Q&A sites are one of the most recent web trends. I’ve been doing quite a bit of work on Q&A website for a client, and I’m really fond of it.

I’m trying to set up a Q&A service “on demand”, using SaaS like qhub.com, StackOverflow, Answerbase, Shapado.

I realized why these web services differ from Quora (which is an own website, does not provide you the possibility to set up a Q&A service).

Quora is designed to encourage answers; those services encourage question.

Quora is about collective intelligence by filtering answers; the others are about increased customer power by crowdsourcing questions. In this sense, they don’t differ much from Uservoice or GetSatisfaction.

I am more interested in Quora-like applications, but it appear that there is no SaaS to do that. Perhaps I should instal Osqa or Shapado and tweak it.

How does Quora do that? Through a search function embedded in the “ask a question” box. When you start typing a question on Quora, a built-in search function shows you related questions that already exists. You are automatically induced to visit those questions, and maybe provide answers, rather than asking another question. I have no data but I’m pretty sure that if you do an online experiment, the websites with search function embedded would have a much higher Answers/Questions ratio.

Instead, Stack Overflow for example simply suggests you to first search, then ask the question if it’s not already there. It’s more cumbersome for users, although it could work for the highly committed Stack Overflow users.