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Gary D. Price (MLIS, Librarian, Director of Online Information Resources, Ask.com, Editor, ResourceShelf and DocuTicker) sent over a A Link To Research Paper from the Stanford Info Lab: Questioning Yahoo! Answers.
Yahoo! Answers represents a new type of community portal that allows users to post questions and/or answer questions asked by other members of the community, already featuring a very large number of questions and several million users. Other recently launched services, like Microsoft’s Live QnA and Amazon’s Askville, follow the same basic interaction model. The popularity and the particular characteristics of this model call for a closer study that can help a deeper understanding of the entities involved, their interactions, and the implications of the model. Such understanding is a crucial step in social and algorithmic research that could yield improvements to various components of the service, for instance, personalizing the interaction with the system based on user interest. In this paper, we perform an analysis of 10 months worth of Yahoo! Answers data that provides insights into user behavior and impact as well as into various aspects of the service and its possible evolution.