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As an attempt to better understand how people seek, share, and evaluate information in a social Q&A environment, this study identifies the selection criteria people employ when they select best answers in Yahoo! Answers in the context of relevance research. Using content analysis, we analyzed the comments people left upon the selection of best answers to their own questions. From 1,200 samples of comments, only 465 mentioned the specific reason of the selection, becoming eligible for analysis. Through an iterative process, the best-answer selection criteria were inductively derived and grouped into seven value categories: Content value, Cognitive value, Socio-emotional value, Information source value, Extrinsic value, Utility, and General statement. While many of the identified criteria overlap with those found in previous relevance studies, Socio-emotional Values was particularly prominent in this study, especially when people ask opinions and suggestions. These findings reflect the characteristics of a social Q&A site and extend our understanding of relevance to an electronic environment where people bring their every day problem-solving and decision-making tasks.
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