Narrative Essay Wiki Answers Community

For other uses, see Question (disambiguation). To ask questions about Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Questions.

There are these four ways of answering questions. Which four? There are questions that should be answered categorically [straightforwardly yes, no, this, that]. There are questions that should be answered with an analytical (qualified) answer [defining or redefining the terms]. There are questions that should be answered with a counter-question. There are questions that should be put aside. These are the four ways of answering questions.
— Buddha, Sutta Pitaka[1]

A question is a linguistic expression used to make a request for information, or the request made using such an expression. The information requested is provided in the form of an answer.

Questions have developed a range of uses that go beyond the simple eliciting of information from another party. Rhetorical questions, for example, are used to make a point, and are not expected to be answered. Many languages have special grammatical forms for questions (for example, in the English sentence "Are you happy?", the inversion of the subject you and the verb are shows it to be a question rather than a statement). However, questions can also be asked without using these interrogative grammatical structures – for example one may use an imperative, as in "Tell me your name".


The principal use of questions is to elicit information from the person being addressed by indicating the information which the speaker (or writer) desires. However, questions can also be used for a number of other purposes. Questions may be asked for the purpose of testing someone's knowledge, as in a quiz or examination. Raising a question may guide the questioner along an avenue of research (see Socratic method).

A research question is an interrogative statement that manifests the objective or line of scholarly or scientific inquiry designed to address a specific gap in knowledge. Research questions are expressed in a language that is appropriate for the academic community that has the greatest interest in answers that would address said gap. These interrogative statements serve as launching points for the academic pursuit of new knowledge by directing and delimiting an investigation of a topic, a set of studies, or an entire program of research.

A rhetorical question is asked to make a point[disambiguation needed], and does not expect an answer (often the answer is implied or obvious). Some questions are used principally as polite requests, as with "Would you pass the salt?"

Pre-suppositional or loaded questions, such as "Have you stopped beating your wife?" may be used as a joke or to embarrass an audience, because any answer a person could give would imply more information than he was willing to affirm.

Questions can also be used as titles of works of literature, art and scholarship. Examples include Leo Tolstoy's short story How Much Land Does a Man Need?, the painting And When Did You Last See Your Father?, the movie What About Bob?, and the academic work Who Asked the First Question?

By purpose[edit]

Various categorizations of questions have been proposed.[by whom?] With regard to research projects, one system distinguishes:[2]

  • descriptive questions, used primarily with the aim of describing the existence of some thing or process
  • relational questions, designed to look at the relationships between two or more variables
  • causal questions, designed to determine whether certain variables affect one or more outcome variables

For the purpose of surveys, one type of question asked is the closed-ended (also closed or dichotomous) question, usually requiring a yes/no answer or the choice of an option(s) from a list (see also multiple choice). There are also nominal questions, designed to inquire about a level of quantitative measure, usually making connections between a number and a concept (as in "1 = Moderate; 2 = Severe; 3 = ...").[3]Open-ended or open questions give the respondent greater freedom to provide information or opinions on a topic. (The distinction between closed and open questions is applied in a variety of other contexts too, such as job interviewing.) Surveys also often contain qualifying questions (also called filter questions or contingency questions), which serve to determine whether the respondent needs to continue on to answer subsequent questions.

Some types of questions that may be used in an educational context are listed in Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives. These include questions designed to test and promote:

  • Knowledge: Who, what, when, where, why, how . . . ? Describe . . . ?
  • Comprehension: Retell . . . 
  • Application: How is . . . an example of . . . ?; How is . . . related to . . . ?; Why is . . . significant?
  • Analysis: What are the parts or features of . . . ? Classify . . . according to . . . ;
  • Synthesis: What would you infer from . . . ? What ideas can you add to . . . ? How would you design a new . . . ? What would happen if you combined . . . ? What solutions would you suggest for . . . ?
  • Evaluation: Do you agree that . . . ? What do you think about . . . ? What is the most important . . . ? Place the following in order of priority . . . ? How would you decide about . . . ? What criteria would you use to assess . . . ? [4]

McKenzie's "Questioning Toolkit"[5] lists 17 types of questions, and suggests that thinkers need to orchestrate and combine these types.[6] Examples of these question types include the irreverent question, the apparently irrelevant question, the hypothetical question and the unanswerable question. Questions can also be infelicitous, being based on incorrect and illogical premises (e.g. "Why do cats have green wings?").

Strategic studies also took into consideration the questioning process. In Humint (Human Intelligence), a taxonomy of questions includes:

  • Direct questions: basic questions normally beginning with an interrogative (who, what, where, when, how, or why) and requiring a narrative answer. They are brief, precise, and simply worded to avoid confusion.
  • Initial questions: directed toward obtaining the basic information on the topic. In other words, they are the “who, what, where, when, how, and why” of each topic.
  • Follow-up questions: used to expand on and complete the information obtained from the initial questions.
  • Nonpertinent questions: questions that do not pertain to the collection objectives. They are used to conceal the collection objectives or to strengthen rapport with the source.
  • Repeat questions: ask the source for the same information obtained in response to earlier questions.
  • Control questions: developed from recently confirmed information from other sources that is not likely to have changed.
  • Prepared questions developed by the HUMINT collector, normally in writing, prior to the questioning.
  • Prepared questions: used primarily when dealing with information of a technical nature or specific topic.
  • Negative questions: questions that contain a negative word in the question itself such as, "Didn’t you go to the pick-up point?”
  • Compound questions: consist of two questions asked at the same time; for example, “Where were you going after work and who were you to meet there?”
  • Vague questions: do not have enough information for the source to understand exactly what the HUMINT collector is asking. They may be incomplete, general, or otherwise nonspecific.
  • Elicitation: is the gaining of information through direct interaction with a human source where the source is not aware of the specific purpose for the conversation.[7]

By grammatical form [edit]

Questions that ask whether or not some statement is true are called yes–no questions (or polar questions, or general questions[8]), since they can in principle be answered by a "yes" or "no" (or similar words or expressions in other languages). Examples include "Do you take sugar?", "Should they be believed?" and "Am I the loneliest person in the world?"

A type of question that is similar in form to a yes–no question, but is not intended to be answered with a "yes" or "no", is the alternative question[9] (or choice question). This presents two or more alternative answers, as in "Do you want fish or lamb?", or "Are you supporting England, Ireland or Wales?" The expected response is one of the alternatives, or some other indication such as "both" or "neither" (questionnaire forms sometimes contain an option "none of the above" or similar for such questions). Because of their similarity in form to yes–no questions, they may sometimes be answered "yes" or "no", possibly humorously or as a result of misunderstanding.

The other main type of question (other than yes–no questions) is those called wh-questions (or non-polar questions, or special questions[8]). These use interrogative words (wh-words) such as when, which, who, how, etc. to specify the information that is desired. (In some languages the formation of such questions may involve wh-movement – see the section below for grammatical description.) The name derives from the fact that most of the English interrogative words (with the exception of how) begin with the letters wh. These are the types of question sometimes referred to in journalism and other investigative contexts as the Five Ws.

Tag questions are a grammatical structure in which a declarative statement or an imperative is turned into a question by adding an interrogative fragment (the "tag"), such as right in "You remembered the eggs, right?", or isn't it in "It's cold today, isn't it?" Tag questions may or may not be answerable with a yes or no.

As well as direct questions (such as Where are my keys?), there also exist indirect questions (also called interrogative content clauses), such as where my keys are. These are used as subordinate clauses in sentences such as "I wonder where my keys are" and "Ask him where my keys are." Indirect questions do not necessarily follow the same rules of grammar as direct questions.[10] For example, in English and some other languages, indirect questions are formed without inversion of subject and verb (compare the word order in "where are they?" and "(I wonder) where they are"). Indirect questions may also be subject to the changes of tense and other changes that apply generally to indirect speech.


Main article: Interrogative

Languages may use both syntax and prosody to distinguish interrogative sentences (which pose questions) from declarative sentences (which state propositions). Syntax refers to grammatical changes, such as moving words around or adding question words; prosody refers here to changes in intonation while speaking.

In English, German, French and various other languages, questions are marked by a distinct word order featuring inversion – the subject is placed after the verb rather than before it: "You are cold" becomes "Are you cold?" However, English allows such inversion only with a particular class of verbs (called auxiliary or special verbs), and thus sometimes requires the addition of an auxiliary do, does or did before inversion can take place ("He sings" → "Does he sing?") – for details see do-support.

In some languages, yes–no questions are marked by an interrogative particle, such as the Japaneseかka, Mandarin吗ma and Polishczy. Also, in languages generally, wh-questions are marked by an interrogative word (wh-word) such as what, where or how. In languages such as English this word generally moves to the front of the sentence (wh-fronting), and subject–verb inversion occurs as in yes–no questions, but in some other languages these changes in word order are not necessary (e.g. Mandarin 你要什么?nǐ yào shénme, meaning "what do you want?" is literally "you want what?").

Intonation patterns characteristic of questions often involve a raised pitch near the end of the sentence. In English this occurs especially for yes–no questions; it may also be used for sentences that do not have the grammatical form of questions, but are nonetheless intended to elicit information (declarative questions), as in "You're not using this?"

In languages written in Latin, Cyrillic or certain other scripts, a question mark at the end of a sentence identifies questions in writing. (In Spanish an additional inverted mark is placed at the beginning: ¿Cómo está usted? "How are you?") As with intonation, this feature is not restricted to sentences having the grammatical form of questions – it may also indicate a sentence's pragmatic function.


The most typical response to a question is an answer that provides the information indicated as being sought by the questioner. This may range from a simple yes or no (in the case of yes–no questions) to a more complex or detailed answer. (An answer may be correct or incorrect, depending on whether the information it presents is true or false.) An indication of inability or unwillingness to provide an answer is the other response to a question.

"Negative questions" are interrogative sentences which contain negation in their phrasing, such as "Shouldn't you be working?" These can have different ways of expressing affirmation and denial from the standard form of question, and they can be confusing, since it is sometimes unclear whether the answer should be the opposite of the answer to the non-negated question. For example, if one does not have a passport, both "Do you have a passport?" and "Don't you have a passport?" are properly answered with "No", despite apparently asking opposite questions. The Japanese and Korean languages avoid this ambiguity. Answering "No" to the second of these in Japanese or Korean would mean, "I do have a passport".

A similar ambiguous question in English is "Do you mind if...?" The responder may reply unambiguously "Yes, I do mind," if they do mind, or "No, I don't mind," if they don't, but a simple "No" or "Yes" answer can lead to confusion, as a single "No" can seem like a "Yes, I do mind" (as in "No, please don't do that"), and a "Yes" can seem like a "No, I don't mind" (as in "Yes, go ahead"). An easy way to bypass this confusion would be to ask a non-negative question, such as "Is it all right with you if...?"

Some languages have different particles (for example the French "si", the German "doch" or the Danish and Norwegian "jo") to answer negative questions (or negative statements) in an affirmative way; they provide a means to express contradiction.

More information on these issues can be found in the articles yes–no question, yes and no, and answer ellipsis.


Questions are used from the most elementary stage of learning to original research. In the scientific method, a question often forms the basis of the investigation and can be considered a transition between the observation and hypothesis stages. Students of all ages use questions in their learning of topics, and the skill of having learners creating "investigatable" questions is a central part of inquiry education. The Socratic method of questioning student responses may be used by a teacher to lead the student towards the truth without direct instruction, and also helps students to form logical conclusions.

A widespread and accepted use of questions in an educational context is the assessment of students' knowledge through exams.


The philosophical questions are conceptual, not factual questions. There are questions that are not fully answered by any other. Philosophy deals with questions that arise when people reflect on their lives and their world. Some philosophical questions are practical: for example, "Is euthanasia justifiable?", "Does the state have the right to censor pornography or restrict tobacco advertising?", "To what extent are Māori and Pākehā today responsible for decisions made by their ancestors?"

Other philosophical questions are more theoretical, although they often arise through thinking about practical issues. The questions just listed, for example, may prompt more general philosophical questions about the circumstances under which it may be morally justifiable to take a life, or about the extent to which the state may restrict the liberty of the individual. Some "classic" questions of philosophy are speculative and theoretical and concern the nature of knowledge, reality and human existence: for example, "What, if anything, can be known with certainty?", "Is the mind essentially non-physical?", "Are values absolute or relative?", "Does the universe need explanation in terms of a Supreme Intelligence?", "What, if anything, is the meaning or purpose of human existence?" Finally, the philosophical questions are typically about conceptual issues; they are often questions about our concepts and the relation between our concepts and the world they represent. Every question implies a statement and every statement implies a question.[11]


Enculturated apes Kanzi, Washoe, Sarah and a few others who underwent extensive language training programs (with the use of gestures and other visual forms of communications) successfully learned to answer quite complex questions and requests (including question words "who" what", "where"), although so far they failed to learn how to ask questions themselves. For example, David and Anne Premack wrote: "Though she [Sarah] understood the question, she did not herself ask any questions — unlike the child who asks interminable questions, such as What that? Who making noise? When Daddy come home? Me go Granny's house? Where puppy? Sarah never delayed the departure of her trainer after her lessons by asking where the trainer was going, when she was returning, or anything else".[12] The ability to ask questions is often assessed in relation to comprehension of syntactic structures. It is widely accepted, that the first questions are asked by humans during their early infancy, at the pre-syntactic, one word stage of language development, with the use of question intonation.[13]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

Look up question in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Question
  • Berti, Enrico, Soggetti di responsabilita: questioni di filosofia pratica, Reggio Emilia, 1993.
  • C. L. Hamblin, "Questions", in: Paul Edwards (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Georg Stahl, "Un développement de la logique des questions", in: Revue Philosophique de la France et de l'Etranger 88 (1963), 293-301.
  • Fieser, James, Lillegard, Norman (eds), Philosophical questions: readings and interactive guides, 2005.
  • McKenzie, Jamie, Leading questions: From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal, 2007.
  • McKenzie, Jamie, Learning to question to wonder to learn, From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal, 2005.
  • McKenzie, Jamie, "The Question Mark"
  • Dipsita Thakkar, " The Questions to Ask", The psychological theory journal, 2017.
  • Muratta Bunsen, Eduardo, "Lo erotico en la pregunta", in: Aletheia 5 (1999), 65-74.
  • Smith, Joseph Wayne, Essays on ultimate questions: critical discussions of the limits of contemporary philosophical inquiry, Aldershot: Avebury, 1988.
Jonathan Dimbleby questioning - BBC World Service
  1. ^Source for quotationArchived February 10, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^"Research Methods Knowledge Base". 2006-10-20. Retrieved 2012-06-06. 
  3. ^Research Methods Knowledge Base. Types of Questions.
  4. ^Types of Questions Based on Bloom's Taxonomy. (Bloom, et al., 1956).[full citation needed]
  5. ^Questioning Toolkit
  6. ^"Punchy Question Combinations"
  7. ^Headquarters, Department of the Army (2006). Human Intelligence Collector Operations. FM 2-22.3, Washington, DC, 6 September 2006. p. 167. Publication available at army knowledge online (
  8. ^ abWilliam Chisholm, Louis T. Milic, John A.C. Greppin. Interrogativity. – John Benjamins Publishing, 1982.
  9. ^Loos, Eugene E.; Anderson, Susan; Day, Dwight H., Jr.; Jordan, Paul C.; Wingate, J. Douglas (eds.). "What is an alternative question?". Glossary of linguistic terms. SIL International. 
  10. ^"Indirect Questions - English Grammar Lesson - ELC". ELC - English Language Center. 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2018-01-24. 
  11. ^Paul, Richard and Elder, Linda. (2006) Critical Thinking Tools for Taking Charge of of Your Learning and Your Life, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Publishing. ISBN 0-13-114962-8
  12. ^Premack, David; Premack, Ann J. (1983). The mind of an ape. New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 29. 
  13. ^Crystal, David (1987). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge. Pg. 241, 143: Cambridge University. 

A screenshot of a Yahoo! Answers question.

Type of site

Available inChinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese
LaunchedJune 28, 2005; 12 years ago (2005-06-28)
Current statusActive

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 users.


The website 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" platform.[1] Yahoo! Answers was launched on June 28, 2005, while in internal alpha testing by Director of Engineering, Ofer Shaked.[2][3][4] Yahoo! Answers was launched to the general public while in beta testing on December 8, 2005,[5][6] which lasted until May 14, 2006. Yahoo! Answers was finally incorporated for general availability on May 15, 2006.[7]

Yahoo! Answers was created to replace Ask Yahoo!, Yahoo!'s former Q&A platform which was discontinued in March 2006.[8] The site gives members the chance to earn points as a way to encourage participation and is based on Naver'sKnowledge 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 as Yahoo! Chiebukuro(Yahoo!知恵袋) in Japan[9] and as Yahoo! Knowledge in Korea, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong.[citation needed] An Arabic language Q&A platform called Seen Jeem is available through the 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 Android.[10][11][12][13][14]

The number of poorly formed questions and inaccurate answers has made the site a target of ridicule.[15][16]

Site operation[edit]

Yahoo! Answers allows any questions that do not violate Yahoo! Answers community guidelines.[17] 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.[18] Chat is explicitly forbidden in the Community Guidelines, although categories like Politics and Religion & Spirituality are mostly opinion.[19] Users may also choose to reveal their Yahoo! Messenger ID on their Answers profile page.

Misuse of 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 without warning.

To open an account, a user needs a Yahoo! ID but can use any name as identification on 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 Wikipedia, 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.[20] 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.[21] 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,[21] Yahoo! Answers staff may also award extra points if they are impressed with a user's contributions.[22] The Yahoo! Answers community manager has stated that "power users" who defend the company should be thanked and rewarded.[23]

Level table[edit]

Level 1Level 2Level 3Level 4Level 5Level 6Level 7
Evaluation permissionNoYesYesYesYesYesYes

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. Yahoo! Answers established an upper limit to curb spam and unproductive answers.[24] Before April 2014 users were also able to vote for a best answer if the asker did not choose one, but this was discontinued.


Top Contributor[edit]

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.[25] 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.[25] The list of Top contributors is updated every Monday.[25] Although Yahoo! Answers staff has kept secret the conditions of becoming a TC, many theories exist among users, for example:

  • 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 answers.
  • User should be at least on level 2, although there have been claims[citation needed] that first-level users with TC Badge have been seen.
  • 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 8, 2007.


Badge is seen under the name staff members of Yahoo! Answers.[26]


This type of badge is found on the name of celebrities (like mentioned above) and government departments like the health department.[26]

Knowledge Partners[edit]

These badges are found under the name of the companies or organizations who share their personal knowledge and experience with the members of Yahoo! Answers.[26]

Academic studies[edit]

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.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29]

Quality of answers[edit]

Researchers found that questions seeking factual information received few answers and that the knowledge on Yahoo! Answers is not very deep.[19]

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 Internet meme.

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,[30][31] 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.[32] One journalist observed that the structure 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.[33] The number of poorly formed questions and inaccurate answers has made the site a target of ridicule.[15][16] Likewise, posts on many Internet forums and Yahoo! Answers itself indicate that Yahoo! Answers attracts a large number of trolls.

The site does not have a system that filters the correct answers from the incorrect answers.[34] At one time, the community could vote for the best answer among the posted answers; but that option was disabled in March 2014.[35] 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.[citation needed] (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[edit]


The official 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! Answers staff.[36]

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.[37] 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.[38] As of November 2009[update], the history of Yamster, complete with photos of the toy, was available on the Yahoo! Answers Team Vietnam blog.[39]

Special guests[edit]

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 questions on Yahoo! Answers, in addition to YouTube.[40] In an awareness campaign, "UNICEF Up Close 2007", nine UNICEF ambassadors asked questions.[41][42] The launch of Answers on Yahoo! India included a question from A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the President of India at that time.[43] Other guests have included international leaders (Queen Rania of Jordan,[44] candidate for United Nations Secretary-GeneralShashi Tharoor[45]), Nobel Peace Prize laureates (Al Gore,[46][47]Muhammad Yunus[48]) and other international activists (Bono,[46]Jean-Michel Cousteau[49]), intellectuals (Stephen Hawking,[46]Marilyn vos Savant[47]), and numerous other celebrities.

Site statistics[edit]

Yahoo! used comScore statistics in December 2006 to proclaim Yahoo! Answers "the leading Q&A site on the web".[50] Currently[when?] Yahoo! Answers is ranked as the second most popular Q&A site on the web by comScore.[51][52] The slogan "The world's leading Q&A site" has since been adopted by

In 2009, Yahoo! Answers staff claimed 200 million users worldwide[53] and 15 million users visiting daily.[54] Google Trends has reported around 4 million unique visitors (Global) daily.[55] 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 million.[56] Quantcast traffic statistics for Yahoo! Answers, January 2010:

  • 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 2009:[57]

  • 26,000,000 unique visitors (users) (US)
  • 110,000,000 total visits (US)

Compete Site Analytics traffic statistics for Yahoo! Answers, December 2009:[58]

  • 33,090,163 unique visitors (US)
  • 64,928,634 visits (US)

Yahoo! Answers represents between 1.03%[59] to 1.7%[60] of Yahoo! traffic.

In popular media[edit]

The comedy/advice podcastMy 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 Yahoo! Answers. The hosts then discuss and attempt to answer the question, to comedic effect.[61][62]

The Internet trollKen 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.[63][64] Ken was named as one of Time's most influential people online in 2016.[65]

See also[edit]


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The Yahoo! Answers green smiley.


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