How to improve social Q&A sites for seeking and sharing information?

I found an interesting article written by Gary Hiseh, focusing on designing social Q&A.

In the article, the author points out that most online Q&A sites are NOT designed to accommodate differences in users' needs and constraints, therefore many questions are not answered properly, or do not even get an answer.

The author suggests three different ways to overcome these issues:

1) Context-sharing: social tagging to express an asker's needs
2) Intelligent mediation: collaborative filtering
3) Market pricing: a pay-per-answer service, point award, etc.

It seems that of these three different suggestions, context-sharing could be the most appropriate approach for improve the question-asnwering interaction to satisfy an asker's information need because it will help gain a better understanding of what an asker is really looking for (i.e., information need) and how he/she wants to receive (e.g., fast response, diverse information, etc.).

What happens online in 60 seconds?

There is an interesting infographics about what happens online in 60 seconds, developed by

Here it is! You can see various online sources for your online information seeking & searching activities.

Qmee Online in 60 Seconds Infographic
Online in 60 Seconds [Infographic] is an infographic that was produced by Qmee

Search log analysis: What it is, what's been done, how to do it

I found an interesting article about log analysis. Unlike other articles, Jansen (2006) concerns how to conduct and transaction log data analysis in order to support Web searching related studies. Additionally, he presents a list of benefits and shortcomings of transaction log analysis as well.

Here is the link for the article:

Enjoy it!!

Facebook and hashtags

Facebook now made hashtags clickable, thus Facebook users are able to click on the hashtag in order to view what other Facebook users/pages are talking about the same topic.

Here is the interesting article about the Facebook hashtags problems.

Problem 1: Filtering
Problem 2: Spam
Problem 3: Mobile
(Facebook recently announced that they would provide the hashtags function in very soon, though)
Problem 4: No Reader

I may want to add another problem of the Facebook hashtags here

Problem 5: Privacy

We are now able to search other Facebook users' contents and/or updates in case they use the hashtags; We don't really need to be a Facebook friend to search the contents. It is not really cool.

Google new project - Project Loon

It seemss we can connect to the Internet for free many areas here, however about two thirds of the people in the world do not have an access to the Internet. Also, such a free-wifi concept is still uncommon in other countries. The goal of this new project, floating balloons for free wifi is to bring the broadband capability to the developing countries.

We all know that Google is all about business; getting people' information, making their stock price higher, etc. And this idea does not solve other issues such as the availability of hardware (e.g., laptop, smartphone, etc.).

But, still, it looks damn interesting.

Aaron Swartz's A Programmable Web: An Unfinished Work

If anyone is interested in Aaron Swartz's last writing, here is the link for it:

This short work is the first draft of a book manuscript by Aaron Swartz written for the series "Synthesis Lectures on the Semantic Web" at the invitation of its editor, James Hendler.

What's the Best Q&A Site?

I today came a cross to MIT technology review that investigated which Q&A site is best; the author, Wade Roush asked the same two original questions at each site: “Why did the Mormons settle in Utah?” and “What is the best way to make a grilled cheese sandwich?” The first one is a fact-finding question and the second one is opinion-seeking question. (

The author awarded each site up to three points for the richness and originality of its features, and up to three points for the quality of the answers to my three questions, for a total of 12 possible points. And here is the result:

1. AnswerBag
2. Askville
3. Live QnA
4. Wondir
5. Yahoo Answers
6. Yedda

The time when he reviewed those sites for his two questions is outdated (other QA sites such as Quora have been emerged, and such expert-based Q&A sites (e.g., Google Answers) did not included, though), but it is interesting to see how each site works for his questions.

Social media & Seeking information to learn things based on personal interests

How to make home-made whitening stuff for your teeth?
How to remove stains on your carpet?
How to make your own spaghetti sauce?

Pinterest is a sort of newer version of image bookmarking system in which people are allowed to create and manage images based on his/her personal interests. The early stage use of Pinterest among people was limited to browse other users' images on the pinboard, re-pin some images that you are interested in, and organize your pinboard by personal interests. But, I've recently observed many use Pinterest ( to learn things, i.e., cooking exotic foods, cleaning stuff, decorating houses... you name it.

It is an interesting phenomenon that people adapt the Pinterest's structure for their social interactions in order to seek and share information to learn and explore that triggers one's interests. There are many sites like e.g., Yahoo! Answers, eHow, etc., where interest users whom want to receive "how to" information based on their needs. But, people always need to specify what they want to learn, know, or get information every single time. In addition, information provided by those sites are limited by their query. However, in Pinterest, it allows the users to view and learn various information based on his/her interests. For instance, if a user follows someone who constantly provides interesting recipes for Italian foods (it's assumable that this user is interested in cooking), he/she can receive a variety of information to learn how to cook Italian foods based on the recipes that are posted on that someone's wall. Note that the user can definitely follow other users who also provide other recipes.. This signifies that the user is easily exposed to enormous information of how-to depending on his/her personal interests. Not only following someone because of similar interests, Pinterest also allows the users to view other posts that are not necessarily attractive to one's interest by giving the options of choosing different categories like health & beauty, humor, celebrity, etc., to browse which will eventually allow the users to explore and learn.

I think Pinterest not only provides the services and community for users to learn in depth of one's interest but also allow users to explore different things that weren't necessarily related to them but allow them to observe and learn so that one's interests level expands.

4 Degrees of Separation?

I thought you might want to see this this, if you haven't already. It was posted today.

Facebook (FB) Comments Appear In Google Search Indices

So, I came across these short articles here and here

They basically say that Google is getting smarter at understanding the content behind Java Script and AJAX. As a highlighted result, the text from FB comments now appear in Google‘s search indices. I believe it raises even more privacy concerns for FB users for the most part.

What is your take on this? What are the pros and cons of this for FB in large scale (e.g. Is FB actually going to take advantage of this?) and for the individual users (e.g. Are they going to be dissatisfied with their private comments being visible/searchable? Are they going to reduce their daily dose of FB?, ...) Do you think there is a possibility that Google has done so in order to challenge FB?

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