Q&A sites are quite popular among Internet users. Conventionally, such services can be divided into two types: informational sites, where users can get information on issues of interest to them, and sites of anonymous questions for users to communicate. Let’s take a closer look at both categories of sites.
Q&A services can be called a kind of social media: anyone can become a member of such a service, and the content of such sites is carried out directly by users. Initially, such services were purely informational in nature, but over time, sites began to appear, aimed primarily at communication.
Q&A information sites
Such sites work according to a very simple principle: the user asks the question that interests him, and other users answer it… Most sites have a division of questions into thematic categories, making it easier to navigate. In addition, the user who asked the question has the ability to rate the best answers. These ratings can influence the rating of users who answer the questions.
The most popular question and answer service in the English-speaking segment of the Internet is, perhaps, Yahoo! Answerswhich was launched in December 2005. At the time of its launch, its main competitor was Google Answers, but Google decided to close the service, and the palm passed to Yahoo !. Most Russian-speaking users prefer to use the service Ответы@Mail.Ruwhich was launched in 2006.
Some of these services have their own characteristics. So, on the site Quora users are encouraged to register under their real names. Another feature of this site is the ability to suggest edits in responses from other users. There are also professional systems of questions and answers that unite specialists in a particular field. For example, Stack Overflow Is a site for programmers.
On the Runet there are sites that are a kind of hybrid of a question-answer system, a reference resource and a search engine. These are, for example, services such as Guénon and Know How.
Anonymous Question Sites
This category of sites is primarily aimed at communication. They allow users to create their own page from which everyone can ask them any question… The asked questions and answers of the user are then published on his page.
Usually, in order to ask a question, you need an account on the site, but it is possible to hide the username and ask a question anonymously… But at the same time, the user answering the questions can turn off the ability to ask him anonymous questions in the settings or ban certain users, after which they will not be able to ask him either on their own behalf or anonymously.
One of the pioneers of this type of site was the service Formspring (current name – Spring.me)launched in November 2009 (a new version of the site was made publicly available in September 2013). To use it, you need to register (you can go to the site through your account on the social network Facebook, Twitter or VKontakte).
As a competitor to Formspring, the site was launched in June 2011 Ask.fm… It has similar functionality, it also supports integration with social networks. During the transition of Formspring to the new version, Ask.fm managed to overtake the competitor, it is especially popular in the CIS countries.
Russian service of anonymous questions – Ask RU, it is not too different from the previous two sites. Also service of anonymous questions can be integrated to more feature-rich sites, such as the popular blogging platform Tumblr.
Sites of anonymous questions have been criticized, as registered users may be harassed, intimidated, harassed by anonymous users. It even led to teen suicide. Therefore, when registering on such a site, it is important to understand that anonymity unties people’s hands, and do not take offensive remarks to heart.