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ios developer account:Yahoo Answers, a haven for the confused, is shutting down

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NEW YORK — At times on Yahoo Answers, the people asking questions of strangers lunged for the hallucinatory limits of human curiosity: What would a heaven for elephants be like? Should scientists give octopi bones?

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It helped people identify their sense of self: Why do people with baguettes think they are better than me? Is being popular in high school a good skill I can use in a job interview?

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It sought explanations for the unexplainable: Smoke coming from my belly button? Why is everything at my grandma’s house moist?

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And it gave air to gaps in knowledge and admissions that perhaps had nowhere else to go: What does a hug feel like?

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Yahoo, which is owned by Verizon Media, will be shutting down the question-and-answer service and deleting its archives on May 4, erasing a corner of the internet that will be widely remembered for its — to be charitable — less-than-enriching contributions to human knowledge since its arrival in 2005.

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Less charitably, BuzzFeed News this week called it “one of the dumbest places on the internet.” Vulture said it was “populated entirely with Batman villains, aliens pretending to be human, and that one weird neighbour you’d rather climb down your fire escape in a blizzard than get caught in a conversation with.”

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There is plenty of evidence for that position. People asked: Can you milk Gushers to make fruit juice? Can I cook raw chicken in the Michael wave? I forgot when my job interview is? What animal is Sonic the hedgehog? IS THIS YAHOO EMAIL SUPPORT?

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Most famously, in a question that launched a meme, a confused soul who had learned little about reproductive science or spelling asked: How is babby formed?

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It was never known how many of the questions were based in earnest ignorance and curiosity, and how much was intentional trolling. Answering required no expertise, and often displayed little of it.

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But the site clearly was seen by some people, including children, as a comfortable space to ask the questions — sometimes important ones — they’d never dare to ask friends, families and teachers.

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“Yahoo Answers was a place for people to put questions they were too embarrassed to ask the people they knew in real life,” said Mr Justin McElroy, a co-host of the comedy podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me, which has featured questions from the service since 2010. “The weird, the dumb, the truly, truly demented: It all found a place on Yahoo Answers.”

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Mr Drew Davenport, a 34-year-old in Camarillo, California, who for seven years sifted through questions to submit to the podcast, said people told him they genuinely used the service to get through struggles at school, or to receive a sexual education they weren’t getting elsewhere.

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That’s not to say the answers they got were good ones.

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“Do you remember the idea of the internet that people talked about before it was really major?” he asked. “The idea that like this was going to be a global meeting place for the exchange of ideas in a free way?”

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