The fun IS keeping score.

Sure, having fun is what counts – but keeping score is also fun! The leader boards are updated monthly on Answers.com, so don’t miss out on knowing where you stand among the top contributors.

Check out:

Read more about the leader boards and how your contributions make your score.

What are you waiting for? Go be #1!

Help Clean Up Miscellaneous!

The other day one of our awesome WikiAnswers Supervisors (Ganderton) posted a request for help on the forum. He – along with most of us – would very much like to see our Miscellaneous category lose some weight.

misc

Miscellaneous is often used as a last (and first) resort for question placement. Unfortunately, most questions that go into this area could be better categorized somewhere else. Each day Miscellaneous packs on the pounds; in fact, for every 100 questions removed and recategorized, 30 more are added. Because we now feature over 2,300 categories, there are very few questions that would truly qualify as Miscellaneous.

Ganderton mentioned that his first action in the morning is to bring up new questions in Miscellaneous – with the entire page full of miscategorized questions. He does this several more times throughout the day; however, he has never found where he left off on the previous session. In his words, “It’s like bailing out the Titanic with a tea cup.” So we are asking for your help. If every Supervisor could dedicate just 15 minutes a day to moving questions out of Miscellaneous, it would certainly shape up fast.

Here are a few pointers: As a question reaches high popularity in the Unanswerable Questions to Edit category it will have various alternate wordings that can be swapped for the current version. This is an easy way to figure out what the person was most likely asking. Often the question will get answered by someone who understands gibberish and you can reword the question to reflect what the answer tells you.

(Another gigantic THANK YOU to Ganderton for helping write this post and for his dedication to WikiAnswers and the cause of the greater good. Onward and upwards!)

Oh Where, Oh Where Does That Question Go…

…oh where, oh where does it go? If you’ve been singing the blues over WikiAnswers categorization, you’re not alone. We all have those moments when we ponder over where to place a question. Should it go in Grilling, Recipes… both? Would it be better to place it in Miscellaneous, and just let someone else tackle it? What if there is no perfect category?

Don’t fret. Here are some pointers on getting that question into the right category (or categories) the first time around:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the current category tree. Do not assume that a category does not exist as the tree is constantly growing. At first, this might be a little overwhelming, but as time passes you will become more familiar with the tree and recognize immediately what might be a good fit for a misplaced question.
  2. Explore possible question placements from different angles. For example, if you have a question about the human body that doesn’t seem to fit into Health, take a look at Science. It might be perfectly suited for Human Anatomy.
  3. Leave a message for the category Supervisor or post a message on the Super Forum. Note: Always link the question of concern to better assist in this process.
  4. Often using AnswerTips™ can point you in the right direction. Just double-click on any keyword in the question and see what comes up.
  5. If the question truly has no home and there are many others with similar qualities, request that a new category be added to the tree.
  6. In most cases, Miscellaneous should be used as a last resort. For those questions that are harmless yet will most likely never have a topic that they fit into – opt for Harmless Nonsense – Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?. Unanswerable Questions to Edit, is reserved for questions that cannot be answered in their current condition and when there is not enough information included for someone else to fix – Why did this happen in WW2?.

Once you’ve found a logical ‘home’ for a question:

  1. Place it in the most specific topic as possible. For example, a question about Zebras should be placed in Zebras, not Animal Life, Mammals, Land Mammals, etc.
  2. If a question fits logically into two separate unrelated topics feel free to add both. “What is the estimated Zebra population in Ethiopia?” should be placed in Zebras and Ethiopia.

(A big thanks to our wonderful Senior Super Ksmail (Ken) for collaborating with me on this important post… You da’ man, KS!)

More on Vandalism – When to Put the Brakes On

While catching vandals and blocking them in the act is thrilling, we as Supervisors need to be very careful. IPs are often shared by many folks and are not restricted to a single household. Shared IPs are common among schools, libraries and businesses, and are especially common with AOL users. All AOL users share a very small group of IPs. Blocking one vandal from AOL could mean blocking thousands of legitimate contributors.

Here’s a way to ensure that you are only keeping the bad guys out:

Before blocking an IP, use the free tool located at Who.is, CQCounter or Openrbl to determine who might be associated with the address. Be on the lookout for NameServers that end in .edu, .gov, .org and .us. And always check to make sure that an IP is not listed on the “white list” of shared addresses located at:

What IP addresses should WikiAnswers supervisors be cautious about blocking?

If you suspect that an IP is shared DO NOT block the address. If the vandal is a registered user, block their User Name and then unblock the associated IP address at http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Special:Ipblocklist. Cumbersome at the moment, we are indeed working on a system to stem the tide of vandalism – without the risk of blocking the good guys! Stay tuned as this great new system unfolds…

(A big thanks to Brave3 (Matthew) for collaborating with me on this article… You’re the best, B3!)