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Here at Stack Exchange we are all about making the Internet better by giving great answers to awesome questions. We periodically check in on individual sites to see how they stack up against the rest of the Internet. This gives us a pretty good idea of which sites are progressing, and which are struggling... But it doesn't do much for you!

To fix that we'd like to tap into the collective wisdom of the experts here. We want to know whether questions here are meaningful and whether they and their answers are easy to find with a Google search. I can think of nobody better equipped to judge that than you, Jewish Life & Learning users and moderators!

Below you'll find ten questions, picked at random from Jewish Life & Learning. Take a look at each, and try to find the answer on Google - then compare what you find to the answer(s) given here. Then leave comments here to let us know whether Google has a leg up on us here or if we are way more awesome than any other site (or somewhere in-between).

The goal here is for you to gauge how much effort you'd have to put in to answer the question if SE wasn't around, and how the results stack up.

Thanks!

P.S. At Double AA's suggestion, feel free to vote on the answers as well. Upvote if we have a better answer here. Downvote if we don't.

Don't worry if you can't look at all 10 questions. Any and all reviews and comments would be very helpful.


This evaluation is now done and closed.

Thank you very much to everybody who's come out, checked out these questions, and voted/commented on them. Your input has been incredibly helpful.

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    Can we define what the votes indicate? ie downvote = could have found this on the wikipedia page of identical title, and upvote = I'm so happy that this site exists. Not everyone will have time to write up 10 comments. – Double AA Feb 23 '12 at 4:29
  • @DoubleAA Sure, that works too. Thanks for the suggestion! – Adam Lear Feb 23 '12 at 4:30
  • Could you please set a deadline for when you plan to collect up the results? – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 8:37
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    @Isaac I'll collect them on Sunday evening EST. Let's say, 6pm. – Adam Lear Feb 23 '12 at 14:51
  • @AnnaLear Just curious: Is this SE's first try at this sort of self-evaluation? Have you run or are you running it on other metas? – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 18:16
  • "Upvote if we have a better answer here. Downvote if we don't.": So downvote if we're equal? – msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 19:26
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    @msh210 Don't vote if it's on par and leave a comment. – Adam Lear Feb 24 '12 at 2:49
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    @IsaacMoses We've tried this before on Gardening. I really appreciate all the comments and involvement I'm seeing here - it's incredibly helpful. – Adam Lear Feb 24 '12 at 3:07
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    Do we see your (plural) take on the results (below) at any point? – msh210 Feb 27 '12 at 2:27
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    @msh210 All this is fairly experimental at this point, so the answer is a firm "maybe". :) For what it's worth, my take on the evaluation was largely in line with the comments here. – Adam Lear Feb 28 '12 at 3:01

10 Answers 10

8

What is the difference between a Kohen Gadol and a Kohen Rosh?

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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    I was unaware of the term "Kohen Rosh" before I saw this question (ignoramus that I am, unfortunately), and googling for "Kohen Rosh" got me nothing useful other than our content, which is direct, well-sourced, and interesting. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 18:14
7

Meaning of the name Sivan

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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    The answer we have provides etymology from the Hebrew WP, not all of which is in the English WP or on any English source that comes up in a quick search. We also provide some explanation of specifically what people probably think of when they use "Sivan" as a name for a person as well as critical evaluation of an incorrect answer found on a baby naming site. I think we provide a service here, and I upvoted. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 8:50
  • @IsaacMoses good point, didn't think of it that way. – avi Feb 23 '12 at 14:15
6

Can someone have more than one potential soulmate simultaneously?

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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    Even the information in the question is better than the answers I found on Google in two minutes. – avi Feb 23 '12 at 6:51
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    Since the question acknowledged a lot of rumor and was seeking a good source, I restricted my search to Google Books. I searched for "more than one bashert|intended" OR "two|seven basherts|intended" spouse|mate|wife|bashert bashert|jewish|torah|judaism|jew and found absolutely nothing. Our two answers each provide some information, though neither is complete, so we're better than Google. +1. – msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 19:14
6

What does the aramaic "pon" mean?

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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    If I knew about the Jastro dictionary this question would be redundant, if I didn't it would be amazingly helpful. up vote or down vote? – avi Feb 23 '12 at 6:54
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    @avi I'd call it even or better, since the answer also teaches about the dictionary. – Adam Lear Feb 23 '12 at 14:57
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    I couldn't find the answer (other than ours) by googling aramaic פּוֹן or aramaic pon. There is an online Jastrow, but I don't think it's OCRed enough to let google get the content inside. Besides pointing out that the information is available there, our community provided interactive support in the comments for understanding what the dictionary entry itself means (some of which maybe ought to get folded into the answer, come to think of it). I think this is a win. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 18:27
5

Shmuel running and walking

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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    I tried to Google for an answer to this and couldn't find one other than the one here. I tried "Shmuel 3:5" running walking, "Samuel 3:5" running walking, and the same without quotes. We, by contrast, have a satisfying answer that is well-sourced. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 8:32
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    I Googled "1 samuel 3" run|hurry walk|go and found (first page, fourth hit) a page with two Christian explanations, one of which matches the explanation in our answer. But Googling thus doesn't (or at least not easily) get me any Jewish perspectives, and "1 shmuel 3" run|hurry walk|go doesn't either, so +1. – msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 19:08
4

Is there a problem with Triangle K? If so, what?

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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  • Google gave stack exchange the first hit on my search "Triangle K kashrut issues"... However I found this article to be more informative than the answers here: newsdesk.tjctv.com/2009/07/… I don't know if thats an upvote or downvote – avi Feb 23 '12 at 6:44
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    @avi, If there's another source out there that's easily findable and better, then that's a downvote for ours. The fact that we've put a worse resource higher on the search results is no favor to the Internet. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 13:19
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    I found the answers on stackexchange to be helpful in laying out the parameters for concern (which seems to be the intent of the question). Most of what I could find on Google was either confusing (imamother.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16720) or didn't address the issues. – none Feb 23 '12 at 16:03
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    We have several questions on the site in the same vein. "What do some people find wrong about a certain hechsher?" There is not any real answer. We should have one general question that asks "What issues might people have with Kosher Certifications on factory products?" and just list the things people should be aware of (kind of like what I did in this answer). Then, when the question comes up, point them to that answer. – Menachem Feb 23 '12 at 19:58
3

Mashiv HaRuach - V'Sain (veten) Tal Umatar

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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  • I searched for this answer the way I would if I actually had this question, and I never found it. – Hod - Monica's Army Feb 23 '12 at 5:40
  • @HodofHod I think your mixing up voting directions. Downvote means Google had a better result than we did. See the question again. – Double AA Feb 23 '12 at 6:13
  • @DoubleAA " We want to know whether questions here are meaningful and whether they and their answers are easy to find with a Google search." – Hod - Monica's Army Feb 23 '12 at 6:35
  • @HodofHod And your saying you couldn't find it through Google. Isn't that what an upvote is for. – Double AA Feb 23 '12 at 6:37
  • @HodofHod Or are you saying it isn't meaningful? – Double AA Feb 23 '12 at 6:37
  • @DoubleAA I'm saying that I could not find this question on our site by googling it. – Hod - Monica's Army Feb 23 '12 at 6:38
  • @DoubleAA Perhaps you're correct. The general impression I got was that an upvote meant a good, accessible answer. A downvote means a bad, or inaccessible answer. Do you disagree? – Hod - Monica's Army Feb 23 '12 at 6:41
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    @HodofHod "Upvote if we have a better answer here. Downvote if we don't." – Double AA Feb 23 '12 at 6:42
  • @ Anna, @DoubleAA, True, but what good is an answer if no one can find it? Let's ask. @ Anna, what do you think? – Hod - Monica's Army Feb 23 '12 at 6:47
  • I could not imagine finding the answer to this question with a simple google search. I would have to come here to ask it. – avi Feb 23 '12 at 6:58
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    @HodofHod, I think this evaluation ought to focus on, as stated, the relative quality of what exists here and what's easily googlable from elsewhere. The googlability of what we have here is another issue. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 8:26
  • @Hodofhod Did you find an answer to this question elsewhere? If you did, maybe our question here can be edited to be easier to find. – Adam Lear Feb 23 '12 at 14:55
  • Googling "vesein|vetein|veten tal" "mashiv" december "shemini|shmini" wait|different, all I found relevant was one page, which is (wordier but) less complete than ours about this question specifically: +1. (Otoh, I didn't find out edit: our page using those search terms, so maybe they were the wrong search terms to use.) – msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 19:36
  • @ AnnaLear @msh210 I found nothing at all, not from our site nor any other. I (intentionally) used simpler Google search terms than msh210 because I imagine most people are unfamiliar with the more advanced Googling methods. What do you think? +1|-1 ? (In the meantime, I'll remove it.) – Hod - Monica's Army Feb 23 '12 at 21:30
1

Women saying kadish

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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  • Most hits on the internet say that a woman CAN say Kaddish, so this question asking about the view which goes in the opposite direction of most google hits seems very good for us. Not sure why it was downvoted. – avi Feb 23 '12 at 6:56
  • All we have as an answer is an excerpt of one responsum that's on the Internet elsewhere. Googling woman kaddish results in a results page that contains many high-quality pieces, including both responsa and literature summaries. It may be possible to make an original contribution by looking at a bunch of these and synthesizing a more comprehensive list of arguments against, but I don't think we've done that. I vote down. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 17:58
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    This question asked specifically for reasons a woman should not say kadish, not for reasons pro. I Googled woman kaddish, expecting to find many results irrelevant to that specific question, so only clicked on promising results. Among those, I found none that did anything like what we do. We list four sourced reasons clearly and succinctly, without the 'noise' of arguments pro and similar. +1. (Otoh, I don't know how Googlable our own page is for someone who wants just its content: but that's not what this evaluation is about, right?) – msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 19:44
1

Games (on Shabas) that involve writing: whose writing?

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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  • There is a lot of conflicting information about this question on the internet, an expert who could answer this question would be great. So far nobody has though. upvote or downvote? – avi Feb 23 '12 at 6:49
  • Is this evaluation meant to include "unanswered" questions? This question has one answer with only downvotes on it and appears on the Unaswered list. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 8:36
  • @Isaac Thanks for catching that. Is it a good question or something that's likely to remain unanswered? – Adam Lear Feb 23 '12 at 14:53
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    @AnnaLear It's a highly nuanced question, which might get answered if someone sufficiently learned in the topic finds the time to answer it. – avi Feb 23 '12 at 16:09
  • AnnaLear and @avi, I think it's a good and interesting question that could be answered based on the sources that deal generally with the principle of making rules based on how the average person acts. We haven't done that yet. This is unfortunate, because if there's an answer to this question already out there on the Internet (unlikely), it would probably be very difficult to google for. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 18:03
0

Which came first the Mishnah Torah or the Pirush HaMishnayos

Better than, worse than, or similar to other sites out there?

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  • I found the answer using Google to Wikipedia in under 2 minutes. – Double AA Feb 23 '12 at 6:17
  • It's possible to assemble the information from Wikipedia, but it took me some doing. I found the dates for the M"T in its article and the dates for the Commentary on the Mishna in the general Rambam article. The Rambam's chronological literary biography is available on the net if you search the right way. However, the answer we have here directly answers the question, pulling information straight from the Rambam's metadata in the works themselves. I think this is a worthwhile contribution, and I upvote. – Isaac Moses Feb 23 '12 at 18:11
  • Googling "mishneh|mishne torah" "perush|peirush hamishnayos|hamishnayot" publication dates yielded goo.gl/J4TWR as first result. I'd say we're equal, so am voting down per the instructions ("Upvote if we have a better answer here. Downvote if we don't."). – msh210 Feb 23 '12 at 19:24
  • Now Anna Lear's noted "Don't vote if it's on par and leave a comment", so I'll remove my downvote. – msh210 Feb 24 '12 at 5:24

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