An Improved “Ask A Question” Page

An Improved “Ask A Question” Page

One of the ways we want to improve the content on Mamapedia is getting you, our users, to post questions as questions and make sure they are unique. Until recently there was no easy way to do that.  In fact you weren’t even encouraged to do that. As a result the same questions have been asked again and again under very generic titles.  For example, a search for “potty training” returns nearly 13,000 questions.  The top 10 matching search results are all questions that used “Potty Training” as their title.  Unfortunately “potty training” is a broad topic and not a question.  If you read the top 10 potty training questions, they can be boiled down to three distinct questions:  “At what age should you start potty training?”, “Can anybody recommend good potty training resources?” and “Does anyone have suggestions on how to handle potty training?”  We could probably review the 13,000 potty training questions on the site and come up with a list of ten posts that cover 80% of the actual questions.

Starting today when you ask a question you will notice a few changes.  First, you are encouraged to actually ask a question rather than post a generic subject. The text field previously labeled “Subject” is now labeled “Question” and the hint below that field now explains you should ask a question.  The updated system also requires each question to contain at least three words.

After you enter your question a list of the top five similar search results will appear.  Please take a look at those results to make sure your question hasn’t already been answered.  Doing so should help you get your answers more quickly and will reduce duplicate questions on the site, helping everybody.

screenshot of the "Ask A Question" page on with similar questions highlighted
Ask A Question Page: Similar Questions Highlighted

Finally, the text area formerly titled “My question” is now labeled “Additional details”.  Use that text area to enter additional details specific to your question.

Sticking with the potty training example, here’s how this could work.  In the question field you might enter “Does anyone have advice for potty training a 3 year old child when daycare won’t help?”.  After reviewing the list of top five related search results, if you still want to ask your question you could continue by entering the following into additional details. “My three year old son goes to day care five days a week. We’ve been working on potty training for two weeks. He does great on the weekends but when he comes home from day care we seem to have lots of accidents. It seems like day care is making him regress. Has anybody experienced this before? What did you do to solve it?

Nothing on the updated web page, other than the three word minimum on questions, will prevent you from posting your question. Even if there’s a duplicate question, you can still post yours.  We don’t want to limit your ability to ask whatever questions you may have. We’re just trying to make search results more relevant so you can find what you’re looking for more easily.

Hopefully you will find the new “Ask A Question” process helpful and easy to use. Over time we think it will assist you in getting higher quality answer more quickly and easily.

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