Wikipedia Founder Has the Answers

Incidentally Raises More Questions

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Have you heard of Wikianswers? No, not Wiki Answers, Wikianswers. Yes it’s a little confusing, but I’m not just babbling incoherently. Wikianswers is a recently (re)launched site from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.


Wiki Answers is a site that has been around for a while, and previously went by the name FAQFarm, until changing its name in 2007. It’s run by the Answers.com people and so far it ranks higher in google for "Wikianswers":

Wiki Answers

Both sites are Q&A sites that, as Erick Schonfeld puts it, attempt to "create one true, consensus answer for each question, wiki style."

So what answer do you get when you ask "How is Wikianswers different than other answer sites?" You get a long explanation clearly from the people behind Wikanswers (it’s less clear whether or not the answer comes from Wales himself):

Wikia’s Q+A service is in keeping with the wiki-way and that’s what makes it different

    * The content is freely licensed under GFDL unlike other answers sites allowing it to be re-used and re-purposed by others for free
    * Anyone can contribute (other answers sites require you to register)

We believe that a more open, freely licensed community will always do better than a corporate site that takes customers contributions and copyrights them in order to take rights away from the contributor…

The "answer" goes on to talk about how there is room for more than one of these answer sites, which is a good thing considering there are already quite a few. It also says that Wikianswers has indeed been around since 2004, and that "FAQFarm" never had permission to change their name to Wiki Answers.

Chris WhittenI contacted FAQFarm founder Chris Whitten to get his thoughts on the subject. He is no longer actively involved with WikiAnswers other than volunteering and advising. He sold the site to Answers Corp. back in 2006.

"It’s perplexing to me that Jimmy and Gil would choose to relaunch their site as ‘Wikianswers,’" he told me. "Although it’s true that someone had started a Q&A Wikia years ago, that doesn’t mean they have any stronger claim to the name than WikiAnswers. I registered the WikiAnswers.com domain even earlier than that, in June 2004."

"At the time I sold the site to Answers Corp. and they chose to officially change the name from FAQ Farm to WikiAnswers it had hundreds of thousands of answers and millions of unique users while the Wikia Q&A site was still tiny," he continued. "’WikiAnswers’ can’t be trademarked because it’s considered too generic a term, but WikiAnswers has been making good use of it for years. It was the fastest growing large US website in both 2007 and 2008. I can understand why Jimmy and Gil would want to imitate its success — I was imitating the success of Wikipedia when I converted my Q&A site to a wiki in 2004 –but why imitate the WikiAnswers name?"

An interesting question. Unfortunately neither site offers an answer to that one (yet).

Wikipedia Founder Has the Answers
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  • http://www.wikianswers.com WikiAnswers

    Bob Rosenschein, CEO of Answers Corporation (owners of reference site Answers.com and Q&A site WikiAnswers.com) had this to say regarding Wikia

    • Chris Crum

      Hi Bob. Thanks for leaving this here. I linked to the blogpost on the follow up article where i talked to Gil Penchina.

  • http://www.indiesurf.com Darren Tan

    Another Wikianswers? Why can’t just stay with one instead of replacing it with a new one. But honestly, do people really use wikianswer? I use yahoo answers all the time.. Never tried Wikianswers. :-)

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  • http://www.netcasinogame.net/ net

    I was opposed to the change, and only reluctantly agreed to it after Matt Cutts of Google recommended it. I am still not sure it is the right answer. After all, Wikipedia prides itself on public service, and our external links are generally quite carefully vetted

  • summayah

    how do you create a website it doesnt much more

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