I promised to do an analysis of the topic areas for comparison purposes of the Genealogy questions at Yahoo! Answers.

To find 100 questions that we would deem on-topic (drawing the lines generously) I had to trawl 145 questions, i.e. 31% of the questions there be off-topic here. (I did not attempt to eliminate questions that would have been closed for other purposes e.g. duplicates, as I was losing the will to live and needed to find 100 questions before I did).

Breakdown is as follows [our figures in brackets]:

  • Application of technology 9% (of which 'What website should I use' was 8%) [12%]

  • Research process etc. 23% (of which 'What is this relationship called' was 10%) [28%]

  • Locating records 19% [30%]

  • Interpreting records 2% [13%]

  • Researching specific ancestors 8% [14%]

  • Other specialist topics 39% (of which 'What is the origin of this surname' was 19%. and questions about ethnicity were 13%) [3%]

A very different mix.... Discuss!

[Edited to correct percentages. I blame traumatic stress at the time]

  • 1
    After reviewing those questions, if you were a professional genealogist, how many of them would you feel are worthy of you answering? What would be the equivalent number for 100 posts here? I don't want you to go through them again, because you need to retain your will to live, but just give us an estimate based on the general impression you got.
    – lkessler
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 6:00
  • @lkessler, there were maybe 3 or 4 very good questions, and maybe 10 that with work could have been OK questions (although almost all duplicates about starting out in FH or finding basic BMD records).
    – user104
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 9:36
  • I want to publicly acknowledge your sacrifice in trawling through that dross on our behalf. Although I may never forgive you bringing it to my attention. I now understand the expression "It makes my brain hurt."
    – Fortiter
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 6:32
  • @Fortiter, it was Luke's fault -- he suggested it.
    – user104
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 9:14
  • @ColeValleyGirl I did? Where?
    – Luke_0
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 13:41
  • @Luke, sorry -- my memory was playing tricks. It's lkessler who's to blame.
    – user104
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 14:08
  • What a delightful game of 'pass the buck'. :)
    – Luke_0
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 14:11

2 Answers 2


For those who need a graphic visualization (i.e., me):

Category                                      | Yahoo! Answers | Genealogy SE

Application of technology             |         10%            |         12%

Research Process                       |         23%            |         28%

Locating Records                        |         10%            |         30%

Interpreting Records                    |          2%            |         13%

Researching specific ancestors   |          8%            |         14%

Specialist Topics                         |         38%            |         3%

NOTE Sum of given Yahoo data is not 100%

enter image description here

  • Numbers fixed in OP.
    – user104
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 9:13

If we exclude the 32 Yahoo questions concerning surnames and ethnicity (on the grounds that they would not have made it into the SE sample) then the differences are not nearly so marked.

enter image description here

Dare I suggest that only in "Interpreting records" is there a marked distinction.

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