Wednesday, March 12, 2008

WikiAnswers

Someone forwarded an email to me from some listserv by a librarian who had entered the WikiAnswers Answerthon and gotten soundly thrashed. (I think it was that Slam the Boards guy I've written about before.) I was going to poke fun at the librarian getting beaten out by people named Yarnlady, just to keep up my reputation for meanness, but then I checked out Wikianswers and got distracted by some of the most idiotic questions and answers I have ever seen.

I was unfamiliar with WikiAnswers, but apparently it's the place where really stupid people go to ask questions that other people answer off the top of their heads. For example: "Can you have sex with your cousin?" What a stupid question. And here's answer one:

"If you aren't in love with your cousin then don't do it. The jury is in from genetic scientists that say cousins can be married and have healthy children. I still feel this is a risk. I do know people that have married a cousin and it can happen if you haven't seen that person for a very long time and then when you get older it and see them you can fall in love. It's not unheard of. If you are out for adventure and experimenting I would say it's best not to have a sexual experience with your cousin."

As the kids say these days, WTF? What kind of an answer is this supposed to be? The answer of the babbling moron in the supermarket line? I was sipping coffee as I read the line about falling in love with the cousin you haven't seen for years and laughed so hard I almost splattered my monitor. Ah yes, there's the well known experience of meeting a cousin you haven't seen since childhood and falling in love with him. It helps, of course, if that cousin is really hot. And it would seem to me that if you were out for adventure and experimentation, having sex with your cousin would be something you might well want to do.

But then there's answer two, because no question has just one answer:
"Are you talking about your 14 year old cousin when the adults are upstairs or are you talking about your adult cousin? If we're talking about the former, your cousin is still a person. Would you have sex with your brother or sister? Having sex with him or her in that kind of situation may scar him or her for life. If we're talking about the latter, only you know what's best.

A lot of people do it so if you really want to then by all means do it. "

This answerer felt the need for a reference interview. Which cousin are we talking about? Yes, let's clarify this. It's a pity librarians can't answer questions with the last line. Can I use use large portions of this article as my own work and not cite any of it? A lot of people do it so if you really want to then by all means do it.

Changing this answer slightly is the sort of thing that counted toward the so-called answers of the Answerthon. At a later date, the Answerthon winner (552 "answers" in 48 hours) merged the question "Is it eleagal to have sex with your cosiun?" with "Can you have sex with your cousin?," which to me are separate questions, even if we assume the first moron meant "illegal" and "cousin." Neither question is answered as far as I'm concerned. If I'm reading the wiki right, the answerer then eliminated the phrase "go for it dude" at the end of the answer. Nice.

This question leads to the next obvious question, "Can you get pregnant by your cousin?" This person is crying out for some hard knocks, if you ask me. How could one answer this? Well, maybe, but only if you have sex, and you're a woman, and you're both fertile, and you're not using any sort of birth control. Otherwise, probably not, and definitely not if you don't have sex. Something tells me that the person asking this question might be unfamiliar with the concepts of fertility and birth control. What are the schools teaching these days?

Fortunately for this moron, the question has not one, not two, but three different answers.
First, we are told: "Yes you can get pregnant by your cousin, just like anyone else, but despite what others think and believe there is NO scientific evidence supporting the idea that the child will have birth defects." But then we are told: "Yes you can. But there is a great chance of a birth defect." Hmmm, something seems wrong here. What do we do with this contradictory information? How is this person to know whether she should shag her cousin?

Fortunately, a third answerer comes to the rescue: "There is a greater chance of having a healthy baby than an unhealthy one especially if your other parents come from a long way away. But if you live in a small community and there is a possibility that your other parents are related in any way then the chances of a sick baby are raised as it is more likely that any dangerous recessive genes will be present in both of you and they may come together in your baby." I think that's a tedious way of agreeing with the second answerer that if you and your cousin make babies those babies might have birth defects. Since truth is established by democracy, and the scholarly consensus on WikiAnswers is 2:1 in favor of the birth defect theory, then we'll have to go with that answer. It still doesn't address the original question, though.

As I understand it from rereading my own post about Slam the Boards, the Boardslammer wants librarians to go out and answer questions on services like this and let those folks know that real honest-to-goodness librarians are taking time away from the work they are paid with tax dollars to do to answer random questions on question websites for free. I'm paraphrasing a bit. Not my kind of thing, but if you're feeling generous with your time, as the Boardslammer obviously is from time to time, you can answer some of these unanswered questions (at the time of writing) posted by morons at WikiAnswers.

"Why aids can not be remove?"

Huh?

"Bobert94 is the best?"

Probably not.

"Is travel a requirement for being a chef?"

It is if you're a chef on a cruise ship.

"Does US Airlines limit the size of the suitcase carried onto the plane?"

Absolutely not. Bring on that steamer trunk and just keep shoving. It'll fit into the overhead compartment.

"Places with the word green in it?"

You know how they say there are no stupid questions. Well, they're wrong.

"What did the ipod replace?"

Conversation and interest in the world outside our own minds.

"Has there been a blck prezident?"

Yes. Harry Truman was blck.

"A reason for being late thats starts with the letter E?"

Echinococcosis.

"Is sean waltman dead you heard he comitted suicide?"

I heard no such thing.

"Why is tunis important and why?"

Obviously the second "why" is just misplaced, and the question is really, "Why, oh why is Tunis important?" It's not.

The Boardslammer thinks librarians should go out on sites like this to attract more people to libraries. I'm not so sure that's a good idea. I don't do public reference anymore, but if I did I think I would be grateful to WikiAnswers for giving these morons a place to ask their questions other than my reference desk.

73 comments:

Maughta said...

"Can you have sex with your cousin?"

Hell, you CAN have sex with just about everything that's smaller than a breadbox or has a likely looking depression (depending, sometimes but not always, upon your gender). SHOULD you, however, is a whole 'nother can of worms.

Anonymous said...

And am I not the only one who loathes Yahoo!Answers with a passion?

Stupidity aside, there is also something infuriatingly insipid about those farkin' avatars...

Kevin Musgrove said...

It *is* OK for us to point library managers at this service, though, isn't it? It would help my blood pressure

Anonymous said...

AL, I have noticed you say things like 'shag' an 'bollocks' quite a bit. Are you from the UK or simply too classy to use the slang of your fellow Yanks?

Dances With Books said...

Thanks for giving me a laugh first thing in the morning. This only confirms what I already knew: we are surrounded by stupid people, and unfortunately, they seem to outnumber us.

AL said...

"Are you from the UK or simply too classy to use the slang of your fellow Yanks?"

Yes.

Anonymous said...

fortunately, we are surrounded by stupid people, otherwise, we would be out of a job

Anonymous said...

These remind me of any number of questions I've had at the ref desk over the years. For example, "How many grams are in a centimeter?" or, more sadly, "What magical powers do druids have? I think my neighbords are moving my garden rocks around with their minds!"

Bunny Watson said...

Ah, thanks AL, I needed a good laugh today. My lack of faith in mankind is again affirmed.

Anonymous said...

It is so heartening to see that if you have a question, you have to subject yourself to the wrath of the librarian answering the question.

No wonder people are not going into libraries to ask questions, but relying on the Internets.

Who needs some condescending punk look down their nose at you because you asked a question in a manner that they did not like. Or was something that they did not understand, so they scorned the question.

Grow up people.

Lesley W. said...

What you are missing, AL is that there ARE people with real questions who lurk on these boards,hoping for a quality answer. Lucky for them, there are slammers around to take these questions. Yahoo and WikiAnswers should be grateful to the librarian Slammers for giving the answer boards at least a glimmer of respectability!

As for taking time away from their tax funded jobs: marketing and promotion ARE a part of my job. Clearly, from the last Anonymous post, the AL is furthering the stereotype of the snooty, unhelpful librarian. All the more reason for teh rest of us to work towards changing it!

AL said...

"It is so heartening to see that if you have a question, you have to subject yourself to the wrath of the librarian answering the question."

Excellent point, because we all know that if a member of the general public has a question, the first place they come is the Annoyed Librarian.

Anonymous said...

Librarians should be snooty, aloof, and unhelpful.

The last thing I need in my library is some person who doesn't understand my system of doing things.

Don't get it?

Get out, and don't let the door hit you in the a$$ as you go through it!

AL said...

"Yahoo and WikiAnswers should be grateful to the librarian Slammers for giving the answer boards at least a glimmer of respectability!"

And why should librarians want to give these services any respectability?

Anonymous said...

"Yahoo and WikiAnswers should be grateful to the librarian Slammers for giving the answer boards at least a glimmer of respectability!"

And why should librarians want to give these services any respectability?


Because, if there aren't these services available, I am going to be stuck answering a bunch of inane questions all day.

I would much rather sit on my tush, collect my salary, and then head out to the bar at 4:00 to sip martinis.

datamuse said...

"Does US Airlines limit the size of the suitcase carried onto the plane?"

Absolutely not. Bring on that steamer trunk and just keep shoving. It'll fit into the overhead compartment.


I've had a number of airplane trips with fellow travelers who really seemed to believe this...

Anonymous said...

"I would much rather sit on my tush, collect my salary"

Sounds like a plan, or you can work overtime and help a doe-eyed rube from Yahoo Answers in Hole-in-the-Road, Square State with dating tips for the next family reunion. Sorry, I'm headed for the bar.

j- said...

*"Can you have sex with your cousin?" What a stupid question.*

I recently read somewhere that huge percentages [upwards of 50%]of the marriages in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States were between first cousins. Explains a lot, really. At the rate we're going in this country, I can see us legalizing it, too.

*Is it eleagal to have sex with your cosiun?" *

When the WWW was new, I was under the impression that stupid people would never figure out how to use it. Oh, how mightily I have been proven incorrect. This person seems like he/she is a product of consanguineous intercourse.

*What are the schools teaching these days?*

Oh, I can answer this one!

"Christianity is stupid. Communism is good. Give up, give up."

j- said...

*Who needs some condescending punk look down their nose at you because you asked a question in a manner that they did not like. Or was something that they did not understand, so they scorned the question.*

Oh, quick, someone call the waaahmbulance!

*Librarians should be snooty, aloof, and unhelpful.

The last thing I need in my library is some person who doesn't understand my system of doing things.*

We're not heaping scorn on people who don't understand the Dewey Decimal System, here. We're pointing and laughing at people who want to sleep with their cousins and/or have absolutely no command of the English language and/or grammar.

Pointing & laughing is an important part of societal pressure to conform...you know, it takes a village, right, pal?

Anonymous said...

We're not heaping scorn on people who don't understand the Dewey Decimal System, here. We're pointing and laughing at people who want to sleep with their cousins and/or have absolutely no command of the English language and/or grammar.

You must have a grand time when a "foreigner" comes in and attempts to ask a question.

You better not be drinking coffee or your spit-take my soak them down.

Anonymous said...

Oh, just read the previous post about Slam the Boards. Now I get it... it wasn't altruism, just marketing. I'm so disillusioned!

Anonymous said...

Great post, but I'm curious about the e-mail that prompted it. Could you post it?

Kristen said...

"Christianity is stupid. Communism is good. Give up, give up."

It's not even funny....

Bill Pardue said...

Glad to post the e-mail:

================

Subject: WikiAnswer AnswerThon winners...


http://wiki.answers.com/static/answerthon.html

Well, no librarians won...and those numbers are frankly daunting!

It's interesting to look at the winner's contributions for the day: http://wiki.answers.com/wiki.phtml?title=Special:Contributions&hideminor=1&target=User:Aggie80&limit=500&offset=250

I think that, even at our highest speed, we wouldn't come close because we're busy researching attributions and establishing authority. Something that clearly wasn't a priority there! Not complaining, though. We just focus on quality over quantity.

Don't remember if I mentioned this, but I did do a handful of answers just to support the librarians' cause, but I was nowhere near competitive. It didn't help that it was at the tail end of a vacation and while the family was recovering from a collective cold!

If I were going to get into another competition like this, I think I'd want it to focus more on the quality issues that we deal with. Some kind of credit for the "best-researched answer" or "the hardest nugget to uncover?" Perhaps even a competition just for librarians?

Thoughts?

======================

Also, not sure whether irony was on or off concerning the disillustionment regarding "Slam" as a promotional concept. Librarians participate in "Slam" with the intent of finding and answering "real" questions (yes, it takes some cherry-picking) and illustrating to users that librarians actually provide reference services. There's no shame in promoting what we do, especially to users who often don't know that we exist (heard about the OCLC Environmental Scan?). If you haven't given it a try, I invite you to Slam along on 4/10!

--Bill Pardue bpardue@ahml.info

Anonymous said...

This is one of the funniest blog posts I've read recently. Thanks, AL! It does sound good that you don't provide ref services to the public any more. I still do, and (almost) always really enjoy this work.

The desk doesn't belong to me, so I don't mind the so-called dumb questions... but, the ones we get in person or online are not as extremely humorous as those posted on these large sites like WikiAnswers.

Ed Crank -- Librarian said...

To the librarian, it is a stupid, mispeakened questioned, and the answer is obvious.

To the patron /client /user/ drone/ customer (put in what ever you want to call them)come in, call, fax, e-mail, message, whatever it is something they want to know. If they knew the answer, they wouldn't be asking.

As for the poor use of language, well, that is a function of what our schools pump out and the level that society accepts poor language and grammar usage. If we stopped responding to badly formed questions, we could try to change things, but would look like stuffy pricks while we were doing it.

So, yes I am a snarky bung who doesn't suffer fools lightly, but, I will answer any question put to me. Or foist it off to the reference librarian.

Ed Crank -- Librarian said...

Additionally, I used to work part time in a department store to make ends meet, and you would not believe the questions "educated" people asked. And I know some were librarians.

I would be standing in front of a mountain of kitty litter (bagged, the kitty litter, not me) and have these paragons of information come up to me and say "Do you work here? [No, I stand around in a blue vest with the name of the store and a name tag because I have a weird fetish] Do you know where the kitty litter is that is on sale?"

So, it is a matter of environment and expectations sometimes.

Excuse me, it is getting late and I need to see what flavor of martinis are coming out of the tap.

Melvil said...

Questions like these are why I have this lovely poster over my desk http://despair.com/cluelessness.html.

Anonymous said...

About the altruism/disillusionment post... the irony was turned on. But, I'm not much at marketing anyway (but am altruistic) -- regarding marketing, am more interested in marketing the local library services to our constituents than in marketing librarians' expertise in general to the general public. There are lots and lots of people doing the latter already, so it seems to be well covered. It's important, but I don't feel a higher calling to do that.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try flooding WikiAnswers with literate, complicated, serious questions. Then let's see what sort of answers pop up!

Actually, just tried it and ran into roadblocks because their software won't accept 'punctuation or non-English characters' in your question. (On the other hand, the software DID catch a typo I made.)

We'll only see better answers when there are better questions!

---Kurt

Anonymous said...

As a possible contrast to the whole wiki phenomenon, the upcoming 3.0 trends say that experts will become more the norm in coming years (and it sounds like they are just in time):

http://www.newsweek.com/id/119091

Bill Pardue said...

The "our patrons" v. "not our patrons" issue is worth some discussion. I don't want to trivialize it, but I do think we can go to the national boards and collectively promote reference services in general. I'm afraid I really don't see lots of sources that promote library reference services to the general public (how far do you have to dig into the ALA site to find mention of it?). Still, I think you could do "Slamming" locally as well. In fact, it might have a more measurable impact for your library. Find local blogs or discussion boards (for your municipality, your church, your PTA, whatever). Just lurk a bit. Keep an eye out for factual questions, comments requiring more background, etc. Then add the info and make sure to note your connection to the library. Promote materials you have to add background to a discussion thread. Get a facebook account and look for local groups to join.

Yes, we're busy...but I'm sure we can find some time to showcase our talents beyond the reference desk and our own web pages.

--Bill

Bill Pardue said...

Oh...thanks for the Newsweek link!

AL said...

Bill, I think the local slamming is probably a better way for librarians to spend their time than the national slamming. That would target the people in the community who might actually support the library and use it more if they knew what to expect. The national slamming seems like tossing a few drops of ink into an ocean and hoping it turns black.

Minks said...

I have dabbled on yahoo answers before. I am not sure dabbled is the right term,, as I am a level 3 with over 2000 points and a 19% best answer rating...

Anywho...

What I find really frustrating is that you can spend some significant time researching and answering a question and post the answer with ample citations/references... and some rube who gives a single sentence answer will get the coveted 'best answer' award on that question. *sigh* I am sooo appreciated. =P

The real question I guess is why am I so obsessed with getting information to people that want to shag their cousins or want to know if pulling out is a valid birth control method?

Anonymous said...

About promoting reference services to the general public, when I said lots of people were doing it I didn't mean ALA. Just do a web search on "ask a librarian" with the word marketing. Some of the results are locally oriented, and some endeavors more broadly focused toward a larger public.

And I know that others are more familiar with the "slam the boards" events than I... and I'm sure that they are fun.... but didn't lots and lots of librarians participate in that? That was my impression, but since I didn't participate I may not be aware.

That was all I meant when I said that lots and lots of people are already marketing librarians' expertise to the general public. Maybe there aren't enough doing it... maybe "lots and lots" was an inaccurate characterization?

So, anyway... that is possibly enough of that discussion, unless anybody has anything else to say.

j- said...

*You must have a grand time when a "foreigner" comes in and attempts to ask a question.*

Oh, but I love this type of retort. It's the modern day liberal's equivalent of a medieval serf accusing someone a witch. Nice try--I might be an elitist but a xenophobe I am not.

We all know that knowledge of a language is a bit easier to fake while speaking than it is while writing. What is your hypothetical foreigner going to do, jot down his question on consanguinal relations on a post-it note and hand it over to me across the reference desk?

Not going to happen, most likely--I left that sort of question behind when I left the law library I worked at while chasing my MLS.

*As for the poor use of language, well, that is a function of what our schools pump out and the level that society accepts poor language and grammar usage.*

I also love the dolts who make the decisions to accept TWO pronunciations of words, justifying such a rule by such word being "commonly pronounced" [i.e. nuclear/"nucular"]. This is like saying "Sure, 2+2 can equal 5 because a whole bunch of stupid people think 2+2 DOES equal 5".

My all-time favorite example of this is the "word" "normalcy". It doesn't exist--and just because some semi-literate rube who heard it as a boy in 1855, gets elected President and uses it in a speech 75 years later doesn't make it right, either.

Brent said...

I thought it was genetically best to have a child with your third cousin?

No, was that just a lie? Oh nooooooooooooooo! I'll never trust the Internet again!

Anonymous said...

"As for taking time away from their tax funded jobs: marketing and promotion ARE a part of my job. Clearly, from the last Anonymous post, the AL is furthering the stereotype of the snooty, unhelpful librarian. All the more reason for teh rest of us to work towards changing it!"

All the more reason for the ALA to be promoting libraries, so that librarians can spend their workdays doing what tax payers pay them to do!!!

Anonymous said...

In physics class, we used to do hard problems. Then we used the new electronic voters to vote for one of four answers on teh screen. Only one was right. 9 times out of 10, we proved, in that class, that you CANNOT determine Truth by a Voting Cosensus!!!!


I hope the smart peopel will wke up soon and find some way to get these stupid people to do work for free...mmmmmm...freeeee wooorrrkkk...

Then the smart people can sit back and relax!!!


Kat!

Anonymous said...

"Christianity is stupid. Communism is good. Give up, give up."

And the only problem with that is that Communism don't work out too good.

Anonymous said...

I also love the dolts who make the decisions to accept TWO pronunciations of words, justifying such a rule by such word being "commonly pronounced" [i.e. nuclear/"nucular"]. This is like saying "Sure, 2+2 can equal 5 because a whole bunch of stupid people think 2+2 DOES equal 5".

Amen.

If you make a grammatical error or mispronounce something, I am not going to help you. I will give you a withering stare.

If you do realize your mistake and try to correct it, sorry too late. We only help people that are perfect.

This attitude has greatly helped our reference. We no longer have to stoop down and help the masses. It is a great feeling.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the homeless person who would not leave our library. . .

But at least he spoke good English, and knew the answers to questions before he asked them, so we helped him.

j- said...

*Amen.

If you make a grammatical error or mispronounce something, I am not going to help you. I will give you a withering stare.*

And:

*Yeah, I always thought that if someone commits a grammatical sin, that it is a mortal sin and should be treated accordingly. There is simply no room in this crowded world of ours for people who make grammatical mistakes, or any mistakes for that matter! *

Do either or both or you have problems comprehending what you read?

How can their be a correct answer when, over time, people simply accept any old answer.

For instance, there's clearly a reason why reproducing with your cousin is a bad idea. Yet, the stupid among us might start thinking there's nothing wrong with it and they persuade their elected Representatives to overturn the laws against it.

A couple generations later, everyone looks like that kid who played banjo in Deliverance or half of the House of Windsor.

Who's laughing then, snarky?

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, but the question is not about reproduction with a cousin, just sex.

If you are both are of age of consent, by all means, boink away, the act of boinking (insert your favorite euphemism here) is not illegal.

Just don't try to get married, that may be illegal.

So, the moral of the story is, look at the question and don't make a bunch of assumptions about it.

So stick to librarianship and leave the legal questions to the lawyers, ok?

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the question is. Since the reference interview is lacking from the process, who knows what is really being asked? Why anyone would attempt to answer an ambiguous question without qualifying it is a mystery, but quite a few librarians here seem up to the challenge. Now that's scary.

Anonymous said...

Reference interview.

How quaint.

There is no time for anything like that in the Library 2.0 world.

Emily Barney said...

In my reference class (I'm in UIUC's online program) we answered questions posed at the "Internet Public Library" for one of our major assignments.

It was an instructive assignment, hard to do any "reference interview" but the questions were often pretty complicated and did require the use of print and online data. We had precise formatting requirements, couldn't use any subscription services and we had to explain the search process, which sometimes made it lengthy.

For a "project" like this, I'd find it more useful to choose the more complex questions and post a short answer then direct people to a source like that, available to anyone on the internet. You can encourage more library students to get experience and show how librarians can be useful without necessarily wasting hours and hours of your own time.

Kevin Musgrove said...

The "best" answer is the one that you want, not the one nearest approximating an objective truth.

We have managers who live by this maxim.

Ed Crank -- Librarian said...

What is truth?

Anonymous said...

I just checked out the list of questions waiting answers and it brought a smile to my face. Is it in violation of ALA ethics to just start answering these inane questions with equally inane answers? How could anyone SERIOUSLY post a question to this site? Many of them could be answered with a pretty basic internet search.
Thank god I don't work in a public library.

soren faust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Christianity is stupid. Communism is good. Give up, give up."

It's not even funny....


This is also from the guy who thought Karl Marx played stocks.......

Anonymous said...

...in repertory at the Bristol Old Vic opposite Edith Evans (as Cinderella)

ex-lib said...

"Yahoo and WikiAnswers should be grateful to the librarian Slammers for giving the answer boards at least a glimmer of respectability!"

And why should librarians want to give these services any respectability?
----------------------------
They shouldn't, unless they are moonlighting for these jokers and getting PAID for it. Talk about Tom Sawyer and whitewashing a fence.

If you disagree asnswer the following question; Does God like bananas?

Anonymous said...

They shouldn't, unless they are moonlighting for these jokers and getting PAID for it. Talk about Tom Sawyer and whitewashing a fence.

Exactly! How come dentists don't want to slam our teeth? I could use a free check-up and x-rays.

Anonymous said...

On a completely different note, one of things I really appreciate about posting here is that AL could easily out any of us (or at least where we are posting from) and he/she doesn't.

Thanks. It's too bad I can't say the same about others. Hint: They aren't fans of AL.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

"If we're talking about the former, your cousin is still a person." Yes and the adult is no longer a person, so then it is OK.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, there are stupid people who ask stupid questions. I deal with them all the time at the reference desk. They're fun to talk about and make fun of with other librarians (although I would hope you'd have the decency not to ridicule them to their face.)

However, I'll bet that most of the examples you've provided here are probably from a population who have a legitimate reason for poor writing and thinking skills: they're kids.

And ranting against stupid questions asked by kids is a little bit like ridiculing a Kindergartner for not knowing algebra. It's cruel, tasteless, and moronic in its own right.

Kids ask all kinds of stupid questions. It's one part of learning. If you ridicule them every time they ask one, they stop asking questions altogether. This leads to more stupidity, because you beat all of the curiosity right out of them. The result is the slew of apathetic community college students I deal with every day who never learned how to ask questions.

j- said...

*Anonymous said...

"Christianity is stupid. Communism is good. Give up, give up."

It's not even funny....

This is also from the guy who thought Karl Marx played stocks.......
*

It's a quote. From a song. Someone got it. Maybe you should ask WikiAnswers where it's from.

Marx was a failure as a capitalist. Having no ball to take home, he simply invented his own game. What a guy!

Liz said...

"Changing this answer slightly is the sort of thing that counted toward the so-called answers of the Answerthon."

That and merging didn't count as an answer... It was only if you added three original relevant sentences as an answer... Just FYI.

Anonymous said...

"Christianity is stupid. Communism is good. Give up, give up."

I'm pretty sure this is a reference to the song "Christianity is Stupid" by the experimental noise band Negativland.

Anonymous said...

It enables stupidity to answer questions people can answer for themselves by merely thinking and forming an opinion. Not everything followed by a question mark can or should be answered professionally. Even if, and especially when it seems easy for you and difficult for them. Help is a delicate balance don't you think?
You don't expect a medical doctor to be o.k. with smoking, so why expect Librarians to pander to individuals who don't employ common sense before asking a reference question (or provide serious replies to individuals who are really just bored kids typing crap) --- like me I'm in 4th grade. Don't bother with snarky replies, I don't follow up-I just like to see my comments on the big screen so I can be an avatar when I grow up.

Anonymous said...

I just followed your link to the wiki answers site. It's -- well, weird. It looks like a lot of the stupid questions were put there on purpose to get something started (What is music you might hear at Christmas?)

I can't believe real people would ask some of the questions I saw there.

--Jim

Marianaria Sra. bibliotecaria said...

I started answering questions on Yahoo Answers a few months ago. My library is pretty specialized, and it gave me a chance to get back to more general questions.

I had fun for a while, and moved up a few levels in terms of points, but have now stopped. The reason is the combination of banality (am I pretty? what should I buy my boyfriend for a present?), rude/obnoxious/inflammatory questions (why do all [insert political party, gender, race, ethnic group, nationality] [something or other: want to kill the constitution; kill americans; hate [opposite gender]; want to indoctrinate our children; etc. etc.]

I just got worn out paging through all that to get to something interesting (Opel dealers in Saudi Arabia? Turns out there are lots ....)

I haven't looked at Wikianswers, but from the description its more of the same.

Danny Schoemann said...

"I haven't looked at WikiAnswers, but from the description its more of the same."

Well maybe you should; as opposed to Yahoo!Answers, at WikiAnswers you can edit / delete previous nonsensical responses - it's a Wiki, after all.

You can also edit the wording of questions.

WikiAnswers is more geared for adults and serious users, as opposed to being a forum to mouth-off.

Nil said...

Now, THIS is what I come to annoyed librarian for. HI-larious. I was 'laughing out loud' as the kids say.

But I do have to point out that librarians are in fact paid to answer questions for free, so taking paid time to answer questions for free is failing to shock me.

Anonymous said...

PS: I think maybe he really meant "Can I have sex with your cousin."

Because if he was asking if me, the guy answering, could have sex with my own cousin, I'd say, yes, and I've got proof.

If he's asking if HE can have sex with my cousin, the answer is, have you got $50?

Anonymous said...

The basic idea of WikiAnswers is a good one in that anyone can put their view.The problem comes when people abuse that freedom.

Anonymous said...

Do you know how many time zones there are in the Soviet Union?

evansmachera said...

wikiAnswers is a forum for exchange of ideas,entertainment and a sourse of information just to name a few.

If an issue is raised that you don't like,kindly ignore or sign out and assume you never got it or just question it's morality for anybody to respond - be sure to find varied answers that make wikianswers what it is or supposed to be.

It is possible that this forum can be abused but you can make corrections to those who are abusing it.

Perhaps someday the abusers can see sense and respond accordingly.

The users of wikianswers must be grown ups so i don't expect the use of words such as idiot,stupid etc .

So the Annoyed Librarian saga need not repeat again.