We're launching the beta of O'Reilly Answers, and I'm inviting you to be part of it. In brief, O'Reilly Answers is a community site for sharing knowledge, asking questions, and providing answers that brings together our customers, authors, editors, conference speakers, and Foo (Friends of O'Reilly).
Why Answers, and why now?
O'Reilly is at the center of an amazing exchange of knowledge sharing and idea generation. We've created the usual means of facilitating communication between customers, O'Reilly folks, and the outside experts we call "alpha geeks" who contribute to O'Reilly books, conferences, and websites. We can connect through reader reviews, errata submissions, book forums, blog comments, Get Satisfaction, our customer service department, and more. But too much of this conversation is siloed, and not enough is public (e.g., discussions on our internal mailing list for editors, or personal responses to customer questions). O'Reilly Answers will be the place where much of that communication happens from this point forward.
The lofty reason: Like O'Reilly, you want to "change the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators." That's our mission, and we've been fortunate enough to build a community of passionate, committed people who love to learn and share their knowledge as they work towards a better world for us all.
The "nice, but what's in it for me" reasons: reputation, recognition, and rewards.
- Get Recognized: "Find interesting people" is a core activity at O'Reilly, and an important component of our success. We see Answers as an important way to discover and connect with our next authors, online instructors, videographers, and speakers.
- Build Your Reputation: You've learned a lot, why not get credit for all that knowledge? As your submissions to Answers are voted up, your personal reputation on the site increases. At launch, your reputation will be based solely on your participation in O'Reilly Answers. Soon, we're expanding across oreilly.com, so the book errata and book reviews you've submitted, books you've registered, and conferences you've attended, will add reputation points. You'll also earn badges to mark accomplishments and milestones.
- Earn Rewards: Glory is great, but discounts and deals are nice, too. We want to reward your contributions to the O'Reilly community. Shortly we'll have a point-based system in place that you can redeem for books, training, courses, and conferences. Details soon, but in the meantime, any actions you take now will count towards your total points.
This is just v.1
The best part of any project on the web is watching it take on a life of its own. With that in mind, we're looking forward to *your* suggestions about where O'Reilly Answers should go, what features should be added, and what benefits and rewards we can offer all of you.
I'd like to acknowledge the projects that have proceeded Answers and inspired us, such as SitePoint Forums (we distribute their books), StackOverflow, Yahoo! Answers, Knol, and many others. They're great resources, and we think the O'Reilly community can create a useful site that's, well, a different kind of animal.
One last thing: O'Reilly Answers is in beta and you may encounter bugs. We're still working on many improvements to the site, such as feeds for each tag, but would love to hear your suggestions for features and improvements. Please send any suggestions/questions/bug reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.