It’s the end of an era. After nearly two decades of consistently regaling us with gems like “why is stealing from rich people illegal?” and “HOW DO I TURN OFF CAPSLOCK,” the iconic web Q&A platform Yahoo Answers will shut down permanently on May 4, 2021.
The news that this invaluable record of humanity’s absurdity will vanish forever has ignited a firestorm of controversy. Although the website is currently still accessible in read-only mode, all of its content will be deleted by June 30. A recent Business Insider op-ed called for the hundreds of millions of questions and interactions on Yahoo Answers to be archived in order to “preserve our collective digital memory for future generations.”
From an ethnographic perspective, pleas to salvage the trove make sense. In many ways, websites like Yahoo Answers serve as important primary sources documenting the evolution and devolution of the internet. While the storied platform has given us plenty of fodder for memes, it has also contributed to the spread of misinformation and online bullying, fueling some of the worst aspects of present-day cyberculture.
As we know, art imitates life, and life imitates the internet, meaning there is no shortage of ridiculous, unhinged, and also totally legitimate art-related queries on the site. Its relentlessly inquisitive users have asked everything from how to teach fifth-graders to paint like Paul Cézanne to depressingly familiar questions about nepotism in the art world.
In honor of the laughs, tears, and moments of sheer incredulity brought to us by Yahoo Answers, and while this truly incomparable digital relic remains online, we rounded up some of the best, below:
The filmmaker and visual artist tells stories that speak directly to Native audiences while not over-explaining meaning for non-Native viewers
Nickson’s interests lie in the individual’s place in a world shaped by immensities of land and water, sky and cloud.
Miguel Calderón examines class, violence, and corruption in Mexican society with macabre, irreverent humor.
The works spanned a variety of media, showcasing the diversity of artmaking and image production that supplements a revolution.
Ten artists will receive studio space and access to faculty, staff, students, workshops, and programming at an arts institution in the heart of Philadelphia.
For this year’s edition of the San Francisco festival, 16 Latina and Chinese women designed and hand-sewed flags that tell their story.
Tomohito Ushiro’s design features billions of shifting lighting patterns and encourages people to use the restroom without “feeling stress.”
The 7.8-magnitude quake has killed at least 2,600 people and destroyed a 2nd-century castle, among other landmarks.
Robert Legorreta, also known as “Cyclona,” discusses the origins of his performance art and ongoing political activism.