I’m a regular contributer to Yahoo! Answers. I’m at level 4 – that’s over 4000 points; they’re gained 2 and 10 at a time. For 31% of the answers I give, I’m awarded “Best Answer”.
So imagine my suprise when I get a “Violation Notice Email” from Yahoo saying:
“You have posted content to Yahoo! Answers in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. As a result, your content has been deleted. Community Guidelines help to keep Yahoo! Answers a safe and useful community, so we appreciate your consideration of its rules.”
This is the “violating” Answer:
“If you buy the XP disks you just get that – XP. No MS office, no other programs other than the very basics.
If you’re starting over anyways, grab a blank CD and use imgburn ( http://imgburn.com/ ) to burn an Ubuntu ( http://ubuntu.com/ ) or Kubuntu ( http://kubuntu.com/ ) .iso on there. Put the burned CD in the CD tray and restart the computer. It doesn’t need a hard drive at all to run – it loads into the computer’s RAM (temporary memory).
K/ubuntu comes fully loaded and thousands of other programs are just a few clicks away – you just look them up in a built in installer, it grabs the stuff needed and installs it all. It’s free in both senses of the word – free of cost and free of obligations.“
The question wasn’t included in the email, so I was a little vague on the details. I remembered that the person had a computer that was basically dead in the water (Windows died / wasn’t there) and s/he had no CDs to put Windows back on and was asking about her / his options.
I didn’t see how the info in my answer was in any way abusive / spam / etc, so I emailed Yahoo for the reason.
“One of my answers was removed for abuse.
How is recommending freely available and legal alternatives abuse?
ImgBurn is also a perfectly legal program, so are Ubuntu and Kubuntu(they’re Linux).
Pointing out the issues that I’ve run across with XP is not abusive.
I believe your choice is in severe error.
I have kept a record of this e-mail for my records.”
The response I got back? An auto-reply (I’ll spare you the boring details)
Each time I e-mailed Yahoo I got the auto-reply. Ok, I concluded it was a dead end there.
I put what I can remember at the time on my blog – to vent, to see if anyone else has had the same experience and to see what the public response would be.
I got picked up by a few blogs and then a danish tech site. The comments were a variety of responses, but the two biggest question were:
“What was the question?” and “What was the reason?”
I got an email from Yahoo a few days ago:
We noticed your blog post about a violation on your Yahoo! Answers account and wanted to share some clarification. This answer was removed as a violation of our question and answer format. While it was related, it did not address the asker’s question about whether or not it was difficult to install a particular operating system. We hope this helps clarify our community guidelines for Yahoo! Answers. Please let us know if you have any other questions.
Yahoo! Answers Team”
Ok, so that’s the official reason. My answer was relavent, but it didn’t strictly answer the question as stated.
I replied to the above email with:
“Could you include the text of the question so my blog entry is as complete as possible? I didn’t bookmark the question at the time as I did not forsee the removal of my answer, nor that Yahoo would not include a link to the problematic question / answer.
As I have recieved numerous auto-replies when I’ve tried to contact your company for clarification… perhaps I should make this request on my blog?
In the meantime, I replied to some of the comments in two seperate posts, and didn’t really expect a reply from Yahoo (from my email, that is).
Imagine my suprise earlier today when I got:
This is the full question related to your answer:
Question: Installing Microsoft Windows XP OS?
Question Details: My company is getting rid of old PCs and I’m considering buying one. They have completely wiped out the hard drive, so there is no OS installed at all. Previously it had Windows Me or 2000 on it (not sure which). Is it going to be foolish of me to think I can buy Windows XP and install it myself? What kind of problems can I expect to run into?
Yahoo! Answers Team”
So… coming full circle I still don’t think my Answer was a violation of any of their rules and I still think that the Asker could have really used my Answer.
It was relevant, it addressed the “problems s/he could expect to run into”, it even gave her details on how to get, burn and use a very easy way to test drive an OS that would solve her needs.
The other Answers people gave covered the “buying and installing of XP”.
Am I missing something?