WAmmys 2008: the who’s who of WikiAnswers this year.

Sure, Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are getting a lot of attention at the Oscars. Sure, you’ll probably grab some popcorn and watch intently to see which celebs are wearing whose gowns on February 22nd.

But none of that awards-watching will inform you of who racked up the most WAmmys this year. How else will you know which two contributors had the Answers of the Year or the Most Contributions? How will you learn which New Supervisors are this year’s stars? And what about Best How-To Answer, Best Advice Answer and Funniest Answer?

The 2008 WAmmy Awards have been voted on and doled out… And WikiAnswers is the only place to find out the who, what, and most importantly – which questions – are winners this year.

Yes, last year’s WAmmys were such a big hit that they’ve done it again… So start brushing up on your answering skills for next year! In the meantime, check out the full listing of the winners

WikiAnswers: 2008’s fastest-growing U.S. domain

Well, this sure is a ‘WikiAnswers Wednesday’ because there is some pretty cool news to come out of Answers Corp today: WikiAnswers has been declared the fastest-growing domain in 2008 out of the top 200 U.S. domains. That means WikiAnswers has managed to rake in some impressive stats two years in a row!

Here’s the lowdown from the Answers Corp press release:

“…according to analysis using comScore data (comScore, US Top 200 Web Domains Report, December 2007 vs. December 2008, ranked by % change), WikiAnswers’ unique monthly visitor count in the U.S. grew 154%, to nearly 16.5 million. This ranks WikiAnswers as the fastest growing domain in 2008, of the top 200 in the U.S. as measured by unique monthly visitors.”

Go ahead and check out a list of the top 20.

And what would a happy occasion be without a word from Bob Rosenschein, Answers Chairman and CEO?

“We continue to be excited by the rate at which the community contributes content to our unique wiki-Q&A platform… Our goal is to build the world’s largest and most useful Q&A database. We aim to cultivate a vibrant community and invest in the quality of answers generated by its members.”

Congrats to all the dedicated contributors and back-end team members who make the WikiAnswers world go ’round! You’ve done it again.

Good day for the Eastern hemisphere.

Today we’d like to wish everyone a very festive Chinese New Year and a very happy Australia Day! Oh sure, even if you aren’t Chinese or Australian, you can still have fun learning about these two holidays and even attempting to answer a question or two once you’ve read up about them.

Below are some trivia facts and popular Q&As about each of today’s Eastern hemisphere celebrations.

In China…

Meanwhile, over in Australia…

  • Today is the national day chosen to commemorate the establishment of the first British settlement on the continent of Australia. January 26th is actually the date when the first penal colony was founded in New South Wales in 1788. So that’s where all those Australian ex-con jokes come from…
  • Bake your own Lamingtons! The spongy, buttery cake is an Australian treat traditionally handed out on Australia Day. Here’s a recipe.
  • Barbecues, citizenship ceremonies and the beach: This is how Australians celebrate the day.

A look into the teen wiki-world with Smartart.

The WikiAnswers community is proud to claim their share of wonderful, dedicated and brilliant teenage contributors. Take for instance: Smartart, or Sarah. Smartart volunteers for the WIT (Wiki Influential Teens) program and has actually moved up to WIT Team leader. No surprises there; she’s also a Silver contributor, a member of the Vandal Patrol and a WikiGuide, not to mention a Category Supervisor.

When offline, Sarah enjoys photography, reading novels and art (of course). She also plays soccer and writes short stories. Read up on what else Smartart likes to do, finds funny and enjoys sharing:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I remember hearing about WikiAnswers when I was in grade 8. It was about in September when we had a history research and I heard my friend say “I got all the answers for the research from WikiAnswers”. That night I went home, Googled WikiAnswers, found everything I needed for the history project, and never stopped using it since.

Explain your username.

My username is quite simple (or maybe not). It is a combination of the word ‘smart’ and ‘art’. I created it using my friend’s help in drama class when she picked the word ‘smart’ since it is the same letter that my name starts with. And I picked something I love, art. We then joined them together to be ‘smartart.’ I later discovered that 4 letters of my name are present in my username: the underlined ones except without an ‘h': smartart.

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

Everything I like to do is present at WikiAnswers like learning new things, meeting new people and enjoying my time on a great web.

What are your areas of expertise?

My area of expertise is working hard and participating to achieve WIT goals as I usually succeed in doing so.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

My favorite WikiAnswers feature is splitting alternates. Once I started splitting alternates, I found it helpful and easy to understand.

What has been the funniest question you’ve seen or your funniest experience on WikiAnswers?

If you need to laugh a little more than a bit then this is the funniest question on WikiAnswers I’ve ever seen: “What are the dumbest questions asked by passengers on a cruise ship?” The answers are the key if you want to laugh.

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

I was 2 years and 10 months old the first time I went to school or kindergarten. This was the first day of school for me in which I spent it crying.

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

Happy birthday to Answers!

Happy birthday Answers!

Ten years ago this month, the company that would eventually become known as Answers Corporation was born. Over the years, Gurunet-Atomica-Answers has undergone an evolution of information-sharing (and company names). As we all know, these days the product is a collection of reference and user-generated answers via Answers.com and WikiAnswers. Happy birthday Atomica!

The office held a small celebration for the occasion this week, where longtime employees shared memories of the first-ever company email, recalled first-time meetings with famous CEOs, and of course, ate some ‘past company-name’ themed cakes.Happy birthday Gurunet!

Congratulations, Answers Corp!

P.S. – Reports are in that the cakes were delicious.

Inauguration Day: Plenty of presidential Q&A!

It’s January 20th, which means there are plenty of questions (and answers) regarding the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. Luckily, WikiAnswers contributors have been speedily whipping up answers to some of the most popular questions:

…And even some history trivia for some inaugurations of the past:

Check out more Inauguration Q&A.

Kodiakcathy: our ‘Jackie’ of all trades…

Kodiakcathy's dog, Baby

Now here’s a WikiAnswers contributor with a flare for diversity. Kodiakcathy can claim a wide variety of experience, from cooking to astronomy, animal care to car mechanics… A mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother…

And most of all, this Silver-contributing, Floating Supervisor is always glad to help.

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I stumbled on to WikiAnswers one day just surfing the web. I couldn’t believe that you could ask any question and it would be answered.

Explain your username.

My username is just a reflection on me, living in the northwest… Kodiak bear… You get it?

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

Ah, motivation. Well…I know a lot of stuff… I have a lot of time… and I have a computer…I love to help people… What could stop me?

What are your areas of expertise?

Kodiakcathy's dog, Tinker.I have done a lot of things most women would not waste their time with. I coached a high school football team one season. I married a car mechanic, so I know a lot about older cars. I love animals and researched how to doctor them because I never had a lot of money to spend on vets. I was a chef for a long time. I guess you can say I’m a ‘Jackie of all trades but a master of none.’

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

My favorite feature is adding a link to an answer.

What has been the funniest question you’ve seen or your funniest experience on WikiAnswers?

The funniest I have answered was: What animal has four tusks has bad eyesight and has hair on its knees? My granddaughter answered: “Grandpa!!!” We laughed for 10 minutes.

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

I have a lot of wisdom to share. I never stop learning.

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

In celebration of MLK Day.

This very busy week for the United States kicks off tomorrow with Martin Luther King Day. Have you read up on MLK, his dream and what is new in the civil rights world?

You can start here, and you can always contribute in your own way, by asking or answering on WikiAnswers.

Mmmm… (chocolate) videos on Answers.com.

Did you know that chocolate is a super food? Ever wonder how to make peanut butter truffles?

No worries. Now Answers.com has videos from 5min on all food topics, there are plenty of recipes and fun food facts to learn.

5min video on Answers.com

5min is a communal videopedia site that helps users share knowledge via visual guides. When you mix reference content from Answers.com with user-contributed videos from 5min, you get a wonderful treat: after you’ve read all about peanut butter, you can actually watch peanut butter being used to make truffles (and then eat peanut butter truffles through your computer screen?).

Have a gander, without needing to worry about a single calorie. You can taste-test these topics:

But really… Chocolate videos. What more could anyone ask for?

Something new: homepage and sharing.

Some brand new features went live on WikiAnswers today, so I thought I’d share the highlights.

The homepage is looking especially fresh with a bit of an altered layout and more opportunities to answer questions. But the first thing you may notice on the homepage is the brand new message banner across the top, where you can click through highlighted features, help center pages and more in order to quickly learn about and access different parts of the site:

In addition, the Featured Questions are back for your answering pleasure, right below the Recently Asked… section. Also, the tag cloud is now accessible as ‘Hot Topics’ right below the log in pod. It’s occasionally updated with the latest topics to have made headlines, including new categories.

Even better than all that – in my opinion – is that you can now instantly share your unanswered questions in any way you like. You know, to try to get them answered faster. Send them to your knowledgeable friends via email, Facebook, Digg, MySpace, etc. The new share button is located in the menu below the unanswered question.

Share your unanswered questions

Ready, set… go play!

IncaBlue: cats, cooking, adventures and more.

Gold contributor

Back to our regularly scheduled Contributor Corner, and who better to resume this than with IncaBlue? Dedicating his knowledge and time all the way from England, IncaBlue (or Peter) is a long-time WikiAnswerer who has managed to climb up the ranks to achieve the roles of Category Supervisor of Humor and Amusement Corner, Mentor, Senior Supervisor, Vandal Patrol Generalist, and more recently, Gold Contributor.

Well, as he is clearly very proud of his adventures across WikiAnswers (as evidenced on his bio page) here’s some more of what IncaBlue has to say about his community participation and real world adventures:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

WikiAnswers first popped up on the radar as I was surfing the net for information. I clicked on the WikiAnswers site… a few clicks later and I was hooked.

Explain your username.

I’m a cat lover and my username is in honor of a beautiful blue Burmese named Inca.

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

I guess the reason I choose to take an active part in the site is because I love it for what it is, an honest, friendly and popular site, with lots of good people who work hard to keep it that way.

What are your areas of expertise?

I trained as a Chef and love answering questions on cooking hints and tips; I also have a wacky sense of humor and enjoy writing humorous answers in Humor and Amusement Corner such as the one I have featured on my bio page.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

The Recent Site Activity feature; I can sit and refresh contributions as they happen, scanning the list for vandalism, and then pinging a polite message to the would be vandal. It’s surprising how many instantly stop – they just don’t expect a real person to be watching.

I’d just love a feature that took a snap shot of their face the moment they realize they have been caught.

What has been the funniest question you’ve seen or your funniest experience on WikiAnswers?

Recently my funny bone has been tickled by the introduction of the new Auto Category tool. Most of the time it will suggest the correct category however it can throw up some very odd suggestions which make me giggle.

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

I have an ‘Amazing Award’… As a member of an adventure club, I undertook twelve amazing activities. These included Abseiling in the dark, Spinning Double Decker ‘London’ buses on a skid pan, Fire Eating, Racing Honda Pilots, Shearing a sheep (with expert supervision) and a nine day adventure of white water rafting through 277 miles of the Grand Canyon… Amazing!

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

Universal Edit Button on WikiAnswers.

WikiAnswers now supports the Universal Edit Button (or UEB). It is a powerful Firefox add-on, displaying a special icon in the address bar when content on the page you’re viewing is editable. It functions much like those ubiquitous orange RSS icons that signal syndicated content (popularly known as RSS feeds) is available on the website you’re viewing.

Here’s how it looks in your browser:

The UEB enables Wikiholics to more easily edit answers on WikiAnswers as well as unearth new opportunities to contribute to wiki pages around the web. With other popular wikis – including Wikipedia – enabling this capability on their websites, the UEB may even become a standard feature of browsers in the future… which is why if you don’t already use the Firefox browser, you may want to start now!

Long live wikis!

Hat tip to Brave3 for sharing!

How did you originally find WikiAnswers?

Recently I’ve seen an influx of Q&A activity in the Poetry category. I thought it might be nice to reflect that in this week’s WikiAnswers Wednesday question. Lexagon is a WikiAnswers contributor and limerick aficionado (who is also celebrating his birthday today), so let’s see what he has to say about this week’s question:

How did you originally find WikiAnswers?

Take it away, Lexagon:

I stumbled upon WikiAnswers
Fielded questions ‘bout singers and dancers,
They made me a super
An’ an anti-vandal trooper
I can’t stop! If I do, I’ll go bonkers!

So how did you find WikiAnswers?

A reference from the Babe of Business.

Here’s a shout out to Crystal, longtime WikiAnswers Community Coordinator, who also manages her Babe of Business blog to share lessons and ideas with entrepreneurs, small business owners and others.

Crystal blogged yesterday about entrepreneurs using WikiAnswers Q&A to read up on sales, marketing, small business and other related topics.

In her own words:

If you’ve never heard of this ingenious Web site it’s a place where knowledge is shared freely in the form of questions and answers. Anyone can ask a question and anyone from anywhere in the world can answer it. And answers can be added to and edited by the community at-large – dubbing it the “Q&A Community.”

If you’re an entrepreneur looking for some new information or looking to get involved in working with the Q&A community, take a look at the rest of Crystal’s post for some suggested Q&A.

Fun, farms and friendships: Part III.

For the past two weeks, we’ve read about Jadeacres and ThatwouldBme, self-declared WikiNeighbors who reside on their cozy, friendly farms in Ontario, Canada. This week we’ll bring it all together with a deeper look into how the relationship between the two Wikiholic Supervisors runs deeper than just the actual WikiAnswers website… It’s a WikiWorld full of neighborliness, t-shirts… and eggs.

In their own words, Jadeacres and ThatwouldBme share some highlights of their WikiWorld:

On being WikiNeighbors.

ThatwouldBme: It seems that Jade Acres and Snugglefoot Hollow are a fascination within the Wiki-community. With the e-verse the way it is, people make friends worldwide, and yet, sometimes, fate passes you wonderful people and puts them right next door.

Jadeacres: Jade Acres is not only a refuge for us. The coffee is always on and the doors remain unlocked 24 hours per day. Family and friends drop in from hundreds of miles distant on a whim and there is room for all.

ThatwouldBme: When my husband and I returned to Canada we settled into this place like we were born here. That’s very nearly a miracle considering Galad is from the city (New York, New York) and we are now living (as he says) half way to the back of beyond. We got a great place, with lots of property and a nearly new house, but there had been very little done to “tame” the place.

Jadeacres: The day Deborah and I drove up to the house with the moving truck, we had barely started unloading our possessions when a shout from the long laneway caught our attention. Up the drive trudged a couple of “hippies” in the most traditional sense of the word. Both had long gray hair, tied in ponytails and bandannas, Ty-dyed retro clothing, work gloves and the worlds friendliest smiles. Within minutes, we were the best of friends and today they are “family.” Both Galad and Shell share their hearts and home as readily as we do and better neighbours could not be found in a lifetime of searching.

Shell is often found sitting at our dinning table making use of our high speed internet connection and soon became as much the Wiki fanatic as myself. It was not long before I had convinced her to become a Supervisor. As a “Veteran” of WikiAnswers (all of a few months) I asked and was allowed to become possibly the first face-to-face Mentor in WikiAnswers history and help guide her through the rules and Terms of Use policies.

As of this writing, the ‘couple of hours per week only on Wednesdays’ promise by Shell has fallen by the wayside. It is not uncommon for her to be here, happily Wiki’ing on Monday, Tuesday, always by 10AM on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The story behind the T-shirt.

Jadeacres: A small bit of background info on Shell. She is an artist, somewhat well-known in the area and beyond our borders. She is often commissioned for her work and can command high prices for her skills.

Within a few days of becoming her Mentor, I found a green T-shirt folded on our table. It was to become the WikiT I would wear each Wednesday at our regular weekly Wikithon. Front and back it is decorated by hand, announcing to all who see, that the wearer is empowered and assisted by SuperPowers and aided by two dogs and a rooster.

ThatwouldBme: It has been my personal pride to say I will paint very nearly anything on very nearly anything, and T-shirts are an old favourite, I‘ve done dozens.

James is so pleased with his connections with WikiAnswers, and proud of being asked to become a Supervisor. So when his birthday arrived I needed to do something special. It doesn’t take long for ideas to percolate from my imagination into a full blown finished project, so the day before his birthday I hooked a ride with him and his Deb into town.

Anyway, we did our usual round of buying, laying mash for the chickens, groceries for both households, as a retired chef, grocery shopping with James is a true experience, (but that is another story), then on to a department store to pick up a couple of things, including a green T-shirt as the “ground” for his present.

Back home, the shirt was washed and hung to dry while I sketched out the rough draft. Then I ironed the shirt, opened the bottles of paint and painted the pocket.  When the folks of Jade Acres arrived the next evening for cake, ice cream and celebrations, the T-shirt was sitting on the table next to a birthday card. I wish you could have seen James’ face… he couldn’t believe I had managed to do the work in such a short time – after all, he’d seen me buy the shirt the day before and here it was, done.

Come WikiWednesday I set it on the table for him, and it has become a formal part of our days at WikiAnswers.

Friendship through… eggs.

ThatwouldBme: When James started raising chickens I found the perfect canvas for a new project. From Jade Acres came an array of the most fascinatingly-coloured eggs, which I took and painted on. At first it was wildlife, then after painting a butterfly on one for a client, I had the wild idea of painting my “Butterfly Divas”. They are tiny little fairies, with wings that look like real butterflies, and they are dressed in “high fashion” clothing from different eras. I even did a series of eggs with belly dancers on them for a local shop (a chance to combine my art and my weekly diversion of ethnic dance).

Of course, Jade Acres has a good sized collection of painted eggs, not to mention the hand-painted Christmas balls I’ve done over the years. James and his family have become so much more than just neighbours, they are dear friends.

Jadeacres: Breaking News! I breed Araucana hens and occasionally some Cochin chickens, and on a whim this summer I bred a few for egg colour variations, hoping for some interesting variations. Araucana chickens give us the blue/green eggs and Cochin hens lay rose/light brown eggs. Well it seems to have worked. This past Christmas Eve, while gathering eggs, one of my new girls (hatched in July) gave us her first egg. Wait for it… A GOLD egg! Under artificial lights, the egg appears a deep khaki colour not often seen by breeders. When under natural sunlight… these eggs are GOLD.

I will give some to Shell for special artwork.

A big thanks to James and Shell for so enthusiastically sharing their story with the rest of us! Hope to hear more great things from this Wiki-duo soon.

Missed part of the story? Click for Part I and Part II.

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

It’s National Trivia Day.

Haven’t had enough of the holidays yet?

January 4th is National Trivia Day! The origins of the day are unknown, however, many would claim it is a marketing ploy of the makers of Trivial Pursuit. There is a tradition to play the famous game, or other knowledge-based games, in honor of today.

Of course, there is also a tradition to call or email friends and family and share a little-known fact… What if I propose sharing that little-known trivia fact on WikiAnswers, spreading your knowledge to an entire Q&A community spanning the globe?

Go for it! Find an unanswered question that can be answered with a piece of trivia, or create your own question and answer it. Comment on this blog post with the URL of your question and answer so we can all learn something trivial – but interesting! – today.

…Or, if you’re looking for trivia instead of sharing it, check out the Spotlight on today’s Answers.com homepage.