#Askolo: An interesting new one-to-one Q&A site

layout: post published: true Date: 2012-03-25 Tags:

posterous_url: http://blog.ajdecon.org/askolo-an-interesting-new-one-to-one-qa-site posterous_slug: askolo-an-interesting-new-one-to-one-qa-site

I've been playing a bit this weekend with Askolo: a new variation on the question-answer site, where you can post anonymous questions to be answered by specific people rather than by the crowd at large. To quote their About page,

Askolo wants to organize Q&A around thought leaders and experts. We're creating a space where people can find not just one answer, but rather a site where you can share a diversity of opinions.

For the most part the site seems to be full of Hacker News members at the moment, which is unsurprising: the startup is YC-funded, and they put up a pretty prominent launch post on Friday.

I'm still deciding what I think of "Q&A around thought leaders", but what the hell: I signed up and answered what looks like a standard new-user question: "What can people ask you about?". My answer was simply,

High performance and scientific computing are most of what I'm up to right now. I also know a bit about fencing, roller derby (via my fiancee), materials science and physics.

To my surprise, I actually got a bunch of questions on my page over the next day or so, all HPC-related so far. To take a look, check out my user page. (All Q&As are on a single user-page right now.) The questions so far are

  • What do you think of the AWS HPC clusters?
  • Does "bare-metal" basically mean a server without hypervisor?
  • How do you handle security? A lot of HPC tasks outside academia involve sensitive data or algorithms.
  • What do you think about reconfigurable logic (FPGAs) in HPC cluster environments?
  • What do you think of the next-generation NVIDIA GPUs for HPC?
  • Does Infiniband have a future?

If you read my answers, the main thing you'll probably learn is that I'm a wordy bastard. :-)  But I hope that I've said something useful there. 

A lot of the people I notice on HN have also ended up there, and answered at least a few questions which I thought were interesting. I'll be more interested in the site if it manages to expand its user base, especially outside the Internet-startups crowd. But I've already learned a few things I didn't know, so I'll hang around there for at least a bit.

So to be self-interested: Go! Sign up! Ask and answer questions, and make the Internet a slightly more interesting place.