Yahoo Answers Essay

Yahoo Answers Essay-75
In this paper, we take into consideration a kind of social space that has so far been scarcely considered in the educational field, that is, question answering (QA), with the aim to understand if informal learning opportunities are actually provided by such online environments.Social QA services have been widely developing in the past decade, with the mission to be places where everybody can contribute what they know, because everybody, not only teachers and experts, has some knowledge to share [5].

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We found a high number of purely task-oriented questions and answers, but also a higher number of learning-oriented questions and correct, informative answers.

This suggests that this kind of social space actually has valuable potential for informal learning.

This exploratory study aims to shed light on the learning potential of QA spaces by building a descriptive picture of the kinds of information exchange (from the learning point of view) that actually take place in it and of the possible learning-oriented attitudes showed by its users.

To this end, we selected and analyzed a small corpus of posts in the Languages section of the Italian chapter of YA.

We analyzed a small corpus of posts from the Languages section of Yahoo!

Answers Italy, checking if the questions reveal some inclination to learning or just the desire to obtain a service and if the answers provided by the community members can be considered as reliable sources of knowledge.Several interesting examples are reported below that can give an overall picture of the current research trends in this field.Patterns of interaction are the focus of a study by Adamic, Zhang, Bakshy and Ackerman [5], who try to understand knowledge sharing activity within YA across its categories.Their actual potential support to learning, however, still requires investigation, especially because portals can widely differ as concerns purpose and internal structure.This paper aims to contribute in this respect, by concentrating on question answering, a kind of social space not yet widely discussed in education.User satisfaction and effectiveness are also investigated by Shah [11], who concludes that YA is a very effective platform for QA, because posted questions receive a very fast answer, even though really satisfactory answers usually take longer to be posted, depending on the question’s difficulty.User motivations and expectations are investigated by Choi, Kitzi and Shah [12] based on gratification theory.We choose to concentrate on one topic, because it is recognized [8] that there are wide differences among users’ involvement and behavior in different content categories, and hence, the average outcomes of a transversal analysis would likely fail to faithfully mirror the real situation in any category.We chose the Languages section for our analysis, because languages are a study subject, but they are also used in everyday life to communicate in the current globalized world.Starting from the observation that some users focus only on specific categories, while others like to move across several ones, they map related categories, define an “entropy” of users’ interests and combine these attributes to predict the choice of best answers.Microcollaboration is investigated by Gazan [10], who shows how QA users sometimes engage in episodes of collaborative information seeking; this author spots social capital and affective factors as key elements apt at predicting the formation of such microcollaboration teams.


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