Grupthink is a new question and answer service, similar in concept to Yahoo! Answers, which I have tested during private beta and just recently has launched. I’m usually not all that thrilled about services like this, such as Yahoo! Answers and Say-So, but Grupthink does things differently. You can think of it as an average Q & A site, except Grupthink allows anyone to ask open-ended questions, add multiple answers to a question, and even accept multiple votes out of the listed answers. If you vote for multiple answers in a question, you may also rank the votes if you feel a certain answer deserves a more prominent vote. You may also attach images to questions and answers making it even more then your basic Q & A site. In short, Grupthink can be looked at as a question and answer site with poll-like functionality, multiple vote ranking, photo sharing, and commenting. To give you a better idea, lets take a little walk-through.
Exploring for a question is a breeze in Grupthink. Immediately on the main page you will see a search form and a tags in a tag-cloud assigned to submitted questions. Searching allows you to search questions by tag, title, or both tag and title which then displays the results with each question with the number of answers. Selecting a tag from the tag-cloud results in the same way as the search. Personally, I feel Grupthink got the main page spot-on by including just a basic search form and tag-cloud. It practically screams for you to start browse through the questions. If that wasn’t easy enough for you to just simply explore, then you may also like the “Surpise me!” buttons on question pages that will simply bring you to a random question every time you click, which I have found very entertaining.
Now here’s where things get interesting. Above is a screenshot of a question page on “Next Generation” gaming. This page includes the question along with answers and comments that others have added. The questions themselves can be about anything at all and include descriptions, tags, and an optionally attached image to put a visual on the question. Anyone can then add multiple answers to a question with a title, description, and image. Visitors can then vote on each answer, view attached images, and even comment on the question’s page to continue the discussion rather then just Q & A.
What makes Grupthink’s answering system so unique is that instead of simply submitting an answer to a question, users can add a vote to one or more answers to a question and then rank each vote they have made. Based on the combination of number of votes and how each voter ordered their answers when ranking will determine the position of the answer. This allows the user to pick multiple answers, yet add weight to the ones that they feel should have more importance, making for a more accurate ranking of answers. For example, there may be two answers with the same amount of votes, but they’re position of rank will be decided depending on how users ranked each vote.
Grupthink also provides some extras throughout the site, such as a point system called Grupie Points that are based on level of participation which in turn ranks all Grupthink members. Anyone can also get code-snippets on a question page allowing you to include a Grupthink question on your website which looks similar to a mini-poll that directs the visitor to the question at Grupthink.
Overall, I really enjoy using Grupthink and feel it has a great question and answer system that anyone can easily explore and participate. Because of the flexibility with Grupthink, questions can be anywhere from basic Q & A to full responses including ranked answers, photos, and comments. I spent a good hour today before writing this review just clicking on the “Surprise me!” button going through random questions and found it an insightful, yet entertaining experience. Great work to the Grupthink team. One last note that it has also been said that more features are coming, so be sure to keep an eye on the Grupthink Blog for updates.