Has WikiAnswers ever failed people?

At the Supers’ conference last week, Hooweestik, a longtime Supervisor, stood up and read an answer he wrote to a very important question. I thought it would be great to re-share that answer here.

Has WikiAnswers ever failed people?

Absolutely. When the concept of a anyone post, anyone answer and anyone edit website, you are going to come across answers that are not 100% correct. This site is a use at your own risk when it comes to the authenticity of all the answers. It gives the user an option to accept the answer given to their question or do further research to confirm that that answer is correct. If you use this website and you ask a question and demand an answer immediately, most people will not answer it on purpose. You can’t fix human nature.

We have over 400 Supervisors on this site that try to control the amount of vandalism, the asking of harmful questions like ‘How do I make a bomb’ that we will under no circumstances answer – so we failed that person, but to the potential safety of others.

Some questions are cyberbullying, which are quickly deleted and the asker and or answerer is warned or blocked from this site.

Some questions ask opinions that are baited to inspire a response, such as, “Why are Democrats or Republicans so stupid?” This promotes a debate. Again, not allowed.

Other answers cannot be found on a web search because they involve personal experiences that not all or maybe just a few people have experienced.

Some questions ask medical advice that, no offense to the asker, should be sitting inside a doctors office asking, or the emergency room. Others ask for home remedies, which are given but may not work.

Some people ask questions about the sexual habits of minors or teen idols, which we are not allowed to answer, or to be answered.

Some ask for phone numbers and addresses of celebrities. These cross the privacy policy and not answered.

Some people ask how to manufacture meth, grow marijuana, how many perscription drugs will make them high. Again, unable to answer as they can harm or aide in illegal or criminal activity.

Some ask how to hack computers at school and others, again, not allowed.

Some ask for porn, child porn and nude pictures of (insert celebrity here), again not tolerated.

Some people want to use this place as a chat room because they cant get onto MySpace at school. Not tolerated at all.

First time warned. Second time blocked. We have had people ask questions how to pick locks, break into safes, how to defeat car alarms and many other questions similar. I’m proud to say we failed them with an answer.

People from all over the world use this website to search for information and many people from all over the world ask and answer to the best of their ability. Some use this information for homework, some for fixing a mechanical engineering problem and some asking about the Big Bang or the existence of God. One of the great things is we may not know everything about everything but collectively, with the exception of a few who post wrong answers on purpose, we try to give an honest answer. This passes language barriers, cultural differences and many other things that make us different better than any site I have ever been on or a part of.

WikiAnswers is not perfect. No website is. But we strive for perfection. We know we will never be perfect, but it’s a move in the right direction. Yes, people have been disapointed with their experiences here but mainly it’s because they trusted an answer and used it on a test at school and were reprimanded for it.

So, who failed who?

2 thoughts on “Has WikiAnswers ever failed people?”

  1. Hooweestik is right on with his answer. He did not fail when he answered the question.
    There are questions we will not or cannot answer, that is why there are 400 or so of us to monitor the questions. If you ask WikiAnswers a question within the boundaries we work on you will get an answer, folks like Hooweestik with ensure that happens.
    Way to go !! Hoo !!


  2. With the sheer amount of users answering questions on WikiAnswers, the site helps a lot more people that it fails.

    This site is quite possibly the best knowlege base on the web.

    There are failiures in everyday life everywhere in the world, but I think Wiki’s successes far outweigh
    the odd failiure


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