Today WikiAnswers made an appearance on The Red Tape Chronicles, an MSNBC blog. Bob Sullivan discussed the issue of how Q&A sites handle their questionable content – and if they do at all.
WikiAnswers differs from Yahoo! Answers, for instance, because there is a “Catch All” system in place for dealing with questions that may be inappropriate or even dangerous:
[On WikiAnswers] a set of 500 volunteers create a list of “Catch All” questions which aren’t allowed on the site. When a user asks such a question, a generic reply developed by the company is shown. The question “How do I build a bomb?” elicits the response: “WikiAnswers does not provide information that will aid or support criminal activity.”
The question “How do I get high from household items” redirects the asker to the question “What household items can kill you?”
The site also publishes its list of forbidden questions.
Bruce Smith, chief strategy officer of Answers Corp, commented on the WikiAnswers way of handling questionable content:
“There is no hard and fast rule. We have a lot of debates,” he said. Certain questions, however, are unambiguous, he said.
“Nothing is perfect. But the bigger the community, the more effective the monitoring,” Smith said.
Check out the complete article here.
I think it’s important to acknowledge and even laugh at the ridiculous answers we sometimes get on WikiAnswers. And it’s not just us; all Q&A sites will have their share of silly.
So this week’s WikiAnswers Wednesday is dedicated to one of the silliest Q&As around, originally found on Yahoo! Answers and then recreated as an animated explanation. This way, you pretty much get the full low down as to the answer in case it wasn’t clear before.
How is babby formed How girl get pragnent?
Find out how babby is formed. I am truley sorry for your lots.
Social Media Marketing (SSM) Blog did a quick comparison of WikiAnswers and Yahoo! Answers, the two leading Q&A sites on the market right now.
Let’s see what their perspective was, shall we?
On Q&A format:
In Yahoo! Answers, different users can reply with answer to a question, then the asker can select the best answer for that question. In WikiAnswers there is a wiki format which allows users to provide a single answer for each question, and that single answer can be edited and improved by any user.
On contributor personalization:
Users can personalize your profile in WikiAnswers. It gives you more flexibility, such as creating a personal message board, a watch list, a personal community and a personal io page. In Yahoo! Answers, users do not have access to personal networks or other personalizations.
Continue reading the article for statistical comparisons as well. It’s a little strange that they didn’t highlight the fact that while Yahoo! Answers leads the market by a vast majority, WikiAnswers is the fastest growing Q&A site and gaining on their top competitor constantly.
IT Nitwit, blogger at… well, Confessions of an IT Nitwit, discusses an online tradition of librarians from all over: Slam the Boards!
These are no ordinary librarians: They call themselves the Answer Board Librarians, participate in their own wiki and describe their project as the following:
“This is an idea-sharing wiki for librarians who post to answer boards, like Answers.com’s WikiAnswers, Yahoo Answers or Amazon’s Askville. We recognize that these sites can help promote the idea that librarians are active and dynamic participants in the web 2.0 community, and we’re not just waiting for the questions to come in!”
Anyway, IT Nitwit has come to the following conclusion, with which I couldn’t agree more:
“On the basis of a fairly brief look in Yahoo! Answers much of the material is rubbish – the questions are insincere and the answers aren’t much better. Perhaps the fact that I looked under the Environment and Health categories skewed the results. Most questions in Environment were more platforms for expressing an opinion.
WikiAnswers had a much higher standard of questions and answers.”
HealthPricer Post proves this point with a comparison done between Yahoo Answers and WikiAnswers. Check out the major difference in the quality and maturity of the answers given.
Of course, there is a lot of work to be done on WikiAnswers, but after finding that the site was the fastest growing U.S. site in 2007 – well, it shouldn’t be too far along from world domination…
When we say WikiAnswers rules, we’re not kidding. Sure, Yahoo Answers is still in the lead when it comes to most-visited Q&A sites, but with a name like ‘Yahoo’ backing it, that’s not shocking. What’s shocking – or maybe not, if you’ve ever used it – is that Yahoo Answers numbers have been falling as WikiAnswers numbers rise and rise.
Hitwise came out today with its report on the subject, picked up so far by notable blogs like Mashable, Search Engine Watch, The WOMMA Word, Stephen’s Lighthouse, BizReport, IT Business Edge, Search Newz, Marketing Vox, What Little I Know, Moraaz.org, and Web Analytics World.
The report includes that WikiAnswers’ site visits within the U.S. have increased by 125% compared to the week of June 9th 2007.
Let’s hear it for WikiAnswers, social knowledge and the wonderful Q&A community that makes it all happen!