Friday, July 23, 2010

An Exchange of Information

What is it? ... Your questions, answered!

The newest online cooking Q&A, (cool new domain name pending), has started its public beta! The site is community-powered, and the community is growing quickly. As a result, the site is getting better and better every day!

From the creators of StackOverflow comes a wiki-style resource for answers to food and cooking questions. The site is intended to meet the needs of professional and amateur chefs alike, providing clear answers to specific questions. For everything from how to chop onions without "crying"  to how to make clarified butter, this site has an answer.

Don’t see your question already answered? Just ask! A longtime user of the more established StackOverflow has noted he receives an answer to a new question in as little as 30 minutes on that site. I have experienced similarly quick response time on

How does it work?

Anyone can ask or answer questions! All questions and answers are rated by users. The questioner can “accept” an answer regardless of how many votes it received. The remaining answers are shown in order by the number of votes they received. You don’t have to sift through all the answers to find the good ones.

Users earn “reputation” points when their own questions and answers are voted up; basically, if other users like your contributions, you’ll gain a better reputation on the site.

The social engineering side of the site is simply brilliant. Positive behavior is encouraged. For example, users earn “badges” for things like categorizing questions, voting, editing, and commenting (think like “achievements” on Xbox). It’s much like a game; you want to earn badges and reputation points, leading you to contribute more to the site, making it better.

Why is this site needed? 

Doesn’t Google already meet the need for a Q&A? Not exactly. Google’s algorithm (how it determines what shows up when you search) has no way of knowing what information is most accurate for you. A genre-specific search engine (or Q&A site) will give you better answers than a broad search engine.

More importantly, Google can only show you the answers that are already out there. Cooks everywhere need a place to go with live, unanswered questions. is not yet another recipe exchange... it's a real-time solution source for your kitchen questions.

Who can benefit?

You! If you’re reading this blog, this Q&A site is for you! Maybe you have questions… and maybe you have answers for others’ questions.

Check it out today!

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