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An alternative way of asking and answering questions

Everything from step 2-6 can happen concurrently with other people.

  1. You ask a question.
  2. An Answerer signs up to answer the question.
  3. A chat[1] is created, both can speak in fluid form to each other.
  4. Once chat is completed between two people they can vote to close the chat.
  5. A clean up session is created, both of them can edit their log, prettify it.
  6. Another vote is made between the two to publish their log.

People can now vote for the question if they think it was a good and valid question.
People can now vote for the answer if they think it was a good and valid answer.
People can comment.
Another expert can poll the user to open a chat go to step 3 again.

All answers are shown as a list of some kind.

[1] The chats can either happen in real-time or over a longer period.

This is similar to how it works now. There are lots of cases that I haven't covered. What I like about this is the different style of communication between the users. It is also easier and faster to drill down to the specifics of the question and get to the main essence quicker and faster.

What do you think?

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Sounds like a lot of hoops to jump through for no benefit. Why would I want to do that? What does this added complexity offer? – Flexo Jul 27 '12 at 9:10
The post is well formatted and makes a valid suggestion. Not the best one, but still, valid. I don't see the reason for all this downvoting. – ppp Jul 27 '12 at 10:10
@AnPel Voting is different on meta sites – Clive Jul 27 '12 at 10:23
@Clive Clive 1 : Anpel 0. Will delete both comments in 5. – ppp Jul 27 '12 at 10:26
up vote 15 down vote accepted

A chat log is pretty much the antithesis of the Q&A format, it has a relatively low signal to noise ratio compared to the Q&A format. There might be a lot of useful information in it, but even a cleaned-up chat log will contain a lot of irrelevant information for later readers.

The big advantage of the Q&A format is that you don't have to wade through a long thread of posts, you search for your question and find the most upvoted answer at the top.

And you can in theory do something like this already here on SE, you can troubleshoot an issue in chat and then write a question & answer pair out of the result of that chat.

Another significant problem is that a chat is a much higher commitment where you don't know exactly how long it takes to solve the problem. The Q&A format leaves you much more control over how you spend your time, and is much better for small bursts of activity.

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  • Too localized. The chat that ensues is likely to progressively become a mentor/apprentice relationship that focuses on a topic too narrow to be of general use.
  • Too messy. The chat that ensues will not be as "to the point" as a Q/A format.
  • Too much work cleaning up (consequently, either the S/N ratio will remain low, or not many chat logs will make it public.
  • Too much consensus required -- again, not many chat logs will go public.
  • Too chatty. If you want IRC, IRC exists, and has a very low S/N ratio.
  • Too much work on the part of "answerers". Who wants to get drawn in by a million newbies who need one on one chat-style mentoring?

It would be a great deal for the "askers" though, if they could find anyone willing to hold their hands every step of the way through a task. What would come next, electronic whiteboards?

...just my own opinions.

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