Today I came across a new site called Knoji. The site bills itself as a Knowledge Network, and I can see where they’re going with this. Knoji is a lot like Facebook, in that its very social, with lots of ways to connect, share content, and “like” stuff, but its all about sharing knowledge.
When you first come to the site, you are greeted with some highlights of discussions happening on the site. What I liked about the site initially was that it seemed particularly well organized, there are lots of topics, but its easy to scan them and navigate using their menus – the topics also seem very well thought through, and I found some pretty interesting ones, like iPad App Reviews and Architecture. When you drop into a category, you can either check out discussion threads or read articles. In Knoji’s architecture section, for example, you can find enlightened discussion about Hindi architecture, as well as really detailed dissertations such as a discussion and photo gallery of the Cloud in Dubai. Really esoteric knowledge but that’s a good sign that there are people who actually know stuff here.
Really the concept of a Q&A knowledge site is nothing new, but these days its hard to find a site where the people there are really hard core geeks in whatever they’re discussing. Sites like Yahoo! Answers and even Quora have become very generalized places for discussion, where a lot of people come to promote themselves. I find that the best knowledge is to be had in niche forums and BBS boards, which unfortunately can be hard to find when you need them. Knoji feels like a collection of niche BBS communities filled with eclectic folks who are die-hard about their topics. One thing I really liked was that every category had a ranking of the top 10 experts based on community feedback. I really could get a sense that I was meeting people who had a genuine interest in the topics I browsed through, and would feel confident asking a question there.
Knoji has a unique voting system in which members cast votes on each other’s comments and articles, and these votes become the basis for recommending to readers who are the top experts in different categories. I’ve seen a lot of these types of rating systems before, but Knoji does it in a unique way. They actually limit each member to a certain number of votes per day. So the notion of casting a vote is actually more meaningful than if everyone can give unlimited votes. It creates a sort of vote economy that seems to increase the relevance of those rating scores and rankings you see on the site. The guys and gals who made it up to the top of the list didn’t get there very easily – a lot of time and effort goes into the rankings on Knoji.
I also noticed that the Experts on the site can earn revenues based on their performance on the site. I was a little concerned that that might create a commercialized feel to the site, but from what I can see it doesn’t appear to have had that effect yet. Something worth watching, but I guess if people can make an extra buck there while chatting about stuff they love, it just makes it all the more worthwhile.
Overall, my impression of Knoji is positive, and I’ll be back to the site next time I can’t find a good answer on Google, or if I simply want a more tailored answer to my question. I think the site is well designed, has a strong community going, and it will be interesting to watch how they do.