AAAI Publications, Fifth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media

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Asked and Answered: On Qualities and Quantities of Answers in Online Q&A Sites
John Logie, Joseph Weinberg, F. Maxwell Harper, Joseph A. Konstan

Last modified: 2011-07-06


This paper builds upon several recent research efforts that have explored the nature and qualities of questions asked on these social Q&A sites by offering a focused examination of answers posted to three of the most popular Q&A sites. Specifically, this paper examines sets of answers responding to specific types of questions and explores the degree to which question types are predictive of answer quantity and answer quality. Blending qualitative and quantitative methods, the paper builds upon rich coding of a representative sets of real questions — drawn from Answerbag, (Ask) MetaFilter, and Yahoo! Answers — in order to better understand whether the explicit and implicit theories and predictions drawn from coding of these questions were borne out in the corresponding answer sets found on these sites. Quantitative findings include data underscoring the general overall success of social Q&A sites in producing answers that can satisfy the needs of those who pose questions. Additionally, this paper presents a predictive model that can anticipate the archival value of answers based on the category and qualities of questions asked. Qualitative findings include an analysis of the variation in responses to questions that are primarily seeking objective, grounded information relative to those seeking subjective opinions.

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