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I finally understand Quora

Jul 17, 2011

When Quora came on the scene I was excited by the prospect of a questions site that might prove useful. However, after spending some time exploring the site I simply couldn’t find the motivation to stay. I would return from time to time to see what had changed and noticed that the populated data seemed to grow at an incredible rate. However, I just didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Part of the problem was that I was never able to garner valuable information in the sea of data. Quora it seems posses the same characteristic as the class of wikis and black holes; that is, data goes in, but information never escapes. However, I recently returned after following a Clojure-related link regarding the rise of functional programming or some such topic and it was then that the appeal of Quora finally dawned on me.

People LOVE to give their opinion.

In hindsight the realization seems obvious and I must be more dense than I ever imagined to have missed it. Alas, here it is – the secret of Quora. Sadly, I am not sure that this bodes well for Quora. Granted it is a beautiful site and its idea of community classification seems strong, but as a keeper of opinions I fear Quora’s days are numbered. When viewed under this lens it seems obvious what drove the early growth. That is, in the beginning Quora was a vast frontier of unsullied questions awaiting opinion — a virtual pontificator’s nirvana. However, this state can only maintain as long as there are opinions to be provided. Granted the Internet is a veritable cornucopia of opinion, but this is part of the problem. Quora’s competitor is any pretty site willing to provide yet another untainted garden for others’ to plant their sentiments.1

But this is just my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth.2


  1. Don’t get me wrong. Opinions can have real value when they come from people whose judgement you trust or pertain to subjects that you have no basis of knowledge for

  2. In my opinion, nothing. 

9 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Brody

    Have you never heard of the Talmud? ;-)

  2. gettothepoint

    WTF did I just read?

  3. @Brody

    I have. Please remind me which part of the Talmud speaks about the virtues of Transformers 3.

  4. @gettothepoint

    Since a half page of text is too much, I will heretofore restrict my posts to Tweet-sized portions.

  5. Maggie

    You read that Wired article on Quora a while back?

    One of the points it makes it soooo true: that when Quora is good (like with questions about Silicon Valley startups) it’s awesome. But there are few subject areas where it’s good. The few times I tried asking it anything not tech-startup-related, it totally sucked. Methinks the problem is it aims to be too general. Too omno- and uber- and uni-. I think this sort of thing needs niches for people to be motivated to contribute. And simply providing categories is not enough of a niche/motivation.

  6. Maggie

    Dadblastit! I can’t edit the typos in my comments, can I?

  7. @Maggie

    I had not read the Wired article, but I will do so ASAP. Thank you for the link.

  8. Dave

    I was just annoyed at how many accounts it wanted me to link to. Thank goodness for Mozilla and Persona. I sure hope that catches on.

  9. web page

    It’s very easy to find out any topic on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this post at this web site.

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