Archive for April, 2008

UofM says paid Q&A sites get best results

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Harper, Raban, Rafaeli & Konstan from the University of Minnesota have investigated online Q&A services to find predictors of answer quality. In their paper, they report that:

First, you get what you pay for in Q&A sites. Answer quality was typically higher in Google Answers (a fee-based site) than in the free sites we studied, and paying more money for an answer led to better outcomes. Second, we find that a Q&A site’s community of users contributes to its success.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, but the breakdown of judged answer quality is interesting:

  • Quality score 0.68 – Google Answers $30 questions
  • Quality score 0.59 – Google Answers $10 questions
  • Quality score 0.51 – Yahoo Answers
  • Quality score 0.41 – Google Answers $3 questions
  • Quality score 0.41 – Library reference services
  • Quality score 0.40 – Microsoft Live QnA
  • Quality score 0.33 – AllExperts

Bobbie7’s answer to Which actress has the first female line in a talking movie? was highlighted in the report.

One of the luxuries of academic research is being able to take your time. The paper was published earlier this month, but Google Answers closed in 2006.