Is Yahoo! Answers the new Wikipedia?

Yahoo AnswersJust over two years ago, Yahoo! Answers came to the scene and tried to compete with the fledging for-pay Google Answers. It was free compared to the bid-style Google was offering so there was a fighting chance.

Google eventually folded and shut down Answers, saying that the experiment wasn’t a success (it’s now actually shifting towards a Wikipedia model with Google Knol). AOL followed suit with Yedda which it bought from an Israeli start-up.

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Today Yahoo! Answer is almost alone in that arena. Last time I visited there was during the beta season and never bothered visiting again. Until last week. I got a little addicted when some challenging math and science questions were thrown all over. Top that with the satisfaction of getting 10 points after being chosen of giving the Best Answer (offering an answer gives you 2 points). It feels like I was back in college again doing evening math and chem tutorials to freshmen students.

If I may hazard a guess, majority of the subjects being tackled there are about travel/tourism and academics. It looks like tons of students are now flocking Yahoo! Answers to get their answers. Remember our previous discussion on Google & Wikipedia not good for students? Yahoo! Answers is next.

Why would one go thru pages and pages of wikis when you can just ask right away and get your question straight and fast? How about math? Wikipedia can’t solve your math problems! But Yahoo! Answers can.

Just today, I helped solve a kids math problem on linear combinations. Then I realized, I just did this kid’s homework! And since it’s free, these students can always use Yahoo! Answers to do all their assignments. Now, how do you solve that problem?

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Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is one of the pioneers of blogging in the country and considered by many as the Father of Tech Blogging in the Philippines. He is also a technology consultant, a tech columnist with several national publications, resource speaker and mentor/advisor to several start-up companies.

18 Responses

  1. Avatar for kilak kilak says:

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  2. hi all,

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  3. Avatar for Mike Abundo Mike Abundo says:

    You assume it is a problem. This is just education through conversation. If kids can get answers to simple questions easily, their minds are freed up to discuss more complex questions. ;)

  4. Avatar for Abel Abel says:

    Every now again, I spend a good couple of hours in yahoo answers. Posting and answering questions. It’s very thrilling when my answer gets picked the best answer. Asking questions also gives me a lot of insights when I’m on a hunt for a niche that I’d like to venture into.

  5. Avatar for Dara Dara says:

    You could always tell people to go to FunAdvice :) We don’t allow homework questions. I nuke them on site. Take that, cheating kids!


  6. Avatar for dmightyaran dmightyaran says:

    I used also to answer questions in Yahoo! Answers.. It’s a great help also to remember all my lessons during my college days…cz for some of the students are the one who frequently asking questions related to their assignments. If someone asked a question that i could answer for the best one i just shared it and they just voted it for the best answer for ten points. It was exciting and fun to hang with if you have some extra time. :)

  7. Avatar for Praetor Praetor says:

    Ayus yung website na yan, mas maganda makikita mong informations about your questions kasi madami ang tao nandito, and best of all, you can get answers in just a few minutes! Mas maiintindihan mo pa diyan depende na lang sa sumagot sa tanong mo

  8. Avatar for Jonas Jonas says:

    There is a different appeal to asking as compared to researching for answers online. Wikipedia is really more suited for encyclopedia-type questions but Yahoo! Answers provides a wider range of topics and interests for a community to ask and answer.

    Also with Answers, the person asking gets to choose from multiple answers given by the community (that are mostly based on their own experiences) and the person answering is immediately recognized if it’s chosen as the best answer. :)

  9. Avatar for ChrisMo ChrisMo says:

    I admit I sometimes get addicted at answering things in Yahoo Answers especially IT related questions.

    However there is a better upstart site with the same Answers Model I just forgot the name of just now that already has a ranking system for professionals and covers almost all questions. More of a problem solver than a Fact Book I may say…

  10. Avatar for Eugene Eugene says:

    Wikipedia actually has a Yahoo! Answers-like page and it’s the Reference Desk. People can ask questions there and Wikipedians answer. Of course, not many people know about this page. And yes, that page has its own share of students asking for help on their math assignments. Hehehe.

  11. Avatar for jhay jhay says:

    Oh, for the record, my response to that request was a bunch of links to references suitable to his project plus a couple of short insights and explanations I know about the topic and how to go about his project.

    Thankfully, that reader/student replied thanking me for the help. :D

    And it was free of charge. ^^

  12. Avatar for jhay jhay says:

    I actually had some readers who asked me help with their school projects and homeworks. Some even used my contact form to email for a request. It felt like I was suddenly hired to do freelance work! LOL

    And how did the reader found my blog? It wasn’t thru search, it was via an answer I made on Yahoo! Answers about biology and global warming.

    Perhaps bloggers can adopt this model and use their blogs to offer similar services. How they will get payment is more complicated though, as most students don’t have their own PayPal. Then again, there’s G-Cash and Smart Money. :P

  13. Avatar for Abe Olandres Abe Olandres says:

    @ L.A. exactly my point. Even if Wikipedia is the ultimate source, people are still using Yahoo! Answers. At least those who go to Wikipedia are actually doing some form of research. The ones who go straight to Yahoo! Answers are the lazy ones. And they are growing in numbers.

  14. Yahoo answers is great. You will get answers from actual experience of people who posted answers for your questions.

  15. Avatar for L.A L.A says:

    @JM Haha LOL!

    Anyway, LOL Answering assignments for math homeworks are no-no!

    But still Wikipedia contains most of the knowledge out there available…some look for the Wikipedia article and answer the question on Y! Answers and puff +10 points!

    Also some of the answers can easily be search on Google…tamad lang mag hanap yung iba o_O

  16. Avatar for JM JM says:

    Let’s ask Yahoo! Answers how to solve that problem. Hehehe. =P

  17. Avatar for sylv3rblade sylv3rblade says:

    Yahoo Answers answers need a “This question has already been asked” system. It’s very useful when you’re not a Geography whiz though, with a question like “How do I get to ___ from MRT?” or something similar.

    On assignment note.. some of the questions I saw PinoyHenyo are actually assignments or lessons. LIke “Ano ang pang-abay? Ano ang gamit nito?”

  18. Avatar for calvin calvin says:

    i used to answer a lot of pc and software troubleshooting questions in yahoo answers before but i grew tired of it. people won’t use the search first before asking questions. they tend to ask the same questions as everyone especially if it’s related to virus removal problems.

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