As I have been asking a lot of questions of late, I thought it was time for me to see who else is doing the same. I should have something in common with those other who are also looking for answers, right? A kind of community could be formed around this practice, and in time, we would be able to figure out what makes each of our questions important.
However, after quite a little bit of research, the community may have to wait. It seems as though each site that helps people ask and answer questions isn’t really trying to create a community of practice so much as they are trying to create a database of answers or a platform for connecting questions with answers rather than people together.
This somewhat disheartening notion came from these facts:
- As of October 2009, Yahoo Answers was receiving 30 million questions and answers per month but has no way of removing redundant questions
- As of November 2009, Answers.com had 15,799,157 questions in its database but only 18% of which were answered promptly
- From December 2009 to January 2010, Formspring.me gains 1.5 million unique views, but questions are asked anonymously.
- Hunch.com has more “number-based” data than anyone else in the Q&A space, but the questions aren’t owned by anyone. Each question/topic is simply a way of gathering data, not a way for people to connect with one another.
- As of February 2010, The top 10 users on Mahalo Answers earned $10845.93 (in the 10 weeks of existance) but the “brown belt” statuses create a hierarchy of people not a network.