I'm really slow on this but have just come across a superb site called Quora. It's clearly got some supporters over on the other side of the pond and has already gone through two rounds of funding

 It's basically a site where people can pose questions on a variety of topics but unlike other sites, it's very focused on particular topics, it attracts a wide range of specialists and, because of this, it's not anonymous. In fact, it's the policy of the site that members can't post under pseudonyms

What's the really great touch of the site is that you can link to it through your Twitter and Facebook accounts so it's quick to get a handle on what's going on as you can pick up on what the people you follow are gawping at.

The real value is that if you have a technical question - or any sort of question for that matter - you can have some idea whether your query has been answered by some sort of expert in the field or just by some sort of herbert who happens to have come along at that moment. For example, a look this evening revealed that a question about Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has been answered by Andreessen himself, while a question about Gizmodo has been answered by Gizmodo founder Peter Rojas.

It's not difficult to see the value for techies here: a question about a product technology could be answered by senior techie for that product - and while you'd probably get a response from a vendor's website, on Quora you'd get a more objective reply - for example, in talking about products working together.

The whole thing reminds me of that scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are in a cinema queue and hear a fellow-queuer expound on Marshall McLuhan's theories. Much irritated, Allen pulls the real McLuhan on screen to tell the bore, "you know nothing of my theories". Allen says "Wouldn't you like this sort of thing to happen in real life?" Well, with Quora it just might.