I just spent the last several days going through all the different “Yahoo Answers clone” scripts that I could find for a project that Michele and I had been tossing around… basically the idea was to setup a Vegas-based questions and answer site at Vegas Answers.
I looked at a lot of different options and this is the list I came up with for all the available ways to do this type of site and my thoughts on each :
Anova.tv – This seemed like the industry leading software. It just looks really polished. If you take a look at the website and some of the sites that have used this platform, you can see it’s just beautiful. The downside is that it’s much more expensive than the other options. For the basic version, it will set you back $147 as I write this. The “pro” version comes with a few more features like a forum and blog and will set you back $247.
AnswerScript.com – This was the cheapest paid solution I found and it runs $24. I just didn’t like the way it looked and felt, though, so I didn’t spend much time with it.
Q&A Theme for WordPress with WP Answers – This was an option I explored for about twenty minutes… the idea was just to use a plugin I’d found called WP Answers and mix it with a cool Q & A Theme that I’d dug up. It was going cost $24 as well going this route. This was really tempting for me because I am really growing to love WordPress. But for the type of interactivity I wanted for my Q&A site, I didn’t think a WP-based site was the best option.
IKNanswers layered over Joomla – At $50, this seemed like not a horrible way to go if you’re good with Joomla. I’ve never done anything with Joomla, so I didn’t want to start unless the script really knocked me out… and it didn’t.
StackOverflow.com – This was an interesting option for me because the software looks pretty polished and it’s free. But it’s only free while it is in beta and there is no guarantee that it will stay free… in fact it almost certainly won’t once they iron out the bugs. The future seemed uncertain.
QuestionAnswerScript.com – This is the one I finally went with. The price was a hefty $79, but it had a lot of features I liked (like the point and leaderboard system) and it seemed like it would be easy enough to install. Before shelling out the dough, I called the support number to make sure I’d reach someone. Beware, because the customer support number that was supposedly 24×7 didn’t get me through to anyone. I emailed and got a response a few hours later. So I bit the bullet and pulled the trigger. It took them a full SIX HOURS to email me the download information and the install guide was kind of useless. The customer support is not really impressive. If you don’t feel comfortable with setting up MySQL databases and changing file permissions on your webhost server, you’d probably be better off paying the extra money for them to install it. It took me about three hours and one give-up and fresh start before it worked like it was supposed to. Once it was installed, about half of the 12 templates didn’t work right out of the box… you’ll need a little css know-how to get them looking like they should. Other than that, it’s really cool. Even has an import option to populate the site with content from Yahoo Answers (although, I wouldn’t really suggest doing that because it’s going to violate some copyright laws, but you don’t have to make the questions and answers you import live, so it’s a nice feature if you use it to basically rewrite the most popular questions and answers).
If you want to check out the site I created with this last script, check it out at Vegas Answers!.