Social Q&A



This article presents a review and analysis of the research literature in social Q&A (SQA), a term describing systems where people ask, answer, and rate content while interacting around it. The growth of SQA is contextualized within the broader trend of user-generated content from Usenet to Web 2.0, and alternative definitions of SQA are reviewed. SQA sites have been conceptualized in the literature as simultaneous examples of tools, collections, communities, and complex sociotechnical systems. Major threads of SQA research include user-generated and algorithmic question categorization, answer classification and quality assessment, studies of user satisfaction, reward structures, and motivation for participation, and how trust and expertise are both operationalized by and emerge from SQA sites. Directions for future research are discussed, including more refined conceptions of SQA site participants and their roles, unpacking the processes by which social capital is achieved, managed, and wielded in SQA sites, refining question categorization, conducting research within and across a wider range of SQA sites, the application of economic and game-theoretic models, and the problematization of SQA itself.