Ask Questions Online With These Question and Answer Sites

When Google isn't good enough, ask real people on the web

A graphic of a laptop at a desk with a question mark on the screen.

Martin951 / Getty Images

It's common practice to ask Google your questions online instead of bothering real people these days. But when your question is so specific and Google's results are so vague that you're left with even more questions than you did when you began, where else can you turn to ask questions online?

There are some great question and answer sites out there with huge communities of people who are willing to help you out. Although the answers you get might be based mostly on personal opinions more than qualified knowledge or experience (such as the answers to a medical question from users who aren't health professionals), sometimes it's still worth hearing what other people have to say.

Here are 10 sites you'll want to check out to get your questions answered. You can even return the favor to other users by answering questions on the topics that are relevant to your own knowledge and experience.

Quora

A screenshot of the Quora.com login page.

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What We Like

  • Upvoting and downvoting filters for better quality questions and answers.

  • Questions and responses kept together for easier reading.

  • Can follow questions and keep up with additional responses.

What We Don't Like

  • Anyone can answer questions, regardless of expertise.

  • Answers can be of questionable accuracy.

  • A social-like site open to abuse by bots and provocateurs.

Quora is perhaps one of the best and most popular free websites where you can ask questions to get answers from a sizable community of users. The community often includes experts who are willing to reply to your question with helpful, and sometimes very detailed information.

There's only one page for each question so everyone's input can be viewed in just one convenient place. As a user, you can follow particular questions asked by other users if you're interested in seeing more answers that may be added in the future, and you can upvote or downvote anything to help the community discover the best questions and answers.

Yahoo Answers

A screenshot of the Yahoo Answers website.

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What We Like

  • A venerable and popular answer site.

  • Search by question categories or custom queries.

  • Question quality features like upvoting, downvoting, and best answer voting.

What We Don't Like

  • Content can be inappropriate for children.

  • Reporting feature is easily abused to have quality answers removed.

  • Moderation is inconsistent.

Yahoo Answers has been around for a long time, and it's still one of the most popular places to go to have questions answered by real people.

Sign in to your Yahoo account to post a question yourself, browse through the categories of questions or use the search bar at the top to find answers.

Similar to Quora, you can upvote or downvote the answers you receive to your questions, and you can also pick a "best answer" when you feel you've received enough of them.

Answers.com

A screenshot of the Answers.com website.

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What We Like

  • You can add images to your questions.

  • Expert articles available as answers.

  • User "confidence" system helps you judge reputation of respondents.

What We Don't Like

  • Site ads can be excessive and obtrusive.

  • Speed of the site can become very slow.

  • Getting to an answer can involve clicking through multiple pages.

Answers.com combines community-driven answers with informative articles on all sorts of different topics written by qualified experts.

What's particularly unique about Answers.com is that you can add an optional image to your question to make it stand out and attract answers faster.

Anyone who answers your question will have a "confidence votes" figure displayed, which reflect how many times users confirmed that their answer was helpful. A user who has a high confidence vote count reassures you that they know what they're talking about.

Just Answer

A screenshot of the JustAnswer.com website.

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What We Like

  • Answers come from experts, not a site community.

  • Ability to talk directly with experts, online or over the phone.

  • You can pose thoroughly detailed questions.

What We Don't Like

  • A paid subscription service, though there is a 7-day trial.

  • Some complaints from users about unapproved charges.

Quora and Yahoo Answers have their voting systems while Answers.com has its confidence votes, but that doesn't always guarantee that you're getting qualified answers from real experts.

If you're looking for an answer to a question that only a lawyer, doctor, tech expert, mechanic or home repair worker could answer, then Just Answer is the place to go.

This is a site where you can write out your full story, including all the dirty details, to back up your question. An expert will assess your situation and give you their recommended advice.

Blurtit

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What We Like

  • Site is cleanly designed.

  • Wide range of topic categories are easy to locate.

What We Don't Like

  • Answers often include spam ads that have little to do with the topic.

Like Quora, Yahoo Answers and Answers.com, Blurtit is another social question and answer community that's a little less widely known on the web.

Sign up to ask a question, comment on users' answers or use the right sidebar to browse through questions in categories spanning everything from science and technology to health and education. 

One of the major downsides of Blurtit is that there are a ton of ads scattered all throughout the answers, which makes it kind of difficult to quickly skim through them.

Fluther

A screenshot of the Fluther.com website.

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What We Like

  • Stricter answer guidelines improve answer quality.

  • Any user can vote an answer as great, helping to highlight quality responses.

  • Users can refer questions to others who may have answers.

What We Don't Like

  • Only four generalized categories make browsing less specific.

Another very social question and answer site is Fluther, which has only four main categories: general, social, just for you, and meta.

Fluther enforces stricter guidelines in its general section to help people get the answers they came looking for when they posted their questions. The social section is reserved for more casual interaction for opinion and humor-based answers.

Users can create profiles with a personal story, their questions, their responses and more to build up their reputations, and anyone can click Great Answer on an answer to vote for its helpfulness.

My Reply Is

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What We Like

  • Unique system lets questioner target specific groups or people for answers.

  • Pose questions in multiple formats, including video and audio.

  • Wide, international community of users.

What We Don't Like

  • Not as well known and smaller community may not yield answers quickly.

My Reply Is takes a unique approach to questions and answers by allowing users to choose who they want to respond to them.

You can post a question in text, photo, video or even audio format and then select the desired specialties of the people from whom you want to answer your question. You can even select a desired geographical location.

The site then scours its community of experts and invites the right people to answer. So if you've got a question that you want to ask a targeted person or group of people, My Reply Is might be the best alternative for you.

Ask.fm

A screenshot of the Ask.fm website.

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What We Like

  • Supplement questions with video and photos.

  • Safety and privacy options designed to help protect younger users from bullying.

What We Don't Like

  • A more casual social media style, so may not be as effective for seeking answers to serious questions.

  • Platform's methods for posing anonymous questions can be abused to cyberbully.

Ask.fm is a social network for questions and answers. It connects you with friends on your existing social networks so you can ask them questions anonymously or not. It's more of a casual, fun type of platform that you can use to get to know your friends better, but you can still use it for finding answers to more serious questions.

You can also make your questions more compelling by adding photos, GIFs and videos. Ask.fm has also really beefed up the safety and privacy options since it's a popular platform for teens.

Snippets

A screenshot of the website Snippets.com

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What We Like

  • Voting system to filter for quality answers.

  • Ability to easily see users' activity and reputation.

  • Short question and answer limitations make quick reading and browsing easy.

What We Don't Like

  • Question and answer length limits may be too short for complex questions.

Snippets is a site that allows you to ask short questions in 20 words or less. Users who decide to answer your question have to limit their answers to 50 words.

The idea behind such short questions and answers is to keep everything simple and encourage everyone to get straight to the point.

When someone answers your question, you'll be notified by email. And like many of the other sites listed above, users can vote up answers to push them up to the top.

You can also hover your cursor over usernames to see a short popup summary of their activity on the site.

Reddit

A screenshot of the Reddit.com website.

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What We Like

  • Can find a subreddit on just about any topic imaginable.

  • Anyone can create and moderate a subreddit topic (if it's available).

  • Voting system polices responses (to some degree).

What We Don't Like

  • Wide range of content can include NSFW and inappropriate subjects for some users.

Reddit is a popular social news community and message board, divided up into threads called "subreddits" for different topics.

There's a subreddit for almost every topic you could imagine, and most community members are happy to answer relevant questions that have been posted in the right subreddit.

Just use the search field to find subreddits related to the topic of your question, sign in to Reddit (or create an account) and then post your question. As other users leave their answers, you'll be able to comment directly ​within the thread if you want to reply to anyone.