Perhaps the closure of Yahoo! Answers could help further reduce the current air crash rate.

There's a little confusion in the air.


As the accountant would say: "I've never done it, but I've always dreamed of it". Perhaps the closure of Yahoo! Answers isn't such a bad option in the end.

You're telling me that Pokémon Go! wasn't it just a simulator?

Good question. It could be yet another plot organized by the lobby itself that does not allow us to see the heart in its true form: "I am genuinely in doubt about the subject of the question: Martin Luther? Martin Luther King? We will never know.

Eh, oh ... I honestly have no idea ...

My favorite. A hymn to ignorance, to be sung out loud in a convertible on the Catanzaro Lido seafront.

Here too I probably laughed more than I expected.

Bonus: I think the award-winning answer sums it up perfectly the thought of all the nostalgics who used to have an innocent laugh about the magic created by Yahoo! Answers.

The world is constantly changing. We like to think that beautiful things are beautiful precisely because, sooner or later, they end. And this allows us not to take them for granted. And you, Yahoo! Answers, you are one of the most beautiful things that has happened during this decade. Forever grateful. Sic parvis magna.

Why is Yahoo! Answers shutting down?

chart: Animation of questions posted on Yahoo! Answers © Provided by Quartz Animation of questions posted on Yahoo! Answers

The first question asked on Yahoo! Answers, after its public launch on Dec. 08, 2005, was: “How do I decide on a good magic set for children (about 8 years old)? Ideally, less than $50.” This is, at the very least, correct according to the collective wisdom of Yahoo! Answers itself.

No one knows what the last post will be before the service shuts down on May 4, for reasons Yahoo! has not spelled out. But if the past is any guide, the final question is likely to be along the lines of the most popular recent ones: “Will America survive 4 years of Joe Biden?” or “We have now seen way too much of what the Dimms want to do to America. When will the liberals admit they were wrong and stop this madness?”

In the origin and end of Yahoo! Answers—in the gap between that first question and the latest—lies the demise of the original vision of the Internet as one large, utopian community.

Tim Berners Lee, the scientist who first created the World Wide Web, conceived of it as “a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information.” He explained to Quartz two years ago: “It wasn’t supposed to just show what we know, but also what our problems are, and how they connect. What if I have a problem and the two pieces of the solution are in different people’s heads? That was the sort of thing I was going for.”

Inherent in this vision was a certain democratic ethos: that everyone had something to contribute, and that they would offer their knowledge up with sincerity, knowing that they could in turn ask for assistance later. No one needed to profit financially from this exchange; there were no hierarchies, because no one was the expert at everything; there was no obvious incentive to mislead or lie.

Yahoo! Answers was, in many ways, the embodiment of that: an information exchange where people could ask trivial or important questions, and hope to find knowledgeable soul to resolve their doubts. You might receive wrong answers, of course, but if enough people weighed in and upvoted good responses, you had a fine chance of emerging wiser from it all. Even some of the much-ridiculed posts from people wondering about ouija boards sounded sincere in their urgency. And asking questions and getting them answered in a plain forum with little advertising felt like the cleanest, most fundamental version of the Internet.

The transformation of Yahoo! Answers, in recent years, into yet another stage for polarized political battles, trolling, and disinformation is emblematic of the internet’s transformation as a whole. In fact, it’s all the more remarkable—and dispiriting—that such trends have overtaken this utilitarian, near-forgotten corner of the internet just as they’ve swamped hyper-popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

We still have some utopian experiments unfolding online, but nothing with quite the same resonance. Quora is a question-answer service that is similar to Yahoo! Answers—and is experiencing similar forms of ruin. Wikipedia is exemplary, but it is a few-to-many service: a tight group of writers and editors disseminating the information they think is important. GitHub is a collaborative forum, but it is highly specialized, catering just to coders; it also offers layers of paid services. And the slow, sure creep of the worst human tendencies through the most popular social or collaborative web sites feels like a failure for our species.

Yahoo! Answers could have been simple, quiet and helpful. And it was, for a while. Then we wrecked it.

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