Thursday, November 26, 2009

Suggestion to Yahoo! Answers

Dear Yahoo:

I was using the RSS feed for Social Science - Other.  I received a million questions a day.  Many were re-posts of previously asked questions to which I had provided thoughtful answers. 

I want to be able to block (1) questions that I have already seen, (2) selected individuals, and (3) questions of a certain length (e.g., less than 15 words). 

I also want to be able to label and subcategorize questions for other potential answerers to see.  One approach would be to offer the thumbs-up-thumbs-down option for questions as well as for answers.  Ideally, if someone clicks on the thumbs up, they will see a drop-down list of reactions, including mine; and if they click on mine, they will see the comment I have added, e.g., "Seems to be a student looking for an easy answer to a take-home test question."  My followers, if any, will also be able to see my filtered list of questions.

I want to be able to automate the provision of those filtering comments.  That is, I want to have a half-dozen of my favorite comments readily available.  I am viewing a question.  I want to tell the poster to do a web search, narrow it down, and come back with a more specific question.  I don't want to have to type that out.  Likewise, I may also want to tell the person that it sounds like a take-home test question, and I'm not inclined to help people do their homework.  I type these into my list of favorite answers; they appear when I'm viewing a question; I select the ones that apply; and I'm automatically on to the next unanswered question.

My list of favorite answers can be partially selected from a pre-provided list.  One favorite answer may include an automatically generated Yahoo! search of the web, responding to key terms in the question.  That is, I want to be able to check a box for "try this search" and, perhaps, to modify the automatically generated search before posting it.

I want to be able to save my favorite answers in paragraph form.  For example, if I write a paragraph to answer a question about the Civil War, or if I see a good answer that someone else has provided (perhaps saved in directory form), or if there's a Best Answer that already seems on point, I want to be able to get to that quickly, and to direct the poster to it, rather than reinvent the wheel.