elephant

A geolocation-based question-and-answer platform.

Problem

  • Some things are great to ask on Quora! (e.g. “Why didn’t Newfoundland join Canada until 1949?”)
  • Other things are not relevant to people on Quora, but are relevant to people around you. (e.g. “Has the Acme Elementary playground slide has been repaired yet?”)
  • Everything on Yik Yak is relevant to people around you. (e.g. “Who wants to go play beach volleyball at Towne Lake?”)
  • But almost everything on Yik Yak is inappropriate AND it is banned from schools. (No NSFW example will be provided. Visit Yik Yak yourself at your own peril.)

Our solution

  • Ask the people near you!
  • Hackathon-specific examples
    • When is lunch?
    • Does Bobby cheat at table tennis?
    • When is the ping pong tournament?
    • Does anyone want to work on a neural network natural language interpreter?

Structure

  • Room: are planted at a specific geographical latitude and longitude, and can be accessed from users within a certain geographical range. Rooms can be set up for long term such as “Boyd High School” and “Stonebridge Neighborhood”, or short term such as “DefCon 2016” and “IncubateDFW”.
  • Question: Users can submit questions or even just discussion topics to rooms in their geographical area. Other users in the area can anonymously respond to this inquiries in the form of answers or messages. Soon, there will be a “Me too!” button indicating they share the same questions. Popular questions get moved to the top.
  • Answer: Response to a question that is a unique yet anonymous perspective of an Elephant user.

Human Language Processing

Elephant includes human language processing that identifies similar questions in order to eliminate redundant questions and to enhance the experience of our readers.

  • Uses NLTK framework (written in Python)
  • Sends proposed question name to Python API server that responds with possible matches
  • For example, “Is the slide fixed yet?” would be marked as the same question as “Is the playground slide fixed?”, and the user can decide to follow the first question instead of creating a redundant question.

Philosophy

We believe in positively impacting communities by

  • Providing a safe, anonymous source of information
  • Elevating the use of geolocation
  • Offering options for a plethora of different rooms to talk about
  • Helping community members address the “elephant” in the room :)
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