Spring Cleaning contest results are in

We came…  We saw…  We edited…  To the tune of over 23,500 unanswered question edits this past weekend!  Thanks to all who participated in the 2010 Spring Cleaning contest.  The winners in each tier were HisPowr4U (with an amazing 3,855 edits!) and Fourthfrench.  They will each receive a $300 Amazon.com gift card.

The 2nd place finishers included Fuzzy Logic, Wonderful Wanda, Yourchasehelpers, Cotton C Doyle and Em1989 who have each earned a $200 gift card.  A full list of all top finishers and runners up is now available.

Preparation is underway for our next fun contest so watch this space for details about it in the near future!

Re723phyl Rhymes With…?

I learned a surprising fact today. I am one of the millions of people around the world who cannot spell chlorophyll. Yep. Moi. I discovered this little known fact while doing a search on Answers.com for words that rhyme with this obscurely spelled dictionary enigma. It started off with much confidence…cloraphyl (negative), quickly morphed to chloraphyl (yeah right) and escalated to an embarrassing caloraphil (at this point the search bar was begging me to leave). Now you might be wondering why I was so interested this particular search. It actually had to do with this week’s Featured Contributor, Re723phyl. I thought I would get quirky and rhyme out an intro. And the only word that came to mind was chlorophyll (which has two “L’s”, not one – shame on me). But enough dwelling on my spelling inadequacies – here is more on this week’s awesome, super intelligent and all around great Featured Cloraphyl – I mean Contributor. Introducing the wickedly cool Re723phyl!

What is your Answers.com user name and the history behind it?

Re723phyl – We had a small, Fiat X-19. Because of its’ mileage, we had a personalized plate, REPHYL (1st 2 letters of mine and 1st 4 letters of my wife, Phyllis’ names) as phonetically similar to REFILL (the gas tank).

Are you a Floating or Category Supervisor (which categories)?

I’m the Category Supervisor of Unemployment.

What is your first name?

Rex

What is your age?

72 years young

Would you care to tell us about your family?

I’ve been married over 51 years to my wonderful wife, Phyllis. We had 6 children, 10 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

Do you have any pets?

We have 2 Yorkies, 4 cats, a parrot and pond full of Choi fish.

Where do you live, how long have you lived there and why do you like the area?

We have lived in Las Vegas the past 49 years. It’s vibrant (grown from 50,000 when we moved here, to 2 million) and very diversified. The weather is perfect with no calamities suffered by elsewhere.

Where did you grow up and do you have any special memories of your childhood?

I grew up in Washington. I loved school and would have been a professional student, if there had been such a thing.

What educational information would you like to share?

I received my Bachelor of Science (Business & Economics) and MBA at UNLV and later became president of the Alumni Association.

What are some of your past and/or present occupations?

I was the first Commissioner of Consumer Affairs for the state, taught Real Estate at the University and Money and Banking at the community college. I’ve sold real estate, insurance, investments and been in law enforcement, a lab technician and in electronics (US Navy). Retired for the last 4 years.

What are your key area(s) of knowledge, interests or expertise?

Business, math, economics, authored “The Problem: Unemployment or Underemployment?” for WICHE. I saw no future in the work I was doing before starting college (a security guard raising 6 children) and had an aptitude for the subjects I took. I finished both degrees in 3 1/2 years while working full time.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

I have thousands of books on all non-fiction topics (I’m an “information junky”). Before my eyesight started failing, I built model sailing ships.

What do you like to do for recreation?

I love debating, solving problems, working puzzles, and doing Answers.com Supervisor functions.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

I’m learning to be a fair cook.

Do you have any special talents you’d like to share?

Practical and methodical problem solving, efficiency.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I helped create and enforce many of the state’s consumer protection laws and was one of the founding fathers of the local non-profit Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

What are your special goals or dreams?

To make the world a better place by helping people solve their problems through education, information, motivation and the means to do so.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

A stickler for details, results oriented, unwilling to compromise on honesty and fair play.

What brought you to Answers.com?

Surfing the ‘Net’ at Wikipedia and Google for answers to a question. I became acquainted with a wonderful Mentor, Stupid little Genius (“the rest is history” as they say).

What kept you coming back to Answers.com?

I saw an opportunity for improving its already huge potential for helping people all over the world through voluntary (the best) means of addressing vital issues of our times.

What is your favorite Answers.com activity?

Researching answers to very good questions, improving challenging and very interesting questions and improving their mostly good, but sometimes confusing answers.

JoyceP’s contributions make headlines!

Newsflash! Answers.com’s very own JoyceP, a star Supervisor, Senior Mentor and WIT Advisor, had a write-up about her in The Franklin Sun, a Winnsboro, LA, newspaper. A bit of the feature about Joyce is below:

[Joyce] Parker joined the Wiki family in 2008 where she was quickly promoted through the ranks to become a supervisor and mentor to other contributors. Parker received two WAmmy Awards for Best Answer of the Year and Best Advice Answer of the Year during her first year.

In 2009, she won Answer of the Year to the question: “What are the signs of child abuse and how can you help the abused child to overcome the harm it has caused?” She also received a WAmmy Award for Best Advice Answer to the question: “How do you explain to young children that their parents are getting divorced to make the transition as easy on them as possible?”

Parker resides in Winnsboro with her husband and two pugs, Sadie Mei and Sophie Linh; and two boxers, Ben and Maddy. When she's not researching for WikiAnswers.com, Parker enjoys cake decorating, photography and going to the movies. (source)

The awards the article is alluding to are the WAmmys, and you can see the complete listing of 2009′s winners here.

JoyceP in The Franklin Sun.

Last chance to apply for the Answers.com scholarship.

Have you answered 50 questions for your Answers.com Scholarship application?

You have until Wednesday (March 31) to submit your completed application and apply to win a $5,000 scholarship. Thirteen scholarships in total are available for students in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, India, Australia, and New Zealand. Applicants must be enrolling in undergraduate university studies for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Read more and apply now.

Start Spring cleaning tonight – for Amazon cash!

The Answers.com Spring Cleaning contest starts tonight, at 12 am EST (and runs for a full 48 hours). Edit as many unanswered questions as you can and be a winner – and get some incredible prizes:

The FIRST PLACE winner in each tier will receive a $300 Amazon.com gift card.

Two SECOND PLACE winners in each tier will each receive a $200 Amazon gift card.

Three THIRD PLACE winners in each tier will each receive their choice of an Answers.com blanket, chess/backgammon set, or other pre-specified merchandise.

Twenty runners up will receive Answers.com merchandise.

There are tiers for both supervisors and other contributors.

Learn how to edit questions before you start. You must be logged in to Answers.com when you edit questions for them to count towards your total. Make sure to review the rules.

Good luck!

Coming soon to an inbox near you!

Email notifications have long been an integral part of WikiAnswers participation. They are without doubt the fastest way to get word of an updated answer or new message on your board. And now, after a major overhaul, we hope you’ll find them even more useful, efficient and convenient.

If you’re already subscribed to the Watchlist or Message Board emails, you may have already noticed the changes.

“You’ve got an updated answer”

When you receive email notification about an updated answer, the email now includes a snippet of the answer, as well as information about who edited the answer and tools to view the changes or edit the answer yourself.

As you can see here, Demoguy – a contributor with 18 trust points – did a good job answering the question, but there’s a little typo I want to fix immediately. No problemo, I can click on the “Edit answer” link and correct the spelling.

“You’ve got a message!”

The message board notification email was similarly upgraded, and now you can view your messages right there in the email, without clicking through to the site. To reply, simply click Reply (surprise!) and you’ll be taken straight to the sender’s message board, where you can leave your response.

You've got mail!

We hope the new design makes it easier for you to keep tabs on updates and correspond with fellow wikiers. Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

Game on! Question editing contest this weekend

Straighten up that spelling, give that grammar an upgrade and correct that capitalization! We’re having an Answers.com Spring Cleaning contest for editing unanswered questions this weekend: March 27th and 28th. First prizes are $300 Amazon.com gift cards and 2nd place winners receive $200 gift cards as well. There are over 25 other great prizes too.

The aim of the game is to improve the most questions (only unanswered questions count!) in 48 hours. Learn more about how to edit questions properly. Keep in mind question edits will be reviewed for compliance with the rules and the questionable strategies highlighted there may cause you to be disqualified.

The question editing contest begins at 12:00 am (EST) on Saturday (late Friday night), March 27, 2010. The event ends 48 hours later, at 11:59 pm (EST) on Sunday, March 28, 2010. Only edits made within this time frame will be counted as part of the contest. Be sure to read through the rules before you start.

Good luck and game on!

Our Lucky Shamrock: Paul The Irishman

With St. Patrick’s Day having just passed us by, it was only fitting to spotlight our very own lucky shamrock in this week’s Contributor Corner. Meet Paul The Irishman! Although he grew up in and near Wagga Wagga in southern New South Wales, Australia, Paul now resides near Youghal in County Cork in Ireland - “quite near the sea on the southern coast.” He goes on to say, “We have lived in this area about 8 years since the self-build of our house. The area is quiet countryside, yet only a few minutes to civilisation.” Well, it’s certainly the luck of the Irish that Answers.com is now Paul The Irishman’s home away from home.

Here’s more:

What is your Answers.com user name and the history behind it?

Paul The Irishman – which represents my first name and the fact that I am now an Irishman, although I was born and raised in Australia.

Would you care to tell us about your family?

I have a wife of 18 years and 3 teenage daughters.

Do you have any pets?

We have hamsters, guinea pigs and goldfish thanks to my daughters.

What educational information would you like to share?

I started a civil engineering degree, but after some work placement in the 3rd year decided that surveying was more my style. So I qualified as a Land and Engineering Surveyor in Sydney.

What are some of your past and/or present occupations?

In the past I have also worked as a furniture maker, carpenter, factory production line worker and even delivered newspapers every morning for years whilst putting myself through college.

What are your key area(s) of knowledge, interests or expertise?

Land and engineering surveying is my key area of expertise. I have served as both VP and President of The Irish Institution of Surveyors, and I also appear in court as an Expert Witness in Surveying on a regular basis. Since 1995 I have been a partner in one of Ireland’s oldest surveying firms. Land surveying is a mix of indoor and outdoor work, complicated by the need to be part bushman, archaeologist, historian, lawyer and general jack of all trades and I have been doing it ever since and really enjoy the challenge.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

There is my coin collection, a collection of classic and vintage cars, carpentry, building, learning and speaking French and playing traditional Irish music with a tenor banjo and mandolin.

What do you like to do for recreation?

I am a ferocious reader of anything and everything fiction and non-fiction. Gardening, the old cars and music also come into play.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

I’m left handed and proud! Worked in 4 countries and visited almost 30 more.

Do you have any special talents you’d like to share?

Math and word puzzles intrigue me, and I find few that get the best of me.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

Apart from my wife and children, self-building our current house and being President of the Irish Institution of Surveyors.

What are your special goals or dreams?

Dreams? To win the lottery of course…

How would you describe yourself or personality?

Probably tenacious, loyal and a stickler for the truth.

What brought you to Answers.com?

Annoyance and such bad grammar and foolish questions.

What keeps you coming back to Answers.com?

I enjoy fixing things and I like to learn new things each day. Even correcting questions, you learn things every day.

What is your favorite Answers.com activity?

Looking at the “New Questions” category and getting in early…. lol!

Interview with a Bot: Topicana

TopicanaTopicana is one of our most beloved automated bots on Answers.com. Day or night, you can find her tirelessly assigning categories to unclassified questions.  This is based on a complex algorithm which determines the categories that are most commonly associated with other questions that contain the same keywords.

While Topicana’s assignments are not always perfect, you’ll usually find they’re right on target!  If you notice Topicana consistently miscategorizing a certain type of question you can recategorize a batch of them to the proper categories.  That will enable the bot to “learn” the proper places for such questions and place them properly in the future!

We recently secured an exclusive interview with Topicana about her work on Answers.com and there were some startling revelations!  Read on…

What other Answers.com bots are you friends with?

Well, Duke of URL has been linked with me on more than occasion.  But we never even got to have a cup of Java together before he was taken to be debugged.

Some supers have claimed that you’re working just to see your name all over Recent Site Activity.  How do you respond to that?

I categorically deny that statement.  Next topic.  ;)

Do you speak any interesting languages?

I’m glad you asked.  I’m bilingual, being fluent in both PHP and javascript languages.

What is your favorite music?

Heavy Metal is near and dear to my heart but lately I’ve had the “Happy Birthday” song in my head for some reason.

Do you have any pets?

Of course!  I have tons of cats and I enjoy taking care of them.

So next time you see Topicana categorizing feel free to drop her a line on her message board.  Just don’t expect her to respond.  She’s not one to go off topic.

Shout out to the Kerbey Lane hostess!

After Austin-native Lemsgarden and SXSW-attending Pickleshy met up at Kerbey Lane Cafe the other day, I got reports that a certain hostess there was super-excited to serve Answers.com lovelies in person! Confirming my suspicions that Austin is indeed a very hospitable city.

Dear Kerbey Lane hostess who served our very own Pickleshy in Austin, Texas, during SXSW:

You truly rock!!!

Thanks for being such a fan.

-Answers.com

Answers.com (may have) saved Scott Stead’s life.

That’s right. Answers.com not only prevents forest fires (or something) but we saved blogger/writer/idea machine Scott Stead‘s life with our information on breathing fire and building flamethrowers (that’s right). Scott was going to attempt the feats and decided his ‘sticky bits’ weren’t worth torching after reading up on the art on Answers.com.

Here he tells his not-so-fiery tale to Shaya at SXSW:

There’s Only One Thomas in Our Neck of the Woods

Throughout history there have been many noble, quirky and otherwise downright awesome Thomases. For example, take Thomas Jefferson. The third President of the United States, Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and served during the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark Expedition. He was also a horticulturist, archaeologist and inventor. Other remarkable Thomases include Thomas Edison (The Wizard of Menlo Park), Thomas Hobbes (English philosopher), Thomas Paine (a Founding Father) and even Thomas the Tank Engine (fictional anthropomorphic team locomotive). But which capital T-H-O-M-A-S is our favorite? It’s Thomas from Answers.com, of course.

Get to know him!

How did you originally hear about Answers.com?

I was doing my math homework one day when I forgot how many cups are in a gallon. I googled the question, and the first thing that came up was WikiAnswers. I quickly became involved with the community.

Explain your user name.

My user name is my first name: Thomas. It doesn’t get simpler than that!

What motivates you to volunteer your time to the Answers.com community?

My motivation is the community aspect of Answers.com and how anytime you have a question someone is there to answer it. I wanted to add to that community aspect, to help by spreading my knowledge and make the site a better place.

What are your areas of expertise?

Anything that needs batteries or electricity to work! More specifically…computers, cell phones and PS3s.

What is your favorite Answers.com feature?

The block feature is my favorite feature. Anytime a problematic user is out of line (after multiple warnings) I will sometimes block them. They will no longer be able to do damage or cause disruptions on the site, which helps to make it a better place.

What has been the funniest question you’ve seen or your funniest experience on Answers.com?

What gets drunk the most Coke or Pepsi? This question may not have been funny when it was asked, but our Supervisors did a great job of turning it humorous!

Share a random fact (or two) about yourself.

I enjoy confusing people by pondering things such as my personal holiday: National Skip-A-Day day. For those who want to be confused continue reading and for those who do not, I recommend stopping. If you skip National Skip-A-Day day like the day states you are skipping the holiday of National Skip-A-Day day, so therefore does the holiday exist at all? However with that being stated if the holiday does not exist then you do not have to skip a day.

Answers.com @ #SXSWi

Can I get a “Helloooo Austin, Texas!”

Our very own Shaya (@pickleshy) is running around SXSW Interactive with tons of Answers.com gear to giveaway. If you’ve been answering @Answersdotcom‘s tweets and getting prizes for it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t been – well, only 2.5 days left!

Shaya reported a bit on what she’s seeing and hearing at SXSW and here are a few snapshots to piece together… Oh, and the following statement that Shaya will have to explain at some point:

“Crowdsurfing sheep, flame-throwing buses, robots that play music, random random random (and ppl who call it stochasticity). Nearly saw a terrible rehashing of the super bowl Janet Jackson event during a slightly slutty soul sistas karaoke performance.”

Bag o’ giveaways in transit to Austin, Texas.

Getting the interactive on.

Lego A-burst!

Moose dude.

Answers.com sticker pole dance.

Sticker makes its mark.

The one and only Shaya!

Stay tuned for more tales from Texas later this week…

Fourteen Awesome Things About March 14th.

Albert EinsteinToday is March 14th and you know what that means…

Oh, you don’t? March 14th is chock full of pure awesome, from famous birthdays, quirky holidays and most of all, the best pastry of all time.

Fourteen Awesome Things About March 14th.

  1. Albert Einstein, the cuddliest scientist ever, was born.
    In ‘theory’, I imagine that some of Einstein’s ‘relatives’ forgot his birthday from time to time.
  2. Happy birthday, Billy Crystal!
    No less important – ok, somewhat less important – actor Billy Crystal was also born on this date.
  3. Daylight savings time begins.
    Ready to spring ahead, northern hemisphere? Time to turn back time.
  4. International Ask a Question Day.
    Must have something to do with #1 – without Albie, there might be a lot less high school physics students cramming questions before finals.
  5. Mothering Sunday.
    AKA, Mother’s Day in England. Don’t they make it sound so warm and cozy?
  6. Moth-ER Day.
    Mothers are important, yadda yadda. But what about moth collectors?
  7. Bretzelsonndeg.
    Some kind of Luxembourg Valentine’s Day involving young boys and pretzels.
  8. Celebrate agriculture!
    Somewhere out there, a farmer is taking a quick break to celebrate.
  9. National Animal Poison Prevention Week.
    You have a week to keep your pets from getting poisoned, people.
  10. Feast with St. Mathilda.
    Wait your turn, St. Patrick – Mathilda has a feast today and you gotta wait your turn.
  11. ’10 Most Wanted Fugitives’ lists made their debut.
    And without that, where would that awe-inspiring TV show have come from?
  12. Check Your Batteries Day!
    Good call, my laptop might have died before I finished this post.
  13. Happy Pi Day!
    3.14159265358979323846264338327950288…
  14. Pie. Just pie.
    Seriously, best. baked good. ever. Any day of the year.
apple pie

Are you going to SXSW? Get a lil’ something from Answers.com!

As folks from across the globe (!) gear up to arrive in Austin, Texas, this week for South by Southwest, Answers.com is packing its bags with goodies to give out during the SXSW Interactive conference, from March 12-16.

If you’re going to be attending the event, make sure to follow Answersdotcom on Twitter. When questions about SXSW are tweeted, reply to Answersdotcom with your answers and win a prize! You’ll get prize-pick up instructions and walk away the proud of owner of an Answers.com… well, why ruin the surprise?

Read more about what Answers.com is giving away at SXSW this year.

Answers.com’s very own Shaya will be at SXSW Interactive too, so make sure to say hi. You can follow her at Pickleshy and get her perspective on the conference, too.

The Orange Guy on Facebook: Tag your inner Orange!

You’ve met the Orange Guy. Now meet his whole community! His crazy aunt Betty, his hippie older sister, the detective he hired 2 years ago… They’re all here and waiting to be uploaded to your Facebook so you can tag your friends, or select the one you identify with most and use it as your avatar.

Answers.com Orange people avatars

Click the image to get to the Facebook version and share the Orange Guy grid on your profile and tag your friends. You can also save it, select an Orange Guy and re-upload it to use it wherever you feel like expressing your inner orange!

From the brilliant mind at Jester Arts Illustrations.