Confessions of a Closet Yahoo! Answers User

So if you don’t know, Yahoo! Answers is a question and answer forum designed for people to ask questions about a large array of topics, and other users can read these questions and offer answers to them.  There are also a few bonus features added in, like a ranking system, to help keep it interesting.  In theory, it’s a great idea and would and should be a wonderful resource to administer polls, get advice, or learn more about a topic or issue.  Instead, it’s a cesspool of ignorance, poor language skills, vulgarity,  hatred, and 12-year-olds.  But there’s still some worth there, waaaaay under all of that.  Granted, it’s hard to get answers on legitimate questions, but sometimes the site does come through.  The flip-side to asking the questions, though, is answering them.  I alone have answered, over the last three-and-a-half years since I signed up for it, 146 of them.  And I think I’ve provided some good ones–why, if my grandpa were to see these, he’d probably tell me I’m “full of it.”  Oh, Grandpa; how right he usually is.

So let’s look at a few.  By the way, I will be making no edits to any spelling or grammar or even language–to do so would ruin the effect.


Question:  Myth????? i think not? if people say global warming is a myth and its not real then whats happening on the earth why is spring coming 6 weeks earlier….. why are the polar ice caps melting? can u tell me why

My Answer:   While I have not come to an official, personal stance on the issue, I do know that it is argued that the planet is simply going through a warm phase, and the symptoms we are seeing is due to the natural causes. It has been documented that the earth went through a cool phase over the course of hundred years or more during the middle ages, where the winters were longer and the summers colder, so it is possible that what we are living through is its opposite. I have also heard the argument that the “greenhouse gases” that are said to be the cause of all of this are either made up or are not as serious as some would have you believe, and many of the things we are told that are signs of global warming are not that at all (i.e. the melting snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which I will admit I do not know the alternative theory, just that this is one of the “examples” that has been disputed).

No one is denying the symptoms, but the reason for them is not conclusive, despite what Al Gore says (which brings up another point: that some believe that the global warming issues are blown out of proportion by political figures to increase governmental controls over personal property). However, in the end I personally think that the reaction should be the same: clean up the planet. Warm phase or no, we can certainly do a much better job taking care of things than we are now. I’m going to do my part and go crush some Styrofoam.

Mine was chosen as the best answer by the asker, a fact about which I would be proud except that she rated it 3 stars and explained her choice:  “longest answer.”  That suggests two things to me–First, she had her mind made up on her stance on the topic (“People who don’t believe in global warming are stupid”) and didn’t expect to get any intelligent answers, so, second, she didn’t read any of the answers and just picked a long one.  Or maybe I’m wrong.


Question:  Do you think its rude? when people come over i want them to take their shoes off because im in a apartment and i have light beige rugs i dont want dirt track marks all over the place even more recently because of all the rain we had here and our apartment complex tore up all our concrete so they can fix it because we keep on flooding so everyone is walking through all the mud and dirt to get here when she came in last night i told her to take her shoes off and she told me no theyre not dirty weather they had mud on them or not i dont want people wearing shoes in here these carpets stain easy how do i get people to take theyre shoes off without sounding rude? and do you think that i had the right to get mad when she refused to take her shoes off or she had the right to get mad for me getting mad?

My Answer:  It’s not rude to demand that others take their shoes off in your home. It is, however, annoying that so many people have a complete lack of understanding of the uses of punctuation.

So I didn’t get best answer on that one, but did get a single “thumbs down” from an unknown user (my money’s on the asker).  I still think it’s funny.  This also demonstrates a common kind of question in Yahoo! Answers . . . the kind of question that makes you ask, “what’s the point?”


Question:  If amateurs wrote the Constitution and professionals built the Titanic which would be best to lead a nation? …You ever notice Bush and Cheney blame evrything around them for what is wrong?Especially people-Ad Hominem/…aren’t these tactics creating disharmony in our society?

My Answer:  First, while that’s a clever quip, it has faulty logic because the writers of the constitution were not amateurs in the sense that it is implied, and Titanic or no, I’d rather have someone with experience build my cruise liner. While “new blood” can certainly keep things fresh in a culture, if you disregard experience and wisdom, you’ll be trapped on a treadmill.

On the Bush and Cheney part, I would agree with you, but take a bigger look at our entire society. It’s the common point of view these days that anything bad that happens is someone else’s fault, even if you’re the one that pulled the trigger. The disharmony that you speak of is not a result of the Bush Administration, but a result of a society full of grown-up, spoiled children. If we won’t take responsibility for our actions and accept inevitabilities with maturity, how can we expect that of our leaders?

This one’s clearly a bit dated, but is a really good example of one of the many kinds of abuses this site gets.  He’s not seeking to understand an opposing viewpoint here, he’s picking a fight.  Again, I received only a thumbs-down for this answer, and this guy picked a long answer that had someone who agreed with him ranting on how Bush and Cheney were going to destroy the earth.  You know what?  I STILL hold that people who had such an extreme reaction to the Bush Administration were just spoiled and entitled bozos.  “The guy in office doesn’t agree with my points of view, teh gud timz r ovr!!1!lol”


Question:  What’s a good hairspray alternative? I’ve never really been into the make-up and hair stuff and I wasn’t raised to know much about it but I’m really into emo hairstyles and I want to get one myself, but no matter where I turn they’re saying to use hairspray or styling gel.

So I was wondering: is there an alternative to using hairspray? (I’m not allowed cause it makes my dad sick, but if it’s fragrance-free then it’s fine.) Preferably a cheap alternative.
(If possible, brand names that are easy to find.)

My Answer:  Stop calling it “emo.” Call it what it is – commercialized goth. A true “emo” hairstyle doesn’t require hairspray.

. . . blasted kids.

So it’s apparent that I have only dealt with the IMPORTANT topics on Yahoo! Answers.  Really, my goal has been to educate and enlighten where I can.


Question: I’m debating in favor of prisoner rights and need statistics…help? I have to base my debate on these three reasons:

(1) Prisoners are humans, and therefore should be treated as such.

(2) Prisoners should be allowed rights because perhaps they were not the true criminal, and so why should they have their rights taken when the guy who really did it is out there getting privileges?

(3) The crime may have been an accident.

I’m having trouble finding statistics for any of these reasons. Please help!

Someone else’s Answer:  Hello Madysen. If it will help you at all, I can give some insight as to how the system is working today.

Up until the mid 70’s, we used Civil Death. When a person was convicted of a felony, he was kicked off the face of the planet and had NO rights. Recidivism was at 15% up to that point. The reason it was so low is that it forced the inmate to realize life was a living hell in prison and the thought of returning was enough to help reinforce the idea of becoming an honest and upright citizen in society.

Since the mid 70’s, we entered into a far more liberal “Rehabilitation and Correction” ideology. Prisons now look like college campuses with razor wire on the perimeter. They do NO work. We do not have the prison factories like the old days where an inmate actually did work for 8 hours a day and was grateful to go back to his cell and rest/sleep. Now they sit around all day pumping iron, watching 60 inch color TVs in the rec area and have full access to mandated legal libraries where they research obscure laws to find loopholes to file frivolous lawsuits at no cost to themselves. ( Two examples of such lawsuits that occured in the last several years: 1: An inmate claimed he needed chunky peanut butter for his digestive tract and we only served smooth. Pain and suffering lawsuit: $25,000. 2: Inmate claimed the stainless steel toilets aggravated his hemorrhoids, causing pain and suffering. Lawsuit filed for $50,000. Both thrown out as frivolous.). Although you might view this as funny or even ludicrous, remember that each and every lawsuit has to be heard in a court of law to determine validity at a cost of thousands of dollars per month. This is YOUR tax money being spent.

Now, in defense of the system today. Inmates ARE governed by Constitutional rights. The right to be free of cruel and inhumane treatment. Proper diet control. Medical, dental and mental health care. To be housed within an environment that is controlled ( we actually have maintenance people walk into the units with digital thermometers to register the temperature of the air and record it).Rights to freedom of accepted religeon ( I say accepted for the satanists within the system, whom are not allowed to practice). Rights of legal counsel and legal redress. I can guarantee that the inmates today are treated FAR better than they ever were in the past and in most cases, far better than they treated their victims that led them into prison.

When a person is convicted of a felony crime, certain rights and priviledges are either suspended or revoked. In Ohio, upon EDS ( Expiration of Definete Sentence), a felon regains his right to vote. A convicted felon, however, does not regain his right to weapon use or ownership. This is part and parcel to breaking the law, has been established as uniform throughout the state system and is applied evenly across the board.

Yes, a crime may have been an accident. Vehicular manslaughter is a representative example of an accident. Bear in mind, whether it was an accident or not, using this example, a life was still taken. Would you feel it would be appropriate for a person to walk away free and clear for driving a car that is a rolling accident that killed a family member by stating ” I didnt mean to kill them?” That is exactly what our Judicial system is in place for. A trial by a jury of your peers that must show a preponderance of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt PLUS the jury must be unanimous in a criminal trial ( versus a majority vote in a civil trial).

Although any of us could argue that there are flaws within ANY system, we still have the fairest legal system in the world today.

I dont know if this truly helps your debate. If you would like further clarification on any point, please post an addendum to your question. I will check back in a day or so and do my best to answer it.


19 years as a Corrections Officer in a max prison

I put this one here instead of my own because that’s a good answer.   In fact . . . this one got best answer by way of user votes, and I think I gave it the one vote it got.  See?  I have no problem with not being the best.

Question:  Black people when you date your own race what do you prefer? Lighter or Darker skin?

My Answer: Dark.

Please note that my answer is right next to a cartoony avatar that is CLEARLY a white guy.  It still makes me chuckle . . . and I got five thumbs up for it!


Question:  Tipping is optional. Who here agrees? responde would be, that they would put something extra in my food. I say thats just wrong. If your employer does not pay enough you can quit. You never mess with anyone’s food. Tipping is something I do ONLY when the server goes out of their way and really puts some effort into it. But tipping automaticall as Steve Buscemi put it in 1991’s “Resivour dogs”, is for the birds. They are no different than beggers except that they work and get paid for it. If not enough, I say tough. I’m tired of servers who think that by doing the job they are hired to do they are entitled someting for them. They can take that with their boss and the government. Am I totally alone in this aspect of thinking?

My Answer:  Disagree all you want, the fact remains that they DO only make $3-4/hour in most cases. If you don’t like pressure to tip, you should avoid restaurants with servers. Simply start eating only at places where you get your own food, then you never have to worry about it! Our culture has made it customary to tip, and refusal to comply is not “sticking it to the man,” it is not a social protest, it is simply you showing how selfish and thoughtless you are. And who are YOU to suggest that they take up some other profession? That is none of your business, and you don’t know the first of any circumstances that led to them taking that job.

Lastly, you cannot make statements like you have made if you’ve never worked as a server, and that’s the bottom line. There is more to being a server than just writing down an order and bringing it back; it involves tons of side-work, maintaining stations, keeping the dining room in order, watching drink levels, bowing to every whim of the management staff who sees them as cheap labor, and, most of all, dealing with the day-to-day @$$holes like yourself who expect some kind of extra service outside of REFILLING THEIR DRINKS, LISTENING TO COMPLAINTS ON THE FOOD, AND RE-DRAWING THE CHECK FOUR TIMES before they pay their waitress for doing everything for them as they sat around and complained about how ridiculous it is to tip. And they have to do all of it with a smile on their face.

Okay, back on more serious stuff.  The argument that people shouldn’t tip, and tip well, is one of my hot-button issues.  Like the whole emo thing, but worse.  It seriously gets me so mad I have to talk myself down sometimes.  I got Best Answer on this one by way of votes . . . but I think that was me who did the voting.

Question:  That in the opinion of atheist comes of them after death?

My Answer: What?

This is among the things that is hard for me to fathom–if you’re going to take the time to type the question, check for duplicates, and then categorize it and post it, how is it that you didn’t stop to notice that you didn’t write a true sentence?


Question:  Explain the context of setting in Oliver Twist? please help me, it’s for my english homework

My Answer: You’re never going to get far by asking other people to do your work for you.

It makes me happy that I was the only person who answered this question.  I know people can make lots of empty commitments about what kind of parent they will be some day, but I hold that I’ll be watching my kids like a hawk, especially in the earlier years, to make sure they’re not pulling crap like this.  It’s seriously all over this site, too.  It’s one thing to show up and say, “I’m having a hard time understanding this question,” or something, but most often you see kids copying their homework questions into the site, hoping someone will bite.  I’ll be popping the backs of some heads if I catch that in MY house!


Question:  Will using nylon strings on my steel string acoustic guitar alter the sound? I wouldn’t know. My music teacher suggested it as it is easier to play with nylon then steel. But will it change the sound? My guitar is 4 years old, and has never been re-strung. I am a complete beginner…thanks, Alli B

My Answer: My jaw is on the ground. If your teacher REALLY recommended putting nylon strings on a steel-string acoustic, I cannot stress enough that you need to find a new teacher. You could go with lighter gauge strings, but honestly I’d stick with more mid-range, such as 12’s. As a beginner, a large portion of your focus needs to be on strengthening your hands and fingers.

This is a rare example of Yahoo! Answers to the rescue.  For a short while I started taking interest in answering questions about guitar, since it’s something I know a little about, and this one still blows my mind.  Nearly EVERYONE that answered suggested this person find a new teacher.  Of course, some of them berated him for not changing his strings in four years, and that makes them jerks.  One guy even said that people who don’t change their strings at least every month should be “taken outside and shot.”  Classy.


Question:  Why is it that a cello performance major has to take piano and a whole bunch of other bullshit just to perform? So, I’ve been playing the cello for 11 years. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and it’s all I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s all I have really. But I’m a Freshman in college now and am bogged down with theory this and theory that, and, oh yeah, I have to be proficient it piano as well!! I have never taken a piano lesson in my ******* life! I’ve never even seen CM7, or CMm7 or anything like that in any music I’ve ever played because I don’t play modern music. I don’t play jazz. I don’t play guitar, I don’t ******* play piano! How the **** do they expect me to know all of that bullshit?! i just want to ******* play my god damned instrument! why do I have to take all these detours?

My Answer: You’ll find that expanding what you know about music in general will improve what you understand about your own instrument. Piano is arguably the most basic of all western instruments, and understanding it will help you with cello more than you may realize.

The avatar next to that photo provides an interesting source point for that question–it’s of a really pissed-off looking girl.  Re-reading my answer tells me that could have been a lot more mean than I was.  I hope that she, as I did, has learned the value of a well-rounded education over a narrowly focused one.  The sad fact, however, is that many never do.  (Oh . . . and did she say “C major minor seventh?”  What the heck is that?  She clearly needs those theory classes.)


Question:  Is there a flaw in my logic? Many people try to work toward a goal of changing something for the better.

Often, atheists will work toward making this world better, as in an atheist’s eyes, this world and life is the only one we have.

Also often, Christians will work toward making the next life better, as in a Christian’s eyes, the main reward they receive will be after death. Many Christians do work for this world as well, but the very core of Christianity involves working for a reward in heaven.

Is it then logical to say, that the atheist’s view of working toward improvement is better for this world, and that the Christian view would be better for the next life? If we were to look at the perspective of only improving this world, and ignore all other worlds, wouldn’t global atheism be seen as the optimal situation for the best possible society?

Now I can see the other side of the coin. If there is a next world, then in terms of only looking at the next world (heaven or hell), the Christian view would be seen as optimal for the best possible outcome of that world (I’m ignoring other religions now for the sake of simplicity).

Which brings me to my point and conclusion. If there is no life after death, is it then safe to conclude that Christianity impedes us as a society in the only world we have? Even if Christianity is right, can we then use the same logic to prove that all other religions have impeded progress in society, and that the world would be better off without religion? And since no singular religion (including Christianity) can prove itself to be valid, isn’t it then logical to say that all religions impede progress, and that the world would be better off without any of them?

My Answer: I can at least let you know that there are some flaws in some of your logic:

1) The very core of Christianity is NOT working for a reward in heaven. If you meet honest, true Christians, they do what they do because they love Jesus for saving them, and part of loving Jesus is loving and caring for others. The promise of eternal life is a big deal, but we’re not doing what we do to earn points.

2) In its truest form, Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. If you read what Jesus and the Apostles taught, you’ll find that much of it was about not being fake and legalistic, but truly loving God and loving others and living to ultimately glorify and worship Him. It is unfortunate that so much of western Christianity has traded that reality for pushy and offensive evangelism and right-wing agendas, because doing so has confused the rest of the world as to what we’re supposed to be about.

3) A fully atheistic society faces an ultimate problem. At where we are now, it seems that it would be easy for everyone to move towards a goal of a better world, but the farther along you get, the more divided everyone will become on what that “better world” should look like. When you have no absolute truth or standards, no one person’s opinion is greater than another’s, and then how are you to decide where to go? I guess you could say that everyone should just go their own way and live peacefully with everyone else, but you cannot deny that also slows and impedes progress, and you also must face the reality that peoples’ own ways will on occasion be so polar opposite that both cannot exist at once. Then whose is right?

Do you see that?  As arrogant as it may seem to say this about my own answer, that’s a civil response to a fairly civil and honest question about the value of religion.  The answer selected as “best answer” was even better.  What were most of the answers, though?  Ones like this:  “because cristions worry about the torcure of hell; and try to get to heaven where the streets are paved with gold” I sometimes wonder how it’s possible that humans haven’t cured cancer or colonized Mars yet.


Question:  To be emo do i have to have a lip piercing? plz help me they also say i have to cute my self is it true

This one was actually kind of recent, when I went on the site to ask a question of my own, and I couldn’t pass it up.  So I now conclude this painfully long post with this painfully long answer I wrote.  It’ll be up for voting for best answer tomorrow:

My Answer: You cannot “be” emo. Emo is not a kind of person, but rather a style of music with origins in early 80’s east-coast punk rock that evolved into a more artistic version of punk rock by the mid and late 90’s, based largely in the Mid-west (it was, in some ways, 90’s college rock). Please heed what I’m about to tell you–you’ll be much smarter and less annoying for it.

The term became bastardized in the early 2000’s with the rise of groups incorrectly labeled “emo,” like Dashboard Confessional and Fall Out Boy, despite those groups (and their kin) sounding nothing like the groups from the 90’s, such as Cap’n Jazz, Braid, Promise Ring, Jawbreaker, The Get Up Kids, and pre-“The Middle” Jimmy Eat World. It was also around that time that the store Hot Topic came into its peak, and it encompassed fashions of not only punk rock, but of the goth scene as well, and sold music and posters of many kinds of groups, some of them emo. Many people outside of the punk, ska, and emo scene at the time didn’t know what emo was (and honestly, it was a hard genre to really pin down, unlike punk or ska). Since many people had never heard of “emo” before going to or hearing of Hot Topic, it became synonymous for a while with those stores, as was the sub-culture “goth.”

This is where things started to get gross. Goth and emo were further associated by their quasi-similar, generic themes of “lamenting over broken relationships” (emo) and “I’m so dark and depressed all the time and wish I could die” (goth).

Since the general populace is rarely concerned with differentiating between sub-cultures, “emo” and “goth” were married together in popular culture’s eyes in the most unholy union since Japan and Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s, becoming this odd sub-culture (called “emo,” much to my annoyance) that was generically centered around the theme of “I’m so dark and depressed by lamenting over broken relationships that I wish I could just die; or maybe I’ll just cut myself,” and focused on music that was truly nothing more than watered-down Blink182, which was already watered-down punk rock.  Seriously–go to Grooveshark, look up and listen to “First Day Back” by Braid, and then go listen to something by My Chemical Romance. Outside of their instrumentation, do they sound even remotely similar?

So at the end of it all, you have a genre of music that represented the next natural maturation of the punk rock underground scene, which was unsuccessfully brought to the mainstream by people who had no idea what it was, thus confusing everyone else about it, leaving you with people mocking or trying to be something called “emo” that was completely created by commercialism and misguided groupthink.

Let me illustrate this a different way before concluding. In 1989, the prog-rock group Jethro Tull won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, amid much controversy. They were hardly a hard rock or metal group. So what happened? Well, the suits and stiffs in charge of the Grammys had absolutely no idea what Heavy Metal really was, and they just lumped those guys in with other groups like Metallica. There was such an outrage over this that the award category was dropped, but imagine for a second that instead of people being outraged, the general populace began to think that “Heavy Metal” bands have flutists and dress like out-of-work hippies. And then real heavy metal bands faded away and moved on with their lives in different areas, and anything called heavy metal from that point forward brings to mind art-rock. Now imagine that you were a Slayer and Metallica fan in 1988, and all that stuff happened, and by the late 1990’s, kids were asking you “do I need dreadlocks to be heavy metal? I also heard that you have to walk around outside naked sometimes, is it true?” Does that seem silly and ridiculous? If it were real, it would probably tend to piss you off. That’s how I feel when someone asks if they need a lip piercing or to “cute” themselves to be emo.

But I guess the short answer to your question is “no.”


One response to “Confessions of a Closet Yahoo! Answers User

  1. Pingback: Confessions of a Closet Yahoo! Answers User, issue 2 | I hope you know what you're doing . . .

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