Simply Explained – Hopefully

March 3, 2006

Topics: Reviews.

The richness of modern web applications has clearly given rise to a whole new world of web interaction. The so-called "Web 2.0" phenomenon, founded in the developing era of rich web applications, is gradually subsuming older, well-established sites with new community-built versions.

Recently I ran across SimplyExplained, a web 2.0 edition of sites like About.com. These "web 1.0" successor sites feature glossy new designs, but also have a core interactive functionality which makes them more attractive to the web-savvy next generation.

Where About.com is constituted of a huge collection of articles and documents provided by subject knowledgeable experts, SimplyExplained.com consists of user-contributed questions and answers. A given question may have any number of answers, which can be rated according to your satisfaction. A democratic interpretation of fact and knowledge.

Like Wikipedia, a user-editable compendium of knowledge is inherently flawed. It’s dependent entirely on the honesty and ethics of those who contribute. On the other hand, it is also constantly undergoing oversight from many thousands of people. Inevitably, some people will receive incorrect information and believe it; others will see incorrect information and correct it.

Regardless of the precise "truth" of any resource, these community editable sites do provide a level of humanity which, I think, is very effective at drawing in traffic. The human factor does a great deal to great a passionate community.

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