Yahoo Answers will be closed forever, according to a statement on its website, as first reported by Verge. Final questions can be sent until April 20 and the entire site will be burned by the Internet until May 4, 2021, thus ending the 16-year rule of one of the dumbest places on the Internet.
What Yahoo Answers lacked in its contribution to the pantheon of world knowledge, which it compensated for in its heroic progress in ridiculously ridiculous content. BuzzFeed has been running lists of silly and silly questions on the site over the years, and the most famous is the question of “how a baby is formed,”
Like any really stupid thing, Yahoo Answers, which has been owned by Verizon since 2017, was a lot of things in one. This was the Library of Alexandria for serious knowledge seekers, such as those who aspired to study how a girl gets pragnent. It was an extremely clever trick for SEO traffic, but also a half social platform where users could spend hours answering social labels and asking questions.
Given that in section 230, legislation that protects platforms such as Yahoo or Facebook from being legally liable for content posted by users is currently under discussion, Verizon may have considered Yahoo Answers’ moratorium and decided to save the headache.
Yahoo has a long and glorious history of closing huge chunks of itself, a wild fox biting various limbs out of a trap in an effort to keep up to date and reduce costs. In 2009, Yahoo closed Geocities, one of the largest repositories of Internet culture since the Y2K era. Del.ic.ious was sold out in 2011, Flickr in 2018. Yahoo Messenger was closed in 2018. At the end of 2019, Yahoo Groups was sent to the digital Valhalla.
Verizon bought AOL in 2015 and Yahoo in 2017, merging them into a new content company called Oath (no, seriously), along with Tumblr and the Huffington Post. Tumblr was sold to Automattic, the company that owns WordPress in 2019, and HuffPost was sold to BuzzFeed *checks the calendar* about 2 months ago.
“It’s clear that Verizon bought Yahoo and never wanted to be involved in the consumer content business. And every move they’ve made is the most insidious corporate, reduced responsibility, reduced exposure they can make, “Jason Scott of the Archive Team, a group that works to preserve old sites, told BuzzFeed News.
The archive team tried to make copies of Geocities when it was closed on short notice in 2009 (a collection by this curator by artist Olia Lialina called One Terabytes of Kilobyte Age examines old Geocities sites).
“In the past, we took Yahoo’s answers, we did it 4 years ago. We knew what was going to happen, “said Scott. “We don’t believe in anything Yahoo owns, period.”
Despite the nonsense, there is certainly valuable information out there that can only be found in those answers that will be lost forever (or existing only in an archive that is harder to access than just a Google result).
The fact that much of the internet history is being deleted is not new at the moment, and the feeling is so familiar that it doesn’t seem to hurt so much. “We don’t know how much of the internet depends on the connection to it or treating it as first-hand knowledge,” Scott said. “What we’ve lost is that we’re losing part of our oral history, whether we like it or not.”