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Yahoo! Answers, A Librarian's Worst Nightmare

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the group-think-not-good-think dept.

252

Slate has an interesting look at the realm of online question and answer forums. Yahoo! Answers is boasting over 120 million users and 400 million answers placing it just behind Wikipedia for most visited education/reference site on the internet. While this may be a great insight into crowd mentality and search preferences, it seems to be a "complete disaster as a traditional reference tool." "For educators fretting that the Internet is creating a generation of 'intellectual sluggards,' the problem isn't just that Yahoo!'s site helps ninth-graders cheat on their homework. It's that a lot of the time, it doesn't help them cheat all that well. [...] Like Yahoo! Answers, Wikipedia isn't perfect. But for savvy browsers who know how to use it, Wikipedia is an invaluable source of factual information. In the last two years, there's been a heated debate over whether Wikipedia is as trustworthy as Encyclopedia Britannica. This obscures a crucial point: Wikipedia is at least reliable enough that such a question can be asked. Take my word for it--no one is going to make any such claims about Yahoo! Answers any time soon."

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No (5, Funny)

gustgr (695173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648041)

This [xkcd.com] is a librarian's worst nightmare.

Re:No (0)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648187)

the internet population can be divided into two parts, those that use yahoo and those that don't.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648471)

The internet can be divided into two parts: those that find xkcd funny (vanishingly small) and those that don't (unfathomably large).

Re:No (3, Funny)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648481)

the internet population can be divided into two parts, those that use yahoo and those that don't.

Yes, it can also be divided into two other parts, those who think this post is 'funny', and those who don't.

Re:No (0)

elyk (970302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648595)

Actually, I'd divide them all into the 10 basic types of people (correlation with those who understand binary and those who don't is unknown)

Re:No (2, Funny)

thejeffer (864748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648805)

I'm ambivalent.

Re:No (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648747)

the internet population can be divided into two parts, those that use yahoo and those that don't.
I remember when we used to say that about AOL...

Re:No (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649179)

I remember when we used to say that about AOL...

Newbie. Many of us remember well the times before AOL and MSN dumped their user mass onto Internet.
When they were proprietary BBS networks, everthing was well in the world. Spam was almost non-existent, you didn't have to explain everything to the users, who were clever enough to figure out that inability to ping vax.ox.ac.uk didn't mean you had to reinstall your OS or call a guy in Bangalore to help you. The lion was grazing with the sheep. Or at least devouring them quietly.

The problem Yahoo Answers faces is that you can have trust or you can have anonymity, but you can't have both. In a small professional circle, you can generally trust the answers, because there are enough peers who would jump your shit if you gave wrong answers. In an anonymous world-wide forum, you can't. There's no accountability, and the volume is too high for peers to review anything. Especially if you get paid to provide answers, but NOT paid to provide corrections to answers.

If Yahoo! wants to gain credibility for their QA section, they need to introduce paid overseers that cross-check answers (and each other) and with the authority to add red ink comments inside other people's answers, axe payments to those who give wrong answers, and give a Yahoo! paid bonus to those who give extremely good answers.
Let the users see how well Yahoo! professionals (and not other sheep^Wusers) rate them.
This can only be successful if anonymity is dropped, and someone can't just create a new blank account if eventually booted or rated down (like the trolls do here on slashdot).

Re:No (0, Offtopic)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648871)

While nearly everything Yahoo does ends up... well, just wrong... I think their email service is pretty good. I've got my work, my ISP, gmail, and yahoo addresses, and I end up using the yahoo email address for most stuff.

Get your answers here! (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648045)

Answers: $5
Good Answers: $10
Correct Answers: $20
Well-researched Answers complete with reference: time and materials

Dumb looks are still free.

Re:Get your answers here! (2, Funny)

rwven (663186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648325)

I'm still wondering why this is a Libertarians worst nightmare. Maybe my local librarian has some books on phonics I can borrow...

Why does it need to be? (4, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648051)

I don't really use any of those Q&A type sites, but it seems to me that their purpose isn't to be a reference site. Their purpose is to be small, simple aid if you have nowhere better to look. As such, they seem to work and most of the time get you a decent answer, or at least a place to start. The fact is, for most questions in this world you don't need to do a great deal of research, you just want a quick close enough answer.

Re:Why does it need to be? (2, Informative)

QMalcolm (1094433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648141)

This is true mostly. For instance if I was trying to find a DVD of the Athens 2004 Olympics opening ceremonies, or something rare or obscure or whatever, I'd just pop it on some guy on Yahoo Answers to dig through ebay or craigslist to find it for me. If I want to know about Greek mythology I'd obviously choose the Wikipedia page over whatever Yahoo has to offer.

Re:Why does it need to be? (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648527)

True. That's why if I want a well-researched answer, I submit my question as an Ask Slashdot article.

Re:Why does it need to be? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648985)

True. That's why if I want a well-researched answer, I submit my question as an Ask Slashdot article.

Ah, so that's the reason why questions get answered 3 months later!

Yes and no, sorta (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648757)

Well, yes and no, sorta.

If used as you describe, true, it's _sometimes_ better than nothing.

Then again, sometimes worse than nothing. An incomplete, distorted understanding of something may actually compound the problem, instead of making it any better. E.g., an incomplete, distorted mis-understanding of each other is largely why we have a perpetual conflict in the Middle East, or Islamist nuts blowing themselves up. E.g., an equally unqualified monkey reinforcing an already wrong idea, might just give people enough confidence to do something very stupid, instead of staying at the stage of wondering about it. Etc.

Seriously, we already have people taking their knowledge from movies, urban legends, PR, whatever. You can read about some of them, for example, on the various "dumbest criminals" lists. A site looking like a more reputable way to get a quick and supposedly informed answer, might just fool more people.

The second problem is that more and more schoolkids and students are using those as a substitute for learning or thinking for themselves. Now this isn't necessarily a fault of the site itself. And if it worked for anyone, I'd blame the school first. Nevertheless, it might bite us all in the arse later. Hard.

What's wrong with Yahoo Answers? (5, Funny)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648059)

How could a service that provides such vital information as this [yahoo.com] , this [yahoo.com] and this [yahoo.com] ever be considered anything other than a vital font of knowledge?

Parent NSFW... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648257)

I know that Fark is trademarking NSFW [arstechnica.com] , but you should put some kind of warning on those links :(

Unless you *want* to explain to your boss why you were reading a Yahoo answer about necrophilia...

Re:Parent NSFW... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648349)

Unless you *want* to explain to your boss why you were reading a Yahoo answer about necrophilia...

Just tell your boss that you're an alcoholic, and were suddenly hit with the uncontrollable urge to crack open a cold one...

Re:What's wrong with Yahoo Answers? (5, Funny)

idiotwithastick (1036612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648605)

A sampling of what I see on answers.yahoo.com (YMMV)
  • Did the Milwaukee Brewers really just give or are in the process of giving Eric Gagne $10 million for 1 year?
  • What is a hydroxide ion?
  • I have TimeWarner Cable and got the HD Receiver...But I don't wanna pay monthly!?
  • I need to find a free download, no buying it, of oregon trail deluxe, can you help me?
  • How often should I feed my puppies?
  • What can u use for personal femine hygene while pregnant?
  • My hands get cold,fingers numb,and skin does not bounce back.what causes this?
  • What does it mean if I dream about my crush?
  • In the game Yu-Gi-Oh GX Tag Force 2 why do I get a penalty after each duel?
  • Where can i play inuyasha games online?
  • Who is Gaspard Ulliel currently dating???
  • Anyone see Marion Gaborik fly?
  • How much do used iPods go for?
  • I think I'm ugly and not a good person?
Now I understand how Yahoo! Answers is the perfect reference tool. Ask it any question you want, and some guy might come and give an answer to you...

Re:What's wrong with Yahoo Answers? (4, Funny)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648843)

Actually, the vital font of knowledge is comic sans.

Re:What's wrong with Yahoo Answers? (1)

tehBoris (1120961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649033)

You silly Fizzle Fry, Comic Sans is the vital type face of knowledge!

Indeed, the biggest problem with Yahoo Answers (4, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648911)

Is that you can't flame moronic little fuckwits who ask shite questions or give shite answers. That's what made Usenet useful.

 

Comparing Apples and... What?? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648089)

I didn't RTFA, but are they really implying there's some kind of relevant comparison between Wikipedia and Yahoo! Answers???

Re:Comparing Apples and... What?? (2, Insightful)

mustpax (983305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648153)

To quote Maeby from Arrested Development: "that's like comparing apples and a fruit no one's ever heard of."

Wikipedia vs. Yahoo Answers - Deathmatch! (4, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649095)

Yahoo! Answers in Wikipedia.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo_answers [wikipedia.org] :

Yahoo! Answers is a community-driven knowledge market website launched by Yahoo! on December 13, 2005 that allows users to ask questions of other users and answer other users' questions. The site gives members the chance to earn points as a way to encourage participation and is based on Naver's Knowledge iN.

[ a few paragraphs later... ]

Criticism

The site has been criticized as being more about social networking than providing accurate information.[5]

References

5. ^ Leibenluft, Jacob (2007-12-07). A Librarian's Worst Nightmare: Yahoo! Answers, where 120 million users can be wrong.


Wikipedia in Yahoo! Answers

How do I make an entry on Wikipedia?

        * 3 hours ago
        * - 3 days left to answer.

Answers (0)

Be the first to answer this question.


Any questions?

Re:Comparing Apples and... What?? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648163)

I didn't RTFA, but are they really implying there's some kind of relevant comparison between Wikipedia and Yahoo! Answers???
Wikipedia is on another fundraising drive. This certainly is NOT news, so it's most likely a just shill to promote wikipedia.

Re:Comparing Apples and... What?? (5, Informative)

Choad Namath (907723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649087)

Exactly. You don't use Yahoo! Answers to learn basic facts, you use it for questions that are more suited for human answers. You ask "What hotel is near the good bars in Portland, Oregon?" not "What's the melting point of Sn?"

A Librarian's REAL worst nightmare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648099)

Bears. Lots and lots of bears.

Re:A Librarian's REAL worst nightmare... (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648125)

Yeah, those fuckers really break the spines on paperbacks, too.

Huh? (1)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648119)

What do Librarians have to do with this pointless rant?

I would argue that a Librarian's worst nightmare is a book worm.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648223)

Nothing apparently...
http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&id=2179393 [slate.com]
TFA doesn't even use the word librarian once.
Just trolling for page hits I assume.

Re:Huh? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648717)

TFA doesn't even use the word librarian once.

Huh? Take another look at your own link!

Re:Huh? (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648853)

It's only used in the title. The actual text of the article doesn't contain the word

Re:Huh? (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648225)

a real life librarians worst nightmare is a fire.

Yahoo answers (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648181)

The only question I remember answering was whether or not someone should change his name to Stephen Colbert...

yahoo (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648191)

Yahoo! Answers--the place to go to get your question answered by a certified yahoo.

Re:yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648915)

Ha.

so what? (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648209)

we don't want to regulate videogames, slashdot agrees: this is a nanny state

we don't want to regulate online dating, slashdot agrees: this is a nanny state

likewise:
we don't want regulate wikipedia or yahoo answers: THIS IS A NANNY STATE

people ask random friends advise all the time. lots of it is pointless or toxic or ignorant. people need to use their minds to filter the good from the bad. we need to learn to trust people to make decisions themselves

end of non-story

Re:so what? (1)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648329)

slashdot agrees:
There you have it, the wisdom of the hive-mind decrees: do not question the wisdom of the hive-mind.

you missed my point (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648417)

it is valid to point out where the hivemind is hypocritical and inconsistent from one opinion to the next

Re:so what? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648455)

I think a good portion of Slashdot would object to the term "nanny state" used in just about any context as unnecessarily provocative, and I seriously doubt that all of Slashdot agrees with you on all of those points.

The only thing all of Slashdot can really agree on is that this^Wnext year is the Year of Linux on the Desktop. Anything else is just going to start an argument.

Here's a question. (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648615)

What the fuck are you talking about?

This topic has absolutely nothing to do with "regulation" or a "nanny state".

Please try and compose something vaguely coherant in future. And no, randomly inserting colons and typing something in capitals doesn't magically make your point clear.

Re:Here's a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648999)

Oh, I don't know, maybe from the article? The Slashdot summary? The posts? They're all about how people shouldn't be allowed to use Yahoo answers as it provides nothing useful.

And teach them to do so (3, Interesting)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648919)

With every answer a few mouse clicks away maybe it's time we start teaching children how to filter the good information from the bad, instead of just teaching them how to regurgitate facts on a piece of paper. Wikipedia is a great research tool when used correctly, Yahoo Answers is a great way to get a quick "close enough" answer to a question that's been bugging you. If kids were taught this simple distinction this debate would be pointless.

This "problem" of too much information is only going to get worse, lets start teaching kids how to deal with it.

Re:so what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648943)

Who said anything about regulation? Yet another straw-man from the Ron Paul nutbags.

Re:so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21649145)


I am advising you that advise is a verb. A bit of advice: advice is a noun.

So where is the problem? (5, Insightful)

Vampyre_Dark (630787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648219)

If Yahoo answers doesn't let them cheat all that well, than why is there a problem? The student who did the proper research still gets a passing grade, and the student who tried to 'cheat' did suffers for it.

How is this any different than 20 years ago?

Re:So where is the problem? (2, Insightful)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648581)

I agree with this! I was a tutor several years ago and had to check lab reports. The experiments they did have been done for the last 20 years and copies are widely available. It's still difficult to see who copied (although that university uses an electronic plagiarism database for almost everything by now, that compares with locally known work but also the internet), especially if it could have been two groups working together. Should I actually mind if two groups work together if it leads to a nice job?

What was easy to see, however, were people who just had it plain wrong. And there were several cases where two identical, crappy, reports were given to me. These people ended up having to do a lot of more work in the end! Idiots! The process of learning itself is actually copying stuff from others, but in the process getting to understand the difference between good stuff and bad stuff by comparing to what you already know and makes sense. If you are too lazy to do the last part, you won't come far even if you copy from the most reliable resource.

Many scientists use wikipedia for example, there are derivations of exotic formulae out there you will hardly find anywhere else. But they will make pretty sure the statements there are double-checked (working the calculations you find out by yourself is the best way here).

Re:So where is the problem? (2, Insightful)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648993)

If Yahoo answers doesn't let them cheat all that well, than why is there a problem?
Because the students are learning things which are incorrect. They're going through life not only ignorant, but actually misinformed.

The student who did the proper research still gets a passing grade, and the student who tried to 'cheat' did suffers for it.
This will sound like heresy to many, but there *are* things in life which matter more than grades. Things like level of knowledge and understanding, which aren't really reflected by grades.

Is Yahoo Answers Reliable? (5, Funny)

mbulge (1004558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648231)

Why not just go to the source?

According to Yahoo Answers:

Resolved Question: Is Yahoo Answers reliable?

Best Answer: No way.

But then again it could be wrong. You can hardly trust something you read on that site.

Re:Is Yahoo Answers Reliable? (4, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648415)

That's probably going to get deleted. In case you didn't notice from the Yahoo Answers ToS:

(4) You agree not to pose any Gödelian [wikipedia.org] self-referential questions ...

Re:Is Yahoo Answers Reliable? (1)

the-ambiguity (1023553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649199)

You can view this for yourself here [yahoo.com] . There are 172 answers to the question Is Yahoo Answers reliable? [yahoo.com]

Reference what? (1)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648241)

I never got from the article (which for some inexplicable reason is linked to page 2, once again nice job editors.) what it has to do with reference librarians. TFA makes a good point that wikipedia has a definite leg up on yahoo answers in terms of accuracy. It also makes it pretty clear that isn't saying much. But do people really expect accuracy from a social-ask-and-answer site? IF some kid were to use this page as a reference and somehow cite it properly, I think it could lead to a good lesson for the student on how to judge the credibility of a web page. Assuming the underpaid, overworked public school teacher bothered to take such an opportunity.

fwiw yahoo answers isn't bad for opinion type questions like "what should i serve with my pot roast this holiday dinner" or something like that. it's not exactly a source of real expertise on anything of a factual nature, and anyone who treats it as such will get what they deserve.

Why, they might as well use a moderated forum (3, Funny)

justsomecomputerguy (545196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648243)

where members can "score" the comments of others... Nah, it'd never work. Sure to collapse from its own inbred weight in MUCH LESS than a decade...

Approach (4, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648251)

Ok, like many of you when I was in school researching something I'd wander over to the card catalogue and find several books from different authors / publishers, absorb the relevant data from them and draw conclusions on correlated data that was supported by most of my references. How did I know the data in those books was correct? Often, they cited the same piece of work or research (usually unavailable to my library), so in a lot of cases even though I had different perspectives on a given topic I couldn't be 100% sure that the information presented there was correct, all I really had with my bibliography was the unspoken assurance that several publishers and authors weren't trying to trick me into believing something.

Now-a-days Google is my card catalogue, Wikis and Answer sites are my reference material. I hold information I cull from the internet with the same amount of trust as the books I used to use. I'm not sure if I first heard it in high school or not but the same rule applies to both:

Check your references before you even begin to draw conclusions.

Re:Approach (2, Insightful)

tilandal (1004811) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648865)

That is of course total bull. For a book to show up at your library several things had to occur. #1) The author must have taken the time (ie money) to write the book. #2) The editor must have gone through the book. #3) A publisher must have thought that the book had enough merit to print. #4) A librarian must have thought that the book had enough merit to buy. By the time the book got into your hands it has been vetted at least 3 times. Maybe it has not been throughly researched but you can be assured that at least someone thinks that the book is worthwhile. A book in your local library has just a smidge more credibility then a random guy on a message board.

Re:Approach (1)

jesdynf (42915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649185)

Of Pandas And People can be found in school libraries too, you know.

blame the 'tools' not the tools (2, Insightful)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648259)

All these types of stories make it as if there weren't unreliable sources prior to the current digital information age. Whatever happened to teaching students about how to use sources?

Re:blame the 'tools' not the tools (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649191)

If you cut and paste from a book you have to either type it yourself, or else really cut and paste the page. Taking it from the interweb is so much easier.

Good Enough for College (1)

Bruha (412869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648287)

I've cited Wikipedia almost exclusively in my college classes. I've never had an instructor say anything negative about it and most times I'm dinged for formatting issues rather than the content or sources of information.

Re:Good Enough for College (2, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648473)

Do you get your diploma by mail, with full credit for "life experience"?

Or does your college have the word "community" in the title?

Re:Good Enough for College (1)

rjh (40933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648477)

You have never had me as an instructor.

Here (the University of Iowa's [uiowa.edu] Department of Computer Science [uiowa.edu] ), the general policy is that Wikipedia is not an academic reference and citing it will get you dinged hard. Reading the Wiki is fine, but you have to go to print media for citations--even preprints of journal articles are considered suspect and only accepted grudgingly.

In my experience talking to people at various institutions, very few places accept Wikipedia as a reference. I would suggest that you talk to your professors and ask them outright whether Wikipedia is an accepted reference in the department. It may prevent some unpleasant surprises in the future.

Re:Good Enough for College (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648913)

define print media

Does that really mean peer reviewed journals? Because you can find just about anything in print claimed as fact.

On the other hand, as i recall from prehistoric times, most teachers wanted 3 sources or some such thing. That would seem to leave out JUST referencing wikipedia. Do they not want that anymore? Or are the others right and his school is a tad underwhelming?

The idea was that if 3 sources agree you are probably golden, if the 1st 3 don't agree you are going to have to keep digging and learn to resolve it. Accepting ANY single source sounds kinda lame. I would take Wikipedia as a source but almost nothing as a SOLE source.

Re:Good Enough for College (2, Insightful)

SixFactor (1052912) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648557)

I'd like to know what college you attend, as well as your major, so I can steer my kids away from said institution/field of study.

Thanks!

good enough for Fry (1)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648739)

"Good Old Coney Island College - Go Whitefish!"

Re:Good Enough for College (1)

tcolberg (998885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648745)

At UCLA, the nearly every professor would announce, concurrent with announcing essay assignments, their disapproval (and occasional hatred) for Wikipedia.

Re:Good Enough for College (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648785)

Christ, as others have said please tell us where you went to school so we can avoid it like the plague. Even my middle school wouldn't accept wikipedia or any other encyclopedia as a source. The point of encyclopedias is to use them as a starting point not as an actual source of information. Actually I can't remember writing a paper where wikipedia would have been of any use as a source given how it provides so little in-depth information.

Re:Good Enough for College (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649005)

I never noticed wikipedia had so much information about clowning [wikipedia.org] .

just like any resource, useless if improperly used (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648301)

most of the 'kids' we deal with are only able to learn something if it shows up on IM, Itunes, or comes in a text message on their phone. looking up stuff for school is an annoying inconvenience for them. fortunately, it would appear that the creators have taken their plight/lack of training, into account.

for the rest of us 'adults', it might be a little different.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

now there's something worth looking into. if it were good for us, someone would be bragging about it.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption.

fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way

do not be afraid/dismayed, it is the way it was meant to be.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected.

after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit?

for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way), there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven.

no need to fret (unless you're associated/joined at the hype with, unprecedented evile), it's all just a part of the creators' wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

or, is it (literally) ground hog (as in dead meat) day, again? many of US are obviously not interested in/aware of how we appear (which is whoreabull) from the other side of the 'lens', or even from across the oceans.

vote with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

I'm a librarian, and my worst nightmare is: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648357)

Margaret Thatcher wearing nothing but a thin layer of whipped cream.

Re:I'm a librarian, and my worst nightmare is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648431)

true, librarians prefer honey.

Re:I'm a librarian, and my worst nightmare is: (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649171)

Worse. You wake up and find that she's only half covered in whipped cream.

Slashdot is more reliable... (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648373)

as a "information" site.

I've never came across "Yahoo! answers", but what's the difference between that and a forum somewhere in a desolate place?

It reminds me at some bar, where I've never been other then in my imagination, in a inbred town where the town wiseman explains how the stars are actually firework that was shot too high while everyone nods enlightened.

Goddammit, Page 2? (1)

colourmyeyes (1028804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648375)

Why is the link to the second page of TFA? Some of us like to read things in order.

Maybe I'm just rammy today.

Tag it "badlink" then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648569)

If the link is bad, tag it as such. Whining gets pushed too far down by moderation and early-thread replies.

More reliable sources. (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648387)

Take my word for it--no one is going to make any such claims about Yahoo! Answers any time soon.

I prefer to get my answers from a more reliable source:
a more reliable source [yahoo.com]

Freedom of speech, a librarian's worst nightmare (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648395)

So, should we tremble and fear the end of civilization whenever people gather and discuss opinions contrary to modern science? I think this has been tried in Galileo Galilei's times. People will always hold absurd, irrational, uninformed believes and try to spread them to others. Just the other day I had a work mailing list argument with a firm believer in homeopathy. After hearing how 30C onion extract repeatedly cured his cold, I offered to rid the humanity of this disease once and for all by dropping a bag of onions into the ocean to achieve a rather more concentrated dilution. He actually retorted that I do not have the knowledge to use magic that homeopathic doctors add to the bottles!

But if we silence or ridicule all crackpot-sounding talk, we will also miss many cases where apparently outrageous stuff turns out to be true. Like prisoner torture in Iraq, global warming, or the news that the Earth rotates around the Sun. Just recently scientific studies confirmed that acupuncture works a bit better than homeopathy.

Re:Freedom of speech, a librarian's worst nightmar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21648863)

> So, should we tremble and fear the end of civilization whenever people gather and discuss opinions contrary to modern science?

Fear the end of SANE and RATIONAL civilization, yes. If you enjoy living in a fear-dominated theocracy without prescription eyewear, antibiotics, computers, airplanes, reliable crop production, painkillers in dentistry, ER doctors, moving pictures, telephones, recorded and secular music, running hot and cold potable water, and freedom to discuss unpopular viewpoints without being burned at the stake, then perhaps science isn't for you.

Common Sense Please? (1)

notorious ninja (1137913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648437)

I thought Yahoo answers was mostly people asking non-factual questions, like advice or homework help... it's the equivalent to asking a random group of people off the street a question. Does anyone really think of it as an encyclopedia??? I sure hope not!

I think you're obscuring the point. (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648485)

In the last two years, there's been a heated debate over whether Wikipedia is as trustworthy as Encyclopedia Britannica. This obscures a crucial point: Wikipedia is at least reliable enough that such a question can be asked.

I think Wikipedia is compared to Britannica because Wikipedia claims to be an encyclopedia. Yahoo! Answers makes no such claim and that is the reason a comparison between Yahoo! Answers and Britannica has not and will not be made. Yahoo! Answers does not claim to be anything more than it is: a chance to "ask the audience."

How to stop that nightmare: (1)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648529)

>While this may be a great insight into crowd mentality and search preferences, it seems to
>be a "complete disaster as a traditional reference tool."

So, since we all agree that "traditional reference tools" are of such a great value, and do promote science and useful arts, we have to prevent modern technology making them and the librarians business model obsolete. Lets create a new kind of right, lets call it libraryright ©, to "protect" the librarys and librarians and their hard work from being cowardly stolen. Who is with me?

Re:How to stop that nightmare: (1)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648617)

(damn, hit the send button too early):

>While this may be a great insight into crowd mentality and search preferences, it seems to
>be a "complete disaster as a traditional reference tool."

So, since we all agree that "traditional reference tools" are of such a great value, and do promote science and useful arts, we have to prevent modern technology making them and the librarians business model obsolete. Lets create a new kind of right, lets call it libraryright ©, to "protect" the librarys and librarians and their hard work from being cowardly stolen by people answering each others questions in direct P2P darknets. The LIAA (Library industry association of America) numbers losses for the US econony in the millions and lost jobs in the hundreds of thousands. Libraryright theft JUST MUST STOP! Wh o is with me?

Now you tell me... (5, Funny)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648559)

I looked up how to open a pomegranate on Yahoo! Answers and ended up giving my two-year-old a lobotomy. Great.

I disagree and I'll tell you why (1)

Lawr1984 (1186669) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648585)

As I've been saying [interfete-evoluate.com] , Wikipedia is much better than Yahoo answers. Much, much better.

Simple Mathematics (2, Interesting)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648607)

Did any one do the math when they criticized on-line resources? It takes all of 3 ms to get thousands of possible answers to a question with an online search tool. Back in my undergrad days, if I needed to know something, it was 45 minutes before I could get to the library, get a stack of books and search the text myself. This type of inefficiency is mind-boggling these days. I'm almost 40 now, have all the requisite advanced degrees, and am pulling a damn good salary at one of the world's finest educational universities--so I think I am in a position to say with some authority what is intellectually lazy and what is not in terms of researching facts. So, let me declare unambiguously that using google, wikipedia, and yahoo makes good-old-fashion sense. (Kids: don't listen to the fogies--they are bitter about their wasted youth, etc.)

As a matter of fact, I put this philosophy to practice because I've been inside a library for research exactly once in the last five years.

Stupid question deserves a stupid answer (4, Interesting)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648619)

Maybe if students are cheating off of Yahoo and Wikipedia, teachers aren't asking students challenging questions. In essence, they are asking 'fill in the blank', 'short answer', or 'multiple choice' questions that are easy to snag off an encyclopedic site. Instead of complaining about how such sites produce intellectual laggards, maybe we should think of how they can be used to enhance some complex thought process and their practical limitations. For instance, a teacher could ask a student to solve some physics question specialized for the class that involves more than one algorithm to solve. That would make it harder to google if the student doesn't understand the problem and know where to look. If they understand it, find a ready made solution, and apply it, then they should get some credit (more so if they cite their source). It's not enough that we want children with critical thinking skills. It's also important to have teachers with critical think skills as well. Otherwise, it's kind of moot when the students are more resourceful than the teacher.

Actual Yahoo! Questions (5, Funny)

Squiffy (242681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648639)

Here are some actual questions I've collected from Yahoo! Answers over time:

- What is the best way to hint to your parents that you are pregnant?
- How do my mum and dad want to renew my wedding vow?
- Do lesbian cheerleaders really exist?
- How powerful does a telescope have to be to see the moon?
- How can I master the art of Levitation?
- Swimming at the waterslides and have to pee really bad... What to do??
- My BODY is my own ENEMY? WHAT would you do if YOU were IN my POSITION?
- What kind of shampoo does Ozzy Osbourne use?
- My nipples are wierd???!!?
- Is it true if you put blood in someones food they will go crazy?
- How many years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds are in 200300 if you divide it by 360?
- Do female animals have G Spot?
- Unfortunately, I have very little common sense.
- Is there a way to make my nostrils bigger without surgery?
- Do mice really explode???
- Automatic toilets scare me. Am I alone?

What is truth? (1)

AskMeLater (688831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648647)

Man,

What is truth? What is fact? What is reality? Do we know the things that we know?

We are all blind!

Can I just point out (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648657)

That the answers in Yahoo Answers were mostly created by hormonal twelve year olds and as such are complete utter bollocks.

Get this. The person choosing the "best" answer is the same person who doesn't have a fucking clue and had to ask the question in the first place. I have no idea who thought that was a good idea, but I think they should get a medal for "The most ironic contribution to world knowledge".
 

Re:Can I just point out (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648733)

God, you have totally summed up my experiences with Yahoo answers. The uninformed answering questions posed by the totally lost... what a great tool!

WOW They found that on there own? (1)

terrible76 (855014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648675)

It took me three years and monthly training to teach most of the Librarians how to use tabs in Firefox. How did they find Yahoo Answers???

Here's the entire article (1)

Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648681)

Why did the summary link to just the second page of a two page article? Here's the full article on one page [slate.com] .

The contrast with Google Answers is remarkable (2, Interesting)

AviN (9933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648701)

Yahoo! Answers is a remarkably bad place to obtain reliable information. There are exceptions, but the website consists mostly of people asking stupid questions and other people providing stupid answers.

For a brief period of time, I answered a few questions on Yahoo! Answers with answers that were correct, comprehensive, and included sources for its claims. Yet I found that often, the person asking the question or other readers would choose or vote another person's comically poor answer as the "Best Answer" instead.

Google had a similar service named Google Answers that Google shut down a few years ago:

http://answers.google.com/ [google.com]

All the people answering questions ("researchers") were screened and approved by Google. Google Answers required the person asking the question to pay a fee (usually a small one), most of which went to the researcher answering the question.

The quality of both questions and especially answers tended to be quite good. The contrast between Google Answers and Yahoo! Answers is quite remarkable. It is a shame Google decided to shut down Google Answers. (You can still questions asked before the shut down, but cannot ask new questions.)

They need to do way instain mother (4, Funny)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648711)

They need to do way instain mother> who kill thier babbys. becuse these babby cant frigth back?
it was on the news this mroing a mother in ar who had kill her three
kids. they are taking the three babby back to new york to lady to rest
my pary are with the father who lost his chrilden ; i am truley sorry for your lots

Anyone who reads somethingawful's weekend web should know how good Yahoo Answers is as a source of information... [somethingawful.com]

Best to learn by experience? (4, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648715)

Let me play devil's advocate here:

Suppose you're a teacher or librarian....
  • Don't explicitly ban the use of Yahoo Answers or Wikipedia, but do make sure to ruthlessly demand that sources are cited.
  • When they do use Yahoo or Wikipedia, and come up with a blatantly incorrect bit, or don't cite any other sources whatsoever, come down hard, and fail their sorry asses on that paper.
  • Student learns valuable lesson, and learns to be generally skeptical of whatever they read from *any* source. Wikipedia, Britannica, and The New York Times are all rife with errors. With any luck, this will be one of the few things said student will remember long after he's done with your class.
  • If the student learns from his mistake, and you're a decent human being, offer to drop the bad grade at the end of the term. Learning from mistakes is an integral part of education, and if the student has demonstrated to indeed have learned the lesson, don't punish him for it!


The more skeptical the students are, and the more they learn to think on their own, the better --- a truly great teacher will also encourage students to be skeptical of his lectures.

I had a university professor who would intentionally make two subtle errors in derivations during Physics lectures that would cancel each other out, resulting in the correct solution at the end of the derivation.

He'd mention in the next lecture that there were two such "mistakes" in the previous day's lecture, and would then assign a problem set that explicitly depended upon those two mistakes not being there. At the time, we hated him for it, but it was an absolutely fantastic way of making us learn the material through and through, and taught us to think on our own, rather than rote transcription of whatever was written on the board.

Oh! The irony... (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21648945)

> Take my word for it--no one is going to make any such claims about Yahoo! Answers any time soon.

Plato: Writing vs. Memorization (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21649205)

"For educators fretting that the Internet is creating a generation of 'intellectual sluggards' ..."

Plato lamented how the invention of writing caused men to lose the ability -- formerly widespread, and held in great esteem -- to memorize tens of thousands of lines of verse (e.g. Homer's Iliad).

The invention of the pocket calculator, and its subsequent widespread use in classrooms, raised similar complaints among math teachers in the 1970's.

Every generation raises children conversant with the technologies of the day.

-kgj
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