Everyone Knows Something April 25, 2008 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Users of Yahoo Answers seek advice, opinion, expertise

The knowledge shared in Yahoo Answers is very broad in several senses, but generally not very deep, the study shows.

The U-M researchers discovered the formula for getting an answer chosen as the best. Users who specialized in answering questions in one particular technical category and gave longer answers tended to have theirs chosen as best more often.

"Askers prefer longer replies, whether it is a question about marriage, wrestling or science," Adamic said.


The full paper (PDF).
posted by curse to MetaFilter-Related at 11:02 AM (50 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

"There are gobs and gobs of useful information on the web," said Lada Adamic, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Information

And then there are gobs.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:09 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Users of Yahoo Answers seek...expertise

Yeah. Good luck with that.
posted by dersins at 11:09 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sweet! I love gobs. And GOB.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 11:14 AM on April 25, 2008


From their conclusions: By democratizing knowledge sharing, YA has accomplished a large feat - everyone knows something, and through our analysis, we know that many know even several things and can share them on YA.

Humans know things, sometimes several things. Fascinating.
posted by pwally at 11:14 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, just sometimes, the correct and helpful answer to a question might actually be "u r gay". Not very often though.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on April 25, 2008 [12 favorites]


Their study is called "Knowledge sharing and Yahoo Answers: Everybody knows how babby is formed."
posted by ND¢ at 11:18 AM on April 25, 2008 [13 favorites]


You think the guy in the $3400 suit cares about gobs? C'MON!
posted by mullacc at 11:21 AM on April 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


...but where did the lighter fluid come from?
posted by porn in the woods at 11:23 AM on April 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


As much as I hate navel gazing, how can someone not know about AskMetafilter? Even on it's worst day, AskMe is light years ahead of what I've seen offered anywhere else.

Oh wait:

With approximately 23 million resolved questions in the system at the time of this study, Yahoo Answers is by far the largest English-language site devoted to questions and answers.

Quantity, not quality. Got it. Throw enough shit against the wall and some of it will stick....

The U-M researchers discovered the formula for getting an answer chosen as the best. Users who specialized in answering questions in one particular technical category and gave longer answers tended to have theirs chosen as best more often.


..but length does count.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:23 AM on April 25, 2008


previously.
posted by needled at 11:27 AM on April 25, 2008


I know it's great to slam Yahoo Answers, and even I'm guilty of doing it, but I have on occasion seen answers there which are every bit as good and useful as a researched, thoughtful, and well-formed AskMe answer. Of course, that situation does tend to be more the exception than the rule.
posted by mdevore at 11:28 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, um, word is (at least from librarians that I've talked to) that the U of M school of information tends to turn out a lot of this specious research, and that it isn't very highly regarded within the field.
posted by klangklangston at 11:30 AM on April 25, 2008


I've done my own analysis which I think is more illuminating.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:31 AM on April 25, 2008


Q: how babby is formed?

A: I think, but I cannot be certain, that when a man loves a woman he becomes aroused which causes his penis to become engorged (filled with blood). The man then offers to take the woman out for a light meal (Thai food) and see a local band. They discuss poetry, clothing and the latest American Idol episode. Nine months later, the womans stomach is filled with babee!!

A: LOL!!11 YER GAYZ!!

A: OH MAN U RUBBIN TEH WEINERS ON A LADY,,DUH?!!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:33 AM on April 25, 2008 [13 favorites]


Ha! Pastabagel that was awesome (man I miss so much here *sniff-sniff*)
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:34 AM on April 25, 2008


WWW2008 conference in Beijing? How does that work with the Great Firewall?
posted by By The Grace of God at 11:36 AM on April 25, 2008


this was on the news this mroing. i am truley sorry for your lots
posted by ALongDecember at 11:38 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, it took me to age 20 before I knew that Whoopie Pies were not well-known outside northern New England. And today, at age 26, I find out that some people DO know what they are, but they call them gobs.

So I learned something from this.
posted by lampoil at 11:40 AM on April 25, 2008


Yeah, their conclusion isn't particularly mind-blowing:

However, the YA participants believe this is
knowledge, and they are certainly exchanging it.

posted by curse at 11:42 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


WTF did you just call that moon pie, lampoil?
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:56 AM on April 25, 2008


As much as I hate navel gazing

Why, KevinSkomsvold, Why?!
posted by Navelgazer at 11:59 AM on April 25, 2008


What? A moon pie is totally different from a whoopie pie. A gob looks exactly the same as a whoopie pie, to me.

A moon pie is more like a scooter pie.

I like this quote from the moon pie wiki page: "In New England, a similar item is known as a "Whoopie Pie," though chocolate cakes are used instead of graham crackers, the pastry is not dipped in chocolate and the filling is sweet cake icing and not marshmallow cream."

In other words, a whoopie pie is similar to a moon pie except that every single element is something completely different.

Another similar item is a ham sandwich.
posted by lampoil at 12:13 PM on April 25, 2008 [12 favorites]


That's the definition propagated Moon Pie™ the bastards that stole my grandma's recipe and then fucked it all up.
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:17 PM on April 25, 2008


The banana-flavored Moon Pies are the best. Especially after 15 seconds in the microwave.
posted by sciurus at 12:30 PM on April 25, 2008


Ah, I see. Then I guess in your case, a moon pie is similar to a Moon Pie except that every single element is something completely different.

Both delicious, though, if you ask me. In their own way. I mean, Scooter Pies (as they are known where I come from) are delicious in a "this tastes vaguely like squishy cardboard but somehow I like it!" way, but still.
posted by lampoil at 12:34 PM on April 25, 2008


Sweet! I love gobs. And GOB.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 2:14 PM on April 25 [+] [!]


Also, yes, they are called Whoopie Pies here in New England, and they sell them at Mobil and Cumberland Farms, among other places. I ate one 2 weeks ago from a local shop and almost went into sugar shock.

And now I am tempted to eat one again. My hips thank you, tlbs.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 12:36 PM on April 25, 2008


Users of Yahoo Answers seek advice, opinion, expertise

"... love conversation, long walks in the park, and asking other idiots questions that illustrate strikingly the current decrepitude of the polity's intellectual capacity. A joyfully clueless attitude and the ability to elicit 'why the hell would someone take the time to type that shit and click submit?' responses a plus."
posted by Viomeda at 12:39 PM on April 25, 2008


Sometimes, just sometimes, the correct and helpful answer to a question might actually be "u r gay". Not very often though.

I have a friend who is attracted to men, and I want to help him accept himself while writing him a text message. I don't have much time. Any suggestions?

My friend Uriah Reginald Gay is having his business cards printed this week, and he feels his full name is too ungainly to be printed on his cards. Any ideas? Oh, and his cards are the size of quarters.

I'm working on a word puzzle, and I have to fill in the blanks to identify a South American country. Right now, it reads _ _ U_U_ _. What are the missing letters?
posted by Bookhouse at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2008 [89 favorites]


Navelgazer: "As much as I hate navel gazing

Why, KevinSkomsvold, Why?!
"

You spelled my name right. I don't hate you.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:52 PM on April 25, 2008


Sweet! I love gobs. And GOB.

Selfish MeFi.

Selfish, selfish MeFi.
posted by Shepherd at 1:05 PM on April 25, 2008


Oh, "Metafilter-related." You poor, poor, misused classification. Even the goatse.cx guy thinks you're stretched to include just about everything. If only you had a little more self-respect and stood up for yourself... even though the articles linked in your name might not even mention Metafilter, they still take you up, like a cheap floozy, and have their wanton way with you. When will they respect you? When will they learn that just because another site provides answers to questions, or just because another site displays its pages in html, that you don't necessarily cover that?
posted by Dave Faris at 1:15 PM on April 25, 2008


Yahoo Answers: "generally not very deep"
posted by loiseau at 1:23 PM on April 25, 2008


Moon pies are delicious, and should really be enjoyed with RC cola.

What are those moon pie knock-offs from Philly? They suck.
posted by klangklangston at 2:14 PM on April 25, 2008


An RC Cola and a Moon Pie, biscuits and gravy, eggs and grits for breakfast, barbecue for dinner—life doesn't get much better than that.
posted by languagehat at 2:49 PM on April 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, yes, they are called Whoopie Pies here in New England, and they sell them at Mobil and Cumberland Farms, among other places. I ate one 2 weeks ago from a local shop and almost went into sugar shock.

Jeezy Creezy, I hope those 'other places' are real bakeries - the stuff at Cumby's (and the like), while sugary and all, is like calling Cisco wine. Technically true, but...
posted by pupdog at 4:28 PM on April 25, 2008


Did you hear that Yahoo Answers (YA) is going to merge with Ask Metafilter (AM)? It's going to be called I Yam What I Yam.
posted by lukemeister at 6:25 PM on April 25, 2008


"An RC Cola and a Moon Pie, biscuits and gravy, eggs and grits for breakfast, barbecue for dinner—life doesn't get much better than that."

You can figure out exactly my Southerner Quotient by noting that I love moon pies and RC Cola (it's my favorite cola, honestly), but hate grits, both hominy and regular. I love biscuits, but as a life-long vegetarian, have never had a proper gravy.
posted by klangklangston at 6:34 PM on April 25, 2008


I love RC Cola even more since I found out that some people hate it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:44 PM on April 25, 2008


I love biscuits, but as a life-long vegetarian, have never had a proper gravy.

Growing up in the Ozarks, I had a friend whose whole family was vegetarian, and they made the saddest biscuits and gravy in the world. Surely there's some great vegetarian biscuits in gravy in the world (mushroom and the like), but this was just sausage gravy minus the sausage. It called for lots of salt and pepper. Lots.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:22 PM on April 25, 2008


Bookhouse: Sometimes, just sometimes, the correct and helpful answer to a question might actually be "u r gay". Not very often though.

Maybe someone should build a Yahoo Answers Jeopardy site. Random Answers scraped from Yahoo with an invitation to devise corresponding questions.
posted by normy at 7:26 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


The traditional country store lunch is a can of sardines with crackers, a Moon Pie, and an RC Cola.
posted by bigmusic at 9:21 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Weird, people don't know about whoopie pies? Come to think about it, the only time I've ever seen them has been when I lived in New England. This is a very illuminating MeTa thread for me.
posted by SassHat at 10:28 PM on April 25, 2008

Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. They're one of Maine's best known and most loved comfort foods. Mainers will even claim that they were weaned on whoopie pies. In Maine, these treats are more like a cake than a pie or a cookie, as they are very generously sized (about hamburger size). They're so huge that you'll want to share one with a friend. A big glass of milk is almost mandatory when eating a whoopie pie.

A whoopie pie is like a sandwich, but made with two soft cookies with a fluffy white filling. Traditional whoopies pies are made with vegetable shortening, not butter. The original and most commonly made whoopie pie is chocolate, but cooks like to experiment, and today pumpkin whoopie pies are a favorite seasonal variation.

The recipe for whoopie pies has its origins with the Amish, and in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, it is not uncommon to find roadside farm stands offering these desserts. Amish cooking is about old recipes that have fed families for generations, with no trendy or cross-cultural fusions or mixtures. These cake-like whoopie pies were considered a special treat because they were originally made from leftover batter. According to Amish legend, when children would find these treats in their lunch bags, they would shout ‘Whoopie!’

The question of how the Amish dessert got to be so popular in New England probably is addressed in a 1930s cookbook called Yummy Book [PDF] by the Durkee Mower Company, the manufacturer of Marshmallow Fluff. In this New England cookbook, a recipe for Amish Whoopie Pie was featured using Marshmallow Fluff in the filling.” *
posted by ericb at 10:53 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


They're so huge that you'll want to share one with a friend.

HA! Fat chance.

And we use Marshmallow Fluff for a lot of things (most deliciously, and teeth-rottingly, peanut butter fudge), but not whoopie pies as I know them.
posted by lampoil at 5:45 AM on April 26, 2008


but hate grits, both hominy and regular.

You hate grits? You hate grits??

*too manly to cry, so shoots a varmint instead*
posted by languagehat at 6:48 AM on April 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


The knowledge shared in Yahoo Answers is very broad in several senses, but generally not very deep, the study shows.

Our suspicions have finally been confirmed. And I'm quoting SCIENCE.
posted by ersatz at 7:30 AM on April 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


KevinSkomsvold: "And then there are gobs."
Gobbin' On Life
posted by meehawl at 9:10 AM on April 26, 2008


"You hate grits? You hate grits??"

Hashbrowns are superior in every way.
posted by klangklangston at 11:30 AM on April 26, 2008


"Whoopie pies"? Worst name ever. Nice going, Amish people.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 1:44 PM on April 26, 2008


They used to sell Fluff at Albertson's supermarket, but now Albertson's has shut down their Austin operations. Sometimes is Target my wife (from California) will say, "Ooh, look hon! They sell Fluff at Target!" and point to the Kraft Marshmallow Topping. I quietly wander over and pretend to look at the $5.00 DVD's, my back to her, hoping she can't see my tears of shame and rage...
posted by dirtdirt at 3:37 PM on April 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


« Older Should or shouldn't   |   But I don't even like this post! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments