Answer Bag (www.answerbag.com) is another example of popular free Q and A service. It started in 2003 and then acquired by Demand Media, the same company that has also http://www.ehow.com, a website that, at the time of writing this post, has more than 1 million instructional articles and 170,000 instructional videos. Answerbag still have smaller community than that of yahoo answers. But has more features like being able to post videos and pictures along with the questions, and better control of the quality of questions and users, for example by flagging questions as “non sense”, “duplicate”, “wrong category”..etc. Also what puts Answerbag apart is its API that enables developers to read and write from its Q&A database.
For better quality questions and answers, there is http://www.wiki.answers.com which is based on the wiki concept, where anyone can edit and improve answers. I think a system with one answer by question, that keeps getting improved is the best way to maintain a quality Q AND A database. Also Wiki answers has the best control over duplicate questions. And as it leverages Wiki concept, you can ask questions without singing up for an account. The number of categories is definitely the biggest, but the drawback of this site is its big number of ads, specially Google ads all around, and unlike in Yahoo Answers the layout does not help a lot to tell ads from non ads.
In the next post I will talk about other maybe less popular Q and A services.