Information Quality on Yahoo! Answers

Information Quality on Yahoo! Answers

Pnina Fichman (Indiana University – Bloomington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4983-5.ch018


Along with the proliferation of the Social Web, Question and Answer (QA) sites attract millions of users around the globe. On these sites, users ask questions while others provide answers. These QA sites vary by their scope, size, and quality of answers; the most popular QA site is Yahoo! Answers. This chapter aims to examine the quality of information produced by the crowd on Yahoo! Answers, assuming that given enough eyeballs all questions can get good answers. Findings illustrate a process of answer quality improvement through crowdsourcing questions. Improvement is achieved by having multiple answers to any given question instead of a single answer, and through a mechanism of answer evaluation, by which users rank the best answer to any given question. Both processes contribute significantly to the quality of answers one can expect to find on Yahoo! Answers.
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There is a growing body of research on QA sites (e.g., Chua & Balkunje, 2012; Fichman, 2012; Rehavi & Refaeli, 2012; Wu & Korfiatis, 2013), showing that information quality can vary significantly between questions, topics, and sites. Yet, these scholars agree that the participatory nature of Web 2.0 provides an infrastructure for achieving high quality knowledge production.

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