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Yahoo! Answers, A Librarian's Worst Nightmare 252

Slate has an interesting look at the realm of online question and answer forums. Yahoo! Answers is boasting over 120 million users and 400 million answers placing it just behind Wikipedia for most visited education/reference site on the internet. While this may be a great insight into crowd mentality and search preferences, it seems to be a "complete disaster as a traditional reference tool." "For educators fretting that the Internet is creating a generation of 'intellectual sluggards,' the problem isn't just that Yahoo!'s site helps ninth-graders cheat on their homework. It's that a lot of the time, it doesn't help them cheat all that well. [...] Like Yahoo! Answers, Wikipedia isn't perfect. But for savvy browsers who know how to use it, Wikipedia is an invaluable source of factual information. In the last two years, there's been a heated debate over whether Wikipedia is as trustworthy as Encyclopedia Britannica. This obscures a crucial point: Wikipedia is at least reliable enough that such a question can be asked. Take my word for it--no one is going to make any such claims about Yahoo! Answers any time soon."

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