Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Types of Questions on Yahoo! Answers

You know what's the best thing about the internet? No, not the ability to be connected to anyone, anywhere with the click of a mouse. And not the instant access to world news. Not even I Can Haz Cheezburger, although that's up there. No, the best thing about the internet is its ability to spread lies, misinformation and illconsidered advice to all who desire it.

Take Yahoo! Answers, for instance. The point of this site, for those who have never visited, is to allow people to ask questions, and other people to answer them. It is bizarrely compelling; topics range from the banal ('What should I feed by dog who's just been wormed?', 'My child is getting a vaccine tomorrow, when can I take him swimming?'), through the topical ('OMG wot do u think of Michael Jackson bein murdered?') and bizarre ("Where can I buy a coffin to sleep in?") to the simply gross ('I went for an xray of my bladder but they told me I'm severely constipated?'). I promise I didn't make that last one up. In fact, here's a link, where you can read the full (hideous) details, and the answers (for some reason, I keep cracking up at 'u should try prascription laxatives').

Now, I can see how this can be useful. Some questions are too embarrasing to ask anyone non-cyber; the women's health section, for instance, is full of 14 year old girls asking how to put tampons in. Others are specialist: "What's the best time of year to prune a wisteria"? Some fall into the 'Needing an outside opinion' category: " I think my friend is depressed, what should I do to help?". I'm not saying there's nowhere else on the internet that you could find this stuff, but it's useful to have, even if it does feel a bit like sitting through a Richard Madley interview with Wikipedia.

But then there's the rest of it. Since we've only recently had 'the 12 most annoying types of Facebook people', I feel we should do something similar. I haven't added it up yet, though, and also they're not all annoying, so I'm going to call it 'Types of questions on Yahoo! Answers'. Questions below are based on actual questions, but are not, in fact, actual questions, unless otherwise indicated; they are, however, variants of questions I have seen on Yahoo! Answers but can't remember exactly.

1. The 'Too Much Information' Question
Typical Question:
Title: I've had the runs for 3 days and can't stop plz help?
Details: Well three days ago i went 2 a Restrunt 4 dinna and then in the middle of the nite i woke up and well I had the Runs and it was like green lol sorry TMI but i still hav it and i dunno wot 2 do what should I do
WhyNotSmile says: You know, I know what 'runs' are. I don't need a description. And anyway, the description should have come with a warning. Because, you know, up till that point, you'd been for dinner, it was going well, and ok, you had the runs, but was I meant to guess that where we were headed next was the COLOUR? I mean, give me a chance to hang up here, man. And what the **** is the 'lol' for? Is that supposed to help? Are you trying to say 'Hey, I know I just made you throw your breakfast up, but I have a sense of humour, amn't I great lol?'

2. The 'Not Enough Information' Question
Typical Question:
Title: Need a good place to take 2 children on holiday?
Details: I want to go on holiday with my 2 children, can you recommend a hotel which is good for children?
WhyNotSmile says: You know, I just can't think. That's the trouble with the world today: there must be millions of hotels, but to come up with one that children might like... *sucks teeth* that's a tough one. Good thing you're not narrowing it down, by specifying, for instance, a country, or the ages of the children or anything. 'Cos then we might really be stumped.

3. The 'I can't be bothered to Google this, please do it for me' Question
Typical Question:
Title: Where could I buy a computer online?
Details: I want to buy a computer online, but I don't no any places, where do you buy them like is there a site?
WhyNotSmile says: Excuse me a moment... *goes off and checks Google*... well, there seem to be a couple of sites coming up in the ol' search there. Tell you what, how about if I ring a few of them, get prices and specifications for you, and then come round to your house, look at your decor, and choose one to match your bedroom? I'll order & pay for it, and you can give me the money when I deliver it.

4. The 'I'll be arrested if I ask this anywhere but cyberspace' Question
Typical Question:
Title: Is it safe 2 drink vodka after u hav marijwana?
Details: none given
WhyNotSmile says: How long ago did you do it, and how bad do you feel?

5. The 'People online know more than my doctor' Question
Typical Question:
Title: My doc sez my baby haz a virus but I think itz sumthin else.... advic plz?
Details: Well i took my baby (shes 7 month to c the doc cos she wuz cryin alot an i wuz worried an he sez she haz a virus but i didn think a virus was lik tht wud she nt be sneezin?
WhyNotSmile says: You're in the right place. What do doctors know? All those years they spent in medical school, when they could have been lying on the sofa watchin' Ricki Lake and surfin' the web like those of us who now have nothing better to do than lie on the sofa and surf Yahoo! Answers. And they get paid for it? Sheesh.

Bonus Question:
Title: Am I pregnant?
Details: The other night well 3 weeks ago I had *you know* with my bf and now I feel kind of funny, like a headahce an wen I stand up fast I'm like dizzy lol do you think I mite be pregnant?
Additional Details: I'm 14 an he didn't go like inside me lol, we wer jus kissin an stuff lol
WhyNotSmile says: I take your Online Pregnancy Test and I raise you... the Online Thermometer.

6. The 'Who Knows?' Question
Typical Question:
Title: Help plz
Details: So i am seein this guy well not reali seein lol but likke we like each other but heres the thing my dad thinks hes no good becuz hes like not tht gd in school but i reali like him and we hav bin seein each other for 3 weeks and think wer gonna b in luv how do i tell my dad plz dont laugh its a serios question.
Additional Details: I'm 11 and hes 12 an he failed a test las week and thats y my dad doesnt like him its not that hes too old
WhyNotSmile says: Huh????

7. The 'Non-question' Question
Typical Question:
Title: Why do sum people not belief in god?
Details: When god is the best thing that can happen in ur life and i hav been followin him for 2 months an hes awesum an u shud all belief in god.
WhyNotSmile says: Maybe if you keep preaching, you could have an excellent future. Or not. Just sayin'.

8. The 'Possibly a joke but not completely sure' Question
Actual Question:
Title: Im worried because i ate some tipex, and i keep getting the runs and...?
Details: Yesterday i woke up to a meal of shreddies and then some purified orange juice. I then hate m&m's and then me and my friend drunk a bottle of tipex for a laugh, ever since i've drunk that fearful bottle i keep getting the runs.
WhyNotSmile says: I need more details: Coco Shreddies, or just regular ones?

9. The 'Asking for Trouble' Question
Actual Question:
Title: Where can I get a breast massage?
Details: I've heard that breast massage can make them grow bigger and I'd like to try it. Where can I go to get it done? No funny answers please.
WhyNotSmile declined to answer this question, due to rofl at the trolls' answers

10. The 'Please help me eliminate all risk from my life' Question
Typical Question:
Title: Would I like the new Cappuchino Kit-Kat*?
Details: I saw the Cappuchino Kit-Kat the other day. I dont really like coffee but I quite like things that have coffee flavours. Would I like the cappuchino Kit-Kat or do you think it tastes too much like coffee?
WhyNotSmile says: Heck. That's a tough one. You might need to be more specific. Can you give us examples of some of the 'things that have coffee flavours' that you 'quite like'? Does it include the coffee ones from Quality Street? What about coffee cake? And what do you mean by 'quite like'? Sorry for asking, it's just that, with the information you gave, we can't be completely sure, and if we don't get it right, this is at least 50p and 37 seconds of your life you'll never get back.

*This is not necessarily an actual product. I am using it for illustrative purposes. But it might exist, I don't know. I'm not that keen on Kit-Kats.


GerardMcKeown said...

Yahoo Answers is a hidden gem on the net for all the reasons you just said.

whynotsmile said...

Welcome to the blog Gerard. Yes, Yahoo! Answers (you forgot the !) is a well-hidden gem.