Ask Metafilter #2?
March 18, 2010 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Where on the internet do you go with your questions, when you can't ask the hive mind?

I can't be the only person that's posted a question here, and then two hours later I have a totally different question that I want to ask. Often times more pressing then the one I had 'wasted' my weekly inquiry on. But if I wait a week, I'll completely forget what I wanted to ask in favor of a different question.

Are there any places like AskMetafilter that are your second go-to for answers to your pressing questions? Where do you go when your question is trivial but a google search doesn't help you?

I've tried yahoo-answers in the past, but that's largely a crap shoot now. I'm looking for places that have reliable, brilliant people - like the people here.

Help me find a second home, for the question I will have in two hours!

(I've already checked out this askme, but it's been awhile. Was hoping for some updated information.)
posted by royalsong to Computers & Internet (23 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
I often use MetaChat for questions that wouldn't fit in here so well. Many of the other generalist fora are pretty crappy. But there are some great specialist sites out there:

If it's programming or computer related, then the Stack Overflow constellation of sites (make sure you pick the right one).

Travel: FlyerTalk

Mobile phones: HowardForums
posted by grouse at 10:17 AM on March 18, 2010

ask.reddit is better than yahoo, but can also be horrible.
posted by anti social order at 10:20 AM on March 18, 2010

While there may be a lot of answers directing you to other potential websites, this is also a demand side management issue. I would suggest that when a question occurs do not post it to AskMe immediately, instead take the two hours (or part of it) to think on the answer or to try and find it for yourself. This will reduce the questions you need to put to the green and thus the frequency with which you block yourself from receiving answers to more needed questions. Since this will mean you more frequently pose the questions you really struggle to answer then this acts to improve the quality of your AskMe experience, potentially that of others and may help you develop your own reasoning skills.

That may read a little snarky, its absolutely not intended to be.
posted by biffa at 10:27 AM on March 18, 2010

posted by Jaltcoh at 10:30 AM on March 18, 2010

Niche answer: When I have Apple-related issues, I'll browse or post to the Apple Support Forum. Surprisingly though, I usually find better answers here or at the MacRumors forums (I don't actually post at the latter, but often find existing threads about whatever my issue is).

Occasionally, if I have a pressing issue but I'm over my weekly AskMe quota, I'll contact a real-life friend who might be an expert in the field. If I'm having car trouble, for example, I know few mechanics I can call. But I don't like to do this often because I feel like I'm bothering them and I like to keep business matters out of my meatspace friendships.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:35 AM on March 18, 2010

Try to find more specialized forums that deal with your question. If it's computer-related, there are tons of forums out there. If you have a local neighborhood question (like if you live in NYC) there are local sources for that as well. Relationship questions, same deal. For pro-audio, I like There are loads of medical forums, cooking sites, music discussion forums. AskMetafilter is my favorite large-scale general question site, but pretty much anything one would ask here could easily be asked on a more specialized forum.
posted by wondermouse at 10:36 AM on March 18, 2010

For questions in most branches of science and engineering Physics Forums is great.
posted by XMLicious at 10:37 AM on March 18, 2010

The library!
Radical Reference
posted by wingless_angel at 10:45 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by sa3z at 10:45 AM on March 18, 2010

Nthing StackOverflow for programming questions. I've also found their sister site SuperUser very useful for more general computing questions.

If you find the AskMefi, then why don't you keep a collection of text files on your computer with questions you want to ask? As often as a question occurs to you, if it isn't urgent, open up notepad (assuming you're a Windows user), type up your question exactly as you would on AskMefi, and then save it to a "Metafilter Questions" folder on your desktop. Whenever your weekly turn at the plate is up, review the contents of the folder, figure out what question matters most to you, then copy-and-paste it onto AskMefi. Then delete the text file.

While you're waiting for the week to expire, you may find that you were able to get an answer to your question through research or from another source, or that the answer isn't important to you anymore. Only the questions that continued to weigh on you would survive long enough to get asked.
posted by Vorteks at 10:55 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've had very good luck asking questions to my Facebook friends, especially about things more local to me (I needed a really good pediatric dentist) or techy (how to recover a lost Wifi password). However, I have a pretty big and diverse friends pool, so that probably helps.
posted by anastasiav at 11:03 AM on March 18, 2010

90% of the time my questions are related to software development, and my first step is to simply type an abbreviated version of the question straight into google. That's almost always sufficient. The useful answers seem to be most often located on individual coders' blogs, though lately I'm noticing a lot of good stuff on stackoverflow.
posted by ook at 11:04 AM on March 18, 2010

For questions that don't seem quite right for AskMe, but that I want a human answer to, I often ask my mom first. My mom and my closest friends. Surprisingly, that helps with the majority of my questions. It helps that they know my personal history and personality better than the average MeFite.

For others, especially open-ended or chatty questions, I'll post to one of a couple general-discussion-type forums that I regularly browse. I won't link to the specific ones I read (because they have a specific focus and audience, and probably wouldn't be of use or interest to most MeFites), but I think this is the way to go: if you can find a forum/website you like with an active, friendly, and intelligent readership and a "general discussion" section, you can often ask various questions there and get helpful answers.

I sometimes ask quick, uncomplicated questions on Facebook or Twitter, e.g. "should I get these shoes in red or black?" I usually only get a handful of responses that way.

When I do have a question that would be best asked here, I often take quite some time to figure out the best way to write it. I'll write an outline, save a draft, and come back to it hours or days or weeks later. During that time, I frequently either figure out the answer when I'm researching things related to my question (which has happened twice in the past 24 hours), or by coincidence someone else asks nearly the same thing in a matter of days.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:21 AM on March 18, 2010

Groups are good for answers to specialized question. I'm a member of several on Yahoo ( and Google (ditto). They universally require some sort of free signup that may take a day or two to become final, and some of them try to go without sysops and get flooded with spam and porn.

Microsoft techs answer questions on Twitter at .

There are also independent boards which you find with well-constructed Google queries.
posted by KRS at 11:21 AM on March 18, 2010

I search Google for "xxx forum" where xxx is as descriptive of the subject as I can get. If my Hyundai Elantra won't start, I put "hyundai elantra forum" in the seach engine and find three or four forums. I join the forum or forums, search for an answer, and if I don't find the exact answer I'll looking for, I post the question. Usually withing hours or minutes there is a clear answer to my question.
posted by Doohickie at 11:29 AM on March 18, 2010

The General Questions forum on the Straight Dope Message Boards is another great source of general-purpose hive-mind knowledge. The Café Society and Game Room forums can be helpful as well, though they're more specialized and also more chatty.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:30 AM on March 18, 2010

Wikipedia Reference Desk
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:31 AM on March 18, 2010

I'd try whichever appropriate subreddit(s) at reddit. As someone already mentioned earlier, AskReddit would be a good place to start.
posted by buzzbash at 12:07 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

For the question remembering aspect: if you have Firefox, use Plutor's MeFi Notepad. It gives you a field on the "New Question" and "New Post" pages of AskMe and MeFi to record questions or posts you want to use in the future.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:46 PM on March 18, 2010

I ask my music questions on I Love Music ( and encorage others to do likewise. We have our biases at MeFi (a general over-valuation of schmindie and electro-dribble) and they tend to get too hyped about ringtone rap and Fleetwood Mac, but if I've got a question discogs or amg can't answer (especially mixtape selections), the community there is so much broader and deeper on music.
posted by klangklangston at 2:07 PM on March 18, 2010

The Wall Street Journal
posted by banshee at 2:08 PM on March 18, 2010

Aardvark was recently bought by Google and I've gotten good answers there. You can use it through IM.

I also like to seek out topical forums. For example, if I have a question about computers, I go to the Neowin forums, or for a question about cell phones, I go to Howard forums.

Topical forums exist for almost anything. Relatious could handle what Mefites call "relationship filter." I found that via MakeUseOf, who also has an article on 3 places to vent and let off steam.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:32 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Quora is pretty good, these days.
posted by oxit at 3:05 AM on February 20, 2011

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