Rockin’ the contributions with RockandRollPirate.

Now, here’s one for the record books for most fun username: RockandRollPirate, a.k.a. Liz, has been a WikiAnswers contributor since January. You gotta love a contributor who claims their talents include learning, music, entertainment and… arguing.

She’s hanging around the site, looking to help people. Hmm, does it get any more WikiAnswers than that?

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I actually stumbled upon it when I typed in a question off of my study paper. I was doing research for a paper and just copied a question and a very similar one popped up from WikiAnswers. So… it was by the help of good ole Google! :)

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

Mainly to find tidbits of information. I love to learn new things, and I find that WikiAnswers is a great place for that. Also, I find there are a lot of questions and answers that need editing, so I try to help too!

What are your areas of expertise?

Um, mostly Ancient History (i.e. Egypt, Greece). Other than that, I think it would be the Jokes or the Harmless Nonsense. :D

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

Oh, the option to fix spelling and grammar errors. They drive me insane and I am so glad that a site finally has the option to let people fix that! Also, the option to separate two joined questions and to recategorize them.

What is the funniest question/funniest experience on WikiAnswers?

I haven’t been there long… so that would be stumbling across a question that was asking about rainbow-coloured sandals, I believe, that was put under the category of ‘Photography’… Weird.

Share a random fact about yourself.

Oh, that’s a bit hard when I’m such a random person myself. Hah. Um, well to keep it simple, I’m an aspiring photographer. I love taking photos of nature, like flowers, landscapes, sky, etc. I’m aiming to become good enough to serve as a photographer for National Geographic. :)

But for now, I just post my pictures on my website. Hehe. :)

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

Paint, plungers and lithium

plungersThere are a lot of new categories on WikiAnswers lately: Exotic Pets, Canadian Football, Eli Whitney, Copernicus

One new category on the block, Household Hints, has really caught my eye. Get a load of these questions!

Some creative cleaning issues:

Your basic household maintenance:

A green question:

And my favorite…

Take a crack at these questions – if you succeed, there will be some very grateful people out there.

Visit the What’s New page to see a running list of the newest WikiAnswers categories.

Is it true that Tracy Jordan’s Werewolf Bar Mitzvah was actually based on a real person?

And now, a word from Jim on the tradition that is the werewolf Bar Mitzvah:

I hear that Tracy Jordan’s “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” was actually based on a real person. Is there any truth to that?

Many people do not know this, but in the early 1960’s in Portland, Oregon, one of the twentieth century’s least reported yet most incredible events took place.

Thirteen-year-old Michael Brewer was preparing for his Bar-Mitzvah when he was attacked by a stray pack of wolves. Portland, in those days, was a town of mostly mill workers and was also rumored to be the site of a government project that helped develop the first semiconductors to power computers. This rumor is primarily due to the sign on the huge factory that said “US Govt. Property – We are making the first semiconductors to power computers here”. In those days wolves roamed free like the buffalo did in the plains states a hundred years prior.

Michael was able to fight off the wolves, but not without a few scratches. His parents reported that he recovered pretty quickly from the scratches and felt fine until a few weeks later. The first sign that things were not all well was when Michael began to stay awake only at night, especially during full moons, and sleep most of the day.

Soon, other indicators began to be noticeable on a daily basis. He was covered in fur, his eyes went yellow, and he would always talk about a random kid recently born named Michael J. Fox. Somehow Michael Brewer was able to predict decades before its production that Michael J. Fox would star in Teen Wolf. Some say that Teen Wolf is a loose interpretation on Michael Brewer’s early life story.

Despite the physical and genetic changes, Michael went ahead with his Bar-Mitzvah, did an excellent job, and for an unknown reason shortly thereafter lost his werewolf features. Today he lives in Philadelphia teaching third grade-level Sudoku.

The story slipped into the cracks of werewolf phenomena legend and it was almost entirely forgotten until Tracy Morgan visited Portland a few years ago. Apparently, after seeing an old newspaper clipping about the famed Bar-Mitzvah he wrote the sketch for his TV show 30 Rock which has achieved a cult following.

It’s kind of a minor hobby of mine to follow Jewish werewolf related stories. If anybody has heard of any other such instances please contact me.

~Jim

Making our mark at the Web 2.0 Expo.

Dan struts his stuff

A word or two from the point of view of a proud Product Manager – yours truly.

On Friday, we wrapped up the 4-day Web 2.0 Expo in New York City. Denise (Graphic Designer), Suzanne (Community Coordinator) and I attended various sessions throughout the week, focusing mainly on community and UI design, but also listening in on the odd session about company and work flow organization.

I, for one, have this stuff coming out of my ears. I’m even dreaming about feeds, friending and unusual mobile devices. But we got a lot out of it.

We should be really proud of what we’ve accomplished with WikiAnswers. Our sandbox method and our tight involvement with the community impressed many people involved in startups and not-so-startups in similar adolescent stages. We’re doing so much right already that at some of the sessions, instead of asking questions, we were able to offer insight.

That said, there’s still a lot to do. It was interesting to hear how the leaders of other web-based community products have chosen to approach issues we deal with every day, like feature requests, the phase 1 rut, out-of-control discussion pages, slow release cycles, user ranking, and so on. We came away from the conference with some very specific takeaways, which I hope will make our sites even richer.Javitz Center - home to w2e

Finally, Dan – our lead Prod Ops guy – and I had the opportunity to show off Answers.com and WikiAnswers at our booth in the expo hall. There was a lot of positive interest, and people loved the reference/community package. And as always… they were astounded that these sites are free.

It was a great week, and one that put WikiAnswers into a lot of perspective for me. I look forward to putting our ideas into action!

Who you gonna call? Callltb!

And now for a different kind of amazing contributor: the Floating Supervisor. This creature is a wonderful mix of all-around and helpful – exactly what WikiAnswers often needs as everyday support.

One example of such a contributor is Callltb, a 26-year-old from Bangladesh who has been active on the site since March.

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

Once upon a time I was browsing www.answers.com and from there I got the link to www.wikianswers.com.

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

I believe in sharing knowledge. I am that kind of human being who likes reading – mainly educational courses – and loves traveling. I believe in people  and in a short time, trust everyone and try to help anyone.

I am the type to feel sad when I see poverty. I feel bad when I see injustice.

Also, I always think: today is my last day of my life so try to do some special work which is useful for our next generation – though it may be a small contribution.

The best thing is that all the members of WikiAnswers have the same viewpoint. They also share their knowledge with other people, even if they don’t know them. So I felt interested to join this group as a volunteer.

One for all, all for one… that’s what I strongly believe.

What are your areas of expertise?

I never consider myself as an expert. I am just a lifetime student, because I still learn something new every day.

I like the computer programming language category the most. Here you could count me as a little expert. Also I’m interested in Internet Security and Privacy.

My dream project and goal are to work on OS and make a virus protected software which will be able to cover, clean and stop all kinds of viruses, because I face new viruses each day.

It’s just a dream… :) if GOD wishes my dream will comes true one day.

Note: If my WikiAnswers friends are with me it will be a great honor for me. They properly know how to share knowledge and help other members, plus friends.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

The Super’s Forum, my contributions, the @Wikianswers e-mail for Supers and overall, the whole WikiAnswers.

What does your username mean?

Is it not personal!? Ok, I share with all of my friends.

It’s a long story. I used LTB when my age was 18, because it’s the combination of my three brothers’ names (including mine). My best friends called me LTB. Especially Sumon, who is now studying in Sweden at Sun Microsystems.

Since 1999, when I wanted to open an email account, “ltb” was not accepted. Then one of my friends named Apu suggested to me to add “call” before “ltb”. When I did that, it was accepted! From that time I always use “callltb” as my cyber nickname.

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

Someone asked how can he download the www? It was one of the funniest questions I ever found :)

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

Putting the ‘community’ in ‘community Q&A’.

WikiAnswers takes its communities very seriously. That’s right, I said communities – plural. That’s because there are tons of different sub communities on WikiAnswers.

To start, check out the growing list of different types of community members. WikiAnswers contributors have a wide variety of ways they can choose to participate, fulfilling a diverse rainbow of roles.

Of course, you can be a plain old contributor if you like… Or if obsessive editing is your thing, you can jazz up your experience by joining as a Premier Editor; same goes for Premier Answerers.

If you like to change it up, consider becoming a Special Projects Assistant and working on what needs to be done most.

If you enjoy the nit picking type of activity, the Exterminators‘ hunt for site bugs and irregularities could be your calling.

Or, join a program:

The Supervisor Community is the group of hundreds of Supervisors whose job it is to keep watch of categories, and make sure the site stays clean and organized. Supervisors come in all different sizes, shapes and colors… Or, at least their badges do. Learn more about Floating Supervisors, Category Supervisors and Senior Supervisors.

The Community Outreach Program hosts several kinds of opportunities for being involved in community efforts. Join and become a WikiGuide, Talent Scout or Forum Fanatic. Welcome and interact with new members.

The Mentoring Program is designed to offer guidance and support for brand new Supervisors (or those who want a brush up on WikiAnswers protocol). Mentors are friendly WikiAnswers folks who have been around the wiki-block quite a few times.

Wiki Influential Teens, or WIT, is a fairly new initiative to give teens on WikiAnswers their own group with which to come up wit ideas, create new projects and participate in contests for prizes.

The Vandal Patrol is a sector of Supers who keep watch for vandals, spammers and general no-good doers. The goal of the patrol is to clean up the vandalism as fast as possible, while swiftly taking care to make sure the perps don’t try it again.

Myrab51: Could she fit anymore badges on that profile?

On the outside, Myrab51 is a homeschooling mom in a ten year marriage. She’s worked in medical and law enforcement and loves reading, painting, Photoshop, and history. She’s crazy about all kinds of animals, finding it hard to turn down any – which might be why she has a Labrador, a cat, two gerbils, a turtle, a rabbit, two ducks, and… seven chickens!

But as I mentioned, that’s all surface Myra. Below that wonderful exterior sits a dedicated, hard-working, trivia-loving Wikiholic – and in true Wikiholic form, Myra has taken on many forms: She’s a Senior Supervisor and Mentor, a category Supervisor for over 20 categories, a Gold contributor, a Site Guardian for the Vandal Patrol and an adult advisor for the Wiki Influential Teens program.

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

When I switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox, there was a search widget up in the corner. One of the options was to search Answers.com. I was helping my daughter look something up and we decided to use it. It all went from there.

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

Insomnia and I like sorting things. I learn some new things and there is a really neat group of people here. I was welcomed right in and there was never the period that everyone makes you feel like a newb.

What are your areas of expertise?

I don’t know if I would call it expertise. I think I know a little bit about a lot of things instead of a lot about a few things. My dad and my husband say I have a Master’s Degree in trivia. Probably my best Wiki areas are Comics and Children and Young Adult Book Series.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

I love to recatergorize things. It’s back to the sorting thing. :)

I also like the ability to block some of the more malicious users. I’m not blockcrazy or anything, it is just good to know it is there for those ‘special occasions’.

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

I really cracked up one day when someone asked “What are some good exercises to keep your pimp hand strong?” I was like What the??? I think someone eventually trashed it though.
I like questions like “Do girls have cooties?” and “Which year did prehistoric start?” as well.

Share a random fact about yourself.

I am crazy about my family. My husband and I met back in high school when I threw a piece of sandwich at my friend and hit him in the head instead. A piece of tomato stuck to his temple. He is a big guy (6’5″). I knew I was done for. He handed it back to me laughing and told me he thought I may have lost something. I was like *score*! I have been driving him crazy ever since.

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

Has WikiAnswers ever failed people?

At the Supers’ conference last week, Hooweestik, a longtime Supervisor, stood up and read an answer he wrote to a very important question. I thought it would be great to re-share that answer here.

Has WikiAnswers ever failed people?

Absolutely. When the concept of a anyone post, anyone answer and anyone edit website, you are going to come across answers that are not 100% correct. This site is a use at your own risk when it comes to the authenticity of all the answers. It gives the user an option to accept the answer given to their question or do further research to confirm that that answer is correct. If you use this website and you ask a question and demand an answer immediately, most people will not answer it on purpose. You can’t fix human nature.

We have over 400 Supervisors on this site that try to control the amount of vandalism, the asking of harmful questions like ‘How do I make a bomb’ that we will under no circumstances answer – so we failed that person, but to the potential safety of others.

Some questions are cyberbullying, which are quickly deleted and the asker and or answerer is warned or blocked from this site.

Some questions ask opinions that are baited to inspire a response, such as, “Why are Democrats or Republicans so stupid?” This promotes a debate. Again, not allowed.

Other answers cannot be found on a web search because they involve personal experiences that not all or maybe just a few people have experienced.

Some questions ask medical advice that, no offense to the asker, should be sitting inside a doctors office asking, or the emergency room. Others ask for home remedies, which are given but may not work.

Some people ask questions about the sexual habits of minors or teen idols, which we are not allowed to answer, or to be answered.

Some ask for phone numbers and addresses of celebrities. These cross the privacy policy and not answered.

Some people ask how to manufacture meth, grow marijuana, how many perscription drugs will make them high. Again, unable to answer as they can harm or aide in illegal or criminal activity.

Some ask how to hack computers at school and others, again, not allowed.

Some ask for porn, child porn and nude pictures of (insert celebrity here), again not tolerated.

Some people want to use this place as a chat room because they cant get onto MySpace at school. Not tolerated at all.

First time warned. Second time blocked. We have had people ask questions how to pick locks, break into safes, how to defeat car alarms and many other questions similar. I’m proud to say we failed them with an answer.

People from all over the world use this website to search for information and many people from all over the world ask and answer to the best of their ability. Some use this information for homework, some for fixing a mechanical engineering problem and some asking about the Big Bang or the existence of God. One of the great things is we may not know everything about everything but collectively, with the exception of a few who post wrong answers on purpose, we try to give an honest answer. This passes language barriers, cultural differences and many other things that make us different better than any site I have ever been on or a part of.

WikiAnswers is not perfect. No website is. But we strive for perfection. We know we will never be perfect, but it’s a move in the right direction. Yes, people have been disapointed with their experiences here but mainly it’s because they trusted an answer and used it on a test at school and were reprimanded for it.

So, who failed who?

Remembering 9/11 on WikiAnswers.

Today is seven years since the September 11th attacks shocked us all on a sunny Tuesday morning.

What can we do after all these years to make sure the day and its victims are never forgotten?

Try giving the September 11th attacks category a shot: there are over two hundred questions to be answered, edited and improved.

Let’s make sure the history goes down correctly… Here are some questions for starters:

The first-ever WikiAnswers Supervisors’ Conference.

So this past Sunday was an incredible experience. It was the first-ever WikiAnswers Supervisors’ Conference, held in New York City. Supers from the United States flew in to the Big Apple for some Big Wiki craziness.

The day started off with meeting and greeting, and of course, breakfast New York style (can you say bagels!?).

After hearing a few words from Answers Corp CEO Bob Rosenschein, the feedback began. Supervisors covered all kinds of areas, including:

  • All new contributors to WikiAnswers should not go a month or so without a welcome message from someone (thanks, Hooweestik!)
  • WikiAnswers must expand its growth in countries where participation is high, like it has done for the Philippines. India is a good place to continue this trend (thanks, Doditov!)
  • Clearer process for asking questions (thanks, Dlmick!)

Supervisors also want to see more in the way of filtering, trivia games on the site, a more interactive homepage and much more. No matter where they hailed from, or which categories they supervise, each participant had so much to offer the group. It was a real treat to sit in the room and listen to the excitement and creativity.

The day was not all WikiBusiness, however. We went to dinner after a long day of idea-sharing, and then took a boat tour around Manhattan.

Bob addresses the group.

The official WikiAnswers coffee mug… Talk about enablers.

Bruce has tickets for the boat tour of NYC.

Pninab models the new WikiAnswers Superheroes t-shirt.

As one Supervisor said, the only thing missing from the conference was a little Wiquilla…

Thanks to all the participating Supervisors and employed WikiAnswers folks:

Neila222, Ksmail, An8thg, Dlmick, Myrab51, Doditov, Hooweestik, WikiRicki, Rrosenschein, Jeffs, Gilr, cfoman, Lexagon, Leahsg, Renar, Nirel, Pninab, Pickleshy, Bruce, Brave3, Zanbabe, Deb, Robin, Eliesheva

Looking forward to meeting more Supervisors at the next conference!

A British Wikiholic with a taste for… Platinum.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday… A Mentor, Supervisor, WikiGuide and Platinum Contributor. With all the mentoring, supervising and wikiguiding, how does Peterc14 manage to have time to make all those contributions?

I guess the answer is, he’s a Wikiholic, like the rest of us.

A music lover based in Liverpool, UK, Peter is perfect for WikiAnswers since he has a wide range of interests and is really dedicated to giving solid answers.

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

One day last summer I was in Ormskirk, Lancashire and noticed that there was a statue of Benjamin Disraeli, 19th Century Prime Minister of Great Britain. I wondered why the town had chosen to honour him in this way – what was the connection? Searching the internet was fruitless, lots of stuff about Disraeli and Ormskirk but no clue as to the connection.

I eventually came upon WikiAnaswers via a Google search which threw up a question about Runcorn, in Cheshire. At last! I thought, a website which isn’t just about American stuff!

I still didn’t find the answer to my query about Disraeli, but I saw, and answered, a question about William The Conqueror, and then another one about Queen Victoria, the rest, as they say, is history.

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

I love helping people, in real life as well as on the internet.

I could tell from the wording of many questions that there are some massive misconceptions about the United Kingdom, and British History, and not only in the US, and I particularly enjoy answering those and setting the record straight.

What are your areas of expertise?

British History is my favourite, followed by Literature – I like to think my expertise is in language and the ability to write a clear, concise answer.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

Split and Merge – I have developed a an obsession – sorry – passion for splitting incorrect alternates and placing them in their correct home. If someone asks what is Princess Diana’s shoe size, they should not get her waist measurement just because that has been incorrectly placed.

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

I can’t think of any especially funny questions – I try and take them all seriously, even the wacky ones. I have seen questions about Henry VIII’s wines – “N” isn’t far away from “V” on the keyboard.

Share a random fact about yourself.

I am the father of twins and until they were born we didn’t know it would be twins – we were all ready for ONE baby!

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

Congrats to An8thg for a truly amazing feat.

Congratulations to An8thg, a wonderful Wikiholic, who has reached a new milestone in her WikiAnswers obsession:

While this is a wonderful accomplishment, it should be noted that An8thg actually did a bit more than make it to over 200,000 contributions… In her words, there needs to be a new badge for those reaching this slightly more impressive milestone:

WOW. You go girl… (go get yourself some high speed internet, that is!)

WikiAnswers: getting presidential these days.

You turn on the news, and you just can’t stop hearing all those names: Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden… They are everywhere, and the rumors are flying.

It could only mean one thing: It’s time to brush up on your presidential election knowledge before November rolls around.

Which is why WikiAnswers has a bunch of new categories that will serve as your official place to ask and answer questions concerning the U.S. presidential election in November: the candidates, the issues and more.

Here’s a quick ‘site map’ of all the elections and current issues categories available: