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Introducing ForPune.com – ask any question about Pune and get answers

ForPune.com is a website where you can ask any question about Pune (it does not have to be a technical question) and get good quality answers from other Punekars quickly. It is another for-the-community, by-the-community initiative from PuneTech. Please use it – the more people use it, the more useful it becomes.

Some example questions and answers

Just to give you an idea of the various different ways in which this site can be useful, we’ve listed some of the interesting questions here.

Basically, you have access to a bunch of smart, interesting, knowledgeable Punekars from different fields, and you can get them to answer your questions, your doubts, and your philosophical issues.

Key features

Why is this ForPune different from a “discussion forum” or a “mailing list”? Here are the reasons:

  • Voting on questions and answers: ensures that good quality answers float to the top, and more useful questions get higher ranking in search results
  • Moderation: volunteers from the community keep patrolling the site to get rid of spammers and idiots. So you will not (usually) find the site over-run by idiotic irrelevant posts.
  • Tags: All questions are tagged to make it easy to browse and find interesting questions and answers
    • For example user meetu earned the Notable Question Badge because her question about real estate prices in Lavasa has more than 3000 views.
    • Users nik, Abhinav, Subhojit Roy and ravi karandeekar have earned the “Enthusiast” badge for visiting the site every day without fail for at least 30 days.
    • 16 Users have a “Popular Question” badge, for having asked questions with more than a 1000 views.

    The points system: All users of the site get points for various activities. There are points for asking questions, for giving answers, for voting, for correcting inaccurate tags, for asking good questions, for giving good answers etc. Members earn various badges.

    Basically, the points and badge system ensures increases the motivation of the users to “work” on the site, and gives visibility to people with specific expertise.

Why not Quora? Why not Facebook Questions?

Quora/Facebook Questions are good alternatives, but the simple reason why ForPune was not built on those was that ForPune has been around for almost an year now – before Facebook questions and Quora were launched.

There are other reasons why we feel that this is the right choice:

  • Quora is still rather tech-heavy (and generally heavy). It has serious people with serious questions, and startups and tech trends. This scares away most of the regular people.
  • Facebook questions doesn’t really seem to be taking off (at least not that I can see).
  • In any case, I think that in the long-term it is a much better idea to have an independent entity that is not dependent on the whims and fancies of a startup that might change its policies, or shift focus, or simply discontinue the service (remember Google Wave?)
  • ForPune will soon run on open source software, and we have hopes that the tech community in Pune will use that as a base to extend it and create a whole bunch of apps/hacks/other services.

Software / Platform details

  • ForPune is based on the StackExchange software – the same software that runs the popular StackOverflow site for programming questions & answers.
  • In the next few months, ForPune will shift over to using OSQA the open source clone of StackExchange. (It’s written in python+django, Yippie!) At that time, we’ll also shift it to our own servers – probably on slicehost or webfaction.

Who’s behind ForPune

Well, although it was started by us – the people behind PuneTech, but it is now really run by the users. See the list of ForPune users. More points indicate people who’ve spent more time on the site. People with diamonds against their name are moderators.

What to do now?

Use the site. Ask questions, answer questions, vote for good answers and questions.

Tell your friends about ForPune.com. Due to the network effect, the utility of the site quadruples if the number of users doubles. (And if the number goes up by 10x the utility increases by 100x).

Especially if you have friends in media. Ask them to write articles about ForPune.

And follow @forpuneq and forpune on twitter.

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