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iHerp Answers : Public Beta 1
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Welcome to the public beta launch of iHerp Answers!

iHerp Answers is a completely new approach on husbandry help. Let's face it, raising these animals can sometimes be difficult. We *ALL* have problems with our animals at some point or another. And we all have questions and like to hear advice from other people on what's working for them, whether it be caging, heating, feeding, breeding, incubation .. the list goes on.

With forums, there is some great information that get posted, but drops off the first page after a few weeks (or days) and is all but forgotten. The question is asked again soon, and the same answers are given. There's really no way to find the information easily.

With iHerp Answers, this knowledgebase was designed from the ground up, based on the iHerp Community (and database within). When you post a question, it's not simply a blank question, it can be tagged, assigned a topic (or a few), and directly related to a species or animal. This is huge.

So when you post something, if you relate the post to the animal, the person trying to help you can see that animal, their photos, the tracking *grins*, and get a MUCH better picture of your problem with little effort on your part.  It's all integrated and designed around our animals, and our care of them. 

Which is why iHerp Answers could very quickly become the largest husbandry resource out there. 

This public beta is more of an Alpha, but doesn't have that catchy ring to it. This part of the website is brand new and has gone under some pretty decent internal testing. However, you may find some bugs, things might not relate properly, just be aware of it. The testing that we have done internally is doing fantastic with what's up there, I think it's more Beta because there's a bit more work to do.

The points system is DEFINITELY in beta. Do NOT worry about running out of points now, or not ask a question because it will cost you (just yet). iHerp Answers points are completely different than your iHerp Site Points. As more questions get added to the system, I will refine the metrics used for points to ensure that they continue to grow nicely.

There is a multiplier (your grade) on a question. So, for example, if someone posts a question worth 50 points, and you get an excellent answer to it, you'd get 50 points times a multiplier (which is set at 2 right now I believe), so the question cost 50 to ask, but there ends up being a possible 100 points to distribute for it. I think this will help in making sure there are points aplenty. The cost of questions may change, the multiplier may change, the default points may change …

So don't worry too much about the points yet. I want to make it fun to play, and a great resource for the community.

When you create a question, you will be asked for “tag” words – words that describe your question and make it easily searchable as the knowledgebase grows.  Include as many as you like that closely relate to your question. You will also be able to choose up to 3 topics for your question. This will also help to categorize the many questions that will be in the database. All of these will enable the Search feature (coming soon!) to find questions and answers when YOU need them.  
Asking a question is a two page process that is fairly simple. You’ll put in your question title, and then if you want to add some tags, you can. Tags are words that help to relate your question to others. So for one of my questions, I used the tags ‘Maternal’, ‘Incubation’, ‘GTP’, ‘Chondro’ when asking about whether I should pull her from the eggs or not. Down the road, when someone has the same problem as me, they can find the tag that’s called ‘Maternal’ and all questions with that tag will come up for them (or you).
Assigning points to a question directly relates to the urgency and depth of your question. People will be more likely to spend time on a high point question.
On the next page, you can pick one to three Topics. Topics are predefined areas for navigation (when that part is done). Then, ask your question. Make sure it’s detailed and comprehensive, the more you put in your question, the quicker you’ll get your answer.
You can add photos to a question also, so if you have a case of mouth rot, lets see it! Take a picture, upload it, and one of the beauties of this system is that those photos are integrated into iHerp Answers. So when you change webhosts, or change photo sites and those photos are gone, they will NOT be removed from iHerp answers. Too many times you see a great thread on a forum which is exactly what you’re looking for, but the images are broken and the thread is not nearly as informational.
And finally, you can associate an animal or species directly to the question. This also helps to consolidate and relate questions. Plus, when you tie an animal into it, people who respond to your thread can meet the animal, see the animals profile, tracking, and get a better grasp on your problem. The integration into iHerp Animals is very useful!
To respond to a question, just type in your answer and submit it. There’s a checkbox next to the comment you are posting to subscribe via email to the thread. That way, when there is more information on the thread you’re participating in, you’ll know it. You can subscribe or unsubscribe to any question whether you are participating in it or not.
When you feel that your question has been answered, it’s time to accept and answer and close it out. You can accept a single answer, or you can accept multiple answers. If you select multiple answers, you have to divvy up the points (make sure they add up to the question value) and each answer also receives a grade. The grading for the answer is Good, Very Good, and Excellent. If someone spent a lot of time with you, or nailed the question, Excellent would be the appropriate grade.
Questions that go unanswered will be deleted by a moderator and points refunded.
Questions that have responses and are not resolved will be given a “last chance” for the asker to do something with it, and if it is not responded to, will be closed out by a moderator and points assigned as they see fit. This is to curb people from asking questions and not assigning the points to others.  
Hope you enjoy the new stuff here, and I’m very hopeful this becomes a great resource for people to get help in becoming better keepers to the kept. Cuz that’s really what it’s all about.
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