On the move

batch moveLet’s talk about moving things. On Earth, we’re always on the move (or so they tell us), but we don’t feel it. There are other places, too, where we can be jetting along at, oh, hundreds of miles an hour, and not feel that, either. For example, on excruciatingly long leg-bending neck-cricking plane rides, why does it feel like you’re going nowhere?

When it comes to machines, we know that they move. We can see it and usually we can feel it. But the rules that govern that motion elude us. Take the bicycle – a brillant two-wheeled invention that translates radial motion (what your feet do) into lateral motion (the bike’s movement forward). We all know that if you sit on a non-moving bike and take your feet off the ground, you’ll tip over pretty quickly. But put that same body on the same moving bike and – voila! – you are magically one with the machine, perched easily atop it. If gravity is constant, and you weigh the same, and of course the bike is the same… why does motion change everything?

Some movements are so fast – or slow – as to defy sight and sound. A hummingbird’s flutter can’t be seen at high speeds, and glass moves so slowly that it appears stagnant, like a solid – even though it’s really an amorphous liquid. And an object moving quickly enough can break the sound barrier, which actually causes a huge bang.

Two bonus questions for mechanics aficionados:

Today’s topic, motion, was chosen in honor of the new Batch Recat tool. (Supers: read more about it here; non-supers: here’s how to become one!)

WikiAnswers makes the leap to 4 million questions.

As reported by the fancy WikiAnswers PR people over at Answers.com headquarters, WikiAnswers now has over 4 million questions under its bulging belt.

With the summer Olympic games in full swing these last few weeks, it’s no shock that the four millionth question went something like this:

Are there any new sports in the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

It has a great answer, too. 3000m Steeplechase… Hmmm… Is that like running after churches?

Congrats to WikiAnswers and the wonderfully active community behind every single question and answer. Some of us had a running poll to guess when the site would reach 4 million. I’m proud to say I optimistically claimed August.

Now, on to 5 million… By next week?

Meet Tombo; he wants to help you out.

WikiAnswers contributors come in all shapes, colors and sizes. I have no idea about the shape, color or size of Tombo H, but what I do know is that he is awesome.

While maintaining status as a good student, Tombo likes to play video games, read novels, play the trumpet, and of course… answer questions in order to help people.

In that same vein, Tombo is all about Supervising various topics, including The Simpsons, Cells and Genetics and First Aid.

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I first visited WikiAnswers because Yahoo! Answers wouldn’t let me have an account.  They said I was too young.  I’m really not sure how I had heard about WikiAnswers, but after trying several times to make a Yahoo! Answers account, I just typed the website address into the box and I got the site!

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the WikiAnswers community?

I think it is really fun.  My favorite part is the social aspect of the site, like how  members know each other well.  My favorite part of the site is the Super’s Forum.

What are your areas of expertise?

I don’t know if I’m an expert at anything, but what I mainly do on the site is recategorize questions to the right category.  My best categories are Norway, Cells and genetics, Boy and Girl Scouts of America, The Simpsons, First Aid, and Anne Frank.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

I already mentioned the Super’s Forum, but besides that my favorite feature is probably bio pages.

What is the funniest question/funniest experience as a Supervisor on WikiAnswers?

I think my favorite funny question topped the list of funny questions, so it was one of the few I checked out.  I think it was How many pancakes does it take to shingle a dog house?  The answers were hilarious.  I don’t spend much time looking at funny questions.

Share a random fact about yourself.

My brother and I have given our dog, Willa, tons of nicknames.

Do you want to be interviewed for the Contributor corner? Just leave a comment below and we’ll get to work.

Separation of Love and State

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about this one, so I’m just gonna play it straight: How do you get closure on or get back with your ex when the state has put a restraining order between you both? (Which makes me wonder… If you have a restraining order on a person, can you even contact them?)

What if you suspect a little marital infidelity? Can you get a restraining order on your wife’s boyfriend? The answer is you can keep him away (from you and from your wife) if you can justify it in front of a judge. But be careful to play your cards right – in some states, her paramour might be able to file back at you in some states.

Elsewhere in WikiAnswers land, someone must have been really sick of babka and cheek-pinching to have asked, Can I get a restraining order against Grandmother? If you’re aiming for a heart attack, honey, a fake restraining order will do. And unless she’s truly dangerous, try talking to her.

Some of these questions sound amusing out of context, but restraining orders – though temporary – are serious business. Courts issue restraining orders to protect a person from physical pain or injury (or threat of pain or injury). They are free, can be issued on the spot, and you don’t need a lawyer to get one.

If you are looking for legal information about how to apply for a restraining order, the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut has a comprehensive guide.

For those of you who aren’t ready to take legal action but are still curious about getting that extra mile or two of personal space, here are some more facts about restraining orders:

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings?

I have just arrived in New York City to spend the next three weeks following around WikiAnswers contributors to learn what the word ‘obsession’ means.

Ok fine, maybe I’m just in New York City. I don’t want to be considered a stalker.

In honor of my temporary location, here is today’s WikiAnswers Wednesday question:

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Excellent question. This puzzles me as well. Maybe in the next few weeks that I’m staying here in NYC I will find the answer. For now, I’ll look out my office window on the eleventh floor… for free.

The Vandal Patrol: A sneak preview…

And now, a word from Apryl – or An8thg – yesterday’s Contributor corner spotlight and the leader of the upcoming WikiAnswersVandal Patrol:

Imagine this moment:

You sit perched over your keyboard, rapidly entering search terms, seeking the answer to your latest conundrum when all of a sudden you receive the glorious message…

Is this your question?

‘Yes, that’s it!’ you shout as you jump up, nearly knocking your obnoxiously large drink clear across the room.

The page loads…

And the answer is: HAHAHAHA! LOL! U R STUPID!

At this point, you smash your face into your keyboard and now wear the ‘ASDF’ badge on your forehead for the next fifteen minutes.

Who will save you from these senseless acts of frustration and vandalism?

We will!
We are the Vandal Patrol.

The Vandal Patrol Program is the defense and attack strategy being implemented for WikiAnswers. The program consists of three different divisions, Site Guardians, Alternates Specialists and Site Investigators and each division will focus on a specific task.

Site Guardians will serve as our first line of site defense through the constant monitoring of the Recent Contributions page. Guard the door!

Alternates Specialists will work specifically on the mountain of alternates that require splitting and merging, as well as maintaining and updating site catch-alls. Heal our wounds!

Site Investigators will specialize in searching for and correcting answers containing vandalism and incorrect information. This will be accomplished through keyword searches in option two of the Advanced Search page. Detect and destroy!

Site Generalists can assist the various divisions of the Vandal Patrol or simply ‘keep an eye out’ on a more casual basis.

The members of the Vandal Patrol Program hope to rid the site of vandalized answers and to save the foreheads of all our users from ever wearing the ‘ASDF’ badge again!

Supervisors interested in volunteering for a specific division, please contact Apryl at an8thg @ wikianswers.com or leave a note on her message board.

An8thg: A true WikiAnswers trooper.

Where do we begin with the WikiAnswers powerhouse that is An8thg? Here’s the quick rundown on how Apryl participates:

Most recently, An8thg is heading up a new initiative called the Vandal Patrol. Stay tuned for more information about that.

In the meantime…

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I can’t recall the exact subject but one evening I was performing a search, more than likely car related, and stumbled upon WikiAnswers.  Before I knew what hit me, I was clicking my way through every page on the site.  I absolutely had to see everything!  I found myself completely amazed at the wealth of knowledge available on the site and haven’t been able to pull myself away since.

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the WikiAnswers community?

Ten shots of espresso a day, OCD and a complete and total WikiAnswers addiction!  I find it immensely satisfying to know that an action I perform on the site today may make it that much easier for a user to find their answer in the future.

What is your area of expertise?

I was originally made the Supervisor of the Music category.  Music is one of my biggest passions.  I surround myself with the best equipment for enjoying it, whether it be in my home or vehicles.  I listen to virtually all genres and always keep an open mind whenever I discover a new one.  Music is an essential part of my life.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

Wow!  That’s a tough one!  It’s about the same as putting me in an exotic sports car showroom and asking me to pick my favorite.  I just can’t.  I love them all!

What is the funniest question/funniest experience as a Supervisor on WikiAnswers?

I found it funny when the Usernames thread in the Super’s Forum evolved into a guessing game as to what my screen name really means. The other Supers came up with some terrific guesses!   It was too cute!  Sorry ladies and gents, but I’ll still never tell.

Share a random fact about yourself.


I have a bit of a twisted sense of humor.  Whenever I need a good laugh, I put my Doberman, Luna, in the front seat of my Mustang and head to Starbucks.  I know that Luna is going to terrify the person in the drive-thru window by exposing her teeth and emitting a growl that will make your hair stand on end, but I can’t resist!  It always makes me smile.

Do you want to be interviewed for the Contributor corner? Just leave a comment below and we’ll get to work.

Mission: Recat winners announced!

Mission: Recategorization – the contest designed to get as many Q&A’s out of Uncategorized and into their respective categories ended last week. Turns out it was successful and thousands of recategorizations were accomplished in a week’s time.

View the first-fifth place winners and their numbers of recats!

Lord Arador was the the first place winner with 7,627 recats; did you sleep at all that week?

Second place is held by Aggie80 with 6,994 recats; not too far behind.

There were three winners for third place:HisPowr4U with 5,554 recats, Singingangel93 with 4,682 recats, and Amlove32 with 4,576 recats.

Congratulations to all the winners, who really worked hard – those numbers are impressive! Extra kudos goes to those who not only recategorized, but took extra time to place questions in the deepest appropriate subcategories.

Until next time… bask in the glory of a mission accomplished!

A quick comparison of WikiAnswers and Yahoo! Answers.

Social Media Marketing (SSM) Blog did a quick comparison of WikiAnswers and Yahoo! Answers, the two leading Q&A sites on the market right now.

Let’s see what their perspective was, shall we?

On Q&A format:

In Yahoo! Answers, different users can reply with answer to a question, then the asker can select the best answer for that question. In WikiAnswers there is a wiki format which allows users to provide a single answer for each question, and that single answer can be edited and improved by any user.

On contributor personalization:

Users can personalize your profile in WikiAnswers. It gives you more flexibility, such as creating a personal message board, a watch list, a personal community and a personal io page. In Yahoo! Answers, users do not have access to personal networks or other personalizations.

Continue reading the article for statistical comparisons as well. It’s a little strange that they didn’t highlight the fact that while Yahoo! Answers leads the market by a vast majority, WikiAnswers is the fastest growing Q&A site and gaining on their top competitor constantly.

A mini AnswerThon… WikiAnswers employee-style.

With enthusiasm matching that of the WikiAnswers community-at-large, dozens of Answers Corp employees gathered together for the best use of the lunchroom ever… A mini AnswerThon, where they could actually win something for participating.

From product managers to office managers, system techies to content editors, the room was filled with the diversity and creativity of the team behind WikiAnswers.

Here’s a run down in photos:

Busy bees at work!

I wonder which category he’s getting so thoughtful about…

Sometimes the floor is the best place to find the answers to life’s questions. Or recategorize them.

Hey, what’s so funny – the Humor and Amusement category?

Nothing like going to work on WikiAnswers…

A new way to spice up your WikiAnswers experience.

So I have this new game I play when I feel like contributing to WikiAnswers but can’t commit to a certain activity.

Basically, I go to the WikiAnswers Help Center which is always accessible from the blue Tools Menu. I click on WikiAnswers Extras, the last section of the list, and the first item of the drop down menu is “Jump to a random question.”

Does your mouse have a middle click? I middle-click that first bullet and a new tab opens in my browser (I use Firefox). It’s a random question from across the entire site. I see what could be cleaned up for that Q&A:

  • Recategorize?
  • Edit the question wording/spelling?
  • Edit the answer for grammar and spelling?
  • Add an answer?
  • …and so forth…

This keeps me entertained FOREVER. Except when I’m writing these blog posts, of course. It’s a whole new level of addiction.

Go on, try it.

A little lovin’ for Amlove32.


I am lovin’ Amlove32, also known as Adrienne. She’s one of the resident Wikiholics and it shows: she’s one of the famed Gold Contributors – although her being a Category Supervisor certainly helps, too. In addition, Amlove32 is also on the Vandal Patrol, as signified on her Bio Page.


But as much of a Wikiholic as she is, Adrienne has quite the life outside of WikiAnswers (gasp! is that even possible?). She’s a mom to her son Noah, a graduate of Concord University, an artist and a trivia junkie. Check out her online portfolio.

What can’t this Wikiholic do?

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I’m a celebreality TV show fanatic.  The second season of A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila was about to air, but I wondered what happened to last season’s winner.  Of all the dating shows, these two actually seemed like a good match.  I Googled it, and the third hit was WikiAnswers: Why did Bobby break up with Tila Tequila?

Then I answered some questions myself and before I knew it I was a Supervisor… then I got hooked!

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the WikiAnswers community?

You can answer a question and your answer is there for the whole world to read.  It makes you feel good to educate someone or to share that information in your head that you used to think was useless.  I’m also somewhat of a perfectionist – I literally want to shake my laptop when I see some of these questions.

What are your areas of expertise?

I recently asked to add a Graphic Design category with a subcategory for Typography.  I finally became a category supervisor with those, Image & Graphic editing, and Web Design.  I have a B.A. in Graphic Design & Advertising.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

Batch split and merge.  But I’m telling you:  if/when we ever get Batch Recategorize I will be throwing a party.  Single Recategorizing is the absolute worst.  Anything I can do in bulk or as a shortcut is my specialty.

What is the funniest question/funniest experience as a Supervisor on WikiAnswers?

Funniest (cutest) question: How does a baby plant in his mother?

Funniest experience:  Several attacking the Miley Cyrus fan mail question when An8thg used her special powers to finally break ground in the alternatives.  It was like Q&A rush hour – I know I was crashing into others trying to remove the same alternatives at the same time (oops!).  However, it WAS NOT fun trying to move those questions out one by one by one beforehand.

Share a random fact about yourself.

I should’ve graduated college a semester early, but didn’t because ONE class was only offered during the Spring semester.  I think I’m still bitter about it… :o) I had visited FAQ Farm regularly several years ago, but did not know the connection (between Answers.com and WikiAnswers) until about a month after joining! I never participated then, just read.

I’ve had a professional art exhibit once along with two other artists.  It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun!

Do you want to be interviewed for the Contributor corner? Just leave a comment below and we’ll get to work.

The appeal of Judge Whipper

If you paid me, I couldn’t tell you why I was wondering today, What is that red thing hanging down from the rooster’s chin?

If you’ve ever watched Ally McBeal, you’ll know the answer to this one. The flap of loose skin, found on roosters, turkeys, rabbits, some dog and goat varieties and even some humans, is called a wattle. Some bird species have wattles hanging from their eyes as well.

Just FYI, the rooster’s red hat is called a comb. And turkeys have a special blob of skin covering their beaks, called a snood. The bumpy stuff on their necks is a caruncle (vocab quiz next Thursday, kids).

Still, as I scavenged the web for information about this fleshy appendage, I was left hungry for more. Why do some animals have wattles? What are they for? Are they just fatty extras, or did they have an ancient evolutionary purpose?

Luckily, I was able to turn to Nirel, one of my coworkers, who has zoo-keeping experience and a ready answer for everything. According to Nirel,

I think this is the equivalent to the tail of a peacock – a measure of the health of the turkey, and therefore a bigger redder brighter wattle is a chick magnet, which will increase the fitness (number of offspring) of an individual.

Thanks, Nirel, for your wisdom. That explains the appeal of Judge Whipper.

Next week: Why do pigeons bob their heads?

Hitwise: WikiAnswers is a top 20 web 2.0 site.

Wow. WikiAnswers made it to the top 20 Web 2.0 sites as counted by Hitwise. And, look at that, it even placed higher than just being at #20.

This is so huge. What an honor to make it to the top Web 2.0 sites, along with MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia…

What Heather Hopkins of Hitwise did was include sites that “enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users.” The percentages you see are market share.

Fun fact: According to Hitwise’s numbers, WikiAnswers’ percentage growth is much higher than anybody else’s in this list; nearly 3 times higher than the next biggest jumper!

So how long do you think it is before WikiAnswers bumps out MySpace?

Who is your favorite person of all time?

Ever since Jim returned from his journey through Africa, he has shared with me many of his tales of wild travels and high adventures.

But, c’mon, we all know what that’s like so I thought we should share one of the highlights of his months touring Africa: his discovery of his favorite person of all time (plus, it  has something to do with chocolate). So prepare for a mouth-watering, yet friendly, WikiAnswers Wednesday:

Who is your favorite person of all time?

Mr. Chocolate is my favorite person of all time. He’s a kind, gentle old man living in Nkahta Bay, Malawi. His real name is Finlayson Nyirenda, but everyone calls him Mr. Chocolate because each night he sells chocolate bars to the tourists at one of the hostels in the town called Mayoka Village.

He got started in this enterprise several years ago on the advice of an Israeli tourist, and hasn’t looked back since. So each night he meticulously lays out his chocolate bars in a very particular order that only he knows, sits next to the table in his designated chair, and promptly dozes off. You have to nudge him when you want some chocolate for him to wake up, and he immediately does with a huge smile on his face and a nice laugh. The chocolate is not cheap, especially for local standards, but you can’t help but want to give him your money.

I highly recommend engaging him in a conversation about the area, since he has lived for 74 years, well beyond the average life expectancy in Malawi. His family is related to all the chiefs in the area, and he has been a key part in the history of the town during his lifetime.

I came to Nkhata Bay intending to stay for a couple of days, but ended up staying for two weeks in Nkhata Bay, in large part, because I couldn’t bear to leave Mr. Chocolate. His infectious smile, gentle and friendly nature, and giant purple hat have put him at the number one spot on my all time favorite people list.

~ Jim

A contest to name the WikiAnswers youth.

One of the wonderful members of the Community Development team of WikiAnswers, Deb, is organizing a new initiative involving the teens or youth of WikiAnswers. This is an effort to organize the creativity and power of this important contributor demographic into a social program for teens.

There is currently a contest going on to provide a name for this program; get more details at the following Q&A:

What is the WikiAnswers Teens – Youth initiative naming contest?

Click the question and find out more about the program, the contest and more.

What’s new on WikiAnswers… newsletter edition.

Yesterday the latest WikiAnswers newsletter went out, and I thought I’d recap the highlights for y’all in case you aren’t on the mailing list. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, leave a comment and I’ll pass your name along to the powers-that-be.

On to the news… letter:

New chance to win prizes with Mission: Recategorization

Missed out on the AnswerThon? No sweat. Mission: Recategorization is the challenge to recategorize the most questions located in the Uncategorized category to their appropriate categories. The contest started last night at midnight, and lasts until 11:59pm (EDT) on Monday, August 11th.

There are prizes to be won! Find out more and get started.

AnswerThon Results

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first ever charity-edition WikiAnswers AnswerThon! Hundreds of contributors sponsored a charitable organization by answering questions from July 26-27. See the list of winners and participants on the AnswerThon results page.

Introducing the Community Development Team

We’ve created a Community Development team of Wikiholics to support the rapidly-growing WikiAnswers community. There’s nothing like keeping that addiction to WikiAnswers alive!

To briefly introduce the team: Deb, Brave3, Robin, Zanbabe, and Eliesheva. Feel free to stop by their Message boards and offer your suggestions and feedback.


Dispute Resolution on WikiAnswers

The Community Advisor Team is a new initiative to have a Dispute Resolution program for the community. Our aim is to make you feel comfortable settling disputes with your fellow contributors. To ensure impartiality, the team remains anonymous. Review Community Guidelines & Dispute Resolution in the Help Center.


New feature: Share your Q&A

Now you can share any Q&A page however you prefer! Use the Share button below answered questions to add the Q&A page to your favorites or post it on social networking/bookmarking sites (like MySpace, Facebook, Delicious, Twitter and Digg). Learn more about the Share button.


Name the Youth/Teen Group Contest

WikiAnswers recognizes youth contributors as valuable members of the Q&A community and so we are announcing the WikiAnswers Teen/Youth Initiative.

Here’s where the contest (with prizes) comes in: This program needs a name! Submit your name suggestion by Wednesday, August 6, and win! Get contest details.

Mission: Recategorization.

Do do do… do do do… do do do… do do.


Welcome to Mission: Recategorization. Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Help WikiAnswers recategorize the flood of questions that is taking over the Uncategorized category. If the level gets too high, questions may explode, contributors may drown and the little orange guys across the site will probably head for the hills!

Recategorize the Uncategorized questions into their appropriate categories and win prizes… and save lives!

Where: The comfort of your own computer screen.

When: From 12:00am (EDT) on Tuesday, August 5th, until 11:59pm (EDT) on Monday, August 11th

How: Here’s how to recategorize on WikiAnswers.

Prizes: Plenty of prizes are being given out, including Amazon cash; check them out.

Rules: Questions must be already categorized in Uncategorized to be counted and must be recategorized into appropriate an relevant categories.

Oh, and this is a great opportunity to redeem yourself if you missed out on the recent AnswerThon!