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Features: In the works since 2002, Wondir is perhaps the oldest and most high-minded of the social Q&A services. The original idea of the site’s founders, all search-industry veterans, was to index and organize content from the online reference services provided by libraries around the world. But the site evolved into a classic question-and-answer service, with more than a million questions and answers from beta users by the time of its official launch in April 2005. Wondir may have been the first to offer a Q&A widget, a ticker that can be embedded in other sites. ( has one that has proved popular among the NPR radio show’s fans.) But the site’s interface is clumsy and unattractive. The site was recently acquired by Revolution Health Group, an online health-care publisher, and most of the new questions and answers on the site seem to focus on medical issues, especially pregnancy. Points: 1

Is there any truth to the five-second rule? I couldn’t tell whether Wondir contained an answer to this question. Frustratingly, the site provides no way to search for answers to previously posed questions: you have to sift through page after page of questions, which are shown in reverse chronological order. Points: 0

Why did the Mormons settle in Utah? Despite the site’s turn to medical issues, Wondir does seem to have an active community of people answering questions in most areas. I got six answers to this question, three of which were useful, including this one: “They picked Utah because it was a place no one else would want!! Desolate, barren, hoping to be left alone to live their lives the way they wanted to live.” Points: 2

What is the best way to make a grilled cheese sandwich? Because of Wondir’s health orientation, I reworded this question as “What is the healthiest way to make a grilled cheese sandwich?” I got three answers, all of which were brief and fairly obvious: “Use wheat bread and low fat cheese and margarine instead of butter,” “Leaving the cheese off is healthy,” and “Margarine makes the bread soggy. Just put the bread directly on the griddle.” Points: 1

Total points: 4

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Tagged: Communications

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