Distributed searching via bug-tracker

I've seen, somewhere, a web-site at which one can ask questions and, somehow, they have people who get back to you with answers; a human-assisted internet search system. I just woke up (2008/Dec/16, 5am) with the idea that this is actually a potential use for a bug-tracking system. Crucially, it would be reasonably straight-forward to arrange for such a system to engage volunteers, who are good at searching for information on the internet, in helping others find the information they want.

The biggest bug on the internet, after spam, is that (for all that Google and Wikipedia help a lot) it isn't always easy to find the information we're looking for. However, as Linus has observed, many eye-balls make all bugs shallow. So:

A crucial feature of the system would be building up the community of people who find answers to questions and contribute them so as to resolve bugs in such a system. This would principally focus on getting such people to register as users, although provision should be made for letting anonymous users also provide answers. Those running the system – e.g. the supplier of a bug-tracking system, using this project to show off the system's features – would serve as a core group of users with special privileges within the system (e.g. ability to delete inappropriate content or ban users who routinely do unwelcome things) and could select other registered users to whom to extend extra privileges, based on those users' track-records of behaviour within the system.

I particularly think of this as a good way for a supplier of a bug-tracking system to show-case its functionalities.

I don't see such a system displacing Google, but it might well complement the more familiar ways of searching for information on the internet. A few organizations and businesses have the ability to set up such a system and at least some possibiliy of a motive:

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