Your question has provided an enjoyable opportunity for me to look
back on my own posting history, and on questions that my colleagues
have posted for me.
Here are my conclusions. From my experience, I'd say that there are
four major reasons why a Google Answers Researcher might post a
question that is specifically aimed at another Google Answers
1. To offer compensation because of a customer's explicit request.
Here, for instance, I posted a question to sgtcory, one of my favorite GARs:
Q: Question for sgtcory-ga
The reason for the question: A nice customer had left me a tip, and
asked that it be split between me and sgtcory (who had posted some
great material, but didn't post the official Answer).
Q: Picture with the Pope
In order to ensure that Sarge got his half of the $30, I posted a
$2.00 question. Sarge got $1.50 of the question fee. I then left Sarge
a $13.50 tip, thus providing $15 to one of the nicest guys and
smartest Google Answers Researchers of all time.
2. To offer compensation in thanks for assistance rendered, either on
GA or behind the scenes.
Many times, my good friend bobbie7 has offered valuable material and
links that helped me to answer a question for a customer. And I
sometimes help Bobbie, too. In this instance, Bobbie had contacted me
with a hugely useful piece of information that was instrumental in my
getting a big payoff (I am ashamed to say that I can't remember which
question she helped me with). It was only fair that I share the bounty
with Bobbie, so I posted a question that I thought would be easy for
her and educational for me, and left a nice, big tip.
Q: Recipes from Chile
Sometimes the "assistance" doesn't really have anything to do with GA.
Aceresearcher once posted a question for me in which she asked me to
tell funny stories about my cats. As I recall, this was a reward for
my having given Ace some behind-the-scenes help with an art project
that she was working on:
For Researcher Pinkfreud-ga: Cats
One of the closest friends I have in all the world (although I've
never met him face-to-face) is the incomparable scriptor. He is, among
other things, a film collector, and he has sent me numerous DVDs with
film and television oddities from Germany. There's not much I could
send him in return (unless he wants a cat). So a partial way to show
my gratitude is to post a simple question, and leave a tip:
Q: For Scriptor-ga only: DVD
3. To commemorate a Google Answers milestone.
A few of the questions posted by me (and to me) have had special
congratulatory purposes. When my dear friend boquinha posted her 100th
answer, I wanted to give her an "Attagirl," and this was it:
Q: For boquinha-ga
When I reached my 1000th answer, some of my GAR pals marked the
occasion by posting questions for me:
Q: A few significant facts about the number 1,000? - pinkfreud please
Q: For Pinkfreud: Step over the threshold
4. To cheer up a friend.
As you mentioned in your question, sometimes a Google Answers
Researcher just wants to cheer up another GAR with a little pat on the
back, a smile or two, and a five-star rating to offset the sting of
some of the inexplicable smackdowns from dissatisfied customers of the
I kind of think that this delightful question, addressed to me by the
fabulous mother911, was one of those. I can't remember what I was blue
about, but mother911 knows best, and I was soon "in the pink" after
For pinkfreud-ga ONLY!
I hope this covers the subject of GAR-specific questions to your
satisfaction. Unfortunately, your other question, "Why is it so quiet
here lately?", is beyond my power to answer. Google Answers has gone
through busy times and sluggish times, and this seems to be The Year
of the Slug. Here's hoping that events will conspire in such a way as
to liven things up in the future. For many people, this place has
become more than just a website. It's a community of neighbors, a
library of oddities, and a treasure chest of wonders. Plus, you can
find out what color penguin poop is.