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Fluther launches 'Federated': Q&A for any site

Fluther's new platform lets sites embed its question-asking framework off of Fluther.com, bringing the Fluther community along for the ride.

Fluther jellyfish

Questions-and-answers service Fluther is unveiling a new platform on Monday that lets companies integrate the Fluther community, and its real-time Q&A interface into their Web sites.

The platform, which is called Federated Fluther, can be skinned to match whatever site it's on, bringing the same feature set and functionality found on Fluther.com. Any questions that are asked on that site can then be answered both by its users, and those back over on Fluther. Likewise, the answers from either community end up in the same bucket--something that for sites with a smaller community can mean those questions get more eyeballs, and hopefully answers, than they would have had a chance to before.

Owners of the site where the Federated Fluther module has been placed get administrative controls over what content gets ported over, so if there's a question that doesn't fit within the confines of the site, it doesn't have to be shown. Another layer of control is that the Federated Fluther module can be tied into a site's user registration platform, so that a user does not need to set up an account over on Fluther to sign in and ask or answer questions.

The program is currently in private beta, and sites that want to implement it need to apply. Currently, the only third-party site that has been part of a month and a half long trial running up to a public release is The Sierra Club, which has built it into its GreenHome site. There, its users have asked some 35 questions, all of which have been answered.

Below is what it looks like on Fluther, then back on The Sierra Club's site:

Fluther on two sites
Federated Fluther takes questions asked on third-party Web sites and shares them with the Fluther community. It can be skinned to look just like the site it's on, as you can see from the image on the right. Screenshots by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

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