In the past few years, the quirky genius of Metafilter, which lets you pose a question to the community and allows anyone to answer, has blossomed into a full-on industry. These days, there’s Hunch, Yahoo Answers, Aardvark, Quora, and Facebook Questions, just to name a few. But each one has a different community culture. So if you’re looking for answers, which do you use?
Here’s a graph that lays it all out:
Granted, this is a pretty goofy chart, with tongue firmly in cheek. But back up: Behind the jokes, there’s serious information in there about who uses each service and how the users see themselves — both of which are vitally important to what sort of question you’re asking and what kind of answer you’ll receive.
Quora, for example, has the nerdiest, most earnest community thus far — probably largely due to the fact that its relatively small. Metafilter, perhaps due to the long-running presence of know-it-alls, is more apt to give an answer that’s surprising and witty but delivered with a smirk and a correction. (You know this type of person, if you’ve ever been to a comic store. He — and it’s definitely a he — works behind the counter and attends Renaissance fairs full bore.) And Yahoo Answers? You may as well be looking for answers in a petting zoo (though this can be fun.) Aardvark, meanwhile, is perhaps the oddest offering in the lot, using your life stream on Facebook and the Internet to scrape information about you, which it then uses to try and improve its answers.