Meet Jackgin! Witty WIT member and great contributor

Jackgin is an outstanding member of our team: a WikiReviewer copy assistant, a Community Outreach WikiGuide, and a bronze contributor. He is also a member of Wiki Influential Teens (WIT) and just won the contest to describe the WIT program: Fun, Meaningful and Unique!  He loves computers, reading and WikiAnswers!  Read more and get to know Jack!

What is your first name? My first name is Jack.

What is your occupation?  I am a student.

Where in the world do you hail from and what makes this place special?

I am from Singapore. I think what makes Singapore a special place is its huge diversity and the chance to meet and see people from other races living in harmony.

How did you discover Answers.com?

My teacher gave me an assignment to do research on the characteristics of the crab. When I asked a question in Google for the assignment, the first search result was a link to Answers.com. I thank my teacher for ‘helping’ me to discover Answers.com.

What enticed you to join our community?

I love to help people and thought that Answers.com was a good way to do this by answering other people’s questions. WikiAnswers was so addicting that wherever I went, I was thinking about Answers.com all the time, thus I joined.

What is your favorite thing to do on Answers.com?

I like doing everything on the site and it’s a  lot of fun. If I had to choose one thing, it would be categorising questions.

If you were inviting someone to join Answers.com, what reason would you give that person to become a part of our community?

Well, the people on the site are very nice and you also get to learn new things in areas that you may be interested in.

What is your favorite song? gangnam-style

It has to be Gangnam Style by PSY because I think it’s very catchy and I love the dance moves. In fact that is one of the reasons why the song is so popular.

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

Firstly, I would wish for world peace because I feel that peace is very important and some places in the world are still in much chaos. Secondly, I would wish that I could have autographs from every famous person that I like because then I can show them off to all my friends! Finally, I wish that I could have tons of money! Even though money isn’t everything in the world, it can still get you (and me) some awesome stuff, don’t you agree?

Do you view the glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’?  

I view it as both. It’s ‘half full’ because it shows that I have made progress and should be happy about that; it’s ‘half empty’ because it shows that I still have a long way to go before I achieve true success.

You can only pick one:  banjo, butterfly, or babbling brook.  Which would you choose and why?

I’ll pick the butterfly since my mother and I both think that it is a fascinating creature.

What do you find most challenging as an Answers.com contributor?

I think making sure that my answers are accurate is the most challenging as an Answer.com contributor.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?

My inspiration is definitely my parents as they worked hard to raise me to be who I am now.

Where is one place in the world you would love to visit and why?

I would love to visit Japan as I have always thought that it is a very beautiful country with many different plants and animals.

What is one quirky or interesting random fact about you that most people may not know?

My short-term memory is bad, but my long-term memory is surprisingly good.

Check out some of Jackgin’s intriguing answers:

How do you get Keynote on a Dell computer?

Is subtraction a short cut for addition?

What is a synonym for allure?

Meet Kedar bc: Wisdom and Wit All in One

This long time contributor – he joined in 2008 – is a Bronze Contributor. He is most active in the Maharashtra Schools Colleges and Universities and Senior Secondary Certificate categories, both topics related to the school system in his native India. Recently Kedar bc has become a prominent participant in our AnswerThons, winning 4th place in the summer contest and 3rd in the spring contest. Valedictorian of his class, his passions include his native country and ghazal music. Read on to learn more about this very intelligent and wise contributor!

What is your first name?

My first name is Kedar.

What is your occupation?

I am a 17 year old student.

Where in the world do you hail from and what makes this place special?

I am from Pune, India. It is one of the oldest cities in the country and its origins can be traced back to the 6th century. Pune is considered to be the cultural capital of India. Also it is turning into a major research and educational hub.

How did you discover Answers.com?

Once I googled a physics homework question. Imagine the joy when I found that the same question was already answered on Answers.com.

What enticed you to join our community?

I always wanted to do community service. I thought that a great way to do so, in my capacity, was to answer other people’s questions and in the process also increase my understanding of things.

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I would be an eagle because it is the one who sees it all as a free and distant observer of the bigger picture. If you can be anything, why not be the free, king of the skies.

What is your favorite thing to do on Answers.com?

My favorite thing is to just browse through the questions asked in my favorite categories and answer as many as I can. The satisfaction of answering questions is indescribable. Many times, I come across a question about a topic I recently studied. Trying to answer that question helps me learn new things and also make my concepts clearer.

What life accomplishments are you proud of?

Off the top of my head, I am proud that I was the valedictorian of my school. I hope in the future I will have a very long list to answer this question.

What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

I have to confess; one of the most daring things was asking my crush on a date. ;-)

What is your favorite type of music?  

I love Indian music but ghazals are my favorite, and Jagjit Singh is my favorite ghazal singer. I am a big fan of A R Rahman’s music, too.

What is your favorite song?

My favorite song changes every month or so. Currently it is ‘Let it Be’. I recently downloaded the Beatles box set and I love this song. Before that my favorite song was The A Team.

What is your favorite poem and why?

My favorite poem is “The Race” by D.H. Groberg. This is a simple yet very inspirational poem about perseverance and finishing something you have started, even though you may have downfalls along the way. It tells us that winning is nothing.  More important than winning, it is ‘to rise each time you fall’.

What makes you unique?

I try to look at things differently. For example, in the proverb:  ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’, I think moss indicates lethargy and stagnancy. So in my eyes, being a rolling stone is a good thing as you soak up new experiences. And then there is always my DNA to prove my uniqueness.

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

I really want to say something like…saving the world, but if a genie really pops out and asks what I want, these are the things I will ask for.

  • Money…lots and lots of it.
  • Life till I decide to die.
  • And the ability to freeze time.

The only challenge would be to frame the requests such that the genie cannot trick me.

Do you view the glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’?  Why?

Definitely I view it half filled. I try to acknowledge the presence of something rather than its absence. At the same time, I remain aware that there is still a lot of space to be filled.

What do you find most challenging as an Answers.com contributor?

The most challenging thing is to answer vague questions. I have to try to interpret what the person is really asking or what he really wants to know and answer that. I try not to give vague or incomplete answers. This becomes challenging because, for this, you have to know a lot about a topic.

What are your special interests, hobbies, or collections?

I love debates and elocutions. I act in dramas. I am learning to play the Indian flute called the ‘bansuri.’

What are you most passionate about in your life?

I am most passionate about my country, India. I want India to be called a developed country.

What is your favorite quote and why?

I personally don’t think that quotes have to come from great personalities. A good thought is a good thought, no matter who says it, but in the real world, unless you become ‘Someone’, ‘No one’ is interested in what you have to say. So MY quote is:

‘Be so successful that you are quoted in other people’s quotations.’

Where is one place in the world you would love to visit and why?

Florence

Florence

Right now, I want to visit Italy, especially Florence because I am reading Dan Brown’s Inferno and I want to see all the piazzas and various paintings mentioned in his other books.

What is one quirky or interesting random fact about you that most people may not know?

I don’t think it’s very interesting or uncommon, but whenever someone asks me something or in general conversation, I have a very funny (sometimes a bit sarcastic) remark ready in my mind, and sometimes I smile even when it’s not expected.

Check out some of Kedar bc’s answers:

What is the effect on the speed of light when temperatures rise in the medium?

What vitamins or herbs promote good circulation?

What are facts about Hubble?

What vitamins or herbs promote healthy lungs?

Skullcandy88: Just our cup of tea!

There’s almost nothing that he hasn’t done on the site: Category Supervisor, Senior Vandal Patrol, Special Project Assistant, Community Outreach, Mentoring Program Graduate and more than 68,000 contributions. He prides himself on using proper grammar and he loves tea. This intelligent young man from England is one of our top Supervisors who oversees a wide range of categories. He is truly a source of inspiration and knowledge. Check out his bio to learn all about Skullcandy88 and maybe, if we ask, he will share the secret to a perfect cup of tea! Continue reading

Meet Norvell Wisdom: Fan of Springsteen, Dylan and Joel and passionate about comfort!

Traveling Man

NorvellWisdom has been around the block and then some!  He has lived in at least different 14 places throughout the United States.  As a chemical patent attorney he has more than 350 US patents!  We are privileged to have this knowledgeable and seasoned contributor on the site.  We can just imagine him listening to “Jungleland,” his favorite song, while answering questions about stoichiometry!  Read on to learn more about Norvell.

What is your first name?  Norvell

What is your occupation?

I am currently retired but acting as an unpaid officer of a small company that some of my friends founded. My last full time job was as a chemical patent attorney.

What is your Answers.com username and how did it come about?

It’s just my first and last name run together: NorvellWisdom.

Where in the world do you hail from and what makes this place special?

I have lived in many places: Oklahoma City, Muskogee, and Nowata, Oklahoma; Palestine (Texas), Houston, Harleton, Austin, and, most recently, Longview, Texas; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Watervliet and Albany, New York; Horsham and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania; and Warren, Michigan.

How did you discover Answers.com?

I discovered the site when I was doing a Google® search.

What enticed you to join our community?

I liked the idea of having an opportunity to review some things I am in danger of forgetting for lack of use.

What is your favorite thing to do on Answers.com?

I like to answer questions about stoichiometry.

What life accomplishments are you proud of?

I have written more than 350 U. S. Patents!

What is your favorite type of music?  What is your favorite band or artist?  

I listen to folk or rock and roll with socially conscious lyrics: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Billy Joel are all good.

What is your favorite song?images

My favorite song is “Jungleland”, by Springsteen.

Who is your favorite poet?  

Shakespeare, Robert Frost, and Edwin Arlington Robinson are all very good.

Do you view the glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’?  Why?

I view it as “half empty,” because in the words of some medieval poet, “Indeed the world contains much good, yet still more ill than good” and of Edward Gibbon, “History is largely the record of the vices, crimes, and follies of mankind.”

What do you find most challenging as an Answers.com contributor?

It is challenging to guess the intention behind a poorly phrased question.

What are you most passionate about in your life?

Comfort. (I am 75 years old now!)

What is one quirky or interesting random fact about you that most people may not know?Railroad

I am very interested in the schedules of passenger railroads, especially US ones before 1960.

3 new things about Answers.com

Hey there! It’s been awhile. Things have been busy at Answers.com. Here’s a look at the latest and greatest.

1. In April we debuted our newly designed homepage. What do you think? The new layout features more photos and Q&A about specific topics ranging from movies to money, and baseball to baking. Topics will change often depending on current events and seasons. You’ll also notice a new recent activity module in the top right corner. Look there to find out who is asking what, this very second.

2. You may have noticed a new look for our topic pages, an upgrade from the current category pages. Just like category pages, topic pages show that category’s supervisor, recent activity and top contributors, but they have a fresher look, with photos, contributor avatars and featured content.

3. Why not put a face to that username of yours? When you connect your Answers account with Facebook, your avatar will show on every question you answer or edit, and have a better chance of being featured on the homepage or topic pages. Once you have an account, become a Google+ contributor (click the G+ link in the left menu on the homepage) and your avatar will show in Google search results for questions you have answered.

Let us know what you think about our redesign and new features and stay tuned for more news!

Recommend Answers.com with Google +1

We recently added a Google +1 button on the Answers.com homepage and WikiAnswers homepage. Very similar to Facebook’s Like button, Google +1 acts as a user vote for the quality of the page you are on.

Google will be using +1 as another signal for quality of their search results. It will also show your Google contacts that you’ve given Answers.com your personal stamp of approval.

If you are signed into to your Google/Gmail account, go ahead and click Google +1 to give us your vote of confidence. You can find the button on the left hand side of the homepage, under “Recommend us.”

Show your face! Add your avatar on Answers.com.

Time for a profile makeover! No, I don’t mean the silhouette of your actual face. I mean getting your avatar on your Answers.com profile.

Why show your face? Well, aside from the fact that it helps build your profile and establish a trustworthy reputation across the site, avatars will play a key role in some upcoming community features.

In that case, I recommend going from this:

To this:

So, how do you get the avatar on there? The trick is to connect your existing Answers.com account with one of the five offered social IDs: Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Google or LinkedIn. Once you connect your account, your avatar and profile URL are pulled in from the social ID’s site. For instance, if you choose Facebook, your profile picture from Facebook will be pulled in as your avatar, and you’ll have a link to your Facebook page on your Answers.com profile.

In three simple steps:

  1. Sign in to Answers.com with your username and go to My Settings.
  2. Under ‘Connect your account,’ click the social ID you’d like to connect with your existing Answers.com account.
  3. Go to My Profile and check it out!

If you don’t have an Answers.com account or username yet, it’s actually even simpler.

Just click one of  the social ID icons above the log in area to connect and sign in within seconds.

From then on, you’ll only need to click the same social ID button to sign into Answers.com.

Your existing avatar will be pulled to your new Answers.com profile, as well as a link to your profile on that other account. You can add all the other details as well by editing your profile on Answers.com. It looks like this:

Here are some helpful tips on this topic:

  • If you’ve changed your avatar on the other social ID site since connecting with Answers.com, and you want to change it on Answers.com too, simply disconnect the accounts on My Settings, and then reconnect.
  • If the first time you signed up for Answers.com was through a social ID, and you want to link it to an existing Answers.com account, you can still do that by going to My Settings.
  • Just because you have your Facebook link in your profile, doesn’t mean all Answers.com users can see your Facebook profile. That is still dependent on your Facebook privacy settings.
  • Read on about signing in and connecting accounts in the Help Center.
  • More information on building a good reputation on Answers.com can be found here.

Answers.com at Web 2.0 Summit on ‘Q&A: The New Search Insurgent.’

At Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco yesterday, Answers.com CEO Bob Rosenschein discussed Q&A, community, mobile and more, alongside panelists from Ask.com, Quora and Google’s Aardvark.

The Summit panel was titled, ‘Q&A: The New Search Insurgent,’ and moderated by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land. Panelists included Doug Leeds (Ask.com), Bob Rosenschein (Answers.com), Charlie Cheever (Quora), and  Damon Horowitz (Google).

A quick description offers insight into the discussion:

Search is no longer just defined by keyword queries, algorithms and blue links. Instead, a user’s social graph, location, reputation and expertise are all positioned to usurp the page rank as the barometer of quality. In the midst of this, new Q&A services change the game even more, extending search’s promise beyond relying on published data to routing questions to real people in real time.

If you were there, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Q&A with Google’s Marissa Mayer in Tel Aviv.

What do you get when you mix an industrial part of town, the energy of a few hundred geeks, a microphone and Google’s VP of Search Products & Experience, Marissa Mayer?

Last night a bunch of the Answers.com crew went to Tel Aviv to find out. The event was run by Garage Geeks and Yossi Vardi, infusing the Israeli start up scene with an underground vibe.

Google’s well-spoken (and well-dressed!) Marissa Mayer and her team of budding product managers joined the crowd of entrepreneurs, engineers and dreamers to answer questions on all things Google. Marissa fielded a range of Q&A, including the future of traditional search, Google’s role in social search and when Israel can expect turn-by-turn driving directions for mobile (hey, why not?).

For more tech events in the Tel Aviv neighborhood, visit GarageGeeks.

Rose8787: Contributorship of Titanic Proportions

In the epic film, Titanic, the beautiful, upper-class socialite, Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet), falls in love with the unsophisticated, impoverished hoi polloi, Jack Dawsen (Leonardo DiCaprio), during the ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage. It’s an onscreen love story that was, until recently (Yes, Avatar), the most celebrated the world over – at least from a financial perspective.

For some of us, nothing can top the story that was the Titanic – real, tragic, eternal. With a user name that pays tribute to the Titanic’s Rose is this week’s Featured Contributor – Rose8787. Recently placing 3rd in our Spring Cleaning Question Editing contest, Rose8787 is of the finest variety of Answers.com Contributors – truly contributorship of titanic proportions. Here’s more:

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

My user name is Rose8787. It’s actually the user name I use everywhere. The history of it is a bit funny. It started after playing a game for quite a long time, and just typing random digits when getting on the high-score list. Numerous times it became 8787 (eighty-seven-eighty-seven). I thought it was funny, and started using it other places, too. Rose I came up with after watching Titanic. I love the name Rose, and because most places Rose is already taken, I putted the 8787 as part of it, too!

What is your first name?

Sunniva

What is your age?

17

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

I currently live in the southern part of Norway. I have lived there for about 10 years I think. I love it there because the sea is really close, and the summertime is usually warmer here than in the north.

What educational information would you like to share?

I am currently attending high school.

What are your key areas of knowledge, interest or expertise?

I can’t come up with something specific, but I do like geography and science which I learn at school.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

I like taking pictures. In school I am actually collecting different kind of plants to make a herbarium.

What do you like to do for recreation?

I love being outside in the woods.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

Curious, kind and friendly.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

Becoming a Supervisor on Answers.com!

How would you describe yourself or personality?

I love to learn new things and do not give up easily.

What brought you to Answers.com?

It was actually just a coincidence that I found the site. I was at school working on a project, when I was searching on Google for various phrases. And one of the hits led me to Answers.com. I had never heard about it before, but I liked the idea of a site where anybody could help improve the pages. It didn’t take long before I joined then.

What keeps you coming back to Answers.com?

It must be the excitement of helping other people with their questions and also the possibility of asking new questions.

What is your favorite Answers.com activity?

For the moment, I like to clean up questions with too many alternates. But I also enjoy recategorizing and answering questions here and there.

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

Vive Bieber!

The Anglos have it. The French have it. Even Google France has it… So maybe it’s time you did, too.

Ready for it? Ready for… la fièvre Bieber?!

Justin Bieber fever. Well, Answers.com has it covered; not sure whether to laugh or cry or put on a purple hoodie.

This post is dedicated to Julie, the Community Coordinator ‘merveilleux’ for Answers.com Français!

Connect your Answers.com account with Facebook or other social networks

connect your Answers.com account with other servicesFor the first time you can now connect your account at Answers.com with your account at Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Google, or LinkedIn. If you link with your Facebook account your Facebook profile picture will be displayed on your Answers.com bio page. You will also get a link to your profile on the appropriate site at the top of your bio page and have one less password to remember (you will be able to use your username and password from one of those 5 networks to sign in to Answers.com!).

Linking your accounts takes only seconds. To do so, click “My Settings” in the lefthand menu after you have logged in to Answers.com. Then, under Connect Your Account, click on the icon for the network with which you would like to connect and enter your login information.

In the future we will make it even easier to share your activity on Answers.com with your network. Watch for news on these exciting developments in the coming months!

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.

Q&A community abuzz… with Google Buzz.

With the announcement this morning about Google’s taking on the world of sharing via Google Buzz, Answers.com has created a brand new Google Buzz Q&A category to answer the questions buzzing around inside your head.

Here are a few Q’s to get you started:

Answers.com increases its social circle.

Well, social webbies, you’ve got the Facebook, you’ve got the Twitter, the Yahoo! and Google accounts to play around with. And now you’re about to spend more time online with those IDs. Answers.com announced its new social media angle today at CES in Las Vegas:

Answers.com Connects with Social Media

Users will now have the option to log in to Answers.com with their preferred Web identities. Experts will also be able to identify themselves with their real names, more conveniently building their online reputations.

“We see a big advantage in allowing our contributors to use their existing Web identities on our site,” said Bob Rosenschein, CEO. “This change is expected to simplify login, reduce time to contribution, and increase the quality of our answers, as more people visit our site and build their online reputations. We added support for Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo! accounts today and will be adding support for Google accounts in the near future.”

In short, you can create a new Answers.com account using your existing Facebook, Twitter or Yahoo! account. What’s the advantage? As mentioned, it’s a great way to build on your already existent social web ID and if you connect through Facebook, it adds the real-life human element to your answers and bolsters your online reputation.

If you happen to be at CES, visit the Answers.com booth at ShowStoppers Media Event tonight.

Violaman0910 is Music to Our Wiki Ears

WikiAnswers contributors tend to be enigmatic creatures – intelligent, passionate and driven on the surface, complex, multifaceted and extremely adroit behind the wiki exterior. The typical contributor is well-versed on one or more topics, has extreme writing skills and a handful of hobbies that are both mainstream and atypical. This week’s Featured Contributor is no exception. In fact, he can go from playing the viola in a soft, yet masterful manner to shooting up some bad guys in an intense online role-playing battle. Introducing Violaman0910…music to our wiki ears:

What is your WikiAnswers user name and the history behind it?

My user name Violaman0910 has been around since I was about 12. It was my first e-mail address, and it’s always kind of stuck with me. The user name Violaman refers to the fact that I’m a musician who plays the stringed instrument the viola. My birthday is September 10th, which is the reason for the 0910.

What is your first name?

David

What is your age?

I am 26 years old.

Would you care to tell us a bit about your family?

I live with my wife Lara. My mom dedicated her life to educating myself, my younger sister, Katie, and brother, Jonathan. My father and I have been very close my entire life. He’s been a great role model and hero of mine.

Do you have any pets?

When I married Lara I adopted her cat, Anestasia, a Siberian. (She’s a bundle of mischief!)

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

I live in Joliet, Illinois. We have been living in the area since we got married in January of 2009. The area is great because it’s close to both sets of parents, and we both love the city of Chicago, which is only a half-hour drive away. Chicago, as everyone knows, is a great town for food, entertainment, music and much more.

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

I grew up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. I have many fond memories of playing catch with my father, having cookouts and spending time with our big extended family (also in the area) on holidays and birthdays.

What educational information would you like to share?

I was homeschooled for the entirety of my 1-12 grades. I spent some time at Glenbard East High School in the Choir and chamber singers ensembles and orchestra. I went on to Wheaton College in Illinois, where I am currently only 6 credits shy of a Bachelors of Music Performance on Viola. I am currently withdrawn due to financial issues.

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

I am currently a Security Officer, which pays the bills. I have been a private violin and viola teacher for the past 10 years, but currently have no students. My freshman year at Wheaton I was a paid intern as a Worship and Arts Assistant Director at Christ Community Church where I organized music for worship services, conducted the rehearsals of the praise team and led Sunday worship.

What is your key area of knowledge, interests or expertise?

I know a thing or two about science and astronomy, as well as philosophy and theology (and very random trivia). My education is in music, but I also love writing. I also have an intense curiosity of the world around me which leads me to love researching whatever piques my interest at the time.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

My hobby would have to be video games. I have an unhealthy obsession with them. There’s something very satisfying about being able to virtually blow up your best friend with a bazooka and then have lunch with him afterward.

What do you like to do for recreation?

I love bike riding and swimming. My wife and I both love to curl up on the couch to a good movie or to sit at the table and play a good board game. That’s usually how we spend our evenings.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

I was held back from kindergarten because I was born in September. I play about 7 instruments, most of them have strings. I’ve been able to read music since I was 7. I have a red birthmark below my lower lip that people always ask me about. I’m right handed. I’m always doing something.

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

On top of being a musician, I also like to act and am in an Improv troupe.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I’m proud of being a Wheaton College student, and of being in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra back in high school. (In the CYSO we were given the opportunity to perform at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, which was a real honor.)

What are your special goals or dreams?

My dream has always been to serve God through music. I am shooting for a position in music ministry at a few churches right now. My long-term goals are to raise a family and enjoy life.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

I would describe myself as passionate and opinionated about a great many things, but also kind, generous and understanding of others.

What brought you to WikiAnswers?

I discovered WikiAnswers through some online Google research I was doing, and asked a few questions. I believe I got blocked once for asking too many questions in the same vain, which forced me to create an account (which then educated me of my mistake). I have since learned a lot about how WikiAnswers works.

What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers?

I love researching questions that pique my interest – which is what has kept me answering questions on WikiAnswers. If I don’t know the answer to a particularly intriguing question, I look it up and share my new-found knowledge. (I have learned to cite my sources, though!)

What is your favorite WikiAnswers activity?

As a Supervisor, I love catching vandals and cleaning up after them. I tend to float from topic to topic looking for abuses of the site and correcting them, answering the question with accurate information and deleting any foul language or bullying, then warning or blocking the vandal (where appropriate). I also enjoy splitting questions that don’t match up and merging questions that do – though I have found that merging tends to be more tedious work.

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.

Is there a good social search engine?

For today’s WikiAnswers Wednesday question, I’m going to go for painstakingly obvious. I think it goes well with my hazel eyes.

Is there a good social search engine where one can search and have questions answered at the same time?

Hmm… While I work that one out, I’d like to bring up an article I just read on the Reuters site: Answers.com sees growth in wiki responses. It’s a quick exploration into where Answers.com, with WikiAnswers by its side, is going as discussed by some of its head honchos.

“Somewhere between Google Inc and the community-generated Wikipedia, reference website Answers.com aims to build a new growth model.

The site has found its millions of users are keen to get community-written bits of knowledge, known as wikis, alongside its trusted encyclopedia entries.” (source)

Gotta love that explanation. A lot of times, when I’m hanging out with people and they ask me what I do, and I mention WikiAnswers, and their faces get all crinkly like one of those mush-face dogs (see right), I explain it like this:

Me: “You know Wikipedia?”

Crinkly face: “Yes…”

Me: “You know how it’s an encyclopedia that anyone can edit?”

Crinkly face: “Ok…”

Me: “So WikiAnswers is a Q&A community, meaning it’s a giant database of questions and answers, contributed by people from all over the world and all kinds of experience. Everyone contributes a bit, creating one complete answer for each question. You can ask or answer anything you like.”

Crinkly face: “OoOOOOoOooOOOo…”

Back to the article:

“Both sites pull up answers based on a question posed by a user, compared with searches for individual keywords used on sites like industry leader Google.”

“Chief Executive Bob Rosenschein said the company would foster more “cross-pollination” between Answers.com and WikiAnswers.com, including a shared search bar.” (source)

Bringing the reference answers side together with the community-generated answers side sounds like a wonderful idea. It’s going to create a powerful force you might want to call a social search engine.

Hmm, so what was that WikiAnswers Wednesday question again?

The McMommy Chronicles discovers WikiAnswers.

This is just way too cool. Check out this process, as described by The McMommy Chronicles blogger, as to how she discovered (and got addicted to) WikiAnswers:

“I found something today called WikiAnswers. I found it because someone came to my blog by googling “Kate Gosselin’s sister blog” And it got me wondering…kate gosselin has a sister and she blogs?? So when I googled it, it brought me to Wiki Answers. Holy Addictive-ness! You should see all the questions people ask about kate gosselin! If you don’t believe me, click here to see for yourself. You can even find out if Kate has ever been in jail. You CAN!” (source)

You just gotta love the inner workings of the wonderful interwebs. I wonder what McMommy is working on over at WikiAnswers right now… Let’s hope she’s having a wonderful WikiExperience!