Last day for Yahoo Answers users to post questions, comments

MICHAEL DOBUSKI
·4 min read

Get your final questions ready, because Tuesday marks the last day users can post on Yahoo Answers.

First created in 2005, Yahoo Answers is a message board for people to post questions that could then be answered by anyone on the internet willing to help. Questions posted to the site ranged from asking the pros and cons of ready-mix concrete to how to replace a car battery and whether the Chicago Bears will ever win another Super Bowl.

Unlike posting questions to a Facebook group, Yahoo Answers has been almost completely unregulated, which meant anyone could anonymously post whatever's on their mind -- and some people who posted to Yahoo Answers have had some big questions. Some examples from the site's more than 15-year history include:

  • Did dragons live before, during, or after dinosaurs?

  • Should spaghetti be way shorter?

  • Ladies, I bring my guitar almost everywhere to impress women -- does this work?

  • If I eat myself, would I become twice as big? Or disappear completely?

  • HOW DO I TURN OFF CAPS LOCK?

  • I don't think I've ever seen a toucan?

PHOTO: A Yahoo billboard lights up atop the Hard Rock Cafe Marquee in New York during an event to promote Yahoo Answers, June 13, 2006. (WireImage via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: A Yahoo billboard lights up atop the Hard Rock Cafe Marquee in New York during an event to promote Yahoo Answers, June 13, 2006. (WireImage via Getty Images, FILE)

Comical Q&As were so common on Yahoo Answers that they gave rise to a cottage industry of podcasts and YouTube series that celebrated the most outlandish posts.

"It has spawned some of my favorite dramatic readings on YouTube," said Ryan Broderick, who writes the internet culture newsletter "Garbage Day."

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Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy host a comedy advice podcast, "My Brother, My Brother, and Me," where each episode they spotlight some of the strangest Yahoo Answers they can find.

Travis McElroy said in the more than 10 years they've been reading questions on the platform, they've noticed some trends.

"Lots of questions about vaping. A lot of questions about horses. A lot of questions about ghosts -- a lot of questions about ghosts."

PHOTO: Travis McElroy speaks during 2019 Comic-Con International at San Diego Convention Center on July 18, 2019, in San Diego. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: Travis McElroy speaks during 2019 Comic-Con International at San Diego Convention Center on July 18, 2019, in San Diego. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images, FILE)

McElroy said one of the things that keeps the brothers coming back to Yahoo Answers is that the questioners, in many cases, genuinely want an answer. He said his podcast makes an effort to respond in way that matches that sentiment.

"Our favorite kind of Yahoo Answers questions are the ones where -- no matter how wild the subject matter is -- there is clearly a, like, deep sense of sincerity. Like, the person really wants to know the answer to that," McElroy said. "And I think one of the things that kind of clicked for us very early on is like, well, it's really easy to just sit there and make fun of this. But I think it's even more fun to try to think of an answer that might help them."

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Earlier this month, in a decision that several Twitter users compared to the burning of the Library of Alexandria, Yahoo announced it would be shutting down Yahoo Answers, thus deleting the platform's entire backlog of posts. The last day to post questions and answers is Tuesday, April 20, before it's taken down altogether on May 4. In a statement announcing the shutdown, Yahoo cited flagging interest in the platform, writing, "while Yahoo Answers was once a key part of Yahoo’s products and services, it has become less popular over the years."

Yahoo Answers' disappearance also leaves a void for all the people who've made a living off the content posted there, according to McElroy.

"There are, of course, other websites where you go to ask questions, but Yahoo Answers has formed into such a unique thing that I don't know that we could one-for-one replace it," he said.

PHOTO: People designated as 'Brainiacs' participate in a promotional event for Yahoo Answers called 'Ask the Planet 2006,' in Times Square, New York, June 13, 2006. (WireImage via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: People designated as 'Brainiacs' participate in a promotional event for Yahoo Answers called 'Ask the Planet 2006,' in Times Square, New York, June 13, 2006. (WireImage via Getty Images, FILE)

But McElroy added that the real loss will be all those curious Yahoo Answers users who will now have to go unanswered.

"Yeah, there's a part of me that is sad for what it means for our show, but more than that I'm sad for the Yahoo Answers community. And sad for what they will be missing."

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Broderick said even if the platform doesn't make financial sense to the company anymore, the mark it leaves on internet culture is unquestionable.

"We need these weird memes and quirky things, because that's what makes the internet a fun place, and it's going to be sad when it disappears, I think," he said.

Last day for Yahoo Answers users to post questions, comments originally appeared on abcnews.go.com