Why so many questions?
November 7, 2006 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Yes, another one. Best Rest of the Web. There are lots of questions sites now. Amazon opened Askville. And now Windows Live has "QnA". I'm all for competition and innovation, but really, why does the question-and-answer site format attract so much "me too" behaviour?
posted by GuyZero (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Because people need advice.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:16 AM on November 7, 2006

Because every idiot with an internet connection thinks his opinion is worth...


Never mind.
posted by pracowity at 7:19 AM on November 7, 2006

I don't know. Who could we ask? hmm?
posted by flickroad at 7:23 AM on November 7, 2006

That Askville link doesn't go to anything talking about Askville.
posted by smackfu at 7:25 AM on November 7, 2006

You could say the same thing about message boards, blogging systems, etc. The reason it's attracting so much me too behavior is that they are successful in attracting users and there's a revenue oportunity there.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:25 AM on November 7, 2006

Oops. Shoot. Askville link should go to Askville. Sorry.
posted by GuyZero at 7:27 AM on November 7, 2006

I ask that question myself. Me too.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:33 AM on November 7, 2006

The Straight Dope Message Board is perhaps the original, and still one of the best. There's also the realtively new Something Awful Ask/Tell subforum (you may need to be a SA member to view it).
posted by elmwood at 7:34 AM on November 7, 2006

Q&A sites, I mean really, what's with that?
/wakka wakka
posted by prostyle at 7:43 AM on November 7, 2006

Shouldn't this be an AskMeFi post?
posted by MikeMc at 7:51 AM on November 7, 2006

A link to his previous riveting post on the same subject, two identical links to a MS service and a link to something that's been previously addressed in MeTa isn't prime material? I'm assuming the ironic, devil-may-care inquisition at the end didn't sell you?
posted by prostyle at 7:58 AM on November 7, 2006

Dear Askville: What is Ask Metafilter?
posted by ernie at 8:28 AM on November 7, 2006

Why are rhetorical questions so popular?
posted by srboisvert at 8:28 AM on November 7, 2006

When I asked a friend at Amazon what was new, she showed me Askville. We tried it out -- I can't remember what our question was, but I can tell you it was just as lame as the average entry. When the useless answers came back (within seconds), I blurted, "But why would anyone want to use this?? She said, "For something to do, when they're sitting around doing nothing."

I know it was a rhetorical question, but I'm just sitting here with nothing to do.
posted by wryly at 8:33 AM on November 7, 2006

why does the question-and-answer site format attract so much "me too" behaviour?

Unlike blogs?
posted by spazzm at 8:34 AM on November 7, 2006

Everyone loves a know-it-all.
posted by pmbuko at 8:35 AM on November 7, 2006

and i love you, too!
posted by troybob at 8:45 AM on November 7, 2006

Dear Askville,

Our friend (let's call him "Jeff") seems to have a little bit of a spending problem. We asked him to see a professional, but nothing's really changed. What should we do?

-The Shareholders

posted by Smart Dalek at 8:53 AM on November 7, 2006

Paid membership and good moderators sure seems to help weed out the useless questions in AskMe. All these other sites are free-for-alls. Wastes of time.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:00 AM on November 7, 2006

these new sites sure bring out the bright ones
posted by yonation at 9:10 AM on November 7, 2006

What I don't understand is why every new Q&A site duplicates the failure of all the other failed Q&A sites. I can't think of any of these newly launched site with a single novel idea to reduce noise and increase signal. Without a community (i.e. individual status and peer-pressure) they are all blatantly damned to drown in the familar torrent of bollocks as any other simple, unmoderated, largely anonymous forum.
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:10 AM on November 7, 2006

actually, i'm a bit confused as to how you're using 'me too' here...do you mean 'me too' behavior of people who respond to the questions, or 'me too' behavior of somebody who decides to start up yet another Q&A site?

a few of the things that draw me to ask metafilter, though i only jump in sporadically:

(1) checking out others' questions can give you kind of a creative push or idea you wouldn't have had before, or an idea for something new to try out; before the holidays (halloween, lol) there was a question about scary books. had i not seen the question and been a bit curious, i would never have thought to pick up shirley jackson's 'the haunting of hill house,' which i loved...and while i was at the bookstore getting that one, i picked up 'imperium' by richard harris, and now i'm all over ancient rome fiction again and set to embark on colleen mccullough's rome series...

(2) it is a pretty neat thing to be able to help somebody out and expect nothing in return; sometimes it's just giving an opinion, or sometimes it's using something you know or part of your experience, or sometimes challenging the questioner with a different question that might help them see it in a different way; sometimes it's making a silly joke, which yeah, you're not supposed to do, but gosh

(3) it's cool to see that other people worry about the same crap that i do--shared humanity and that--and also it's neat to see the kinds of things i used to worry about but have grown not to worry about anymore...

(4) every now and then i have a question, and i respect the varied wisdom of the metafilter user community

(5) though i'm sure i'm misusing the concept, i kind of see it that in the online culture where good information is of value, ask metafilter is an example of gift economy
posted by troybob at 9:12 AM on November 7, 2006

$200k for Jerome Armstrong. Friggin' crazy.
posted by Paris Hilton at 9:40 AM on November 7, 2006

AskMe wasn't one of the first either. I think Greenspun's LUSENET was one of the very first I came across.
posted by bonaldi at 11:13 AM on November 7, 2006

Why is Microsoft's design for all the new "Live" stuff so bland?
posted by saraswati at 3:13 PM on November 7, 2006

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