Google Baraza: a question and answer service for Africa
Google Baraza is a question and answer service developed by Google for Africa. It allows members get expert advice on any topic from other members. Google Baraza may appear similar in purpose to Yahoo answers, but Google Baraza appears more social and has a reward system that I think will likely offer better results to members. Members are rewarded with points when they answer questions. Baraza means 'taskforce' or 'council' in Swahili.
Understanding the Google Baraza model
Google Baraza is a community where members turn on each other for answers to questions in almost any topic. However, in Baraza answers do not come free, rather the initiator of any question must put a price (bonus points) to be gained by the member that provides the best answer to the question. The points allocated by a user to a question will be deducted from the users' points balanced as soon as the question is asked. When the Baraza user is satisfied with the response they choose one as the best answer, by clicking best answer below that response. The user with the best answer receives the bonus points allocated to the question and also gets +2 reputation. Google Baraza currently rewards users with 5 points if they select one answer as the best answer.
Points are the currency used on Google Baraza. Yes, that means users will need to have some points before they can ask questions on Google Baraza. Google Baraza provides all new members with 20 points upon registration. Points are gained by being active in the community answering questions, voting, following other users, logging in, etc. For now points cannot be borrowed or requested from other members, but that could be an exciting prospect for the future as it will likely make Google Baraza more social.
Google Baraza's model, where users allocate (give out) bonus points to be gained by the best answer when asking a question, will likely ensure that members ask relevant questions. It may also reduce spam and irrelevant questions on Google Baraza. The prospect of getting rewarded for answering questions will also encourage users to answer questions within their area of expertise. Users are also likely to offer relevant and useful answers to increase the chances of their answer being chosen as the best. Giving the best answer to a question entitles a user to the bonus points allocated to the question by the originator. The member with the best answer to a question also gains in reputation. Reputation is a measure of the popularity of a user on Google Baraza. Reputation is gained by giving quality answers to questions as well as when a member is followed by another user. Reputation can only be lost when a Google Baraza user unfollowed by a follower. Google Baraza provides all new members with a reputation of 10 upon registration.
Using Google Baraza
Using Google Baraza requires signup. After a successful signup, a Google Baraza profile will be created for the member. Checkout my Google Baraza profile. The profile contains information about a member's activities, points, and reputation on Google Baraza. After signing up, members can start asking and answering questions, making friends, sending messages, gaining points and reputation on Google Baraza. For more information on using Google Baraza, visit the help page.
So, if you are in Africa, go ahead and join Google Baraza and post those questions that Google organic search fails to answer. Questions and answers on Google Baraza will also appear on Google organic search results, which will enrich the web with more African content. So, c’mon Africans lets make Google Baraza work, for a better web for Africa. Visit Google Baraza
Connect with me at my Google Baraza profile.
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