I’ve been checking out a few expert locators recently or Q&A sites, check out the list at 3spots.
Anyway my favourite so far is Yedda, basically for its simplicity and effectiveness, plus it has all the right features and some more.
But firstly I’ll go over some others I have covered like Otavo…besides questions and answers you can also bookmark a link as an answer, so a question can also become a topic link list, the other way is to leave a comment as an answer…and of course you can comment, rate, and tag answers.
What I like about Otavo like many of the other Q&A services is that you ask a question to the world at large, and you wait for the answers.
Also if you want to give answers just follow the recent questions stream, or monitor a particular user, or follow the latest answers by tag/topic…NOTE: this is not monitoring the latest questions by tag, it is monitoring the latest answers (storemarks or links) across a range of questions (quests).
At the moment you ask a question to all, and an answer comes as a comment or a bookmark that you can apply tags to.
What if I want to answer some questions?
- I can track lastest questions
- I can track a users latest questions
- I can track latest storemark answers by tag
How can I track the latest questions from a tag or topic?
Maybe when we ask a question we can tag it, and even perhaps select a house category like Answerbag, Yahoo! Answers, etc..
Reason being is I’d like to track questions asked according to a topic/category/tag…otherwise there are too many to track from the whole of Otavo.
NOTE: you can track a tag, but this is a tag for recent answers not recent questions…and these are only answers in the form of storemarks (bookmark links), not comments.
FAQQLY also has its limitations.
What I do like about it compared to Otavo is that you can tag yourself, this makes it an explicit expert locator…whereas in Otavo you find an expert via the general content tag cloud (ie. find experts by how they tag their answers, not explicity how they tag themselves).
But then I guess, the idea of FAQQLY is simply Q&A, whereas in Otavo even if you knew the right person to ask (and if it had the facility to directly ask one person) you would still rather ask everyone at the same time so you can communally build a list of answers, so Otavo seems to have a further agenda of building communal lists, rather than straight Q&A.
But it still seems odd that you can’t view a stream of the most recent questions in FAQQLY.
Instead what you have to do is add friends to your account, then you can view a stream of questions asked by your network of friends…this is called Helps. This same section also allows you to broadcast a question to your network of friends.
NOTE: The Helps section will soon broadcast your asks for helps to the whole of FAAQLY.
Another way is to ask a question directly in someones user space (FAQ), when doing this the user doesn’t have to be in your network of friends, you can just travel around and ask questions. At the same time if I’m looking at the list of unanswered questions at someone’s FAQ, I can’t help with supplying an answer, because I wasn’t asked personally.
Also when you do ask a question in a users FAQ, this isn’t recorded in your own user space…
and again there isn’t a recent stream of FAQ questions.
To clarify I want to see a recent stream of FAQ (questions people ask on other people’s user space), and also a recent stream of Helps (questions people ask from their own user space).
I also want to be able to answer questions that were asked on other people’s FAQ, since I’m a person in the FAQQLY knowledge base, I should be able to supply an answer to a question even if it was not directed to me (well perhaps in a moderated way).
At the moment what I can do is send a message using the Notes feature…
eg. I was looking at someone’s user space, and I noticed someone else asked them a question, this question was still in the unanswered cue.
NOTE: If this person can’t answer the question, they have no way of forwarding it, at least to their network of friends…this is why all recent FAQ should be seen by everyone.
Anyway, what I can do is click on the user name of the person asking the question, then at their user space click Send Note. This way I can answer their question via a discrete note, but then this needs to be added to the knowledge base someway.
FAQQLY does now have groups which are like a public friends feature, that is, a group user space represents lots of people, so when you ask a question to a group FAQ, lots of people see it (people who are in that group).
I really like the idea of groups as you can choose to follow questions on a specific topic (which is lacking in Otavo). Although, it really isn’t the same as an exhaustive topic directory because if a group is called “All there is to know about cats”, but someone asks a question about cats elswehere then this question won’t be aggregated in the well known cats group.
Another thing I like is that if I’m in a group and I see an unanswered question, I can answer it…the only other place I can do this is in my own user space FAQ, or in my Helps section where I can answer questions asked by my friends network.
NOTE: you can’t answer a question in another users FAQ.
What makes Yedda different?
Questions are tagged automatically via text analysis, or manual tags.
This is my first wish come true, the questions are tagged, this means you can monitor recent questions within a topic tag cloud.
Sad to see it lacks an RSS feed…I want to follow all recent questions within the tag “web 2.0” in my RSS Reader.
You can tag yourself, so now you can also browse the people tag cloud to find an expert in a topic such as web 2.0…it also has content related to the topic/tag “web 2.0″, such as:
- Recently asked
- Recently answered
- Most interesting
- Most active
Once you do browse through the various users that are experts within a topic and find one, unlike FAQQLY you can’t personally ask them a question directly, you can only send them a personal message.
I think a good idea when you ask a question to all of Yedda is to be able to also ping a specific expert at the same time.
Back to it…
It re-syndicates content from other sources, eg. blogs, books, ads
- I think the idea is to do some content analysis in the blogosphere and show some relevant hits, just like ads.
Each question shows related questions…this is connecting relationships in the knowledge base
- find similar questions by tag, or even more similar questions by the suggested related questions
Matches people to a question
- this is awesome, with FAQQLY you can search people tags to find the right person for your question or perhaps you may ask a group, but Yedda wants to let the machine decide
NOTE: Of course you can manually travel around answering questions.
…other systems like del.icio.us (this isn’t a Q&A) allow you to find experts based on tags applied to the content they bookmark, but just because you bookmark and tag a page doesn’t mean you are an expert. You may tag and bookmark a page because you like it, perhaps you may be growing to be an expert (I suppose the weight of this tag in their personal tag cloud may help in deciding if they lean towards being an expert).
What Yedda does different is that it invites users to answer questions.
Yedda seems to want to get serious about Q&A, matching the right people to a question you ask, and offering you questions to answer as it knows your expertise…basically it tries to match like people without wasting anytime or reducing the noise.
This kind of answers my feedback above: who do I ask a question, and how do I follow just questions I’m interested in?
They also have a widget where your blog readers can answer or ask questions…now that’s getting it out of the bubble, and into the blogosphere…it’s good to have reach beyond your own domain.
Yedda is really what I’m after:
- I can describe myself with tags
- I can also describe my questions with tags
- It will invite me to answer some questions (give and take)
- Even though I submit my question to all, it will invite some select people to answer my question
- I can find experts by people tag (find people with the same interests or interests that may help me)
- I can find Q&A’s by content tags, and also by inbuilt categories
You can also do this from a tag cloud…go explore.
Here is an example of a question:
- it has tags (find similar questions by tag)
- it has a permalink
- send it to a friend
- bookmark it in your favourite service
- you can rate
- it has a link to the users space (and it has a more specific link in their user space to their answers stream)
- has a feed
- has related questions
Each posted answer has a permalink, can be voted and replied to, you can even blog it.
A small issue is that when you reply to an answer it isn’t threaded underneath the answer, it is at the same level as an answer…I’d like to see replies to answers as threads.
At the moment an answer to a question says “in reply to user A’s question”…and a reply to an answer says ” in reply to user B’s post”.
When you feel a question you have asked has been answered or you find an answer elsewhere or you just want closure, you can close the call with a closing post…green tick designates the question as resolved.
If you have been invited to answer a question and can’t help you can manually invite someone else (kind of like fowarding)…perhaps you can even forward to someone in My Contacts.
Hopefully they will have a groups feature in the future, this way an individual can forward a question to their group..
NOTE: regardless of this, any question whether it would be to a group or individual is streamed as a recent question on the homepage for all people to see.
Here is my user space:
- contacts (a list of thumbnails…also send messages)
- I’d also like to see content tags, ie. a tag cloud for the tags I apply to questions, limited to just me, my contacts, or the whole of Yedda
Here is an archive of questions about “web 2.0″…I wish I could limit this to just me. This would be my question blog, where you can see a stream of my posts (questions), also by category/tag…also see a stream of my answers.
There is also a tab for your activity which will list questions you are invited to answer.
One thing is missing…I can send a contact a private message, but like Otavo, and unlike FAQQLY, I can’t ask an individual a direct question.
What I’d like to see (as I explained earlier) is if I do find someone in my travels and want to ask them a question…I go to my user space and I ask the question to the whole of Yedda, but I also make sure the individual is manually invited or pinged by me.
Alternatively, when I ask a question in Yedda, I may want to make sure a user in My Contacts knows about it.
Yedda stops at Q&A, the only stuff I can know about a person is going to their user space, here I can see the tags they describe themselves with, the questions they ask by tag, the answers they supply, their contacts, and perhaps in the future groups they belong in.
This tells me a lot about a person, but what if I want to know more about that person, perhaps their bookmarks, their blog, basically their web 2.0 interactions.
Perhaps Yedda could have a Ziki badge next to each user (this is only if the user has signed up with Ziki), by clicking on this you can find more about that person…in turn Ziki could have a Yedda badge next to each user profile.
This also makes for cross marketing, where both services can benefit from their respective communities…why not they both do a great show, and surely complement each other.
It could also use Ziki data to re-syndicate content on the sidebar along with relevant books and ads.
NOTE: Just a sidenote, Ziki now allows you to tag people in your Network, this is almost the reciprocal tagging in IBM’s Fringe Contacts.
So far Yedda is the easiest and smoothest Q&A service I’ve used, it focuses on one thing and does it well, it doesn’t get too tied up in the social network part like some services where it takes you ages to figure out what the service is exactly all about.
Check out the tour and blog for more.