Explainers, I want them.
August 12, 2013 3:54 PM   Subscribe

As one might tell from my time spent reading AskMe, I'm endlessly fascinated by good answers to fascinating questions. Likewise I read Slate's Explainer, The Economist Explains, and XKCD's What If?. What are other similar sites that provide quality, in-depth answers to questions I never knew I wanted to ask?

Ideally in a picky, moderated format, not sites that take all comers like AskMe or Quora, or Yahoo Answers *Shiver*.
posted by Ookseer to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 98 users marked this as a favorite
AskScience, AskHistorians, and AskSocialScience are all well-moderated and informative.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:02 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The usual googleable term here is "Ask the Expert" I used to curate that category for the Open Directory project back when it was a thing and you can still find some classic examples there. RefDesk also has a good pageful of them. A few I liked

- Ask the deep space expert which was a short-lived thing that went with a PBS show
- Ask an Earth Scientist
- Scientific American's Ask the Experts
posted by jessamyn at 4:17 PM on August 12, 2013

The Straight Dope
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:21 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Reddit has a fantastic section called "Explain Like I'm Five" which is pretty much what you're looking for, I've seen a lot of interesting topics get covered there, you'd need to familiarize yourself with how the Reddit system works though.
posted by xdvesper at 4:23 PM on August 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Gizmodo answers questions with Giz Explains.
posted by superfem at 5:00 PM on August 12, 2013

Reddit also has /r/AskScience, which further breaks down into specific fields. /r/explainlikeimfive can get sort of non-specific, and despite the aim of having actual rules for stuff there are still things like "how do air conditioners work" that are probably a bit less advanced than what you're looking for. But it's been a lot better lately.

Whatever you do, don't go to /r/askreddit. That's the chat filter of reddit question wise. /r/answers is good though.

Finally, a couple things that are really hit or miss depending on the day, phases of the moon, and what I had for breakfast 19 years ago last Tuesday. /r/TodayILearned and /r/YouShouldKnow are both known for having a lot of repeat posts. But there is some good stuff there, as long as you're fine with "learning" 2 or 3 times a month that Rick Moranis stopped acting to take care of his kids after his wife died.
posted by theichibun at 5:02 PM on August 12, 2013

/r/AskScience for sure and many of the other subreddits mentioned here

To get to the good stuff right away sort the subreddits by "top" and then choose "links from: All Time." That will keep you busy for a while.
posted by laptolain at 6:34 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Stuff You Should Know Podcast - I've been listening to at least an episode a day recently and it's pretty great.
posted by neilb449 at 7:31 PM on August 12, 2013

If podcasts are on the table, I'll add:
NPR's Planet Money Podcast, the Economy as she is spoke.
WNYC's Radiolab Podcast (Surprising and astonishing things learned by modern science.

In both cases you, the listener, are assumed to be an intelligent person who is ignorant of the minutiae peculiar to the fields they cover.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:22 PM on August 12, 2013

For all things work, career, and office-related, I love Ask a Manager - plus she answers a LOT of questions, so there's new content every day.
posted by fantine at 5:10 AM on August 13, 2013

Ask The Pilot

Ask A Korean (There are other similar sites pertaining to different ethnicities/cultures, but imo this one provides the most thorough answers.)
posted by desjardins at 9:59 AM on August 13, 2013

The answer me this! podcast is what you crave.
posted by brappi at 7:30 PM on August 15, 2013

Oldie but solid: The Straight Dope
posted by Miko at 8:02 PM on September 10, 2013

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