Most Popular Q&A Sites Compared
Question and Answer websites have been around for awhile. Some were in the general format that they have remained over the years, such as Yahoo Answers and Quora. Others were more like search engines, such as AskJeeves. But they have always been a helpful element of the internet at large, and they are even more so today.
Which one is most reliable, though? It can be hard to know whether or not to trust the responses to questions given on sites, because you often have no way of verifying the identity of the responder. A problem that some sites have taken pains to fix, as much as they are able.
By looking at each popular Q&A service, we can start to pick out which ones have done a better job at doing this, and so are more reliable.
While it has been around for several years, I have been noticing Quora gaining more visibility lately. Before, it was a place that had its loyal followers that have remained active since it first launched. But now there is a wider audience flocking to the site, a result I believe is equal parts the interesting format and the insightful users answer questions.
One thing of note about Quora is the people who are on it. You have well known industry giants, such as the creator of Twitter’s hashtag Chris Messina, Airbnb project lead Joe Zadeh and many others who are well versed in their subject. You can find them all the time, addressing queries and making some themselves.
Yahoo’s answer site is almost entirely user-contributed. I have seen posts from 13-year-old girls to doctors, or at least people claiming to be. It is hard to verify that, however, and most of the time you are just taking a leap when believing what they have to say. Even though there is a “sources” section for you to share where it is you got your info.
Of course, this format has its place. For less important questions you can get good tips from people who know from experience. Cosmetic and electronic advice is especially prevalent here, plus finding links to helpful websites that might be able to assist you further.
They do have officially contributed posts by hired writers that you can check out. These are always very interesting, and have a higher standard of proof for anything that is said.
Have you ever seen a friend on your Facebook offering a poll on a topic? It could be on an important subject, such as the current US election. Or it might just be asking who still plays Farmville. This is called Facebook Questions, and allows people to ask both their friends list and the web at large for answers to whatever they might want to know.
The benefit to this platform is that you have some reliability as to the people you are asking. They are mostly going to be family or friends, or friends of those you already know. Which means you are aware of who is offering their advice, and so can decide on the relevance and reliability of that information. It is more personal than many other sites.
Yes, there is no official format for Twitter to ask questions. But I think it is a great way to get answers, thanks to the hashtag system and the ability to get your queries out there. Because of its open nature, you can even attract the attention of companies using the site for reputation management, or celebrities. It has certainly happened more than once.
When it comes to big names you might be asking, there is also a better chance of verifying that they are legitimate. There are sock puppet accounts of Twitter, sure. But it doesn’t take long most the time to verify the identity of a source, since so few Twitter pages are private.
Looking at the data above, it could be said that all four of the Q&A sites listed have their place. It just depends on what it is you are looking for at any given moment.
Quora is great for in-depth, industry quality answers from people who really know their stuff. Yahoo is a nice place for getting advice on simple matters quickly, from people who have experience in it themselves. Facebook has people you know and trust. Twitter can catch the attention of specific companies or people that would be better suited towards answering your question.
Which one is best? That is up to you.