At each stage of life, we use different resource for questions. Starting with parents (when we were kids), then teachers, then friend(s), Professor(s) and the list goes on. We seem to be broadening the answer set. As internet becomes more prevalent, a new group is being introduced which potentially provides a forum to tap into the collective wisdom of the whole world. These are the new “QnA sites on web”.
The services essentially work on two principles:
1. Do not reinvent the wheel: Which translates to “If you have a question, somebody has already answered it or has the answer and waiting to be asked”
2. Give back to the community: which translates to “If you have an answer, somebody is searching for it with a question”
These services try to facilitate these exchanges.
What do the users gain?
1. Increased productivity: More often than not, the questions are just means to an end. It might be something technical which you need answer to move forward, or it is a nagging question which is eating up brain cycles (which can be otherwise used more productively) or it might be on lines of “how do i do this…” which has the potential to save a lot of time.
2. Community aspect: It fulfills the need of being able to help others while deriving the usefulness of collective wisdom of the masses.
3. Perspectives: For more subjective questions, it provides you with multiple perspectives. Some may be similar to yours; some may show you a completely different side.
4. Ego boosters: Most of the sites have some kind of *contribute and get recognized* incentives, which are a way to satiate the *ego demand*.
What do company gain? More answers you provide, more traffic you get, more eye balls, more exposure and more opportunities to monetize it (in today’s world – read ads)
Current players in Indian Market:
How do these stack up? (What are my evaluation criteria?)
1. UI of the site: Eye candy factor, usability etc.
2. Content: Number of questions and their answers.
3. Search Capability: It is easy to ask new questions, but can I easily find a question close to mine?
4. Repeat Factor: Is the service compelling enough to come back once the question is answered.
5. How active is the community?
1. This is just the first impression (more detailed explanation and review in later post)
2. iBiBo is a site in Alpha stage
3. IndiaHowTo seems to be following more of the *Wikepedia* model rather than the traditional Q&A model. The ‘How do I do…” articles are well written and useful. The messaging about “is it Q&A site or not” is unclear
Let us know what you think of this growing trend of QnA sites and how do you think they are contributing to the collective wisdom of the web.