To Sign or Not to Sign?

Supervisors and everyday contributors frequently ask, “What’s the deal on signing answers?”  As you know, WikiAnswers is a Q&A community (and a darn good one!), where answers are grown collaboratively.  Unlike other Q&A sites (no names mentioned), we are based on the ‘wiki’ concept, which means that anyone from anywhere has the ability to edit and modify existing posts.  There is no ‘ownership’ of answers (unless the question is asking for opinions), so signing answers is indeed discouraged. 

What we are aiming for is one really great answer for each question (where possible and feasible) that is collaboratively created by the community over time.  And ideally, we want one answer with a neutral point of view. Bottom line…feel free to delete any personal comments, notes, contact info and what not from answers – including any references to “Hope this helps!” 

Hope this helps!  ;-)

 Example Wrong:


 Example Right:


Interview with the Top Guru.

Top Guru (and CEO) at Answers Corp, Bob Rosenschein, was featured in the “CEO Views” column at yesterday. His post was about his vision of the “ultimate Answers Engine,” combining the powers of, the world’s greatest encyclodictionalmanacapedia, and WikiAnswers, Q&A the Wiki way.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The world of information has evolved from telephones to radios to televisions to the internet… Information has never been more available or expansive. But we find ourselves wading through facts and figures and volumes of webpages overloaded with content… It can be overwhelming, and search engines have certainly come to the rescue for narrowing the web. But if we want to narrow it further – enough to get that one answer we’re seeking in any given search – then hasn’t the time come for an answer machine?

Our goal at Answers Corp is build the web’s ultimate answer engine. The typical search engine is great for getting back thousands of results for deep search. When you want fast info and quick answers to questions, wouldn’t it serve you better to visit an answer engine? That’s what we are building with our two main products, and WikiAnswers. Both sites are designed to give you straightforward content, packed with information from either reference sources or the wider human Q&A community.”

Sounds great, Bob… Read the full blog post. And don’t forget to vote for in AltSearchEngine’s Search Engine of the Year contest…

Who is Kirsten Dunst the second?

And now presenting today’s WikiAnswers Wednesday question:

Who is Kirsten Dunst the second?

Kirsten Dunst really hit a high point in her career with the Spider-man movies. When she realized how popular she was, she went in and got herself a little clone, à la Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers films.

Science these days, huh? It’s pretty incredible:

kirsten dunst

(photo source)

My very first Mobile Answers night out…

It’s a scenario we all find ourselves in: Night out at the bar and a song comes on and you can’t remember who sings it and it absolutely kills you until you figure it out…

A bunch of us Answers.commies (or is that WikiAnswerers?) were out at a bar tonight, where an amateur band was performing the song “Save Tonight”. One of the group turned to us comrades and asked who sings it. One reply was “Barenaked Ladies.” Another suggested, “that black guy who is looking everywhere in the video,” which led me to mention Lenny Kravitz, which got me shot down pretty quickly.

Anyway, someone had one of thems fancy mobile telephones and for the first time ever, I got to use Mobile Answers in a real live situation – the kind of anecdote marketing employees dream of. A friend typed in the address and I typed “Save Tonight” and there it was: Eagle-Eye Cherry!

Another Mobile Answers success story. Now there’s the stuff marketing dreams are made of.

(Have you got any Mobile Answers stories to share?)

For the love of cookies!

Today’s post is dedicated to man’s real best friend: cookies! (Sorry, Rover).cocolate chip cookie

We’ve been seeing quite a few cookie-themed questions on WikiAnswers lately so I thought perhaps it was time to satisfy some curiosity – or is that cravings?

Share some cookie love:

Let’s make the Search Engine of the Year.

My blogger-buddy Charles Knight over at has included in the running for his Search Engine of the Year 2007 contest. was Search Engine of the Month in September.

Love and WikiAnswers? Help show support by voting for us! List in a comment at the contest entry and also a little bit (or a lot) about why we’re the world’s greatest encyclodictionalmanacapedia.

Company love… in Hebrew!

Yours truly was interviewed for an article in Globes, a fancy-shmancy Israeli business finance newspaper. The article covered Facebook applications, and as you know, we’ve released quite a few in the past few months.

Unfortunately for most of us out there, it’s in Hebrew… But the gist is about why and how we made Facebook applications based on trivia and WikiAnswers Q&A. I’ve included some of my answers to the reporter’s questions in English below (not necessarily appearing like this in the article):

I work for Answers Corp, a U.S. and Israel-based company leading the world of online answers with, a site with over 4 million reference topics, and WikiAnswers, the leading community-driven Q&A wiki. Both sites have content that I thought was worth sharing – we all need answers, right?

We wanted to create a way to allow Facebook users to put trivia and WikiAnswers Q&A on their profiles, allowing friends to ask and answer questions or learn new facts, updated daily. That’s where Dapper comes in. Dapper, an exciting new Web 2.0 company, makes it easy to extract content from any site and reuse it elsewhere. They recently developed a way to create Facebook apps from any website content (in beta), which is how we’ve been creating these apps. We’re working closely with them as early adopters of their technology.

I chose topics for the apps that I thought would appeal to different people with diverse interests; for instance, there’s a Music Q&A app, perfect for people who are into music trivia, a Sports Q&A app for sports enthusiasts, and so forth. What you get is an app in your profile listing unanswered trivia questions, which anyone who can view your profile is invited to click and answer on WikiAnswers.

It’s also great for students, who were Facebook’s original audience. They can add Q&A apps relating to their studies (law, health, money) and test their knowledge, help others learn or even ask questions of their own.

Aside from Q&A apps, there are also a bunch of trivia apps as well: Quote of the Day, Wine Word of the Day, Today’s Birthdays (see below for URLs). There is also another app – the first we did – developed by Dapper that includes Word of the Day and Today in History (here).

How-To Tip: Protecting Questions

Protecting questions is a powerful tool given only to Supervisors.  This feature comes in handy when a Q&A is being repeatedly vandalized or when spammers are attacking a specific page. 

But be careful.  Once protected, a question cannot be edited or improved.  So if you choose to protect a Q&A, remember to unprotect it once things settle down so that legitimate contributors can add their posts. 

The ‘Protect from Changes’ tool is located under Question Tools on the left side of the page.

protect questions

Thanksgiving edition!

The leaves have changed… The weather has chilled… It must be turkey time!

Thanksgiving Day is a time for giving… and taking.

Like so:

Give answers to someone who needs them:

…And take answers from people who already know:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Does a T-bone steak dissolve in water, Pepsi or Coca-Cola?

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and my stomach is already rumbling with excitement. Roast turkey… juicy stuffing… buttery potatoes… Since it’ll be another 24 hours before I get anything that good in my stomach, here’s a food question for WikiAnswers Wednesday:

Does a T-bone steak dissolve in water, Pepsi or Coca-Cola?

Actually, it dissolves in hydrochloric acid, which is fancy language for GET IN MY BELLY!

Chuck Norris

Since Governor Mike Huckabee’s new election campaign ad came out, I think we all have a bunch of questions. Like… Why did Chuck Norris agree to do Mike Huckabee’s campaign ad? And what in the world is a HuckChuckFact?

If you haven’t seen it yet:

And here’s what some other WikiAnswerers want to know:

We challenge you…

In it to win it

What do ataraxia and halva have in common? They’re both on the list of words you’ll need to use when submitting your entry for the latest Creative Writing Challenge! Can you meet the Challenge?

What’s in it for you? Prizes include:

  • 1st Place – Fame and fortune! $100 gift certificate plus links to the winner’s blog in the
    Hall of Fame
  • 2nd Place – $50 gift certificate plus blog links in the Hall of Fame
  • 3rd Place – Blog links in the Hall of Fame

Go on. Do it! Write something!

What in the WYSIWYG?

By now, you’ve probably heard the term WYSIWYG while venturing through the WikiAnswers community. Just saying it…WYSIWYG (pronounced wiz-ee-wig)…tickles the upper lip. Funny little thing, isn’t it?

Some people (we won’t mention any names) still think that this is some type of newly fangled dance craze, while others are convinced that it is the ultimate in synthetic hair (WYG?). Not so. WYSIWYG is actually short for What You See Is What You Get. It is similar to a word processor (with a ton of various quirks), in that what you see as you are editing is what will appear in the final product. No HTML or wiki markup language is required.


The WYSIWYG Editor is available on WikiAnswers bio pages and also when you are posting or editing answers. So, have fun and go crazy (but not too crazy or we’ll block you). ;-)

Who are the people in our neighborhood?

Who are the people who contribute to WikiAnswers? What’s their story and what drives their generous nature? And where do they get all their knowledge from?

This is the first interview for a series we’ll be posting here called Contributor Corner. It’s with Wholelotsarocker — a certified financial planner, big time music buff and rock star dad of one of our team (me).

I recently asked my dad about his involvement with WikiAnswers and why he gets such a kick out of it. He’s got a long history of volunteering his time so this kind of activity is right up his alley.

…and yes, that is a banana on his head.

How did you hear about WikiAnswers?

Well, it’s only the leading wiki Q&A site on the Interweb. Who hasn’t heard of it? And where are they so I can school them?

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the community?

My desire to give back to people who haven’t had the many advantages in life that I have enjoyed. That’s also what inspired me to join the Peace Corps right after graduation from UNC-CH.

What is your area of expertise?

Useless rock and roll trivia, primarily from the fifties and sixties. I have far too much of that stuff rolling around in my head, and it is constantly trying to get out!!

What is the funniest question you’ve seen on WikiAnswers?

When was music discovered?
Duh. Everyone knows it was May 13, 216 BCE in what is now near Burkina Faso!

What’s your favorite song? Favorite band?

Whispering Bells by the Del Vikings.
Can’t name just one band… My top three are Moody Blues, Alan Parsons Project and Little River Band.

Share a random fact about yourself.

My right eye is nearsighted and my left eye is farsighted. But that won’t stop me from contributing on WikiAnswers!

What is the best type of shark to keep if you have an outdoor swimming pool?

I like animals. I’m eating one right now (salmon). Speaking of fish, here’s today’s question:

What is the best type of shark to keep if you have an outdoor swimming pool?

Hmm… You nearly stumped me. But I got it. Definitely have the answer to it… But where did I put it? Oh, there it is, one moment… ONE THAT WILL NOT EAT YOU.

Here is a diagram:

shark warning

Now that I’ve said the answer, I’m not sure it’s totally correct. After all, if you’re the type of person that wants to keep a shark in your backyard swimming pool, maybe you oughta get eaten by it. Help out the homo sapien gene pool a bit. You know, the whole Darwin thing.

Actually, WikiAnswers Supervisor Dog-ma has a better answer, being an animal trainer and all.

Chocolate then, chocolate now.

Skimming the CNN headlines this morning, I came across something funny but honestly, not that shocking: Ancients knew chocolate was good

“Residents of Central America were enjoying chocolate drinks more than 3,000 years ago, a half millennium earlier than previously thought, new research shows.”

Basically, archaeologists studied pottery containing the residue of a chemical only found in the cacao plant. Which means that ancient Americans were down with chocolate.

And really, who isn’t? I defy you to step up and proclaim non-love for the cacao tree, which delivers its seeds into our hands to become one of the most precious materials on this earth!

I knew you wouldn’t have the guts. Instead, proclaim your love of chocolate by lending your obsessive chocolate knowledge to answering these questions:

Mmm… Now I think I’ll go make myself a cup of hot cocoa…

Campaign for World AIDS Day.

WikiAnswers is taking the lead: Today we started featuring the HIV and AIDS topic on WikiAnswers in honor of World AIDS Day on December 1st.

Join the rest of the world in asking and answering questions about AIDS and help stop the spread of this deadly disease by spreading knowledge.

Start with some of these popular questions:

Is there a topic you want to see highlighted? Let us know in the comments.

Why did old MacDonald have a farm?

WikiAnswers contributors are special people with special answers to… special questions. Today I’m posting excerpts to let them represent the answers to this gem…

Why did Old MacDonald have a farm? 

 “…He was an outcast, or a misfit if you will. He just didn’t want to play “society” anymore…”

“…His sister also was a chronic bronchitis sufferer, and he removed her from the smog, into fresh air that alleviated the symptoms…”

“…MacDonald was just trying to earn a living like the rest of us…”

 Get the full answers by clicking on the question. Hilarious.