Which Websites Help You Answer General Knowledge Questions? [You Tell Us]

We Ask You Tell Us6   Which Websites Help You Answer General Knowledge Questions? [You Tell Us]General knowledge is an important part of everyone’s education, and it isn’t something that you stop learning when you leave school. It’s a lifelong lesson into the people, places, and things that have got us here today. The Internet has provided a new repository of sources to gain general knowledge from. But where do you look first?

In light of the Encyclopedia Britannica becoming a purely online affair, we here at MakeUseOf wanted to know which websites you use when you have a general knowledge query that needs answering. After all, the Web is a colossal beast that needs a certain amount of taming to get the best out of it.

Which Websites Help You Answer General Knowledge Questions?

Knowledge1   Which Websites Help You Answer General Knowledge Questions? [You Tell Us]

We asked you, which websites help you answer general knowledge questions? The number of people who responded was a little disappointing, but those who did take the time to reply gave us names and numbers. Or just names, because this isn’t a war film.

Most actually confirmed what we already suspected: that a combination of Google and Wikipedia proves enough in the majority of cases. By typing the question, or just keywords related to it, into Google you will get the easy and obvious answers. And by and large they will be accurate. Clicking through to the actual website rather than relying on the snippet Google provides is always a good idea for context, however.

Wikipedia will invariably be at or near the top of Google Search results for most general knowledge topics. Wikipedia has come in for a lot of criticism in recent years, about the accuracy of its information, page vandalism, and in-fighting amongst the moderators, but it’s still a fantastic resource despite these issues.

MakeUseOf also got a few mentions, although I’m not sure how much our content can be described as ‘general knowledge’. We thank you regardless.

Comment Of The Week

Comment of the week goes to David Scarmardo, who gets nothing but my admiration and respect (which is surely more than anyone needs) for:

well, first try is always MUO (there is my kiss-butt contribution), but if I’m looking for tips or hints on my DIY projects I usually go to http://www.instructables.com for everything from closet organization to an arduino controlled home-made Segway.

Instructables isn’t strictly for general knowledge but as it’s a site I haven’t heard of before, David gets a nice namecheck. The MIT-originated Instructables lets people share projects with step-by-step guides that will allow others to follow suit. The Technology section will be of particular interest to MakeUseOf readers.

We’ll be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. ‘We Ask [You] Tell Us’ is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Keith Williams

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15 Comments -

Greg

It’s really hard to pick, but my top 3 are:
1) Make use of
2) Ehow
3) Extreme tec

Dave Parrack

Ah, a geek after my own heart! Thanks for commenting, Greg :)

Gatlin Fernandes

Yahoo! Answers works fine for me as far as getting answers to general knowledge questions are concerned. In at least 60-70% of the cases, I have got a usable, worthwhile answer.

Dave Parrack

Yahoo! Answers is a good example of crowd-sourcing. Where do you turn if you don’t get a good answer from that site?

MilesC

YouTube, because I learn visually and hands-on
If I type in the right search question, I can find someone with a an excellent video
Tip: often videos are crappy, so it may take checking out more than the first one that comes up
I give a video 30-seconds to prove itself or else I move on

Dave Parrack

That’s a very good call. Sometimes video can make things stick in your head a lot better than mere words. Any particular channels?

Miles C

I subscribe to the Mr. Excel series, because Excel is sort of my “crossword puzzle” time eater — Watching him work out Excel is for me a work of art
Otherwise, I use YouTube when I want to see how to use something new, or something I have already to use more efficiently
Another hobby of mine is watching, for example, an informercial and seeing if I can make it myself
I also love to re-purpose something, say, a coffee can or a piece of wood too good to throw away
On YouTube, I narrow down the question–again, I have to ask the right question–then seeing the answer, I refine it farther by visiting a box store like HomeDepot to purchase a tool or item
HomeDepot by the way will cut the wood into the shape I want
YouTube is terrific about finding out how to use a computer FREE application
Yea, I love YouTube, the Tutor

Dave Parrack

I must admit I hadn’t ever heard of Mr. Excel. That’s your go-to when you have a spare 5 minutes? I wish mine was that productive!

You certainly use YouTube in an innovative way. And it has to be better than videos of cats on treadmills, right? ;)

Miles C

My YouTube “cats” are from Randall’s Honey Badger series, now they are cute

Regarding Excel, this is no big deal, because it is my “crossword” puzzles with numbers and logic

YouTube is plain awesome as a teacher, and it is kinda sad YouTube is thought of as the go-to place for Cats-on-a-Treadmill and the place to post caught-you-doing wrong stuff

Test YouTube, the Teacher, for something around you that you want to just learn for the heck of it

YouTube and Google’s RSS Reader can make learning easy and enjoyable

Dave Parrack

You’re a mine of information. I’ve just watched one of Randall’s Honey Badger videos. Absolutely awesome :)

I think you’ve got a really good point there. YouTube is a good educator, if you know the right places to look. Thanks for your input.

Jason

http://whirlpool.net.au/ this is great for those aussies looking for local tech support. Plenty out there for America but its always hard to find local knowledge.

Dave Parrack

Thanks Jason. That’s the first mention that site has had on either article. I have actually heard of it as I’ve written about Australian tech news in the past. :)

alexister

My pick is WolfRam, it defines very specific strings of knowledge that’s combined into an compact engine that user needs to be familiar with. However, it’s a good source for people to use this kind of data to their advantage.

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