Friday, January 29, 2010

Making a collective intelligence tool more intelligent

Thousands of questions have been asked across all the Inkling marketplaces we run. Not surprisingly, we've seen some strong correlations between the words people use and the type of question they're asking. So now we've added a little intelligence to the "ask your own question process" to hopefully save people some time and make the process even more automated.

Here's what the "ask a question" screen looks like before I've entered anything:

Let's say I want to ask a question about who is going to win the Super Bowl. So I start typing "Will the Indianapolis...":

You can see that Inkling knows that the answer to my question is going to be yes or no, so it automatically chooses that question type. But if I start typing "Who will win..." Inkling knows that I'm going to need multiple possible answers to that question, so it chooses that question type instead:

And if I want to ask abut something that's going to happen during the game, I may start typing "When..." and Inkling knows I'm asking about a date:

Notice of course that if we get it wrong, there's always the ability to choose from among the other question types.

We still believe it's incredibly important to disseminate the ability to ask questions in the marketplace and allow participants to ask their own. This is just another way we're trying to make it easier for them so they don't have to worry about how things work behind the scenes. This automation also makes it easier on administrators because they're far less likely to get questions that have been constructed erroneously.

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