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Everybody has questions. We have questions about growing plants to fixing our computer to what to pack when traveling abroad. With easy access to the Internet, we can now get relevant answers to any of our varied, yet specific questions.

Question and Answer (Q&A) sites let us ask a question and people around the world provide the answers. There’s a human, live body answering our question. Depending on the site, it may be multiple people responding to our question or it may be an expert.

Let’s take a look at some of these Q&A websites.

Quora

Quora organizes questions by page. Their goal is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question. Who makes it the best possible resource? The user community. Quora discourages using the site anonymously. Users are encouraged to sign up using one of the popular social networking sites that they are likely to be a member of.

You can search the site for topics, people (quora members), and questions. You can set up a feed with your interests that will notify you of any questions and answers tagged with those particular topics. The same is true for people and questions that you choose to follow.

How to Ask a Question on Quora

To ask a question on Quora, search for your question first. If you can’t find the answer, there is a small form on the right side where you enter the topic and the question (after you have signed in). Quora works on a credit system. You build credit as you answer questions. You use credits as you ask questions. This invites participation from community members. When signing up for Quora, you are automatically given 500 credits.

Anybody can ask a question. Anybody can answer a question. You only need to sign in to do so.

Quora was founded by two former Facebook employees in 2009 with the their website being launched in June 2010. Remember Yahoo! Answers? Quora bought them out. And, what about answer.com? Quora also bought them.

Visit quora.com

Stack Exchange

Stack Exchange is one of my favorites. Stack Exchange is a network of question and answer sites. Topics range from computer technology to parenting to homebrewing. Stock Exchange’s goal is to build libraries (websites) of high-quality questions and answers.

Questions and answers are focused on each community’s area of expertise. A community (website) is built around a topic. For example, there is a programmers.stackexchange.com site, a  parenting.stackexchange.com site and a homebrew.stackexchange.com site.

Instead of it being a completely open forum, Stack Exchange builds communities (websites) of experts on very specific topics. This leads to a Stack Exchange site going very deep vs broad. The broad growth comes from adding more communities (websites).

As Stack Exchange points out on their website, “you wouldn’t shout out a calculus question in a football stadium, right? You’d go to the math department of a university.” When using Stack Exchange, you go to a community of experts. Anyone can ask a question. Anyone can answer a question.

How to Ask a Question on Stack Exchange

To ask a question on Stack Exchange, find the topic that best matches your question. (You can also suggest topics.) You do this by selecting a topic from their home page or by searching. After finding the right topic, simply enter a title for your question and any additional detail. You can also add tags (another way for others to find your question). If you haven’t signed in you will be prompted to enter you signin information before your question is posted.

Once your question is posted, other community members provide answers. Answers are rated and ranked by the community. Questions and answers can be edited by other members, allowing the community to keep the content relevant even without the original authors.

Stack Exchange also has a voting system where you can vote up or down for answers. Vote up for answers that you like, down for answers you don’t. This is one way of handling the bickering and ranting that can happen on these type of sites. It’s simply a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

The results on Stack Exchange speak for themselves. Over 80% of the questions get answered and usually very quickly.

Stack Exchange is a result of another site called Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow was built for computer programmers to exchange information. After that site was a huge success, the founders created Stack Exchange to build expert communities around other topics. They now have 87 separate Q&A sites and over 42 million monthly unique visitors.

Visit stackexchange.com.

AllExperts

There are more than 2 million questions answered on allexperts.com. According to their site, Allexperts.com is the oldest and largest free Q&A service.

How to Ask A Question on AllExperts

Questions are answered by a selected expert. When asking a question, you drill down by category, then sub-categories. Eventually you get to a list of experts for your question. You select the expert you think will best answer your question based on their specialties and the details provided by the expert.

After posting your question to that expert, they usually reply within 24 hours. If you are not satisfied with their response, you rate that expert accordingly and can ask another expert if you want. This limits the community interaction available on other Q&A sites, but you will likely get a detailed relevant answer.

Anyone can ask a question on AllExperts.com. However, you need to be an expert to respond to a question. Anyone can apply to be an Expert on their website.

AllExperts.com was created in early1998. Their large group of volunteers includes lawyers, doctors, engineers, and scientists.

Visit AllExperts.com

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Next time you have a question, try out one of these Q&A sites. You’re bound to get a relevant, detailed answer. We hope you enjoyed this article! Please don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS-feed or follow Inspirationfeed on TwitterGoogle+, and Facebook! If you enjoyed the following article we humbly ask you to comment, and help us spread the word!

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Posted by Carma

This is a guest post by Carma Leichty, staff writer for Life'd. There you'll find life hacks as well as tips and advice on health, personal finance, relationships, style, and technology.

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