On Feb. 15, seniors Jeff Rosen ’11 and Doug Von Kohorn ’11 launched Campus Advice, a question-and-answer network exclusively for Yalies. Like a mini version of Yahoo! Answers, the site allows students to post questions about campus life and answer questions posted by their peers. As of Saturday night, the site has attracted 134 registered users and questions about everything from easy majors to Toad’s etiquette. Rosen and Von Kohorn joined us to tell us about their creation.
Q. So what is Campus Advice?
JR. Campus Advice is basically a question-and-answer resource for Yale students. It’s a place where any Yale student can ask any question on any topic, and hopefully get some great answers from other Yale students. Yale students just have collectively the most unbelievable knowledge base and experience base, and you can get amazing perspectives from other people. We wanted to put a place together where everyone can access that.
Q. What was the process of setting up the site?
JR. The idea came to me my sophomore year, so about two years ago. This fall I happened to be talking about it with Doug, who’s one of my best friends and also an incredible programmer, and we took it from there.
DVK. After I heard the idea we looked around for some base code we could use, and we made it into the website you see today. I think we worked about two hours a night for what, like two months? Three months?
JR. Three months, and I think it was more like four hours a night.
DVK. I try to suppress those memories.
Q: When did the site finally launch? How many users do you have now?
JR. It launched February 15. For registered users, we have more than 130. In terms of people visiting the site, people who just read but haven’t registered, it’s way more. We’re getting over 2,750 page views a day. There are over 400 questions, answers and comments.
Q. Did you create the site because you felt this kind of forum for questions was missing at Yale?
JR. Absolutely. If you have this question and you really need advice, you have a few options, but I really think none of them are great. You can ask your friends, and your friends might happen to be able to help you out, but they might not. You can go to Yahoo Answers!, but that’s really messy and the chance of getting good advice is pretty low. You can try Facebook, but again you’re limited to your own social network. The idea here is to let people be anonymous, so they can feel free to talk about whatever they want to talk about, and to be able to tap into all of Yale.
Q. Have you been surprised by some of the questions people have asked?
JR. There have been a few funny ones. A few of them are like about Toad’s which I wasn’t expecting, but I thought it was pretty funny. But we’re really open-minded about it. Random stuff, funny stuff, even obscure stuff is fine; we just want to encourage as much participation as possible. The more questions and answers that are there, the better a resource it’ll be.
Q. You’re both seniors this year. What’ll happen to the site after you graduate?
DVK. It doesn’t require much upkeep on our part, and I think it’s just a great resource. I don’t see why we would take it down after we leave.