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An ode to Yahoo Answers, where perplexing questions begat questionable answers

April 6, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 61.5%. 2 min read.

Before Reddit became the "front page of the internet," and before Tumblr and Twitter took off, there was one place online where you could seriously ask questions like, "Did I accidentally summon a demon?" or "Why do we here?"

(CNN)Before Reddit became the "front page of the internet," and before Tumblr and Twitter took off, there was one place online where you could seriously ask questions like, "Did I accidentally summon a demon?" or "Why do we here?"

Such was the perplexing appeal of Yahoo Answers.

Yahoo's Q&A community, an oft-forgotten haven for eccentrics to ask nonsensical questions and offer largely unhelpful responses, is shuttering this month after nearly 16 years.

Yahoo Answers had an odd appeal

Yahoo Answers is perhaps most fondly remembered as an unintentionally hilarious platform for some of the strangest folks on the internet.

Serious inquiries were rarely answered.

Whereas Ask. com turned into a mini-news aggregator and Quora was co-opted by high school students looking for solutions to problems in specific textbooks, Yahoo Answers clung to its irreverent roots while much of the world moved on without it.

Nothing gold on the internet can stay, and like other digital town squares, Yahoo Answers has devolved into something far bleaker than it was in its mid-2000s heyday: Partisan bickering and outlandish conspiracizing have, naturally, found a home there, too.

On Yahoo Answers, with its limited categories, the questions are out in the open.

In the "Education" section, struggling students ask if it's "legal to stock" a teacher after school to find the answers to an upcoming test.

Those blessedly unhinged questions and answers will be available in read-only mode starting April 20.

The legacy of Yahoo Answers

Yahoo Answers didn't give us much in the way of genuine advice.

But Yahoo Answers did leave a legacy of sorts, encapsulated in this 2016 video celebrating the many, many users who struggled to spell "ouija board. "

Sure, we aren't usually asking about "Luigi boards" or "wiggy boreds. " But we still often turn to a community of strangers online to answer questions, form our opinions and make important choices on everything from what to eat to who to vote for.

With its closure, Yahoo Answers joins its late cousin, Ask Jeeves, in the annals of the early internet.

But the apparently still-vibrant Yahoo Answers community isn't taking the site's imminent shuttering well.

"Isn't Yahoo Answers shutting down enough proof that there is no God?"

"Is the shutting down of Yahoo!

answers the beginning of the end?"

The Yahoo Answers users who remain will likely land at one of the site's more successful successors, where their offbeat takes will find a wider audience.

The rest of us, those who were mere spectators to the goings-on at Yahoo Answers, can remember the site fondly for the occasional comedy as we relegate it to the digital dustbin.

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