April 10, 2021

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Yahoo Answers Shutting Down May 4, Content Will Not Be Archived via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

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Yahoo Answers comes to a close on May 4 with no plans to provide an archive of the website’s 16 years of content.

A notice at the top of every page on Yahoo Answers informs users about the imminent shut down. It reads:

“Yahoo Answers is shutting down on May 4th, 2021 (Eastern Time) and beginning April 20th, 2021 (Eastern Time) the Yahoo Answers website will be in read-only mode. There will be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services, or your Yahoo account.

The notice directs users to a help page which offers more information about the shut down process.

Here are some key dates to be aware of:

  • April 20: No new content can be contributed to Yahoo Answers, but users can continue to read existing content.
  • May 4: Yahoo Answers will no longer be accessible. The website answers.yahoo.com will redirect users to the Yahoo homepage.
  • June 30: The last day users can request a download of their own data.

Users can only download an archive of content they’ve contributed to Yahoo Answers. After submitting a request it may take up to 30 days for Yahoo to compile the data and make it downloadable.

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Yahoo does not mention anything about making an archive of all site content available to view after May 4, and people are not happy about it.

A viral tweet compares shutting down Yahoo Answers to the historic burning of the Library of Alexandria:

This Twitter user mentions that the decision to shut down Yahoo Answers stems from the service underperforming.

Yahoo makes no mention of this anywhere on its help page, but it did say something to that effect in an email sent directly to Yahoo Answers members.

The email states:

“While Yahoo Answers was once a key part of Yahoo’s products and services, it has become less popular over the years as the needs of our members have changed. To that end, we have decided to shift our resources away from Yahoo Answers to focus on products that better serve our members and deliver on Yahoo’s promise of providing premium trusted content.”

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Given that Yahoo Answers is getting removed from the web in less than a month, web archivists likely do not have time to download the vast amount of content.

However, as TechCrunch’s Josh Constine points out, the qualify of content we’re losing can be debated:

People are sharing their favorite Yahoo Answers content on Twitter, reminding us all about the gems we’ll no longer have access to.

Yahoo Answers became a source of great memes over the years. Although, as other users are pointing out, Yahoo erasing 16 years of internet history causes genuine concern.

Enjoy the content on Yahoo Answers while it can still be viewed.

Sources: Yahoo, The Verge

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