August 5, 2008 11:57 AM   Subscribe

What do you get when Twitter meets the green?

If you have ever used Ask MetaFilter or Yahoo Answers, you already understand the basic premise of ToAnswer. Some users ask questions, the questions are indexed, and other users respond to questions that may know the answer to. It’s a simple, efficient way to query the minds of others. So what’s the point, if Ask Metafilter and Yahoo Answers provide the same service? ToAnswer is special in one way: it interfaces with Twitter. This provides advantages and disadvantages that gives ToAnswer a unique niche. It allows you to tap Twitter’s enormous user base. However, due to the nature of Twitter you are limited to 140-character questions and answers. This makes ToAnswer the perfect medium for making small polls or asking quick questions.
posted by charmston (12 comments total)

Huh. This seems like a neat idea.
posted by cortex at 12:57 PM on August 5, 2008

I'll try it in lieu of lazyweb!
posted by mattbucher at 2:00 PM on August 5, 2008

Is there anyway to make the replies @ tweets back to the original asker? Otherwise you have to remember to check the site.
posted by mattbucher at 5:58 PM on August 5, 2008

Unfortunately there isn't. The best I was able to do was create a user page which tracks your own questions and answers. It's not ideal, but with the constraints of the API, it was the best I've been able to do.

Thanks for your question! Tell your friends.
posted by charmston at 6:38 PM on August 5, 2008

For those interested:

I got TechCrunch'd!
posted by charmston at 10:38 PM on August 5, 2008

Moderation will make or break something like this. One of the things that makes AskMe great is the hard work of the mods (thanks jessamyn and cortex!).

Some kinds of questions that aren't allowed on AskMe are probably fine (such as unanswerable questions and poll questions), but some should probably be against the rules (such as self-links or non-questions). The same goes for answers, such as the mean or joke non-answers.

I would suggest at a minimum putting up a quick set of rules about what is/isn't allowed, and putting in some sort of "report this" button next to questions and answers.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:17 AM on August 6, 2008

I agree with everything burnmp3s says above. This is the difference between Ask Metafilter and Yahoo Answers.
posted by mattbucher at 8:26 AM on August 6, 2008

Thanks for the feedback; I've moved the implementation of something like this to the very top of my feature list.

How would you feel about it being completely community driven? E.g. if more than 5 people report it as objectionable content, it is temporarily hidden pending moderator review.
posted by charmston at 8:32 AM on August 6, 2008

How would you feel about it being completely community driven? E.g. if more than 5 people report it as objectionable content, it is temporarily hidden pending moderator review.

This is a question that actual mods could probably answer better, but I think the short answer is that relying on the community to self-moderate is a valid solution but probably not the best solution.

The way that most sites do community moderation is to have a +/- system, where highly negative comments are hidden from view. The simplest example is probably YouTube's comments, which have thumbs up and thumbs down buttons. The main problem as I see it is that bad popular comments get high ratings, and good unpopular comments get low ratings. On AskMe, joke answers tend to get a lot of favorites, but luckily the mods are there to delete them as noise.

In my opinion, the only way to create a useful internet discussion forum that doesn't constantly devolve into flamewars and noise is to have good mods who put in the effort to steer the discussion in the right direction. It's definitely not easy to do at all, but without decent moderation a small percentage of people tend to ruin it for everyone.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:45 AM on August 6, 2008

I would include a « Prev · 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 … 9 · Next » at the bottom of the page too. I almost left the page thinking I had gone threw them all.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 1:24 PM on August 6, 2008

Also... You might either not allow "questions" that are less than 3 words long, or send them straight to moderation. 3 words should be a minimum, "What is ..." "Who is ..."

This would eliminate the postings you have on there like "blow me?," "help," and "where Riga."
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 1:27 PM on August 6, 2008

Thanks for the help everyone, updates here:
posted by charmston at 8:01 AM on August 7, 2008

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