What is the history of question and answer websites?
My answer to What is the history of question and answer websites? on Quora
I’m afraid this answer will be a little vague, but I worked at Yahoo! back when they launched Answers, and the story I heard was that this category of sites was extremely popular in some Asian countries—particularly countries that didn’t yet have a large number of available native language sites on the Web. Q&A sites filled a valuable gap there by allowing people to discover information online in their own language despite there not being many existing sites.
I wish I could remember which countries were mentioned as examples—this is from a half remembered conversation I had over 5 years ago.