What’s in a name?

Are you sitting down? We have some news.

The OG

It’s time to bid farewell to our beloved Orange Guy. He’s been with us through thick and thin… but he’s also been busy helping many others on the web, too, and it’s time for a champion of our very own. Never fear – he is leaving a cousin to care for the WikiAnswers.com community! Introducing… the stick dude.

Like WikiAnswers contributors, the stick dude – and his stick crew – are a curious, friendly group that love to hang around the community, sharing what they know. These are your go-to guys, a friendly right-hand man, helping you around the site. The stick crew wants to make sure everyone has the best experience on WA, whether it’s poking around the Help Center or applauding the best questions and answers.

One thing remains to be decided. What should we call our new caretaker? “Stick” is lacking in… shall we say… pizzazz. We could name him Twiggy, after his toothpick legs. Supertwig came to mind, Or simply Fred or Skip. How about Max (and his lady friend, Maxine)? We’ve also had some more sophisticated ideas: JACK (jocular assistant of community knowledge) and CAL (community art liaison).

We need your help, and more importantly, stick dude needs your help. What are your favorite names for our new guy and his crew?

Winners of the April 2009 AnswerThon announced!

A big thanks goes out to everyone who flexed their fingers and maxed out their minds in name of knowledge this past weekend! This was the fourth AnswerThon we’ve had at WikiAnswers but only the second one without the bells and whistles for you purists out there. Since the original AnswerThon we’ve had Charity and How-To editions of this answering extravaganza…

Without further ado, the April 2009 WikiAnswers AnswerThon champions are Steven Keyman (supervisor division) and Jordang123 (standard division). Steven smoked the competition with an amazing 1,231 answers!  Second-place finishers included Aggie80, Rimshakr27, Iluvcake94, and Ananddave. Check out the full list of prize winners.

First, second and third-place winners are receiving Amazon.com gift certificates worth $500, $200 and $100 respectively. Additionally, second-place winners will take home WikiAnswers laptop bags while third-place finishers will walk away with WikiAnswers blankets. Fifty runners-up will receive WikiAnswers t-shirts.

Congratulations to all the winners, both first-time contributors and seasoned veterans!  When’s the next AnswerThon? I’m glad you asked. Sign up for WikiAnswers e-mail announcements and follow us on Twitter to be notified when the next WikiAnswers challenge is launched!

Could You Bet on Your Pet’s Mood?

Susan FordYou come home, put away the groceries and walk up to your room. You take a shower and fold the laundry – the whole time he’s looking at you ready to hug you and comfort you. He knows something is wrong, he just does. You look into his eyes, his blonde messy hair and his wagging tail – and wonder, ‘How does he do it?’

No, your husband did not turn into a werewolf… you are sad, and your dog knows it. No words need be said or tears shed; no outward behavior – your dog just knows it.

Fluffy has now made it his goal to make you happy and restore your jovial nature. He jumps on your lap and licks your face. He stays by your side and slowly waits till your mood gets better; you giggle, and he knows its working. He brings you his chew-toy and when you refuse him he settles for sitting on the couch right by your side. It’s some special sixth sense he has; an inexplicable ability to gage your mood. And just by being happy you have made Fluffy’s day.

Basset HoundSo, I was not surprised when I saw the answer to this WA question, ‘When you’re sad do dogs see that you’re sad and come to you to see if you’re ok’.

The answer given was that it depends on your relationship with your dog.

If you are in a caring and giving relationship and your dog is mentally sane (no narcissistic tendencies) then you will be treated like a king.

But, does it work the other way around – can we tell when our dog, our bird, our cat or even our fish is sad? And if so, ‘How do you save animals from a sad life,’ asks a WA user.

Well, the way I see it, you can’t save a sad animal unless you can recognize that it’s sad in the first place. Unfortunately, people are not as attuned to animal moods as we’d like to be. It requires extra effort. When your dog pulls his ears back is he usually sad, or does he do this when he’s hungry too? Does your bird squawk at you when she wants attention, or does she do this when the neighbor flashes past the window? Do you even hear the difference between a squawk and a squack? Does your fish lay low at the bottom of the tank when you replace the aquarium plants, or does he do it because the amount of light in the room changes?

We need to pay attention to our animals and invest in the relationship in order to get the satisfaction of seeing Fluffy smile (in the way dogs smile). WA users suggest volunteering at shelters, donating money to organizations that research animals/animal behavior, and constantly reading up on current information relating to your pets.

All this effort will pay off when you see you can sense your pets’ moods and make them happy!

Hey, once you have that down you can begin working on the relationship with your husband…

Meet JRWaddy, WikiAnswers long-timer.

Here’s a WikiAnswers.com contributor who has been around the wiki-block many times since joining the community in December 2007: JRWaddy – or Jeff – is a dedicated Supervisor, Mentor, WikiGuide and Vandal Patrol Generalist who has reached Silver Contributor status as well.

JRWaddy’s love for history and geography has helped him supervise Bodies of Water, Lakes and Rivers, and Oceans and Seas.

Introducing the wonderful JRWaddy:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I stumbled upon it quite by accident. A sister of mine does Quizzes & Crosswords. I was using the computer to help out with an answer or two. Soon I was replying on a regular basis. The offer to be a Supervisor came out of the blue; since I became one I have never looked back.

Explain your username.

Nothing to it really: It’s basically who I am…

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

Oh I want to do it. It is compelling. I wouldn’t actually say I am addicted, but it does drive me. I am passionate & committed. I think that is reflected in the way I operate. I think, indeed I am sure, that WikiAnswers is a good place which enables ordinary people to share what they know & help everyone who wants to share a bit of knowledge or to express an opinion.

What are your areas of expertise?

History & Geography: I was given Lakes & Rivers, Oceans & Seas and it suits me down to the ground. I couldn’t have chosen better, oh, except for Napoleon or World War 2. I do a bit of all sorts, though there are a great many places I simply do not go to at all. I know what I don’t know, if you see what I mean…. I do like to see a Quality reply though. Every now & then I do try to type one ! But in the main I do Military History, it is what I read most of. Basil Liddell-Hart’s History of the Second World War is as good a reference as anyone would ever need.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

Favourite feature ? Doing my Watchlist! Just being able to choose what I want to answer and what to leave well alone.

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

I have to attribute this to Robbb:

Q: Can you give an example of a monosyllabic reply? A: Yup!

I do find my bestest pal James Joseph terrifically amusing & erudite. I do enjoy good humour. I find many of my fellow Supervisors delightful. Too many to mench….

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

Gosh, I don’t know what to say…. I feel like I am such an ordinary guy who is able to do what I do on here & take pleasure doing it. I suppose there is something to be said for the fact that I am a real life recipient of the kiss of life: I drowned when I was four… It once happened in a Cricket Test Match, a batsman was hit on the pocket of his trousers, setting alight to a box of red top matches: I have set alight a box of red topped matches (I used to smoke a pipe) in my pocket on three separate occasions! Twice at cricket, once batting & once fielding and once playing soccer ! And no, I never hurt myself!

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

‘Lest we forget': ANZAC Day.

Today is Anzac Day, a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand, honouring members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli, Turkey, during World War I. Both countries commemorate it on April 25th every year. It is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga, with a dawn service held in Gallipoli in Turkey.

Here are some more facts and Q&As about Anzac Day:

Lest we forget…

The AnswerThon starts tonight!

Just a friendly reminder that tonight at midnight, Eastern Standard Time (technically Saturday) the WikiAnswers AnswerThon begins. As long as you are logged in, your answers should count towards your total assuming they qualify:

  • You are logged in!
  • At least three sentences long, with each sentence contributing information.
  • Answers should be correct and not nonsense.
  • Proper spelling and grammar.
  • Answers posted on the English WikiAnswers (http://wiki.answers.com); unfortunately, answers on the Tagalog site will not count.
  • Answers must be new or completely replace a wrong or vandalized answer before it. Adding sentences to an existing answer will not count.
  • Answers can be in any category.
  • The timing is right: calculate what time the AnswerThon runs in your timezone by basing it off the EST time zone: midnight, April 25 (tonight) until 11:59pm, April 26 (Sunday night).

Check out the full list of rules.

Tip: You can ask a brand new question and answer it yourself if you find that questions don’t exist in the system.

And in case you lose your motivation after all that typing, coffee and answering: review the prizes.

Looking forward to crowning the AnswerThon champions next week!

Celebrating Earth Day.

Today is a day for the Earth… You know, that big, wonderful, rocky planet you are sitting in right now? The one that people love so much they don’t think twice when flicking their candy bar wrappers on the ground when hiking through a national park?

Ok, ok. Deep breath. Let’s start over. It’s Earth Day, which means we have a chance to remind ourselves about what it’s like to live and breath on planet Earth. We can re-evaluate how we treat the world and how we co-exist with other species on it.

Learn more about this day and what you can do to celebrate it:

Answering some AnswerThon Q&A 2009 Contest

There have been quite a few questions asked regarding the AnswerThon this weekend, so I will attempt to answer them here.

How do you register for the AnswerThon?

You actually don’t have to register at all. You just need to be signed in to your WikiAnswers account while you answer all the questions during the time of the contest. If you aren’t signed in, your answers can’t be counted.

Can you compete in the AnswerThon if you are a new contributor on WikiAnswers?

Of course! You could sign up for WikiAnswers during the AnswerThon and still compete (though I’d suggest not procrastinating). It’s not about your past contributions or how much time you’ve spent on the site so far. It’s about answering the most questions in that 48 hour period.

What are the times for the AnswerThon in different time zones?

Saturday, April 25th: starting at midnight, 12:00 am, Eastern Standard Time, (which is actually late Friday night in EST).

Sunday, April 26th: ending at 11:59 pm, Eastern Standard Time, (right before midnight of the 27th in EST).

If it’s April 25th, at 12 am in EST, it’s still April 24th across the rest of the United States – 9 pm in Pacific Time and 10 pm in Mountain Time and 11 pm in Central Time.

Here is a time zone converter site. Remember to consider your time zone!

Why do people want to be in the AnswerThon?

One word: prizes.

A few more words: Over fifty – 62 to be exact – chances to win a prize in this AnswerThon.

What are the prizes for winning the AnswerThon?

First, second and third place winners will be chosen separately from two sets of community members – contributors and volunteer Supervisors. From each of these groups:

One FIRST PLACE winner, who answers the most questions in two days, will be crowned our AnswerThon Champion and receive a $500 Amazon gift certificate.

Two SECOND PLACE winners will receive a $200 Amazon gift certificate and a WikiAnswers laptop bag.

Three THIRD PLACE winners will receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a WikiAnswers blanket.

Fifty RUNNERS UP (including both contributors and volunteer Supervisors) will receive WikiAnswers t-shirts.

Are 12-year-olds eligible to compete in the AnswerThon?

Unfortunately not. From the rules: “Participants must be 13 years of age or older in order to compete in the event.”

Learn the geography of WikiAnswers with Chongyx.

Want a geography answer from someone who is truly passionate about both the subject and answering questions? Or maybe you just want some help navigating WikiAnswers? Chongyx is a student who discovered WikiAnswers through school and now uses it to help him excel at school… Now there’s a great use of the greatest Q&A community!

After joining about a year ago, Chongyx has managed to accrue quite a rainbow of badges and awards. He serves in the Supervisor community, Mentoring program, WIT program, Vandal Patrol, and Community Outreach. He manages to find time to swim and play soccer and enjoys (and plays) music. His greatest love, it seems, is geography.

Meet Chongyx:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

Basically, we have a Research Education subject in school. An expert came to give a talk on Research, and recommended that Answers.com was a good search engine. So, I went there and found the link to WikiAnswers. I thought it was also a search engine. But then, I realised that it was Q&A, so I started asking questions and got many good answers. I joined as it was quite useful and educational, and I got hooked later on.

Explain your username.

My username is just my surname (Chong) together with my initials (yx). (Boring I know…) Many people call me Chongy because they don’t really understand how my name works but it’s fine with me.

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

I think that I volunteer my time because I can learn many things from WikiAnswers. For example, as people ask questions that I do not know, I would research and gain lots of general knowledge. Since I am able to help others, why not? The friendly community volunteers also attract me back to WikiAnswers over and over again. I found that answering questions on a certain subject or categories also helped improved my examination grades, so I did this every time the exams were coming. My friends were shocked that I spent so much time on the computer instead of studying, but in fact, I was studying using the computer.

What are your areas of expertise?

That would most likely be Geography. I have been very interested in Geography since I was young, and have four or five atlases at home. I also love the subcategories such as Geophysics, Maps and Cartography, and most of all, Latitude and Longitude. I like gaining knowledge about these topics through research and not just reading the school textbooks, which do not provide enough information to satisfy me. Since I learn Chinese as a second language, I try to help out in the English to Chinese category too.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

Did you mean the orange button that says ‘A: Answer question’? Yes! The answer question feature is my favourite feature. Answering questions helps both the asker and the answerer and that’s what I joined WikiAnswers for!

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

That has to be How does a grockle spend Christmas? Every Supervisor has a part in it.

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

I know every MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station in order and every bus route in Singapore (that’s quite a lot).

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

AnswerThon prizes: increased!

The prizes for this upcoming weekend’s WikiAnswers AnswerThon have been increased! Over 50 prizes will be given out to the WikiAnswers users who can answer the most questions in a 48 hour period over April 25-26.

First, second and third place winners will be chosen separately from two sets of community members — contributors and volunteer Supervisors. From each of these groups:

One FIRST PLACE winner, who answers the most questions in two days, will be crowned our AnswerThon Champion and receive a $500 Amazon gift certificate.

Two SECOND PLACE winners will receive a $200 Amazon gift certificate and a WikiAnswers laptop bag.

Three THIRD PLACE winners will receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a WikiAnswers blanket.

Fifty RUNNERS UP (including both contributors and volunteer Supervisors) will receive WikiAnswers t-shirts.

If I were you, I’d start collecting lists of questions to answer and even prep my answers in advance… Then you can seed them during the contest hours.

Remember, answers should be three sentences long, original wording, and proper English spelling and grammar.

Oh, and another tip – have plenty of coffee nearby.

The inner workings of Devil Boy.

Devil BoyDespite the devilish-sounding name, Devil Boy is a star WikiAnswers contributor who has managed to rack up an impressive wiki-resume in his 6+ months with the community. My favorite part about him? The badge he hosts on his Bio Page for vandals to use so that he can identify them easier…

Aside from cheeky offerings to vandals, Devil Boy is a student and an avid gamer who also volunteers as a WikiGuide, WIT Member and Category Supervisor for basketball, gaming and Philippines-related categories.

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

That’s a funny story. While searching I had the tendency to come across Yahoo! Answers… I was never fond of Yahoo, so I decided to look for another question & answer site. That’s when I found WikiAnswers.

Explain your username.

I knew you would ask that :)

When I was smaller, I loved to watch my dad play Day of Defeat, an awesome WW2 game. Back then, he went by the name Devil Boy. When I started to game, I went by the name Devil Boy to follow his steps. Ever since, I’ve used that name for all my usernames.

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

When I asked my first question on WikiAnswers, it wasn’t answered for a couple months… It was eventually answered with what I know now is vandalism. This made me think. I had to help WikiAnswers. I didn’t want anyone else to end up like I did.

What are your areas of expertise?

My brain is like a sponge… When I learn something, whether its important or not, I usually remember it for a long time. I learn most things from experience. If I had to choose one subject, it would be the game Counter-Strike Condition Zero. I have a clan for it, I play it, and I’ve been developing a server of it. Yes, you could call me an addict. I also excel in science. Besides that, I know facts for a wide range of subjects.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

I like the forum and message boards. They make WikiAnswers more enjoyable. I also press the “Most-recent questions” button a lot. You can never forget about those orange men!

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

Someone asked How to perform a headshot in Counter-Strike? My friends and I got a great laugh out of that one.

I also had this daydream…  I was that category supervisor WikiMan (orange guy). Armed with my bow, I was shooting down vandals.

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

- I like to wakeboard.
– I am the leader of the Pinoy Gamers clan.

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

Nothing like springtime holidays.

There’s a big holiday weekend in the forecast: the week-long Passover holiday started last night, Good Friday is tomorrow and Easter is this Sunday.

So to get you prepared for whichever festivities you partake in – or to help you understand what everyone else is doing – here are some Easter and Passover Q&A:

Happy holidays!

How do you pronounce wiki?

Ever wonder if you’re doing it all wrong? No, no, not your school work or your marriage or attempting to potty train your dog. I mean… pronouncing the word ‘wiki.’

How do you pronounce ‘wiki’?

After all, it’s originally a Hawaiian word, and as proven by the spelling of ‘Hawaiian,’ this is clearly a word not pronounced how it would seem obvious.

Is it weeki? Whickey? Weki? Wikee? Weekee?

Well, first of all, the word from which it is derived is wiki-wiki, which means ‘quick’ in Hawaiian. It seems to be that the Hawaiian pronunciation is ‘weekee’ or ‘veekee’ but the pronunciation associated with the website technology (like WikiAnswers or Wikipedia) is whickey.

2009 AnswerThon!

You read that right: the AnswerThon is back. There is a new chance for contributors on WikiAnswers.com to win prizes by answering the most questions over a 48 hour period from April 25th through April 26th.

And don’t doubt for a second that you have what it takes. You can start practicing now by finding the Q&A categories you are good at, coming up with questions you can seed and answer during the contest period, and of course, flexing those typing muscles by practicing your answering skills.

Here are the details:

What?

During the AnswerThon, participants will answer as many questions as they can in any categories they wish over 48 hours, with the hope of spreading knowledge — and of course, winning prizes.

When?

Starting: Saturday, April 25, 2009, at midnight (EST).
Ending: Sunday, April 26, 2009, at 11:59 pm (EST).

What counts?

Only answers that are posted within this timeframe and in accordance with the contest rules will be counted as part of the contest.
Here are the full details for the AnswerThon. No need to sign up for the contest itself, but you do need to be logged in to WikiAnswers while participating for your contributions to count.

Areablue222: more than just a username.

He’s blue… He’s got some twos… He’s Areablue222 and he is a downright solid contributor to WikiAnswers.com. And no ordinary contributor: a Platinum contributor. Well, he’s not just a Platinum  contributor either; he’s a Mentor, Wiki Greeter, Vandal Patrol Generalist and a Category Supervisor… Ok, you’re getting my point, right? This guy is awesome.

It’s his pure love of chemistry and his dedication to getting those questions answered that really make him wonderful. I mean, anyone who can host chemistry jokes on their Bio Page must be someone super special in my book!

Here’s a bit more from AreaBlue222:

How did you originally hear about WikiAnswers?

I believe I was searching for something online and stumbled upon WikiAnswers. It was almost definitely related to chemistry, but it has since receded to the back of my mind. I must have found a good answer or maybe I was intrigued that the chemical symbol for iron is “your mom”.

Explain your username.

I looked deeply inside and found a username that would directly correlate my thoughts and feelings into something tha…… just kidding, it’s just my favorite color. There are three 2’s because three is my favorite number, but two rhymes with blue. You might even say that my username is hardly revealing or particularly representative of me. You would probably be right.

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

WikiAnswers is really a great knowledge source and I hope everyone can learn from it. My goal is for everyone to learn something new every day and WikiAnswers aids that perfectly. I try and answer as many questions as I can (and know how to) so somebody somewhere gets all the info they need. And of course the Supervisors on WikiAnswers are some of the greatest people I know. I’ve enjoyed working with them and they are really a smart group of people. Everyday, I will take a look at my categories and then check up on my fellow Supervisors that work tirelessly to make WikiAnswers run smoothly.

What are your areas of expertise?

Chemistry. Always has been my favorite subject and always will be. Don’t ask me the current status of a celebrity, because I won’t know. But if it’s about chemistry, I’m your guy.

What is your favorite WikiAnswers feature?

My favorite feature… Well, it would have to be the plain ol’ “add answer” feature that makes WikiAnswers what it is.

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

Hmm. Not sure. Too many great experiences!

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

I get seriously distraught when I lose my pen.

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

Answers.com is a Webware 100 finalist!

Webware 100 - vote now!It’s that time of year… Time to vote in the 2009 Webware 100! That is CNET’s annual web awards to honor the people’s choice for best web apps, sites and services from a list of 300 finalists spread over ten categories.

More about the awards from CNET:

This year–the third year we’ve done the Webware 100–we had about 5,000 qualifying submissions from which we selected the final 300. These are 300 very strong Web apps, spread into 10 groups of 30 each.

And, like last year, Answers.com has been nominated and is a finalist in the Search and Reference category.

So what are you waiting for? Vote now and recognize your favorite encyclodictionalmanacapedia!

Voting ends on April 30th and winners will be announced on May 19th, so stay tuned.

I pity the (April) fools.

While I’d be a true fool to compete with Google or YouTube in the realm of playing April Fool’s Day jokes, I will point out some interesting trivia about the springtime tradition; believe at your own risk.