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A technical review on Yahoo! Answer

We have observed a very rapid increase in the number of people using the internet and average time spent online in the last couple of years. Also, there are very sharp and intended user friendly technologies in communication gaining development day by day. The rapid changes have accredited the development of very renowned websites that support user communities centered on shared content. The example of such community portals are multimedia websites, web applications, social media websites, e-commerce websites, porn websites, banking websites, etc, where there is now a lot more to explore in the internet. We have also seen some emerging knowledge building websites such as Wikipedia, Quora, etc. In 2005, Yahoo!Answers, a community-driven question-and-answer (Q&A) website, or knowledge market, from Yahoo! that allows users to submit questions and answer questions from other users.1 Yahoo! Answer allows keeping up and extraction of the answered question aimed at building an online knowledge base. This website is for any topic, right from questioning-answering science and technology, math, health, etc.

The other websites which are recently launched such as Amazon’s askville, seems like the same as Yahoo! Answer. The prominence and the specific characteristic of this model require a closer report that can help a more profound comprehension of the substances in question, for example, users, questions, answers, their interactions, as well as the implications of this model. It is a very vital step to understand in social as well as technical glitches that could ultimately lead to overall understanding of a website. In this report we will draw out several criticisms of yahoo! Answer, by this criticism we will try to understand its various components which are important to make it user friendly. We will try to find out several aspects of user behaviour in this websites question-answer system, such as connectedness and other things like searchability, usability and design, etc.

Website description:

The main objects are

  1. Users registered with the website;
  2. Question asked with an information need by the user;
  3. Answer provided by the other users;
  4. Answers provided will be rated on the basis of votes and comments.

Users can register for free and can ask a question based on different categories which are provided already on the website. Asked questions maye be answered over a 7-day open period, other registered users can post their answer with an optional reference in the form of URLs. The asker may choose the best answer which is available (if at least two answers are available). After the selection of the best answer, the question asked is considered as resolved. The resolved answer is stored permanently in Yahoo! Answer knowledge base. Yahoo! Answer provides incentives for users based on a scoring scheme.

Reviews:

Yahoo! Answers has a consumer rating of 2.78 stars from 23 reviews indicating that most consumers are generally dissatisfied with their purchases. YahooAnswers also ranks 7th among Question And Answer sites. There is several criticism which yields that Yahoo! Answers are rated by dissatisfied consumers, right from usability, design, content, interactivity to online trolls, rude users, unnecessary discussion on answer platforms, unnecessary violation and account suspension.

The Yahoo! Answer is quite simple to use and access on the internet, but it has the disadvantages of everyone accessing without the prior age that one must know. Sometimes questions are asked in such a way that the answerer tends to think that it’s been asked by an adult or a matured person, so the answerer frames the answer in that way. If everyone declared such and and underage or adult, the answerer could better frame their responses for the asker. Lets say, a 13 year old kid asked a certain question which makes it uncomfortable for adults to answer such a question, this question the usability of the website. Also a lot of people don’t take this platform seriously, someone has asked a question but rather than answering the question random users start discussing their views. This platform has been misused as an online trolls (cyberbullying) platform as some of the users are trolled over their answers rather than correcting them.

Also read: Technical analysis of ‘Quora’

Yahoo! Answers “community moderation” would have been great if they’d also had professional moderators for first-line reporting . The idea that enough good reports earns a trust rating that allows one to drop content by yourself is a great idea. It takes a long time to build that up, so you do generally have good people earning that power. However, there’s not enough people reporting, and a good report on something that nobody else reports damages your trust rating. When community moderation is down and nothing drops, your trust rating is damaged too. So, one ends up with a huge site with extremely few people with the power to remove content. It’s hard to get that magical trust rating, so there’s not a lot of new people being added, which means less chance of your report meaning anything.

Some of the technical errors which have been seen is XML sitemap is missing which is important and acts as a roadmap of a website that leads search engines to all the important pages a website contains. XML sitemap can be good for SEO, as they allow Google to quickly find your essential websites pages, even if your internal linking isn’t perfect. This post explains what they are and how they help you rank better. Also, there are issues in URL parameters, which are used to track user behaviour on a website (session ID’s), traffic sources (referrer ID’s) or to give users over the content of the page (sorting and filtering). The issue with URL parameters is that Google sees each unique parameter value as a new URL hosting the same thing – meaning you could have a duplicate content problem. Sometimes, it’s able to recognize these URLs and group them together. It then algorithmically decides which URL is the best representation of the group and uses it to consolidate ranking signals and display in search results. You can help Google recognize the best URL by using the rel=”canonical” tag.

The website which appears when displayed on mobile as well as lapotos is quite different. With more than half of all Google search questions originating on a mobile device, it is important to make sure this site is optimised for these users.

Discussion and Conclusion

In this report, we have discussed some important facts on Yahoo! Answers, which sheds light on several aspects such as usability, User Interface experience, technical errors. A community Questions & Answering system needs better and appropriated planning strategies which supports and upgrades the system. Preferably, it must use questioning and experts providing answers to the questions.

At best, one may claim that the collection of all answers provided represent what the questioner wanted to find out through initiating a poll. In case of questions with subjective answers, it is quite common that a particular posted answer is not addressing the original question, but rather acts as a comment to a previous answer. Accordingly, discussions emerge. Note, however, that Yahoo! Answers was not designed with discussions in mind, and so it is an imperfect medium for this purpose. Users cannot answer their own questions, thus cannot participate in a discussion. Much of the interaction on Yahoo! Answers is just noise. People post random thoughts as questions, perhaps requests for instant messaging. With respect to the latter, the medium is once again inappropriate because it does not support real-time interactions. This problem must be solved, users post any random comments which can harm community guidelines.

The technical errors which have been seen in the designing of this website, somehow hampers the user interface experience must be addressed for a smooth and user friendly experience.

Also read: VIRTUAL REALITY – The Artificial World Within Sight

References:

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