We Teens Have Developed One of the World’s Most Social Q&A Platform – AskForAnswer

Xavier (founder & main editor of TechXav) and I (co-editor of TechXav) have created a brand new Social Q&A Platform called AskForAnswer. After several months of development and three weeks of testing, we finally decided to launch Alpha 2.0 version today, and open it to everyone.

In March 2009, I wanted to create a new Q&A Platform that is more social than any other Q&A platforms out there. The two original ideas are “ask someone directly” and “allow someone ask you”. In this case, conversations which are starting from questions become possible. I worked very hard on this concept, racking my brains to generate innovative ideas to beat our major competitors –  Yahoo! Answers, Answerbag and Aardvark.

I co-operated with Xavier Lur and Li Zitong (both are my school classmates), in an effort to work as a team to develop this platform. Besides “Direct Questions”, other interesting ideas that came to our mind include “Referring and Pushing”, “Social Services Integration”, “Live Answers” and “RESTful APIs”. We expanded the whole concept to a new architecture which is called “R/R Architecture”, meaning Request and Response are the two main elements in Internet conversations. We developed the whole platform using Ruby on Rails all by ourselves from scratch, including the web design and layout (CSS), effects (Javascript), Facebook Connect and last but not least AskForAnswer iPhone/iPod Touch App (currently in development).

With AskForAnswer, you can ask questions from anywhere at anytime, and you can get answers from your friends (conversational) or experts (educational). Your questions are not limited to knowledge-based ones, you can also ask very personal and conversational questions such as “Has anyone watched the movie Paranormal Activity?” (to all friends) and “Would you like to have a lunch together at Pizza Hut this Sunday?” (to a particular friend).

Besides asking questions, answering and exploring new questions may be quite fun too. With our tagging feature, you can get suggestions of questions for you to expand your knowledge based on your interests. Not only does answering questions helps the users to solve problems, but it also increases your reputation if someone votes you up. What’s more, you can make friends with people whom they find you helpful. Conversations between you and questioners can help you to build networks. That’s why we are “social”.

Just a website may not be enough for you, so we also provide Social Services Integration, to allow you to share knowledge within your networks or on other social websites such as Facebook and Twitter. IM/Email support which will be launched in the future enables you to ask anywhere and anytime. Currently we have Facebook Connect support, so you are able to use our platform with your Facebook Account.

We guys are also working on an educational version of AskForAnswer. Soon, we will launch a test run of AskForAnswer Education Edition (AFAEE) in our school. The main objective of AFAEE is to provide an extension to the current e-Learning platform for schools and optimizes for educational purposes, in order to help teachers and students communicate and discuss in a better way via Internet. As such, it helps to ease the current issue of students having a “headache” whenever they stumbled across a tough question and need an “instant” explanation.

Since AskForAnswer is still under Alpha version, there are bound to have some errors or mistakes here and there. We will continue to improve the site and implement more exciting features in the near future. So what do you think about AskForAnswer? We would like to hear your valuable opinions….  feedback@askforanswer.com or publish your comments below.

What are you waiting for? Sign up for an account with AskForAnswer now! Thanks for your support!

*We will elaborate more about AskForAnswer (new features and ideas) in our upcoming posts. So stay tuned to TechXav!