Facebook PixelAn app that allows you to ask a question to users within a certain radius
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An app that allows you to ask a question to users within a certain radius

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw May 10, 2022
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An app that allows tourists/visitors/people new to an area to ask questions about the area and sends push notifications to a select number of users within a certain radius of where the question is asked.
Why?
Since online sources are always biased towards paid advertising or benefits businesses with a strong online presence, simply googling information about an area simply does not give you the same insights that speaking to a local would.
How does it work?
When a user posts a question, it is sent to a set amount of other users within the same area. They receive a push notification and will be incentivised to answer to the best of their abilities by a rating system/ badge system/ or perhaps even a tipping system.
Answers and questions will be rated, and a user's rating will determine how often they are allowed to post a question and how often they receive questions, and to whom their questions are sent and who's questions they receive. Ideally, this will result in users who give good advice having access to other users who give good advice when they need it.
Top rated answers can remain public, so that users don't get repeats of the same question every day. There would be no commenting on or discussing answers. Users would simply have a bar in which to type their question. Keywords would bring up previous, related answers. And only the set amount of people who receive the question will be able to answer (if a satisfying answer has not been received after a set amount of time, users would be allowed to post the question again to a different group of people)
What makes it different?
There are a number of apps, platforms, articles and groups that attempt to offer this service already. Of these, I feel like only groups on different social media platforms are really able to provide up to date, relevant answers to some of the questions newcomers might have, but they are usually restricted to people who already live in the area, so they do not really serve visitors.
Most apps are simply advertising space for paying businesses, so they do not really provide users with unbiased, good advise. Of the existing platforms, I believe Quora resembles my idea most, but of course Quora doesn't limit who is allowed to answer, does not send push notifications and often requires you to read through long threads of debate and trolling before finding what you are looking for.
What sets this idea apart from all the other apps and articles available online is that questions are asked and answers are given in pretty much real time and it ensures that answers come from real people in the area.
Challenges
The app would be most effective if there is an abundance of users who could potentially answer questions. So getting people to sign on at first will be most the most challenging part. This is why I believe it might be a good idea to monetize the rewards for giving good answers. This would come with its own set of challenges but should ultimately be doable.
How else would you get the platform to grow to a point where there are enough users for it to be able to sustain itself?
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Creative contributions

Determining the radius using population density

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 11, 2022
One challenge is determining the radius for users around the point of origin of the question to get a notification. How about sending the notification to the first 100 closest people to the point of origin of the question? If the radius is determined purely distance-wise (say 2 km, 5 km, etc.), what if you are in the outskirts with not many people there? You may not get an answer. Also, if you were in a crowded city, even a distance of 500 m may send the notification to more than 1000 people, wasting their time and clogging your app with answers. Therefore, the radius could be determined by the density of people around. A hundred users sounds like a reasonable number to notify. Even with a poor answer rate, at least 5 to 10 people will look at your notification on time and at least 2 to 3 will know the right answer to your question.
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Michaela D
Michaela D11 days ago
Good idea! Maybe a maximum distance would still make sense though. In areas with very few users, the app would risk becoming irrelevant (and annoying) if users 500km away receive notifications. The maximum distance can also be analogous to the population density as well as the app user density in the area. That is to correct for isolated areas and areas that do not have many users yet.
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Erasing answers after a while

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni May 11, 2022
Even on Quora, multiple similar answers exist. Although they do not get upvoted and rank higher, and people do not read beyond the first few answers, it is a waste of space. The app you have proposed is different than Quora with regard to the timely answer required by the user. Unlike, Quora, you don't want the answer tomorrow or the next week, you want it now.
I think that all answers could be erased within an hour or at the end of the day. This will be useful for questions that have dynamic answers. For example, to watch a rally up close, I could ask for its exact location on the app. Users could send me the location or the address. The rally moves places and people follow it to the end. However, the rally or any kind of procession/ fiesta happens once a year, and may not go via the same street and at the same time every year. Therefore, the answers to such questions become pointless after the moment has passed. If such answers are upvoted, they will give the wrong impression to the next reader. They may get upvoted on that day and stay at the top.
Going through a lot of conflicting answers and using your judgment to pick one is nothing less than using Google.
Is there any other way where the right answers (at the right time) stay on top? May be provide a toggle option between "recent" and "most upvoted" answers as we have on this platform?
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw14 days ago
Yes, this is along the lines of what I had in mind. You need to be able to find a balance between not wasting space with old information and not having the same questions repeated daily. I was thinking answers could be erased after about a week, or a month, that way it is still up to date, but popular questions would only need to be answered once a month or so.
Alternatively, if the user base is large enough, keywords and algorithms would ensure that one person does not regularly receive the same question.
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Advertise the app with a smart question in crowded public places

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Michaela D
Michaela D May 11, 2022
Place smart posters with a QR code in places where people gather. This way it will be easier to find faster users that would reply to their questions. Examples of places are public squares, malls and tourist attractions.
The poster can already advertise a question. For example: " Do you know what is the place in town with the best view / sunset / nature walk? " Or " Do you know where is the nearest point where you can get X? " Of course, the app team would already have contributed a few answers beforehand.
Also, for some, it may get annoying to receive many notifications for random things. So how about having categories of questions and the option to only receive notifications for some of these, like medical emergencies?
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw14 days ago
Yes, that's a great idea! It would be like unmanned information desks in public areas. There could also be a screen with relevant questions that have recently been answered to limit the number of repeat questions from a certain area.
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General comments

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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic15 days ago
Locals definitely provide better info than Google. They also give you the latest info.
The only thing that users would need to be cognizant of is offering advice, which can have legal ramifications. As an example, hotel staff can't tell you about places to visit because something bad may happen to you there, and you can sue that organisation/individual for giving you ill advice.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw15 days ago
Goran Radanovic I did not think about potential legal problems. I wonder how platforms like Quora get around it?
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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic15 days ago
Spook Louw I also wanted to add that the platform would need to verify locals to avoid scammers, criminals and other bad characters.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw15 days ago
Goran Radanovic I was envisioning such a platform to make use of a phone's location services to determine who the users within the set radius are.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw15 days ago
I am aware that Facebook also allows you to ask a question and mark your location, but again, I believe just having a question hanging in the air is different from actually sending a question to a real person on their phone through a push notification.
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