Our nonprofit site is dedicated to raising
media attention for public issues. We don't have the resources to answer
personal questions. For example, we write about tax policy, not how to
file your taxes. If you have personal questions that need answering, we
encourage you to try one of the paid sites, like Google Answers, where
you can pay researchers a few dollars for a quick answer.
How it Works:
IIf your question has a public interest angle, and the potential to interests
lots of other people, then we will post it to our site. We accept about
20% of the questions submitted to us.
Hundreds of quesitons have already been addressed. You should search
our site to see if yours is already covered before posting a new one.
First, we assess public interest by collecting
votes and comments:
'Me-too' Votes: other people can 'join' your question by offering
'me too' votes on questions that interest them.
This is how we know which
questions are most urgent. We can keep your question active on the
site indefinitely. Of course, you can join other people's questions,
Comments: People may add comments or suggestions to your question.
You can do the same. We collect public commentary, check the links
and information sources people recommend, and then add that information
the question. We favor comments that provide new information on the
topic over ones that simply express an opinion or complaint. We post
about 20% of the comments.
Every question collects
'me too' votes and public comments. But we don't have the
staff or resources to answer every question.
We address high-interest questions
When questions garner many 'me too' votes and
commentary, our editors will go the next step and begin the process
of answering them. We will also include the most popular questions
weekly email to the media.
Sometimes the mainstream media will respond to very popular questions
on their own, simply because they see the very high level of public interest
about those questions. But sometimes we need to address those questions
ourselves - because the media is unable or unwilling to answer them
When the media provides no credible answers,
we'll do it ourselves:
Even if the news industry ignores popular questions raised here,
we will move to answer those questions ourselves, with your support
and donations collected from everyone else who cares to see those questions
First step, info search: We hire a freelance librarian or professional
researcher to locate information that is already publicly available on
that question. We will always try to provide this preliminary research
for the most popular questions posted at our site. Many questions will
be answered at this stage, because there are thousands of information
providers offering reliable information on most topics.
Second step, new reporting: Some questions have never been answered before.
Or the available answers do not address the heart of your concerns. In
these cases, and when a question has very strong popular support, we
will recruit a journalist to undertake original reporting and develop
new information on that question
Who does the reporting?
Professional journalists: We find journalists with strong subject expertise
and relevant experience.
Editorial advisory board: our professional board can help us negotiate
fair contracts with journalists and shape story direction to maximize
the public value that results. Our board will also advise us on controversial
issues like whether to post potentially offensive or inflammatory questions
How are journalists paid?
Public donations. Original reporting
takes time and money. Public donations cover these costs. We will not
undertake hiring a journalist unless the question is very popular and
the public is willing to make advance donations. No one of us alone could
afford to hire a reporter even for the most urgent questions, but together,
we can come up with all the money that's needed.
The role of donors: As a donor you will receive the final article
for free as soon as it is published. And, more importantly, you will
be helping to focus attention on a question that you care about.
Once original articles are published:
We continue to ask for donations from everyone who reads articles.
These donations will go towards research and operating costs not
other contributions. You can see all of our articles here: www.askquestions.org/articles.html.