What are the typical use cases for a Questions & Answers system?


The contributed Drupal module "Answers" can be used for implemeting a Questions & Answers system.

What are the typical use cases for such system?


1 answer


There are plenty of use cases for Questions & Answers systems, such as the StackExchange family of sites. Here are just a few of them ...

  1. Supply and Demand, whereas the question has to do with something being searched for (wanted, aka the demand), like goods, properties or services for sale or for rent. And the answer(s) consists of one of more possible offers (the fullfilment of the request in the demand). Variation of this are Classified Ads or Auctions.
  2. Tutorials that describe (in the Question) a deliverable (or challenge), with answers in the format of the various steps to be completed (how to do things, or how to make something). Variation of this are Recipes (eg to prepare something to eat or drink).
  3. Recommendations, whereas the Question asks to recommend something, like a book, a resource, a place, etc. And the Answers describe the actual recommendation.
  4. Collaborative learning management systems are systems used by two or more people learn, or attempt to learn, something together. Unlike individual learning, people engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.). It is based on the model that knowledge can be created within a population where members actively interact by sharing experiences and take on asymmetry roles. The Question is about the problem description (the challenge), and the Answers contain the possible solution(s).
  5. Ideation, as described in "How implement a Q&A site for Ideation?".
  6. Issue tracking systems, whereas the question is about a problem or feature request, and the answer(s) relates to work-arounds, bugfixes, new features, etc.
  7. Tasks Management Systems use Questions to describe the tasks, while the Answer(s) contain details of the progress, or the actual deliverables. Variation of this are Assignments (eg: homework) or PIMs (Personal Information Managers).
  8. Fund Raising can be implemented in the format of a Q&A site by using the Question to describe the goals/objectives and the related Answers describing the contribution(s) and/or donations.
  9. Elections, whereas the questions describe the topic (jobfunction?) that the voting is about, and each answer describes a specific candidate that participates in the elections. The highest voted answers (1 for each candidate) correspond to the candiates that actually got elected. Variation of this are Nominations.
  10. Frequently Asked Questions, with Questions and their typical answers. Variation of this is Knowledge databases. (eg used by a domain expert selling access to solutions (Answers) to topics (Questions) interested parties want to pay for).
  11. Forums, with all sorts of Questions, which may have one or more Ansers in response. Some interesting examples:
  12. Top XYZ rankings, whereas the question describes what exactly is being ranked, and each of the Answers is 1 specific recommendation (or something similar).
  13. Exams with either open ended questions or multiple choice answers.
  14. Lost & found whereas the Question describes what is lost, and the Answer reveals how or where to get it back.
  15. Jokes with question to introduce the joke (like "why is ...", "how is ...", "what did ...", etc), and answers that are either just (educated) guesses (and accepted answers to actually answer the question).
  16. ... on and on goes the list, such as:
    • (answers to) RFPs/FRIs (Requests For Proposals/Information),
    • Enquetes,
    • etc.