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Earlier this month it was announced that the print edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is no more Encyclopedia Britannica Online Edition Is Free For A Week [Updates] Encyclopedia Britannica Online Edition Is Free For A Week [Updates] Read More , with the 2010 edition confirmed as the last to ever roll off the presses. In essence the Internet has killed off the need for any of us to have a 32-volume encyclopedia sitting on our bookshelves. The Web provides all the answers to questions we may have.

The Web as a whole has replaced a 244-year-old tome in the space of just 20 years, but which websites in particular fill the void left by the Encyclopedia Britannica and its ilk? That’s the subject of this week’s ‘We Ask [You] Tell Us’. We want to know your thoughts, and your responses to the question could help the whole of the MakeUseOf social media obsession with anonymity social media obsession with anonymity Read More readership expand their horizons. And I include myself in that.

This Week’s Question…

Which Websites Help You Answer General Knowledge Questions?

We all have questions from time to time, no matter how knowledgeable we may be. I’m pretty good at pub quizzes, and yet there are huge holes in my general knowledge. Thankfully most of us now have access to the Internet, and can turn to it at a moment’s notice via our computers, phones, or even TV sets.

When you have a hole in your knowledge that needs filling, do you immediately turn to Google, Bing, or another search engine and blindly follow the links they provide you with? Or do you have a particular website, such as Wikipedia or Quora, that is the first place you visit when you have a question that needs answering?

We Ask You… now You Tell Us. All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week. Please note that this is specifically related to general knowledge queries. For tech-related questions your first port of call should always be MakeUseOf Answers.


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

  1. Ralph Priessman
    March 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm
    • Dave Parrack
      April 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      This looks like a goldmine of information. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Alae Hatoum
    March 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    It depends ... Software Reviews I go to MUO , Movies Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes and for most other things I google it and depending on where that leads me I go

  3. Roy Wallis
    March 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Most of the time I use Wikipedia, but if it seems that my question might be too obscure, I use; I have the little tab on the right that makes a pleasant "whooshing" sounc when I expand it to type.

    • Dave Parrack
      March 28, 2012 at 9:55 am

      I don't recall having heard of before, despite the killer domain name. Is the whooshing noise important? ;)

  4. Tenz
    March 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I usually just google and open the first few links, but i do find good general knowledge on a lot of topics from (usually through a google search though and they are one of the links.)

    • Dave Parrack
      March 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm is an interesting choice. It's definitely a good source for general knowledge information :)

    March 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    When it comes to knowledge that you know the precise topic probably in short form - wikipedia is the first and my best choice. Why? Wikipedia gives you the detail information in a tabular form with crisp corresponding pictures and link sites. It also gives people information in tables if the need arises.

    google is useful for information that one does not know the whereabouts and whn words to be searched for are entered in google, the first five display will have wikipedia on the list. For me, I use the two frequently.

    • Dave Parrack
      March 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks for commenting. That approach makes a lot of sense, Sunday :)

  6. Howard Pearce
    March 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I rely a lot on WIKI.
    I find it fairly unbiased offering points and counterpoints on most issues which historically I haven't found with things like Britannica which seem to basically push the "status quo" view or most subjects.

    • Dave Parrack
      March 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      That's an interesting point of view, and I guess both Wikipedia's strong and weak point. It offers a general consensus on something but not necessarily a definitive or accepted answer.

      Thanks for commenting.

  7. Krishnapriya
    March 22, 2012 at 11:59 am

    No matter whatever question I have, my choice will be Yahoo! Answers.

    • Dave Parrack
      March 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Does that go for all types of question? Yahoo! Answers is a crowd-sourced affair. Do you ever find you get misinformation?

  8. David Scarmardo
    March 22, 2012 at 6:32 am

    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 for everything from closet organization to an arduino controlled home-made Segway.

    • Dave Parrack
      March 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Interesting site, thanks for sharing. And nice butt-kissing too. We always love that ;)

  9. Susendeep Dutta
    March 22, 2012 at 4:01 am

    For general knowledge purpose,I always refer to Wikipedia as it has nicely edited,well organized and full information for what I'm in search for.

    For tech related queries,I ask questions on MUO Answers.Sometimes,MUO's Technology Explained section helps me understand certain piece of technology in layman terms.

    And for the rest of my stuffs,I Google it.

    • Dave Parrack
      March 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Thanks for commenting. Wikipedia is a great resource as long as you check the sources. You can't go wrong with Google. And I'm glad MUO helps you out as well :D

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