Question: Where's the best place to get expert advice and answers on the
Answer: It depends on your question. These days, thousands of
people claiming to be experts are doling out advice. It's
important to scrutinize each source.
"If you're looking for some advice on medical issues, stocks or law, then
you want someone who is in that field and knows their stuff," said Steven
Gordon, founder and vice president of expert systems for Allexperts.com.
How do you examine an expert's qualifications? Ask yourself the following:
Do they have a degree that suits the question (Ph.D., law, culinary, etc.)?
Are they affiliated with a reputable organization (government agency, not-for-profit, industry leader)?
Have they published a book about a related issue?
Is it a free service?
If you're using a general "expert" site, check to see if other users have rated
that person's performance. Browse his or her answers to previous questions.
Gordon says someone's familiarity with a topic will shine through. If they
simply say "I know all about such-and-such," it may be more cause for
suspicion than an expert who is willing to expand upon his or her experience.
Who's the expert? Volunteers range in experience; for the more serious
categories they are lawyers and doctors, for entertainment categories less
strict. A 10-point user rating policy based on four characteristics
(knowledge, clarity and politeness) aids in finding a trustable source.
What you'll find: Gordon's site, which is now affiliated with About.com
claims to be the oldest Q & A type site. It was founded in 1998. If you're
looking for advice on anything from anthropology to art history, you'll find
a volunteer expert here.
Who's the expert? Professors and scientists affiliated with top-notch
What you'll find: Even if you're not a physics pro, you'll be able to
understand the clear explanations these experts give. Questions here run the
gamut, from how jet propulsion engines work to why we sneeze.
Who's the expert? Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, who provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle, and she has served as a senior editor and producer at a number of health and science websites.
What you'll find: Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply grammar rules.
Also check out her popular podcast.
Who's the expert? Real librarians from across the country.
What you'll find: The Internet Public Library provides jumping off points
for internet research. Before you post a question, check their FAQ's to find
out the 100 best books of all time or where to find Cliffs Notes.