AskMe = the ultimate Q&A site. February 6, 2011 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Surely this NYT article about Question/Answer websites is snubbing AskMe?!

I clicked this headline assuming it would talk about AskMe or at the very least, name-drop it, but it instead revolves around Quora (which, based on a different post on here from a few weeks back, seems kind of lame and not terribly user-friendly IMO). Thoughts, MeFites?

Sorry if this isn't appropriate or if this is a double...please delete if so!
posted by nonmerci to MetaFilter-Related at 6:18 PM (71 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Thank god, means no sudden influx of n00b NYT-wits.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:20 PM on February 6, 2011 [34 favorites]


Mysterious Hipster!

And don't call me Shirley.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:21 PM on February 6, 2011


Who cares, the half time show sucked.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:21 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


(1) The purview is "new q&a site" according to the article
(2) for god's sake, the nyt.
(3) those questions behind Joel Spolsky make me want to die.
posted by boo_radley at 6:26 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, fair enough, boo_radley, but they did do a "run-down" of older and established Q&A sites and talked extensively about Wikipedia (??). I thought it was odd since AskMe is generally known as a high-quality Q&A site so it seemed they would at least reference it.
posted by nonmerci at 6:32 PM on February 6, 2011


Shhhhh! Everyone be very quiet. They will stop knocking at the door.

I'm not home!
posted by Splunge at 6:34 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


As long as we keep paying them protection money, they keep quiet. God help us if we lose our leverage over Assange, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:35 PM on February 6, 2011 [37 favorites]


The purview is "new q&a site" according to the article

That's what the headline says, but there was a part where they talked about how "The genre has long been dominated by..."
posted by John Cohen at 6:37 PM on February 6, 2011


I just want to know what happened to AskEarth.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:42 PM on February 6, 2011


I thought it was odd since AskMe is generally known as a high-quality Q&A site

Is it? I was under the impression that most people don't know about AskMe.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:42 PM on February 6, 2011


Totally okay if other people thing Quora is hot shit. Some people seem to think it's terrific. I like it for some things, but I don't get a community feel from it. No surprise that the NY Times likes it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:43 PM on February 6, 2011


Quora doesn't allow pseudonyms? Screw that. Maybe if my name was Jane Smith.
posted by amro at 6:51 PM on February 6, 2011


Perhaps because AskMe is the gateway to the whole new universe of NYT ridicule that is the Blue. God, we have some sniper-level marksmanship for their Styles articles alone.
posted by mykescipark at 6:57 PM on February 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was under the impression that most people don't know about AskMe.

They don't, really, but whenever they ask the internet an even slightly complicated question, that a quick dictionary/wikipedia check can't answer, they'll end up on AskMe. As far as I can tell from my inside-out perspective, much of the rest of the world knows that there's a weird green website that may have already answered the question for them. So If they're really just looking for the answer, and no community/snowflake add-ons, AskMe is there for the non-membership majority. They do their own credence assessment and validity checking without community vibe/habituation input.
When they're asking a question more out of the need for validation/assurance than actual facts, then they'll turn to the more community based options. AskMe currently is a interesting mix of both facts and validation at the moment, but it works primarily for the members and not the hoi polloi for the latter objective.

Finally, and this may have been asked before, but how comes it you still have a star jessamyn? is it a permanent feature?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:05 PM on February 6, 2011


Keep it secret! Keep it safe.
posted by Mizu at 7:07 PM on February 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


AskMetaFilter is one of the Web's best-kept secrets as it relates to the great unwashed.

This is a feature, not a bug.
posted by dg at 7:08 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
JEEVES.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:09 PM on February 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


Enjoy the year, cheeseheads! Bears will be back soon.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:11 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quora doesn't allow pseudonyms? Screw that. Maybe if my name was Jane Smith.

Or John Cohen, for that matter.
posted by amro at 7:13 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quora doesn't allow pseudonyms?

Everything allows pseudonyms, if you're sneaky.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:18 PM on February 6, 2011


"Hipster, a mysterious start-up that is said to tie questions to particular locations, has stirred up interest among the early adopters ahead of its formal introduction later this month."

Well, color me surprized!
posted by vidur at 7:29 PM on February 6, 2011


Lots of people find ask.me. Lots of people don't post because they can't be bothered to pay. There is no shortage of questions or answers. The $5 barrier is doing its job well.
posted by theora55 at 7:51 PM on February 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Enjoy the year, cheeseheads! Bears will be back soon.


Thus reminding me, don't read MeTa during games I plan to watch later. Seriously, though, I am a Bears fan, and the only place they're going any time soon is the bottom of the NFC North. Angelo still has a job, Lovie Smith has gone from the hot seat to almost surely getting another extension, the O-line is a shambles whose best player (Kreutz) is on the wrong side of 30, for that matter, their projected to have something like 15 starters over 30, no real main receiver threat (I love Knox, but he'd be best as a second receiver, and Bennett is great, but as a 3rd receiver). That, and we finally have a 1st round pick, but it's a) #30, and b) Angelo is doing the picking. Then there's the whole debacle with Cutler, and while I'm sure he was injured, he seems like the kind of person who might take all the comments to heart and just kind of give up, rather than the guy who'd use them as fuel for his triumphant ascension to franchise QB. In other words, a he's pretty much living down to his role as Bears QB.

Meanwhile, the Lions aren't going to suck much longer, and we can't rely on the Packers having 15 players on IR every year.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:52 PM on February 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


There was a very clear venture capital, next big thing, please let's not miss the new Facebook slant to this article. It was very business-y. It would have been weird to have AskMetafilter in there.

"Stackoverflow blah blah $6mil Union Square Ventures blah blah AskMetafilter, $5 to get in ..."

Doesn't really fit.
posted by geoff. at 7:57 PM on February 6, 2011


Hey they snubbed ask reddit as well!
posted by Ad hominem at 8:14 PM on February 6, 2011


Do people generally find AskMe showing up frequently when searching for random things? I don't really get that, myself. Maybe I'm not asking Google the right questions. Any specific (not-cooked) examples?
posted by cj_ at 8:18 PM on February 6, 2011


Quora is the new Groupon: they seem to be just there for the IPO. They want fast growth, magical numbers and bubble investors. They've got them.
Time and again mathowie has said that he is not interested in fast bucks nor in leveraging the community.
So I guess that makes AksMe uninteresting.
posted by bru at 8:20 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually cj_, I can't say it has happened often but when searching Google for beach camping on the Oregon Coast, this thread comes up second! I and my non-Mefite boyfriend both came upon it when searching for ideas this past summer.
posted by nonmerci at 8:24 PM on February 6, 2011


Though thinking about this more, I don't usually write questions into google, as if it were able to understand me and spit out an answer. Except sometimes. For a certain class of vexing technical issues, I've found writing the question I have leads to forums where someone else similarly vexed asked the same thing. This tends to be Stack Overflow these days (hooray!), but used to be Experts Exchange or DanniWeb.

I wonder if people ask Google stuff in question form about non-technical topics and end up with AskMe..
posted by cj_ at 8:27 PM on February 6, 2011


Hispters site looks like a fishtank!
posted by clavdivs at 8:36 PM on February 6, 2011


Occasionally, I google "meta-aesthetics" to see if there is anything new. My own AskMe thread is the second result.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:36 PM on February 6, 2011


I usually don't see a lot of AskMe results 'cause I just search there first. If Ask doesn't turn up an answer in the archive, then Google.

Google neither? Back to AskMe.

And don't call me Shirley.
posted by carsonb at 8:51 PM on February 6, 2011


"Do people generally find AskMe showing up frequently when searching for random things?"

Yup. Occasionally I go through phases where I add all the MetaFilter domains to my hosts file to keep myself from frittering away so much time on here and I get hit over the head with how many of my Google search queries bring me back to the blocked AskMe domain. It's usually the reason I have to take the domains back out of my hosts file and then I get sucked back in....
posted by Jacqueline at 9:05 PM on February 6, 2011


AskMe popping up in google searches was how I found Metafilter in the first place.
posted by colfax at 9:06 PM on February 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Do people generally find AskMe showing up frequently when searching for random things?

Don't know about random, but this is basically how I found the place.
posted by rhizome at 9:49 PM on February 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't AskMe, Don't tell
posted by Cranberry at 10:15 PM on February 6, 2011


FWIW, I rarely, if ever, see AskMe show up in Google, unless I type in "site:ask.metafilter.com" at the end of the search query.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 PM on February 6, 2011


Hmm. Does Google provide a way to work backwards? I.E. If I start with a site, which collection of keywords would likely produce it as a result?
posted by Meta Filter at 12:04 AM on February 7, 2011


The purview is "new q&a site" according to the article

Purview, purview, purview. I love that word. So does Malcolm Tucker. (Very NSFW audio)
posted by Decani at 12:55 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where's the NYT article about MetaFilter's contribution to the rise of the Feature Pony population and the tragedy of the thousands of ponies unwanted, alone, innovating in their paddocks in this country, on our watch.
posted by doublehappy at 2:08 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't remember whether I found AskMe initially via Google or Lifehacker it was a long time ago but I do find AskMes on Google semi-frequently. It depends on what kind of stuff you search for obviously, but if I search for something that was an AskMe question or similar to it, I generally find it in my search.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:35 AM on February 7, 2011


Loose lips sink sites.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:59 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Add me to the list of people who initially ran into AskMe through Google searches. (Although I stuck around once I realized that Lifehacker kept linking Ask for interesting Q&As, and I might as well go straight to the source!)
posted by pemberkins at 5:59 AM on February 7, 2011


ahead of its formal introduction later this month

What? Is Hipster having a coming-out party? Fucking hipsters ...
posted by octobersurprise at 6:06 AM on February 7, 2011


I ran into AskMe in the back alleys of Google. It was looking pretty good, considering it was 3am in the morning and clearly hadn't slept for a couple of days and needed a shower.

But damn if it didn't know where I could score tomato sauce made without tomatoes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:07 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


... estimated valuation at $86 million?
posted by R. Mutt at 6:12 AM on February 7, 2011


Oh no, I wouldn't pay that much for tomato less tomato sauce.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:26 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "Who cares, the half time show sucked"

THe halftime show is getting panned generally. I am an old guy who listens to the Dead, Neil Young, Stones, Who and other over the hill classic rock. I thought that this Fergie person did a terrific job. The relics of the last few years sucked. Fergie with her sequined shoulder pads and her sultry looks coupled with a good voice (yeah auto-tune!) floated my boat. The guy with the hair helmet on the other hand... And the guy with the white suit who was supposed to be hot stuff, he danced real well, but I could not hear a word he sang. The light people were ok though not sure why they were there. Maybe I am fooled by beauty, but looking at and listening to Fergie sure beat looking at an aged Roger Daltry, Tom Petty or Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Next year, I will just go back to the original MTV, my music blasting on 11 while the talking heads on TV drone on while muted.
posted by AugustWest at 7:04 AM on February 7, 2011


Fergie with her sequined shoulder pads and her sultry looks coupled with a good voice (yeah auto-tune!) floated my boat.

We were obviously watching a different half time show. Fergie in HD is no treat, but attractiveness being a rather personal thing, she simply can't sing. At all. And the little duet with Slash was particularly embarrassing.

I'm all for livening up the half time show and hey 'it's for the kids', but that doesn't mean they need to switch to an act bordering on being talentless.
posted by justgary at 7:20 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It should've just been Slash shredding for 10 minutes, with all the light up dancers.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:22 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meta Filter: "Hmm. Does Google provide a way to work backwards? I.E. If I start with a site, which collection of keywords would likely produce it as a result?"

If you have Webmaster Central setup for your site, you can see things like what search queries result in your site in the top results most often and which result in the most clickthroughs (or clickthrough percentage) and sites that link to you the most and other useful things. And you can also tweak crawl rates.

Unfortunately, you can't see this info for any site, only ones that you are essentially an admin for. They ask you to create a file in the domain root with a long random name or add a meta tag with a similar value.
posted by Plutor at 7:23 AM on February 7, 2011


When Slash came on my husband said, "They hit the 'oh shit this is starting to suck' button."
posted by desjardins at 8:03 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite tweet from the half time show was -- "Let's hear it for Mittens, the audio mixer for the half time show."
posted by cavalier at 8:43 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Quora doesn't allow pseudonyms? Screw that. Maybe if my name was Jane Smith.

Or John Cohen, for that matter.


This.
posted by John Cohen at 8:49 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apparently the main searches for MeFi include gwop (wha?) and first person tetris. Alexa also thinks the members here have some college (=get on with that paper!) or college education (First Person Tetris isn't going to write these essays for your Master's after all). 30-40% of visitors come from search engines.
posted by ersatz at 8:53 AM on February 7, 2011


My favorite tweet from the half time show was -- "Let's hear it for Mittens, the audio mixer for the half time show."

It seemed like a 6-year-old amped up on Mountain Dew was riding fader on Fergie's mic. The mix was truly horrible. So was their performance, though. I kinda dug the dancer-drones in their light-up suits, but the rest of it? Ugh. Please warn me the next time before you exhume Slash.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:02 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, I can't get past the first page of Quora cos it asks me to log in. I don't want to log in. I don't know what's in the site, why the fuck would I want to have an account on a site I've never seen before.

I know it's all about making it easier & more integrated & that Quora is basically Facebook Q&A but you know, fuck that.

One of the amazing things about AskMe is that I can just browse questions & answers and learn stuff without having to ask or answer anything myself. When I can, I do, but most of the time I just read....
posted by jontyjago at 9:05 AM on February 7, 2011


See, I can't get past the first page of Quora cos it asks me to log in.

Log in, it could be interesting.

With the way AskMe is moderated, I see it becoming known as the place for more serious questions, while every other site is for whatever inane question pops into your head. Which is fine, they'll both have their uses, but I don't see AskMe going away, just being ignored (or hated) by people who want ask more chatty questions. Might drive the mods batty though, as users of the other sites come here expecting to be able to do the same.

Ya'll hang in there. Send the bucket up if you need a sammich or somethin'.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:28 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Point 1)

I see the word "snub" being misused all over the place. At least on AskMe I get to say my piece about how that trend irks me.

I'll read BBC sports headlines about how a player X snubbed a team Y because he chose to sign for team Z instead. This is not the meaning of the word "snub" people!

I imagine headline writers have come to like it because a) it is short and b) they like to sensationalize and personalize everything in the hope of getting more people to read.

Point 2)

I'd guess the NYT article may well have its genesis in the PR efforts of VC funded Q&A sites. Of course those guys like Quora are in the business of putting out a story to media, and that story is about the hot new thing that they are, and how they are different to the Yahoo Answers of the world.

I would imagine NYT writers do a modicum of evaluating the info they're fed, but they're certainly not going to be in the business of making a comprehensive assessment of the Q&A landscape.
posted by philipy at 9:45 AM on February 7, 2011


I would imagine NYT writers do a modicum of evaluating the info they're fed, but they're certainly not going to be in the business of making a comprehensive assessment of the Q&A landscape.

Generally speaking: this. One of the things that is clear when you romp around in Quora is that they are so totally into themselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, hey it's great to have self-esteem, but it's also clear that they don't see themselves as part of the larger Q&A landscape but rather they want to BE the Q&A landscape online. Like how there are lots of microblogging types of sites but only one Twitter. And that's dandy as far as I'm concerned. They have a really sharp community of people who know about startups and VC stuff and some tech stuff and coastal living stuff. They have an edit window. The interface is nice.

That said, there's too much anonymity for my tastes and I don't get a community feel from it, by watching people answering questions over time, by seeing who asks and answers what. I feel no interest in meeting those people in real life or forming a tighter bond with them, I feel we share a website. I spent some time feeling like I couldn't figure out how it worked, like I needed to click through all the Quora questions about Quora to figure out some of the mechanics. The lack of datedness to things made my head swimmy. Reading over and over again people talking about their view of the world as if it were the only rational view of the world got tiresome. It's a nice place, it's not my place. I wish them well on whatever path-to-Google-acquisition they're on. I think making growth one of your primary targets really makes you make certain choices about how the community works that are different than the types of choices we've made here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:54 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


And the little duet with Slash was particularly embarrassing.

Did anyone else love the way he just utterly ignored her gyrations right up against him while he played?

I was disappointed that I couldn't hear a word Usher sang. His dancing was good, though. Sound mixing sucked, even factoring in how much synth-ing the BEP need to sound good.

Creepiest commerical: Doritoes with the orange-dust inhaling guy.

We liked the car commercial that had Poseidon, though. Did not see that ending coming.

But what do I know, I'm looking forward to Manchester City/Manchester United game more eagerly than this particular Super Bowl.
posted by misha at 9:55 AM on February 7, 2011


They have an edit window.

And a thousand mefites who'd looked upon it with disdain just looked up from their keyboards and said, "Really?"
posted by ocherdraco at 11:19 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't see this as a snub. You can't list everything when reporting a topic. It reminds me of the "these guys did it first why didn't you mention that mentality". As if you just have to mention x, y, or z because it's important to me and it's important that you know who was the leader in a particular field (or who is great, relevant, important, etc.)

I mentioned something about a central repository of software being a feature of Ubuntu and got the usual wait, these guys were doing it first or before them response (see also any subject where you don't credit Apple with inventing it or failing that, reinventing). Now when a claim is made that company X or individual Y did invent something first and they didn't then that's fine, but when discussing the Rolling Stones do we always have to mention every Blues artist the were into?

As for Google and Ask Metafilter. I see it quite frequently in search results depending on the nature of the question.
posted by juiceCake at 11:34 AM on February 7, 2011


What's an "edit window"?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:35 AM on February 7, 2011


One of the things that is clear when you romp around in Quora is that they are so totally into themselves.

Speaking of into themselves: Robert Scoble's recent posts on Quora have been interesting as a study of both Quora culture and Scoble's own personality.

Why I was wrong about Quora as a blogging service: in which Scoble realizes that he doesn't like Quora because people there can downvote his answers.

The mistakes I made in Quora: in which Scoble realizes that people were downvoting him because he was spamming it with low-quality "first!" answers. (And then goes on to get exceptionally SHOW-ME-PROOF! defensive in the comments.)

One of the pleasures of AskMe is that it is not on the Scobelizer/TechCrunch flavor-of-the-month radar.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:43 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I miss Ms. Dewey.
posted by unliteral at 4:26 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quora will remain horrid until they fix the problem with retarded questions.

I swear one of these days I'll see "Why is it illegal to whip niggers?" on there. There are so many crazy malformed thoughts masquerading as questions. It's like Glenn Beck meets Jeopardy over Twitter.
posted by GuyZero at 5:17 PM on February 7, 2011


The second Google image result for "edit window" is FIGHTING WOLVES.
posted by doublehappy at 5:17 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


They have an edit window.

>And a thousand mefites who'd looked upon it with disdain just looked up from their keyboards and said, "Really?"

Can they change their password though? *raises eyebrow*
posted by ersatz at 5:29 AM on February 8, 2011


Brandon Blatcher: "What's an "edit window""

You'd like it. Completely tomato free.
posted by Splunge at 6:05 AM on February 8, 2011


"As far as I can tell from my inside-out perspective, much of the rest of the world knows that there's a weird green website that may have already answered the question for them."

Can't think of anything to add here, just wanted to highlight this.
posted by Nameless at 12:22 AM on February 9, 2011


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