Yahoo Answers Censorship? Follow-up #3

{Multi-post navigation}
Yahoo! Answers is rejecting Open-Source options in answers (the original post that started it all)

Follow-up: Yahoo Answers censoring Open-source options (a response to the first site to pick up my story)

Yahoo + Open Source Censorship. A second follow-up (responses to comments)

Yahoo Answers Censorship? Follow-up #3 (more responses to comments)

Yahoo Answers + Open Source Censorship. Yahoo’s reason and the question in… question.
Summary: A full recap with Yahoo’s official reason and the question at the center of this issue.

{The actual post}

  1. jj Says:
    June 22nd, 2007 at 8:49 am emaybe it’s a question about advertising… (Me)
    A vague possiblility, but unlikely. All programs are free to use and I get nothing out of it (financially)
  1. melchior Says:
    June 22nd, 2007 at 8:50 am e
    Looks like a number of people (possibly Microsoft employees or otherwise shills) clicked the “report abuse” link. The comment deletion system may have be automated or the moderator wasn’t feeling particularly liberated. Granted, there’s room for the censorship argument, but there’s always the possibility that some pro-Microsoft guy got a posse together to report the comment to death.(Devil’s advocate suggestions brought to you by Hanlon’s razor: “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”)(Me)
    That quote always makes me laugh… and think of the gov’t.
    I think it was a combo of some people reporting the comment and the reviewer not being that well educated (or maybe just tired?)… The part that ended up frustrating me the most was the lack of any human response when I tried to contact them.
  2. Michael Wexler Says:
    June 22nd, 2007 at 9:11 am e
    John D hit it on the head. You weren’t on topic. The person clearly wanted to get back to where they were. Your suggestion was really not helpful. You could have acheived your desired result with more info and then slipped in your Ubuntu plug:
    “One option is to either reinstall windows, or install on anothr “part” of your hard drive. There are many sources for XP (or Vista) these days if you need to buy it again, but they do cost money. Each software product that you don’t have disks for would have to be purchased, including MS Office. While one can sometimes buy these things used on eBay, MS does not support this and frowns upon it. If you don’t necessarily need windows itself, you can copy your files to a floppy, cd, or flash drive and then try one of the free Linux systems like Ubuntu which provides an office solution and can read most of your files and documents.”I don’t think they would have killed that one… yet it gets your point across. I don’t think Y! has anything against open source (they use tons of it in house) but they are clearly cracking down on comments which aren’t really on topic.(Me)
    As far as I was and am concerned, the other posters covered this quite well… why repeat it?
    That’s why I pointed out what I considered the others missed – that Windows doesn’t have everything included like some people think, and that IF she was going to wipe her computer anyways (have you seen an installation of Windows that didn’t? I haven’t.) she might as well try something low cost.
    Besides… you don’t have to install Ubuntu to use it. *wink*
  3. Josh Says:
    June 22nd, 2007 at 4:53 pm e
    I imagine that this is an honest mistake. Yahoo as a company embraces open source. Their servers run on BSD and many machines use RHEL. PHP is the language of choice on the server side, and its creator even works at Yahoo. Look at the YUI library as a perfect example of how they embrace open source. Completely built in-house and free to anyone.Many people keep saying that they’re being paid by Microsoft, but if that were the case, there’d be no way that Yahoo would be running so many open source systems and applications.(Me)
    Ok, lets assume this is true – when I pointed out the error why didn’t they just reinstate my answer? Or even ask me to rewrite it?
    They removed it and that’s what they stuck to.

    I believe that whatever the reason for it’s removal, they’re now ignoring me until they can’t. Then they’ll come up with a thin reason that’s vaguely feasible. SOP for corporations.
  4. Tobiax Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 10:21 am e
    Michael Wexler Says:
    June 22nd, 2007 at 9:11 am”John D hit it on the head. You weren’t on topic.”If someone wrecked their car, and wanted advice on how to re-attach the bumper – it would be entirely relevant to suggest the person stop driving an SUV!
    The individual had a computer rendered useless and AFAIK, wanted help to regain functionality. Fetching Linux would do exactly that; and in all probability, more quickly and with more ease than fixing the Windows install.

    May I alter your analogy?

    Someone smacks their car and asks where the cheapest place is to fix it. Someone else suggests they look into a community driven car-sharing program until they find a way to fix it… if they’re still interested in their car by then.

    I’ve found installing Linux to be much, much easier than Windows – it took me 40 minutes from start to finish! Reinstalling Windows can take hours with all the CDs and drivers and proprietary programs, validations, etc.

  5. Jesper Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 10:51 am e
    That’s just plain laughable. Anyone know how to delete a yahoo mail account ? I don’t see myself coming back there – ever.I guess this is all there is to say:
    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”- Mahatma Gandhi

    Yahoo does have it’s problems, and they seem to have worsened in the last year or two. These days my friends who use Yahoo Messenger have problems staying in the chat room for more than 1/2 an hour!
    I just finished skinning Yahoo Answers so that it looks more than half-designed
    Ditch Yahoo for your own reasons and frustrations, not just mine.

  6. Jesper Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 11:09 am e
    Brilliant, their account deletion system isn’t working. I tried sending a mail to their support center, and others may do the same if they wish to suspend their account.If all else fails, I suppose I can recommend Ubuntu to someone P(Me)
    I think I should clarify something – my account wasn’t deleted, just my answer.
    I still use Yahoo… just not as much. I’m at level 4 in Yahoo Answers but I doubt I’ll bother hitting level 5 this year. The enjoyment has dimmed – especially considering some of the truly asinine answers that are allowed on there yet mine… Well, we’ve been down that road before.
  7. Peter Jespersen Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 11:51 am e
    OK, the answer might not be 100% on track, recommending a platform migration.But are all replys on the Yahoo always 100% on track all of the time?I do believe that melchior has hit it on the head – some Windows-NUT, has clicked the abuse-button – the rest has been on autopilot.

    But don’t get your hopes up on receiving any meaningful reply from Yahoo. I never really liked Yahoo, nor their system any.

    I doubt I’ll get a reply from any of my e-mails – all I ever get are auto-replies. The sheer amount of attention this entry in my blog has created… maybe they’ll notice that.

    Sad to think they pay more attention to blogs not hosted on their servers than to e-mails sent to them.

  8. Rand Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 12:12 pm e
    Michael, John, Both of your points are at the end of the day, irrelevant. She gave a perfectly valid option for getting the computer working. It’s not as if the person only gets one answer. They get many and can choose which they want to try. The topic was getting the computer working when windows took a crap. How is switching to linux off topic? That’s what would happen, the computer would be back in a working condition. It’s good to have options, stop trying to clear them out.
    They probably wouldn’t have killed your version, it’s a good marketing line that helps to ensure that M$ gets another payday. Your commission check is in the mail. (Me)
    My goal was just that – to get the computer working. That was the underlying and basic question. Others suggested sources for Windows (both legal and not), I figured I might as well show an alternative.

    I, for one, will never promote when I believe there is a better alternative. Better being a personal opinion, of course.
  9. Diabolic Preacher Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 2:42 pm e
    first and foremost i feel sick of using services of Yahoo now…esp. Yahoo Answers! or is it Yahoo! Answers ?? hehas for those who think it’s right to censor answers just because they are not on-topic…i have gotten away with best answer credits for answering questions in a way that doesn’t really answer the question. its no wonder there are no mentions of linux qna or they are like so scant.
    and linux users are more smart to go to some place like to look for answers. yahoo answers is sort of meant for newbies and newbies are the ones who can make the easiest transition to linux rather than seasoned users with their time-tested word macros and desktop decorations.
    i don’t see any valid reason to censor the answer except perhaps some pro-MS bunch of click-happy people clicked on “Report Abuse” till the mouse button came out the other side.i always knew yahoo answers was a waste of time n i do use it that way as well…ppl will ask things like “how i can make my computer fast?” how would i know why it is slow unless you tell us….and how many of you reading this page, jump straight to the conclusion that the person is using windows and not linux…ok ok now this might be labelled an off-topic survey, but what i wanna show is that the inability to follow up n refine your answers is what makes yahoo answers useless to solve problems and useful to answer rhetorical stuff like “to be or not to be?”

    I agree… I’ve gotten e-mails the next day after being on Yahoo Answers when I was very, very tired… reading the “Chosen as Best Answer” e-mails and thinking to myself “What the hell was I on? I could have put that so much clearer!”

    Perhaps at level 4 I’m held to a different standard now? I wish someone had told me *laughs*

  10. Opensource Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 6:13 pm eThe real question is, what are you doing wasting your time on a has-been site? Go help out wikipedia or an open source project, not some hollywood wannabe company with second-rate products. (Me)
    But… I like helping hapless newbies… it makes me feel all superior and stuff.

    In all seriousness, there are more rules for wikipedia than I have time (right now) to study and understand. That and I’m interested in some truly odd stuff. Like “cackle berries”.
  11. Sean Miller Says:
    June 23rd, 2007 at 10:10 pm e>John D hit it on the head. You weren’t on topic. The person
    >clearly wanted to get back to where they were. [Michael]Erm… that’s not what was written above… it implied that the person had been given a computer by a friend, so it wasn’t a case of “getting back” as they were just starting, so the idea of replacing XP with Linux was actually quite reasonable…>Someone is having a problem with Windows XP, and your
    >suggesions is to simply wipe it all .. Come on .. It’s like a
    >dentist pulling a tooth, [John]

    As Amanda actually wrote “It doesn’t need a hard drive at all to run – it loads into the computer’s RAM (temporary memory).” this is somewhat of a harsh comparison… we may not be being given the whole story, but from what is written above I do not get the impression that the person *wanted* XP, simply a working computer.


    I guess I was hoping she would take me up on my stop-gap solution and end up using it permanently. That’s what happened with me – Windows went wonky, had stuff to do, got it done in Ubuntu. I got used to Ubuntu, installed it and carried on happily.


3 Responses to “Yahoo Answers Censorship? Follow-up #3”

  1. Amanda Kerik’s WordPress Blog Yahoo + Open Source Censorship. A second follow-up. « Says:

    […] Yahoo Answers Censorship? Follow-up #3 Summary: My responses to comments from: jj, melchior, Michael Wexler, Josh, Tobiax, Jesper, Jesper(again), Peter Jespersen, Rand, Diabolic Preacher, Opensource and Sean Miller. […]

  2. Amanda Kerik’s WordPress Blog Yahoo! Answers is rejecting Open-Source options in answers « Says:

    […] Yahoo Answers Censorship? Follow-up #3 (more responses to comments) […]

  3. David Schwartz Says:

    It is quite common for a person to not ask exactly the right answer. Oftentimes, knowing exactly the right question to ask requires knowing the answer, which you obviously don’t or you wouldn’t be asking.

    The original question didn’t seem to require XP for any particular reason. They just wanted to know if there were any difficulties they might encounter installing XP as that was the most obvious path they could think of to get the computers working.

    The answer was, quite reasonably, that even if there were problems getting XP working, there are other ways to get working computers that might avoid any difficulties encountered. So even if there were difficulties getting XP working, that shouldn’t be an obstacle to getting the computers working.

    The only ways I can think of that Yahoo could justify their actions are:

    1) To admit that it was a mistake.

    2) To cite some section of the guidelines or terms of service that it violates that I missed or misunderstood.

    3) To show that this is part of a pattern of twisting a number of questions into ways to give Linux answers and this was just the one they chose to cite.

    I think as far as Yahoo’s concerned, this is a dead subject. And considering how large a corporation Yahoo is, I doubt I’d get an apology even if I made enough of a fuss to be mentioned on TV. To them apologizing means admitting they were wrong, and if they were wrong they might have to change. And if they have to change that means someone else has power and not them, and they must keep the power.
    Perhaps I’m a bit jaded?

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