Google has announced their SO attempt, Baraza http://www.google.com/baraza/en/

From the blogoscoped http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2010-11-16-n46.html:

Baraza operates on a Points basis. You get 20 points for signing up, and 4 points each day you log in. If you are already logged into your Google account, there isn’t actually any signup process. Your name and photo from your Google profile are automatically used, although you can change your username and avatar if you like.

Asking a question costs 5 points, and you earn 5 points for choosing a “best answer" for your question, so you can use the service on an ongoing basis without needing to answer any questions, although you are awarded extra points if you do.

Does anyone think this will have an impact on the SO model? It says that it's targeted 'towards Africa', but given enough push through the google community, it may just powercharge SO, expert exchange, etc.


(Sorry if this is non-meta territory)

  • 13
    After looking through the current list of questions, I'm just gonna go ahead and say no.
    – mmyers
    Nov 16, 2010 at 16:19
  • 3
    Seems to be someone's Friday project.. Nov 29, 2010 at 14:45

7 Answers 7


Three months later, let's re-evaluate.
only 7 questions in 5 hours few answers same people ask questions bad questions

Final conclusion: It fizzled out. Badly. Ended up worse than Yahoo Answers.

There are both points and reputation. This will confuse most people. For example, you're charged points for asking questions, but rewarded reputation for being rated good, but points for simply answering. Plus, there's no incentive to really participate—unlike SE, no new features get opened up to you for getting more reputation.

Also, it seems too generic—much like Yahoo! Answers. It's hard to attract experts that way.

My conclusion: Let's not think of it as a real competitor yet.

  • 7
    Nonono, haven't you heard that being the "* for dummies" site is good now and having all under one domain name with generically named subtopics will attract the experts or something?
    – sth
    Nov 16, 2010 at 5:48
  • unlike SE, no new features get opened up to you for getting more reputation. If you get enough rep, you get poached for google? (j/ks)
    – glasnt
    Nov 16, 2010 at 5:59
  • Don't forget about the follower points too!
    – badp
    Nov 16, 2010 at 8:23
  • 1
    I have a question, twitter.com/#!/samsaffron/status/40950908745551872
    – waffles
    Feb 25, 2011 at 1:48
  • 2
    what is mean stacksexchange?
    – juan
    Feb 25, 2011 at 2:59
  • "Ended up worse than Yahoo Answers." Wrong! That is theoretically impossible. Jul 29, 2011 at 2:30

It's more like Yahoo Answers or Reddit than SE.

I think it's good have alternatives and who knows what Baraza can teach us to be a better Q&A site. Yahoo Answers is always a good example how to not drive a Q&A site.

Personally I like the poll type question. We have good poll question on SE sites and I think it would be better to mark them as a special case question. We have a strong community to decides what poll questions are good and what poll questions are just noise.

  • 9
    I personally HATE poll type questions. They are a waste of time, subjective, and frequently only relevant for a finite period of time, and usually started by people who are just trying to be rep whores. There is still nothing wrong with asking "is technology or method abc better than def for a situation that matches xyz ", but there is no need to make it a poll type question.
    – slugster
    Nov 16, 2010 at 6:32
  • @slugster: Obviously poll questions couldn't give reputation. It would be CW by default. But it's just an opinion, not a feature request :-)
    – Maniero
    Nov 16, 2010 at 6:55
  • 1
    @slugster, I'm biased, but I think this is a good example of a poll-type question which doesn't correspond to any of your gripes: stackoverflow.com/questions/833180/handy-f-snippets
    – Benjol
    Nov 16, 2010 at 7:38
  • 2
    @slugster def is definitely better than abc. Example: def foo: return works, abc foo: return doesn't!!
    – badp
    Nov 16, 2010 at 8:57
  • @Benjol, that looks like a good one. You will find though that person was first, and there would have been many people since trying the same question or a close derivative, mainly with the aim of getting upvotes ("hmmmm the rep hasn't been moving much lately. I know! I'll ask a general opinion type question about some really popular language or technology and people won't be able to resist giving me upvotes!")
    – slugster
    Nov 16, 2010 at 21:38

If anything, this might hurt fledgling SE sites that don't really have strong communities yet. I think Stack Overflow has established itself as the programming Q&A site.

One of the things that made it possible to create SO in the first place was the fact that no such community already existed. There were lots of small niche communities, but no one single source for quality programming Q&A. Now there is.

Competing with an established, large community is a lot harder than "simply" convincing hundreds of thousands of users to try something for which there is no good alternative.


I invite you to look at their page of programming questions. My current favorite questions are

Yeah, you go right ahead with that Google. It worked so well for Yahoo.

  • Google tried it once. But google answers got shut down. Nov 29, 2010 at 22:31
  • @Michael, Google Answers is still alive in Russian.
    – Sergey
    Dec 12, 2010 at 22:47

They do polls, which is interesting since the Q&A part looks inspired to SO, but obviously you get polls that really are questions and questions that really are polls.

If nothing else, there's anonymous downvoting. Oh, and anonymous upvoting, but who cares about that ;)

Besides, Baraza is really not a new service. It's been running in China since 2007 as Google Wenda. It even comes with homework questions!

  • It's the problem of have not a strong community. Sooner or later it gets messy.
    – Maniero
    Nov 16, 2010 at 8:45

If this is the kind of question they get, they can keep it:


Note: You'll need to translate it from russian, but it's a question about how to get a spam bot working.


Baraza might be decent for people in Africa with poor Internet connections - but for the rest of us, I couldn't see much appeal at all

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .