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A hot-button question for employers is, 'Why do you want to work here, for us?
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.
Online social spaces have become increasingly popular in the past few years and are receiving the attention of researchers in the educational field as possible supports for formal learning or opportunities of informal learning [1,2,3,4].
Their learning potential, however, cannot be taken for granted just because learning has long been recognized as social in nature.
Their actual potential support to learning, however, still requires investigation, especially because portals can widely differ as concerns purpose and internal structure.
Yahoo Answers Essay
This paper aims to contribute in this respect, by concentrating on question answering, a kind of social space not yet widely discussed in education.Such services are also viewed as an expression of the collective intelligence of all of their users . Answers (YA), which is currently one of the largest and most visited, are extremely popular, with hundreds of thousands of users and new questions every month .They have become prominent places for online information seeking, especially since answered questions remain available in the website’s database (for everybody, not only for community members) and can be retrieved also through search engines.Their findings highlight the importance of understanding the interrelationship among these aspects.Sentiment analysis in questions and answers is carried out by Kucuktunc, Cambazoglu, Weber and Ferhatosmanoglu , who found that best answers differ from other answers, as concerns the sentiment they express, and predict the attitude that a question will provoke in answerers.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 , 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.We choose to concentrate on one topic, because it is recognized  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.This fact provides the opportunity for YA users to ask both academic and very practical questions, leaving aside the kind of vague, opinion-oriented questions (usually called “factoids” in the literature ) that are often diffused within other topics.A number of studies have been produced in the last decade, investigating QA systems from different points of view, analyzing a variety of aspects and characterizing them mainly as information seeking devices, social spaces and technological environments.