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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Serious question. What is the allure of Q&A sites?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (31147points) May 15th, 2011

Seriously, why do we have them? There is so much that can be learned from a little bit of research on the Internet. Why do we need sites where members share answers that may be misleading at best or completely wrong at worst?

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39 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

Socializing with people, which you can’t get just by Googling for information.

Stinley's avatar

Getting different perspectives on a problem.Most of the stuff that gets the long and numerous responses are not simple questions that can be answered by google. Often they are opinion, experience, or new ideas.

Seelix's avatar

What brought me here was curiosity. I found Fluther through Stumbleupon, and just decided to check it out for the hell of it. What I liked was the sense of community about the place.

Now, I’ve never used another Q&A site, but I’ve looked around Yahoo Answers a little. It seems that Fluther is very different from any other Q&A site, so maybe my answer is a little biased.

But it seems that getting others’ ideas, opinions and perspectives seems to be the main reason why Q&A sites are popular.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I agree with all of the above reasons. The only additions I can think of are the speed of responses and the ability for the OP to provide additional questions and details.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Because Googling doesn’t always work. My first question was something to the effect of “Who’s the (famous) guy in this picture”? You need actual people for that one, because I’d spent hours trying to find out via Google and couldn’t. Plus, for the questions that are more right vs wrong answers, I do my own bit of Google research before buying into what someone says.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Pretty much what they ^ ^ ^ said, and the social aspect of Fluther is very appealing to me. Last winter I was snowed in a lot and at one point had laryngitis. I felt like Fluther was my main source of human contact. And frankly, Jake, PMing with you in Hawaii warmed me up.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JilltheTooth : Ooo. I had no idea I warmed you up!

JilltheTooth's avatar

@hawaii_jake : You always warm me up, Darlin’! ;-)

marinelife's avatar

Because many people are not that good at searching the Web.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Few of them are actively blocked by work computers, as well. ;)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Getting others perspectives based on their own life experience is very enlightening (at times).

Seaofclouds's avatar

I like the personal aspect of getting the answers. Sure, we can look up our questions online, but I really like the answers I get from people who are taking their time to give me an answer. I really like it when they share their personal experiences in that area as well because it adds more to it than just the facts alone would.

dxs's avatar

I use it for personal advice/opinions because sometimes all these different sites can throw me off or make it more confusing.

Kardamom's avatar

There’s a few reasons that make this particular Q & A site really helpful. You can get an answer almost immediately, even if it’s not the exact answer you need, but it can be very helpful as a starting off point to do some searching on Google.

Some people simply can’t come up with the right words to type into the Google search box, that would point them in the right direction. Since Google is only a computer, it can’t figure out what people actually mean, but most of us real people here on Fluther can figure out what the OP is asking for, even if they don’t put it in the exact words. Also, we can ask the OP questions to help them clarify their own questions.

Also Google might give you a listing of a million answers and the best answer may not be one of the first answers on the list.

I’ve also found some of the info on Google to be a little too vague, or it just doesn’t give you enough information and it often leaves out some of the subtle nuances that can change the whole meaning of a situation. If the same question is posted on Fluther, you are likely to get most of the info you need and maybe a little bit more info that you hadn’t even considered, and then you can go back to Google and do a better search.

Because we are a collective, the different experiences of each one of us, make for a richer and more valuable discussion. There’s a lot of Wow moments on Fluther, when people find out about some interesting thing that they’ve never heard of before. Sometimes it can change the whole way in which an OP goes about his or her business. I don’t think that happens too often with Google.

Then there’s questions about which recipe is the best for my picnic. If you just Google “potato salad” you will get so many results that it might be difficult and time consuming to go through all of them. By asking a trusted Flutherite, you are likely to get a bunch of options that you can trust will be good. And you might also get an even better idea. Maybe one Fluther will suggest a cabbage slaw, instead of potato salad, that the OP hadn’t even considered. Google would have no idea that the OP might be open to different options.

Also, Fluther is a great place for virtual hand holding. Sometimes the question itself isn’t so important, as the fact that a collective of Flutherites is able and willing to give the OP moral support. That’s powerful stuff.

And last, but not least, when Fluthers give answers based on their own experiences, it’s way more powerful and helpful, than if you just tried to Google a subject such as “lonliness” or “battling shyness” or “is this behavior normal.” Google can’t hold your hand or give you suggestions on how things might turn out. Google gives cold hard facts, but often doesn’t give you enough information to help you calm yourself or gain confidence to try to deal with the problem. Fluthers do that all the time, every single day. Google is like reading the dictionary. Fluther is like reading a thousand different biographies.

Sunny2's avatar

I don’t have a lot of questions to ask, but I find distraction in trying to answer questions and seeing what other people answer. It helps me not to dwell on my own issues over and over.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Kardamom : Thank you. I like your analogy of Google as dictionary and Fluther as 1000 biographies. That rings true.

auntydeb's avatar

Fun fun Fun fun Fun fun Fun fun Fun fun Fun fun Fun fun Fun fun Fun fun Fun

Oh and really nice wobbly people instead of straight bleepin’ search engines.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t come here to learn stuff, as you say, when I really need something, I’ll look it up. However it can’t always easily be found, and Fluther can be a great alternative.
Although I always came here primarily for the social aspect.

Brian1946's avatar

For me, it’s having a generally wonderful group of people doing my homework for me.

As I’ve repeatedly said, I’m really KatetheGreat’s younger sister, and I’d like to thank the collective for all the great answers I got about good lubricants for pancakes.

Because of your excellent contributions, a got an A in the Erotic Foods class that I’m taking at the Pat Robertson College of Nollege. ;-p

YARNLADY's avatar

As an answerer, I enjoyed the ability to share my craft knowledge with other people. In the early days, there was a great community of people who believed we were building a knowledge base for future generations, before the “fun” lovers ruined it.

Brian1946's avatar

Seriously though, the allures are learning about things that would be too labor-intensive for me to research on my own, convenient social interactions, entertainment, and seeing a diversity of perspectives on various issues.

SABOTEUR's avatar


Q&A sites gives me an opportunity to shoot my mouth off…

…and pretend I know what I’m talking about.

Very empowering.

AmWiser's avatar

I’m sure Q&A sites mean different things to different people, but basically it’s the socializing aspect that draws most people. I haven’t a clue why people choose the Q&A site that they do… Like minds, maybe??

JLeslie's avatar

Nice to have people who are interested in what you have to say.

I have learned about and thought about topics I never would have had I not been a part of fluther.

It can be very entertaining.

Has a social aspect.

Getting answers to questions I have that cannot easily be answered with a google search.

Cruiser's avatar

Cool people..always has…always will be. I lurve y’all!!

wundayatta's avatar

Finding out that some people think you actually have something worth paying attention to. It’s pretty alluring for someone who believes that no one really thinks he has anything useful to say. For the first time in my life, a handful of people are actually interested in hearing what I think, or in hearing my advice. I said a handful, not everyone!

Pat me on the head and I’ll do anything for you.

augustlan's avatar

<pat, pat>

Kardamom's avatar

@wundayatta You said it brother! In here, you find the people that need you.

Ladymia69's avatar

It’s another form of social networking. But smart people want to think they are networking for a reason, and not just to be social, so they rationalize it in their minds by telling themselves that it’s okay, because it’s a Q & A site, and they are learning. Heh, heh.

_zen_'s avatar

This is a question and answer site? I just come for the jellies.

auntydeb's avatar

@YARNLADY – I do hope the fact that it is fun to answer complex questions with equally complex answers hasn’t ruined anything for you from me!

auntydeb's avatar

…oh and a nice pat for @wundayatta x

YARNLADY's avatar

@auntydeb The kind of “fun” I am talking about is when they enjoy giving wrong or nonsense answer or otherwise creating mischief on the site, and playing games instead of questions, not good, complex, answers.

auntydeb's avatar

@YARNLADY – oh goody! I quite agree. I think the complex bits are generally the most fun – anyone can be trivial and mischievous for nuisance, which is definitely not fun.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Because despite being able to get information from Google, on any subject, Google can’t give you real time opinions from other people. And it can’t give you an irrational sense of “belonging” with people who seem to truly want to listen to your opinions. This site is a perfect combination of informative and entertaining, and just plain fun.

On the other hand, there are usually a few people on any Q&A site who think having fun is a sin, and try to ruin it for other people…

Blueroses's avatar

It’s like having a hundred mini-conversations where you only have to listen to and/or respond to the things that interest you. I like conversing in real life too but my eyes glaze over and my brain disengages if someone can’t get to the point or wants to share too much personal detail.

In Fluther, I can skip straight to the meat and ignore things I don’t care about.

jrpowell's avatar

To think of stuff I never thought of. I like learning about how to properly season a cast iron pan. I don’t have one, but now I know how to do it.

I don’t care what you drink when you wake up.

chewhorse's avatar

The ability to voice your opinion.. Your ‘honest’ opinion, anonymously.. nmo holds barred thus no face to face criticism (at least that which you couldn’t challenge being anonymous). I mean, I’m chewhorse but that’s not my name.

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