Knowledge Sharing and Yahoo Answers: Everyone Knows Something

TitleKnowledge Sharing and Yahoo Answers: Everyone Knows Something
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsAdamic, LA, Zhang, J, Bakshy, E, Ackerman, MS
Conference NameProceedings of the 17th International Conference on World Wide Web
Keywordsexpertise finding, expertise sharing, help seeking, knowledge sharing, online communities, Q&A communities, QA communities, question answering, social network analysis

Yahoo Answers (YA) is a large and diverse question-answer forum, acting not only as a medium for sharing technical knowledge, but as a place where one can seek advice, gather opinions, and satisfy one's curiosity about a countless number of things. In this paper, we seek to understand YA's knowledge sharing and activity. We analyze the forum categories and cluster them according to content characteristics and patterns of interaction among the users. While interactions in some categories resemble expertise sharing forums, others incorporate discussion, everyday advice, and support. With such a diversity of categories in which one can participate, we find that some users focus narrowly on specific topics, while others participate across categories. This not only allows us to map related categories, but to characterize the entropy of the users' interests. We find that lower entropy correlates with receiving higher answer ratings, but only for categories where factual expertise is primarily sought after. We combine both user attributes and answer characteristics to predict, within a given category, whether a particular answer will be chosen as the best answer by the asker.