2 Sites Providing Simple Explanations For Complex Questions

David Pierce 21-05-2009

question Boy, the world is confusing. There’s all kinds of people, names, things, acronyms, crazy physics-related terms and weird Web applications with weirder names that I can’t figure out for the life of me.


Thankfully, I’ve got the Internet. There are a couple of great sites out there that are devoted to doing nothing other than providing simple answers to all of your questions – whether it’s meaning of OPEC or how a United States Presidential election takes place.

These sites provide video, articles and more to help you learn easily. Here are two of my favorites:



CommonCraft is all about simple explanations. And frankly, CommonCraft does great work. The site features videos on tons of different subjects, from Twitter to borrowing money, all showing you how they work in simple, everyday terms.

The videos are all done in a low-tech yet interesting way, mostly by moving little drawings around to help you figure out what in the world is going on. They’re only a few minutes long but do a great job of breaking down potentially complex things into simple, bite-size pieces.


The videos range across a number of topics, within four broad categories – Green, Money, Society and Technology. For now, the Technology section has the most videos, but CommonCraft seems devoted to getting more videos up on a whole variety of topics.

In addition to just watching the videos, you can purchase them for your own use, or share and embed them elsewhere. Each video teaches a few important things, in a way that anyone can understand because frankly, everyone should know how the World Wide Web works.



Got a question burning in your brain? Want to know what a Smoking Gun is? Either way, the Wise Geek knows the answer. WiseGeek is a site boasting over 40,000 articles covering a ridiculous range of topics, all answering the questions you may have.


When you first get to the site, you can either search the articles for a particular keyword or phrase, or click through the rotating slides of the various categories. Once you’ve found a suitable topic, you’ll have access to all kinds of new information.

The articles are concise, easy to read and informative. Many of them, to be honest, read a little like a Wikipedia page but they’re all useful pieces of information. WiseGeek is a step away from being a question and answer service, giving simple and easy answers to all the things you’re looking up.

Articles can also be discussed, which turns it into a forum debating a given topic – a great spot to further your knowledge of a subject.

There’s a new site out there, Wolfram Alpha, that’s poised to become the best way to get a lot of questions answered quickly and easily – for more, check out Guy’s article Wolfram Alpha - A Step Closer to Star Trek's Computer Read More . But for answering questions that are just slightly more complex, CommonCraft and WiseGeek both do a great job of providing simple answers to questions that often just get complicated, convoluted answers.


Where do you get all your nagging questions answered? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Suzanne
    May 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I like sites like Wisegeek because they give quick, simple answers -- and that's usually all I need. I don't like having to weed through pages of text to get the bottom line. Wikipedia is good though if you want to know about some more obscure aspect of a topic.

  2. SSF
    May 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I prefer, just because of the sheer number of topics available.

  3. James
    May 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    You can also visit my site, for clear articles on Technology and Innovative living