The World Wide Web is full of data, just waiting to be accessed by people. As of 2009, there was 500 billion (yes, Billion) Gigabytes of digital content. This just shows the mind boggling magnitude of content that is available. Remarkable isn’t it? Today, I am going to share with you some of the best resources of knowledge on the entire web.
These massive question-and-answer knowledge base websites are used by millions of people to ask and answer questions, based on the notion of a user generated data model (also known as community driven model). They are Quora, StackExchange, Yahoo Answers and WikiAnswer, in order of my priority off course.
My personal favorite is Quora, which I am using a lot, recently. Quora, accessed at Quora.com, is a community driven question-and-answer website, founded by two ex-Facebook employees, namely Charlie Cheever and Adam D’Anglo (ex CTO of Facebook). The company, in just a little over two years, is now valued at half a billion dollars, backed by top venture capitalists in the Silicon Valley. Out of the three listed above, I prefer Quora because of the following reasons.
The quality of people who have signed up on Quora is extremely high, to my understanding. They include Jimmy Wales, Mark Zuckerberg, Adam D’Anglo himself, notable Forbes 100 company employees, popular nerds and geeks, famous VCs, celebrities of Silicon Valley and even top tier university students from Stanford, Harvard, MIT etc. Thought the extend and breadth of knowledge, that is available on Quora is mushrooming day by day, what attracts me is the quality of the user generated content. You won’t a see an answer less than a paragraph, which is not only clear and crisp but also written in quality English.
Last week, I have been part of popular question-and-answer threads. One question I asked was: What is it about the Symbolic Systems program at Stanford that produces such amazing alums? which received answers from numerous Symbolic Systems alumni at Stanford. I, using my Quora points, was able to ask Mike Krieger, also a Stanford alumni and the Instagram co-founder, to answer this question. The question at the moment has 77 followers and has been viewed over 3000 times.The power to reach out to the people and get great answers is immense. Then, realising the potential of Quora, I asked some trivial questions such as Is programming a subset of mathematics?. I am yet to receive a strong response for this question though.
Besides questions, the ability to answer and help out others is a major feature, which you would obviously expect in a community driven website. The act of answering more questions gives more points, and even more points if the answers are voted up by the community members. I love the Quora ecosystem as well, the best out there on the web. I would call it the most multi-dimensional, interdisciplinary, curious and thoughtful internet community I have come across in the last many years. Now, therefore, I spend more time on Quora than on Facebook, devouring all the interesting content, I can, for my daily techie, and yes, geeky needs.
Second on the rack is StackExchange. A top notch technology/programming community driven network, stocked with81 websites, targeting specific group of people. The most popular of them all is StackOverFlow, where programmers ask and answer questions. The community again is healthy, full of Facebook, Apple, Google, Yelp! and Yahoo engineers, willing to help you out; provided you show interest and are not looking to get your homework done. These days, top technology companies look at a potential candidates’ StackOverFlow profile to see his/her reputation, which indicates someone’s programming prowess.
Third on the rack is the good old Yahoo! Answers. I have been using Yahoo answers to help out people from all over the world since I was 16 and it has always been remarkable when people return the favor by answering your questions. You obviously need to answer questions to get points in order to ask questions yourself later. The community is not as professional, as compared to Quora or the StackExchange network, but it is good enough if you are looking for some solutions to really simple problems with simple solutions.
Finally, it is the popular Wiki Answers, which is good because someone has the answer excerpt pasted into the answer box (saves time), which you would otherwise find on Wikipedia itself. The answers are short, less meaningful.
So, if you are looking for some really smart people, smart answers and great ideas, visit Quora.com. The community might seem geeky or nerdy at first, but believe me, there are all kinds of people on Quora, willing to answer your questions and nudge your mind work.
I love it, and I am sure you will do too.
Oh and you can find me at:
About Ali Gajani
Hi. I am Ali Gajani. I started Mr. Geek in early 2012 as a result of my growing enthusiasm and passion for technology. I love sharing my knowledge and helping out the community by creating useful, engaging and compelling content. If you want to write for Mr. Geek, just PM me on my Facebook profile.