The problems with Ask Jeeves are two-fold:
- They only have a few paid editors who try and compile the list of questions and answers
- They in general only provide a single link to a question that they already know the answer to. Big companies provide big money to make sure that their resource is listed first/exclusively and these big sites are not always the best sources of information. For instance the questions "Where can I buy an Ethernet cable" should take you to a site like Pricewatch and not (necessarily) to CompUSA in order to get the best deal.
The OSS community can solve this problem easily. We allow anyone who wants to to submit question-and-answer pairs, and then we allow end-users to vote (or should we call it moderate?) on which answers are best suited to each question. Thus, the system grows as a result of its users activity, and is not really subject to editorial control. Even less editorial control that Slashdot, believe it or not.
So, here's my question. I am currently too busy with other projects (although one of them has a lot of related code that could be resued) to really spearhead and maintain this project. I have, however, put together a prototype that people can look at, and I bought a domain name to host it: gneeves.org. Anyone out there interested in working on it? Anyone think it's even a good idea? Is someone already doing this? I think that pretty soon we could have an open-source product that would be useful to 90% of the clueless users out there.
Yes, this is another in my series of past posts to other forums in an attempt to generate some discussion. If people like this stuff, I may get involved in doing some other writing for K5...