Whether it opens the doors of knowledge or turns us into lazy researchers, the web can instantly gratify most inquiries. So when we wondered which questions weighed heaviest on the minds of Internet users this year, we naturally turned to the same Q&A sites that they did.
We asked Formspring, Ask.com, Quora and ChaCha to compile lists of their most popular questions of 2011. Since all of the sites take different approaches to Q&A, we let them choose their own criteria for what constitutes “popular.”
Whether it’s possible to become Batman (it doesn’t look good) to who started Occupy Wall Street (debatable), here’s what the web wanted to know this year.
What it is: Quora is a crowdsourced social Q&A forum that tends toward long-form answers.
Criteria: The most viewed questions.
- 10. What’s the best way to escape the police in a high-speed car chase? Former patrol officer Justin Freeman details what it would take to escape from the police – and why it’s a bad idea.
- 9. What is the worst piece of design ever done? People responded with more than 100 frustrations, pet peeves and things that could be improved about the world.
- 8. Is Amy Chua right when she explains “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” in an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal? Users shared powerful personal stories about parenting and growing up Asian-American, along with follow-up questions answered by Amy Chua herself.
- 7. Given our current technology and with the proper training, would it be possible for someone to become Batman? Screenwriter Mark Hughes delivers an extraordinarily entertaining answer about whether it’d possible to be Batman in the real world.
- 6. Why did Twitter suspend UberTwitter? Bill Gross, founder of UberMedia, shares what happened to his company.
- 5. Why did Steve Jobs choose not to effectively treat his cancer? Cancer researcher Ramzi Amri takes a sad look back at the progression of Steve Jobs’s disease.
- 4. How does a programmer become a brogrammer? A discussion of an emerging Silicon Valley subculture.
- 3. What are some interesting examples of photographs which show historical figures in unexpected places or company? Unexpected pairings of historical figures: Bill Clinton with John F. Kennedy, Nikola Tesla with Mark Twain, Salvador Dalí with Walt Disney.
- 2. What’s it like to be a drug dealer? A nerve-wracking first-person account of one person’s rise and fall in drug trafficking.
- 1. What’s the most epic photo ever taken? A powerful tour of the most important, most poignant and most beautiful photographs ever taken.
Criteria: The top “trending questions” posed by Ask.com’s 60 million users from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 14, 2011. Ask.com defines trending questions as those that are posed and viewed most frequently by users.
Health, Nutrition and Fitness:
- 1. Healthcare Plan: Is the healthcare plan unconstitutional?
- 2. Health Insurance: How can I get affordable health insurance?
- 3. Juice Cleanse: What’s the best juice cleanse?
TV and Movies:
- 1. Kim Kardashian: Was Kim Kardashian’s wedding fake?
- 2. Oprah Winfrey: When is the Oprah finale?
- 3. Regis Philbin: Who is replacing Regis Philbin?
- 1. iPhone: When will Apple release the iPhone 5?
- 2. Google: How can I join Google+?
- 3. Facebook: How can I keep my Facebook wall private?
- 1. Occupy Wall Street: Who started Occupy Wall Street?
- 2. Facebook: Is Facebook going public?
- 3. Unemployment: Is the unemployment rate getting lower?
What it is: Formspring is a social Q&A platform that lets users ask and answer questions.
Criteria: Most “smiles” to a response. Smiles are similar to Facebook Likes.
- 5. When was the last time you listened to that little voice in your head and what was it? Five minutes ago and it told me to eat 14 Oreos, which I did. – Sarah Lane, 1,182 Smiles.
- 4. Who do you look up to? <>People taller than me. – Fred Figglehorn, 1,327 Smiles.</>
- 3. When in 2012 is the part 2 of Breaking Dawn on screens? November 16, 2012 – Taylor Lautner, 1,453 Smiles.
- 2. What do you think of Brazil? I love Brazil! – Enrique Iglesias, 1,702 Smiles.
- 1. Who’s the smartest woman you have ever known? Justin Bieber – 30H!3, 3,358 Smiles.
What it is: ChaCha is an ad-supported service that employes 180,000 freelance “guides” to answer your questions immediately.
Criteria: Most answered questions (in no particular order).
- Is Justin Bieber a father?
- What are the lyrics to Super Bass by Nicki Minaj?
- When will The Hunger Games come to theatres?
- What is a Gleek?
- Who is Steve Jobs?
- When does Modern Warfare 3 come out?
- Is Osama Bin Laden dead?
- How did Amy Winehouse die?
Via Mashable: http://www.mashable.com