Google Unanswers

I know that you, like I, are fascinated by all things having to do with Google Answers; otherwise, how did you get here, and why are you reading this?

And sooner or later, every afficianado-ga comes face-to-face with an obvious conundrum: Why do so many Google Answers questions go unanswered?

This is a good question. But it, itself, is a hard one to answer.

Some reasons are obvious, like the customers who offer up their two bucks and want a list of every zip code in the United States, the names and addresses of each person within each zip code, whether they own or rent, and a special check mark next to all those who have blue eyes.

And there are other GA clients who establish a certain, er, reputation among the researchers for being difficult to please — endless clarifications, poor ratings, and unrelenting mission creep. Out of a sense of professional decorum, I offer no links to such queries.

Still, there are plenty of questions like the one about diesel and gas engines that seem answerable, but don’t get answered (the poor guy even asked a follow up question wanting to know why his other question wasn’t answered…but the follow-up is in danger of going unanswered too!).

Here’s another one that went begging, on medieval church history, and this one at a hundred bucks.

Nor is there any shortage of unanswered $200 questions, like the customer looking for marketing contacts at banks, or any of these.

Which brings us back to the main topic: Why so many questions that get no answers?

I have my pet notions about this, and I hope to post these in days to come (I’m learning not to promise ahead on posts that I may or may not be able to get around to…).

But in the mean time, what of my fellow researchers and GA question-askers, and even the inveterate peanut gallery…and of course, anyone else who stumbles across this post.

What do you all think?

pafalafaga aka David Sarokin


 P.S.  Here’s a good example of a problemmatic question, due to:

–extreme lowballing on the price

–not knowing quite when to stop asking for things (had they stopped at #1, they had a chance at getting an answer), and

–asking for information that probably doesn’t exist

4 Responses to “Google Unanswers”

  1. easterangel says:

    As a Gogle Answers researchers, I usually don’t answer the following types of questions.

    a. Asker wants too many parameters answered – No matter what the price this is a very tough questoion since all the hard work you put into hours of research will go down the drain if one factor cannot be completed.

    b. Questions that go against my moral or ethical beliefs – Just as I wouldn’t take projects that I feel are contrary to my moral beliefs, this is also how I treat Google Answers.

  2. eiffel says:

    Some more reasons:

    a. The asker is too specific: for example, asks for the professions with highest and lowest job satisfaction, which we might not be able to deliver. The asker might be just as happy with pointers to a variety of articles highlighting professions that tend to have high or low job satisfaction – but researchers don’t know that this would be sufficient.

    b. The question is partially-answered in the comments or in the clarifications, and researchers are reluctant to jump in with a fuller answer.

    c. The customer doesn’t respond to a request for clarification (or doesn’t respond usefully).

    d. The researcher is afraid of getting less than a five-star rating, so will not post a good and useful (but not ultimately perfect) answer.

  3. Angy says:

    I don’t answer questions where:

    a) The customer wants “proof” of something which is contrary to commonly held belief – anything from “proof that the holocaust didn’t happen” to “proof that prune juice cures scrofula”.

    b) The answer to the question is “No” or its equivalent e.g.

    Q. “What are five interesting things for a tourist to do in Little Wagga Wagga West”
    A. There aren’t any.

    c) The customer wants suggestions for their party, holiday, wedding, mother-in-law’s birthday present, etc. The risk (from experience) is too great that not only will the customer not like any of my suggestions BUT ALSO be rude about it. As in “Don’t be ridiculous, you must know my mother-in-law hates pecan pie / diamond necklaces. “

  4. bowler-ga says:

    Not that I’m a researcher but it usually a good idea to stay away from qustions that ask for “all” of something or a “comprehensive list” of things.