Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Day I was Screwed by Midgets in Iraq

During the final stages of University, as the stress finally started to set in, I turned to something to get me through. This something wasn't journals, nor books. This something was Yahoo! Answers. Now, I'm not stupid enough to actually ask for scholarly knowledge from such an unlearned community, instead, I was using it as a way to make me once again feel clever.

If you sense bitterness, stick with me. All will be explained.

For those who don't use it, Yahoo Answers works by someone asking a question (though more often than not, thinking it is a forum and writing their opinion, and putting a question mark after), and us, the public, are tasked with answering it. The best answer is then chosen by the asker. For our troubles, we are awarded points, and more importantly a 'best answer %' rating.

Taking pride in my replies, my aim was to keep my 'best answer %' at 100. How hard could it be? Just one day in to my new project, I was faced with the question:

"How many midgets have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the War in Iraq?"

Very intriguing. This isn't the kind of thing that is easy to answer. With a bit of research there is no doubt I will soon be sitting, with the smug look only a man that has just been awarded a 'best answer' can muster.

Putting my dissertation to the side, I opened a new browser, and formed the following reply.

"Its unlikely that any have. You have to be at least 60 inches to join the army, though this can vary. To be classed as a 'midget' you have to be under 58 inches. It is unlikely that any 'midgets' are put on the front line, in danger of being hit. If any were caught in an attack, the news are unlikely to mention they are a 'midget', so at the moment there aren't any published lists of 'midget' deaths."

The closest answer you could get is that 1/40,000 people are born with dwarfism. About 98,000 people have been killed in Iraq. That could mean that just over 2 'midgets' were killed.

I am not the sort of person to congratulate myself too much... but that reply was special. I used maths! Maths! Something that even in the first year of school I vowed not to use again. I learned something, I am sure you learned something, and more importantly he will have learned something. I considered leaving my address so his little hands, now wizened, could write me a thank you card.

Oh how I lay there that night, picturing his face as he read the reply, knowing that nobody else would have even tried to beat that answer.

I woke up the next morning. Very early. Not because impending deadlines, which I wasn't near prepared for, but to check my post. Oh, no thank you card... then again, its early. He is probably American. Delivery would be at least another week, what was I thinking? I quickly checked my e-mail. Soon I would be typing back about how I conducted my research, laughing about University and observational humour. He would probably come and visit me, and he will have a good looking sister I can marry. But no. Nothing. Just Viagra and Nigerian millionaires.

I went on to Yahoo Answers. Obviously he hasn't yet seen my response, but it will be interesting to see the competition. I open the page and re-read the question. Such a simple question, but laced with possibilities.
My eyes trace down the page- and what- what is this? I notice some words that I hadn't seen when landing on the page. Resolved Question. But.. but I didn't get an e-mail? I see the name of the person chosen as best, 'Doggy'. I look away, not being able to read his response. Wait, I'm sure there is an explanation. Perhaps holds a governing position for a 'Midgets in War' body. It's unfortunate, but I couldn't be mad if someone came along with first hand knowledge.

Calming myself, I look back at the screen, open my mind for learning, and prepare myself for this life changing response.

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker: not many
Asker's Comment: ok

Oh I was furious. I had lost my 100% rating before ever receiving it. I drafted out an angry email to both the question asker, and the question answerer. I hit send, cancelled my direct debit to charity, stole from Tesco and punched a big issue seller, not feeling an ounce of remorse.

For those who still think I was a bit harsh on the prepubescent community that is Yahoo answers, here is another notable mention. A question from a school girl, who obviously just needs it for her homework.

"How is bronze made (need quickly)?"

I glanced down the answers, there was already one, so I wasn't going to reply. I gave it a quick read:

"by smelting purified bronze ore which is extracted from the ground. Ihave a feeling it may contain some copper?Am not too sure."

Wait a minute. That isn't right! I am no genius, but I am pretty sure purified bronze ore is just something in World of Warcraft. My fingers hit the keyboard with rapid speed.

"My answer: Smelting copper and tin.
Edit: Possible to be other alloys, but usualy tin."

A simple answer to a simple question. Mark me down for another best answer. But just minutes later, I refreshed the page to find that I, yet again, was robbed. I do not like to type in capitals, but SHE CHOSE THE DAMN LEVEL 43 MAGE'S ANSWER! How dare she! Bronze ore!? Bronze ore!?!!? My teeth were grinding.

I was slightly happier when I read the following, picturing her being shunned by her teacher, thrown out of school, forced to live in slums and inevitably getting pregnant before her 16th birthday (and yes, I am still bitter). But everything has to end on a high note...

"Asker's Comment:
Thanks :)
I chose you becuase you were my first answer
and your answer went in my power point, hehe :) thanks x"



    That pretty much sums up my feelings for Yahoo Answers.

  2. I lol'd! must be pretty naive to believe most of the responses given on Yahoo Answers.