Ok, this is probably going to be unpopular - too bad - if anyone doesn't like my opinion, wait a minute will I turn the other cheek - so you can kiss my furry little butt.
A. I'm tired of the Yahoo bashing. Yahoo is provided to us free. FREE. The people at Yahoo can do this because of the advertisers - but this doesn't mean they have money to burn on the Answers site. Au contraire.
B. Because Yahoo is free, intelligently designed, fun and for the most part well run (YES, WELL RUN), it is popular and an enormous number of people from around the world use it for email, etc. This puts a strain on Yahoo's resources, especially with respect to Answers which is not exactly number one in the revenue stream.
C. Since Yahoo Answers is free, it is highly unlikely that the Yahoo Answers Team has enough funding or staff to afford to police the enormous volume of traffic on Yahoo Answers themselves - thus the brilliant (YES, BRILLIANT) and innovative idea of setting up some basic community guidelines and having the users police the community themselves - thus enabling Yahoo Answers to remain free to all comers, instead of having to charge everyone. By doing this, Yahoo has made Yahoo Answers into a sort of global democracy - it is one of the reasons I like it so much and find the whole thing so fascinating. I LIKE that people can give thumbs up and down and report - I DON'T LIKE that it is abused - but I'm not surprised - because that is what happens in real life too.
Why I like it - thumbs up and thumbs down let's me know what other people think and let's me express my opinion - I find it interesting when it is used in the manner intended and not just to be nasty. On reporting, sometimes it is necessary - for example, in the case of the guy who was posting links in all his answers to a supposed ebook that was actually a medium for installing a rootkit infection on the computer of anyone who tried to open it - that guy needed to be reported.
D. The reporting system is not perfect and does need revision - but because Y!A is free and not a big Yahoo money maker, Y!A has limited staff and resources to review issues with respect to reports. Mostly Y!A staff relies on literally following the community guidelines and goes from there - this is actually a fair and equitable approach which I find admirable. Because Y!A is free and no proof of identify is required, anyone can sign up, participate and say what they want - this includes our brainy and brilliant selves - it also includes bratty kids, fat heads, fanatics and trolls - like it or not, that is the essence of democracy - everyone gets an equal voice and is judged under the same rules.
As for screening out the kids, that is tough to do without an identification and payment system - remember, there is already a teen and kids section for Y!A - unfortunately the kids don't seem to stay on it - maybe this could be improved with a better set up and design to make the kids PREFER the teen Y!A, but otherwise I can't think of any strategy which isn't self-defeating for most of us Y!A freeloaders.
The above having been said, my only real issues with the community guidelines and Y!A have to do with chat and reporting.
CHAT - Officially, Yahoo management does not want chat on Yahoo Answers and that's the way it is right now - but let's face it, this is a social network, a place for information exchange and opinions - and chat is a part of being social - if people just wanted information with no personal feedback, they could do a google search or check one of the online encyclopedias already!!! I think the Yahoo Answers staff turns a blind eye to chat as much as they can - if they didn't, 9/10ths of the posts on Yahoo Answers would have to be deleted. Anyway, I think the rule against chat should be abolished, period - if Yahoo is hesitant, they could do a trial period - but I think this needs to happen.
REPORTING - my suggestions: (1) how about abolishing reporting of bad language and sexual references and instead having an option for censored / uncensored Y!A same as sites like YouTube etc. - if you are underage or don't want to see language or references like that, your default setting is "censored" - end of story; (2) how about when you report someone, you get a bot that lists the reasons you can report under the community guidlines as A, B, C, D etc. and you have to pick one - and then you can make a comment. Then Y!A checks the Q/A ONLY with respect to the claimed violation - if you make a false report, you should get a warning - if you make three false reports, you should get suspended and investigated and probably have your account deleted - I am thinking that would help a lot to discourage malicious reporting; and (3) only users level 3 and up should be allowed to report - this will cut down on the kiddie trolls, most of whom won't stick with it long enough; and (4) possibly you should only be able to make three reports at level three, four at level four, etc., in any given month - again, this should cut down on malicious reporting.