Go Ask Alice!
Go Ask Alice! is an online Q&A Internet resource provided by Columbia University for both students and the general public with questions or curiosity about health topics. The site has no affiliation with the book Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks.
Go Ask Alice! started in the fall of 1993 at Columbia University's Health Promotion Program (now called Alice!). In the fall of 1994, the website went global. A book, The Go Ask Alice! Book of Answers, was published in 1998. Due to the age of many of the answers, and new research and development in the medical field since they were written, many answers have been or are in the process of being updated. The university uses a continuous review and update process to ensure accuracy of the content.
An updated version of the site (third overhaul since it started) was launched on 17 January 2012. The new version of the site includes the core Q&A format, but also introduces new access to health information, alerts, recalls, news items and much more. To build on the site's interactivity, new features (quick quizzes, polls) were included along with full integration with a broad range of social media platforms and the ability to comment & rate questions. In addition to the new look and content, the site has been optimized for readers with visual impairments and also offers an easy to use mobile version for smartphone users. Each week, the site posts new questions and answers and/or updated answers to previously answered questions from the archive. In addition to these questions, the site updates also include a poll, reader responses to older questions, and a "theme of the week" section that includes selected archived questions and answers.
Go Ask Alice! receives about 2,000 questions per week. There are over 3,000 questions and answers in the archive. Questions are organized into 6 meta-categories with dozens of sub-categories. According to the site, readers are provided accurate, culturally competent answers with a range of thoughtful perspectives. Go Ask Alice! is not an individual response site. It usually takes an open stance on topics like homosexuality, premarital sex, abortion, and sex education, emphasizing clinically informed choice and deemphasizing moral guidance. Readers are given information about the topic at hand, then encouraged to both continue to inform themselves and make their own decisions, taking into account their personal moral, cultural, and/or religious beliefs. The service usually provides a fair amount of background information, references, and quotes from experts for those unfamiliar with the subject being addressed.