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How to Cope With Loss: Yahoo Answers Is Shutting Down

Service will go dark on May 4th, but users will be able to request and download their data up until June 30th

Yahoo Presents Ask the Planet 2006 Yahoo Brain during Launch of Yahoo! Answers in 2006 - Day 1 at Atop the Hard Rock Cafe Marquee in New York City, New York, United States.

Jemal Countess/WireImage

Yahoo Answers, one of the internet’s most storied and often strange repositories of queries and advice, will shut down on May 4th.

Posting on Yahoo Answers will be discontinued on April 20th, and after May 4th, Yahoo Answers will no longer be accessible, with the URL redirecting to Yahoo’s homepage.

Up until June 30th, however, users will be able to download all of their Yahoo Answers data. Per an FAQ page, data download requests will return “all user-generated content including your Questions list, Questions, Answers list, Answers, and any images.” Data download requests may take up to 30 days to complete, and because the information will be formatted in JavaScript Object Notation, a third-party app or website will be needed to read the data (if you’re wondering how to parse JSON, just check Yahoo Answers — at least for now).

Per The Verge, Yahoo sent a note to Yahoo Answers users explaining their decision to axe the service, which launched in 2005. While the letter celebrated the platform as the “best place on the web to ask and answer questions on a variety of topics, creating a community of global knowledge sharing,” it acknowledged that it has grown less popular in recent years as “the needs of our members have changed.”

“To that end, we have decided to shift our resources away from Yahoo Answers to focus on products that better serve our members and deliver on Yahoo’s promise of providing premium trusted content,” Yahoo said.

While Yahoo Answers proper will disappear from the web, over the past 16 years a good chunk of the content posted has been archived on the Wayback Machine. While not every post will be saved, there’s a good chance popular question with lots of engagement have been grabbed for posterity, ensuring future generations will be able to find out the answer to such headscratchers as: “How is babby formed?”

From Rolling Stone US