Tuesday, November 3, 2009
There’s a theory of collective wisdom that believes crowd sourcing will always provide the right answers. It’s a theory that assumes if you pool enough people together, the proper response will inevitably rise to the surface—sort of an intellectual Darwinism.
Proponents point to Wikipedia, the stock market, and democratic governance as prime examples of the efficacy of collective wisdom. Opponents point to Wikipedia, the stock market, and democratic governance as prime examples of the idiocy of collective wisdom.
And then there’s Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo! Answers is an open forum where anyone can post any question about anything and then anyone can answer anything to that question. The internet being the internet, maturity and reason prevailed. People treated one another with dignity and respect, and thoughtful dialogue flourished. And I almost peed myself a little bit from laughing as I typed that.
Yahoo! Answers, while frequently providing a useful service, just as frequently makes the Jugalophiles over at 4chan look like Seneca debating stoic philosophy before the Plebian Tribunes. Hey, when did I become Dennis Miller?
Thankfully the kind Tumblr Master over at Yahoo Answers (no exclamation mark, no lawsuit apparently) has archived the greatest Q&As; from Yahoo! Answers. It’s another invaluable single topic site along the same lines as Regretsy and STFU Parents. Laugh at and despair for our internet brain trust. And this is just a fraction of the stuff over at Yahoo Answers. A warning, though…a good chunk of that stuff is filthy.