An Answer to Yahoo! Answers

I’ve been highly dissatisfied with Yahoo! Answers as a knowledge base since the day they rolled it out. My blog is suggested to people trying to cancel or uninstall AOL an average of once a month on Yahoo! Answers, so that isn’t why.

It’s a dumb board full of dumb people. That’s why.

Usually my blog is not the “best answer” as picked by the questioner, but sometimes it is.

This month it made “best answer” for this question:

Yahoo! Answers question about filing a complaint against AOL

The problem is, the questioner wrote beneath that, “didn’t work, but thanks”.

Yahoo! Answers answer about filing a complaint against AOL

Few people have the patience to search my blog to find what they need so they wind up paying whatever AOL wants or leaving the AOL software on their computer or formatting their hard disk because they won’t take a moment to look up the right page.

The frustration I feel as I watch this happen time and time and again is maddening.

People will send me email saying, “Hey great site, but how do I…” then ask me a question that is answered adequately on pages I added to my blog a long time ago.

Maybe that’s the problem: the most essential advice on this blog, though it’s still up-to-date, isn’t on the home page. There is, however,an exhaustive Tags list, an Archives link, and a Tutorials Index on every single page of this site.

I don’t know what else to do to help people find what they need except republish all the help posts every week or else start scrolling 75 posts per page, and I don’t want to resort to that, either. Downloading all of my posts at once could take forever.

As far as Yahoo! Answers goes, I don’t want to seem like I’m spamming by jumping in when people need help with AOL, so I sit back and watch as people get the typical answer for problems with AOL time and time again:

[typical sample answer] “Yes, there is help for that problem with AOL. Just visit http://anti-aol.livejournal.com/ [now at https://intoolate.wordpress.com/].”

It’s hard for me to blame the person who gives someone that answer, because at least they gave a link to my blog, but how much nicer it would be if a static link were used instead:

[typical sample answer, edited] “Yes, there is help for that problem with AOL. Just visit How to File a Complaint Against AOL.

Now there’s the page that the person trying to cancel AOL actually needs.

The correct advice for this person is to file a complaint with the BBB. The BBB will do everything in their power to get their money back for them and they’ll do it for free.

There’s a problem with people today. They have no patience and little fortitude. I’ll hunt down a link I need for an hour. If I can’t find the link, I’ll keep asking questions and searching and tinkering around with things until I come up with a suitable answer to my question or decide there’s no good answer after all.

Maybe the person on Yahoo! Answers asking about how to cancel AOL will see this post and finally get his money back from AOL. Maybe he won’t.

Do you want blogs to instantly divine what you need and give it to you on the spot without any clicking or thinking?

Me, too. It’s not that easy, though.