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\"I think sometimes people are looking to avoid going to a professional,\" Mr. Russo said. \"Sometimes it\'s easier to not be face to face with someone.\" Visitors to most of these expert sites can disguise their identities by adopting screen names and can even choose to have their questions and answers hidden from public view.
Mr. Russo gets several questions a day, which he answers while sitting in his den at night, usually after testing his ideas with his family during dinner. Some of the requests he has received, he said, are personal questions about the emotional repercussions of multiple births -- questions that, experts in library science say, are typically not asked of reference librarians or even of counseling professionals, who might seem intimidating.