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Answers Announces Competing Slam?

Marydee Ojala @ 8:52 am

At the instigation of Illlinois librarian Bill Pardue, September 10, 2007 was deemed "Slam the Boards" day.  The idea was to mobilize the librarian community to go to the various "answer" sites on the web–places like Yahoo Answers, WikiAnswers, and AskVille–and provide really good answers rather than the sometimes half-baked ones provided by the general public. By identifying themselves as librarians, the theory went, Slam the Boards would raise the visibility of librarians and libraries, demonstrate the power of their reference and research skills, and highlight the vetted resources available to people at their library. Following the success of the September 10th slam, the next slam will be on March 10, 2008, right after Daylight Savings time begins in the U.S.

Meanwhile, over at Answers.com, they’ve decided to launch an "AnswerThon" on March 1-2, 2008. Yes, on a weekend. Yes, right before the announced dates for Slam the Boards. From the press release: "AnswerThon contestants will tackle questions on WikiAnswers, the user-generated content, community-based Q&A site of Answers.com. WikiAnswers registered contributors can learn more and sign up here: http://wiki.answers.com/static/answerthon.html." The person answering the most questions and/or correcting and improving existing incorrect answers will be the winner. The winner and first two runners up will receive Amazon gift certificates (amounts said to vary but dollars are not specified) while they and the next ten runners up will receive WikiAnswers t-shirts.

Why is Answers.com stealing a march on Slam the Boards? Should the Slam be moved up to the weekend?  Or should librarians embrace both?



1 Comment

  1. Hi, Marydee! As possibly the person who has the most “at stake” in Slam the Boards, I have no problems with what WikiAnswers is doing. In fact, they mentioned it to me as something in the works when they approached me about providing more recognition to Slam participants. As far as I know, the event was in the planning before they got the idea to reach out specifically to librarians. The AnswerThon is essentially a one-off thing (if they repeat it, great). If a librarian wins, all to the better. Hey, if Yahoo wants to create their own competition, I’m just as glad. Some folks may want to stick only to the slam dates…fine. There are plenty of ways to participate. In fact, if librarians start making themselves visible enough so often that specific slam dates aren’t necessary, even better (but that’s probably a long way off). I just want to reiterate that I’m very pragmatic about this. We need to be aware that the boards will get some value out of our participation and that it’s no sin to get some value back. Mainly, I hope that’s recognition of what we do, but cash helps! Don’t know if I’ll be a winner, but I’ll be trying to pick up some WikiAnswers questions on March 1-2…and then I’ll Slam on March 10. Hope to run across a few other librarians there!–Bill

    Comment by Bill Pardue — February 21, 2008 @ 1:40 pm

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