Gini Dietrich

Quora Is Not for Normal People

By: Gini Dietrich | March 9, 2011 | 
99

Although she meant it for Facebook question of the week, Abbie Fink asked us about Quora and I thought I’d answer it today AND do a video question of the week, from another Facebook friend, tomorrow.

She asked, “Quora: Do or do not. Why or why not? Figured I’d rather ask you than ask Quora.”

My response?

Do not.

At first I was really pleased with Quora. Want to know which parts of The Social Network are true? Dustin Moskovitz (Facebook co-founder) is there to tell you.

Want to know how to successfully pitch Mashable? Ben Parr is there to tell you.

Want to know how to successfully pitch TechCrunchRobert Scoble, Ben Parr, and many others provide answers.

Want to know if Amazon is working on an Android eReader? One of the guys who is working on the programming gives you the answer (yes).

Pretty cool, right?

Well, it turns out it’s just a place for the insiders. If you’re one of those named above, your question (and answer) gets published and ranked higher than, say, me. And there has been a lot of chatter about the editors changing your question, if they don’t like the way it’s stated, sometimes taking it completely out of context.

Your question or answer can be voted down. And you can even be kicked off the site. All because one of the editors doesn’t like the way you’ve stated something.

So it’s not really an open web forum that allows you to get true and honest feedback. It’s a Q&A site (albeit a pretty cool one, even though Yahoo! Answers has 100 million users and they, well, do not) that is run by people who can change your question, mark down your answer, or remove you altogether.

The cool part is that there is very little spam (has anyone noticed a significant increase in spam on LinkedIn lately?!) and you have to use your real name, but brands aren’t allowed there yet.

Sure, your employees can get on there and represent you, but until they allow companies, it’s not going to be a very useful tool and one we won’t recommend to clients.

My recommendation: Check it out. Search on there for answers, if you have a question that is too large for Twitter (see what New York Times columnist David Pogue has to say about that). But don’t spend a lot of time or effort on it.

What’s been your experience with Quora? How would you answer Abbie’s question?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

Spin Sucks in Your Inbox

99 responses to “Quora Is Not for Normal People”

  1. jgwhitt says:

    Great post. I think you’re right, more of an insiders’ club. In many ways, that is cool in and of itself because it becomes a more credible source for info.

  2. ginidietrich says:

    @jgwhitt I agree with that – it is pretty darn cool to see those people on the site and, gasp, talk to the normal people! But it’s also pretty frustrating to ask a question only to have it changed and lost its meaning.

  3. faybiz says:

    G- perfectly succinct way of explaining it. I quote myself a while from January on Quora:

    “if you need someone to tell if it is worthwhile, then it probably isn’t”

  4. ginidietrich says:

    @faybiz Which makes me think, ‘If you need to say you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably not.”

  5. ginidietrich says:

    @faybiz Want to show donpower how tagging works. Thanks for being my guinea pig.

  6. jgwhitt says:

    @ginidietrich You’re right, that is frustrating if they take it out of context and then you end up asking yourself why you asked the question in the first place. It is especially a problem if they rework a question simply to enhance their own position.On the flip side, we could also see it as part of the social experience. If you think about having a conversation with someone, often questions are reformulated to steer a discussion in a certain direction. You see that happening with Twitter, when RTs are reworked to the 140 characters or when someone reworks the headline of an article they are tweeting about to make it more interesting for their followers. I think there is value in that. It is just frustrating for us when we wanted to get another point across or a certain answer to a question but what you wrote gets hijacked.

  7. BobReed says:

    Great post, Gini. The “editing” part of Quora questions leaves me to believe that honesty and transparency aren’t part of the equation here. The interaction between people can deliver clarity, which can be far more useful,

  8. ginidietrich says:

    @BobReed Yep. That’s why I much prefer Twitter. But to Pogue’s point, sometimes you have a question that is just too big for Twitter.

  9. ginidietrich says:

    @jgwhitt You know, that’s a great point. Things every day are reworked for our own benefit. But I think the issue with Quora is your first point – they rework some questions to enhance their own position. There is no transparency or authenticity in that. I’m OK with people answering my question in a way that benefits them, but don’t change the way I asked the question. It’s not representative of me and I don’t like that.

  10. ginidietrich says:

    @BobReed P.S. Fun to see you around here the past few days!

  11. Gini,

    The folks at Quora are also nice enough to reward the folks that take the time to answer a question posed, thoroughly… with a nofollow link back.

    JL

  12. BobReed says:

    @ginidietrich Trying to take the time to get out of my client “hair on fire” bubble.

  13. LiamDennehey says:

    Quora seems to be more noise. There are enough tools to get answers to questions, but I’ll check it out for a week or two and see if it is actually useful.

    Does anyone know anything about Loffles.com or who’s behind it? Looks like a new start-up, but the pre-launch effort is pretty impressive with the graph. Let me know!

  14. ShellyKramer says:

    Censorship – anywhere, well, in my book, that’s just wrong.

  15. jgwhitt says:

    @ginidietrich Good point – no one wants to be misrepresented. I think there is something to be said about maintaining an editorial quality or better yet, integrity, even on social platforms.

  16. andrewatideal says:

    I think you’re mis-understanding the power of Quora somewhat – though I too am still getting used to the water over there and have pretty much just been lurking for a while.

    The key thing with Quora, I believe, is that it ‘s a platform whereby experts can teach things to those who are interested in the knowledge they have. And since businesses can out spend or out teach (http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/09/you_can_outspen.html) their competition, Quora is actually a free advertising platform where you can share your knowledge.

    I think you’re erring if you ignore the opportunity Quora is giving you, especially someone with your domain knowledge. You have a lot you could teach people over there.

  17. andrewatideal says:

    I think you’re mis-understanding the power of Quora somewhat – though I too am still getting used to the water over there and have pretty much just been lurking for a while.

    The key thing with Quora, I believe, is that it ‘s a platform whereby experts can teach things to those who are interested in the knowledge they have. And since businesses can out spend or out teach (http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/09/you_can_outspen.html) their competition, Quora is actually a free advertising platform where you can share your knowledge.

    I think you’re erring if you ignore the opportunity Quora is giving you, especially someone with your domain knowledge. You have a lot you could teach people over there.

  18. timjahn says:

    I’ve found it can be a good way to use your existing content as a resource for people who might not have otherwise seen it.

    I think it’s definitely a tool worth putting in the toolbox, but not the end all be all.

  19. timjahn says:

    @andrewatideal “I think you’re erring if you ignore the opportunity Quora is giving you, especially someone with your domain knowledge. You have a lot you could teach people over there.”

    Bingo. When harnessed positively, I think Quora can be a useful tool for spreading awareness of knowledge.

  20. marksherrick says:

    I took a couple looks around the place, and I just don’t like it…its like digg crossed with the wikipedia discussion pages, but done in a way to make it more annoying. But to have it not be completely open, that’s rediculous, and its what will make or break that site when either the right or the wrong people find out.

  21. timjahn says:

    @ShellyKramer Any web site/service you’re using now can censor you at any time.

  22. KenMueller says:

    I think you hit it. Social needs to be more open and less contrived and controlled. I see things like Quora as being very niche: only useful to some, and it gives rise to a hierarchy, whereas one of the beauties of Social media is that it levels the playing field.

  23. JenFongSpeaks says:

    I completely agree with you. I have been on and attempted to participate. But I’ve found the “editorial” group intensely frustrating. What if you don’t agree with what the editors think? Even if you have vastly more experience in the field? Doesn’t matter. And that, I think, mitigates the usefulness of the place. Sure, there is cool and useful info. But it doesn’t allow for the whole picture. Plus I don’t think the interface makes it easy to find what you need quickly. And who has all day to spend on Quora? I’ve moved on for now.

  24. JenFongSpeaks says:

    @timjahn @ShellyKramer But they don’t to the level that Quora is. Almost every point I’ve made there has been edited by someone, whether they have the expertise or not. That, I think, is the issue.

  25. sacevero says:

    I think Quora is useful in some ways, and in other ways causes some frustration. I’ve used it both to crowdsource answers for blog posts, such as my post on “Pitching through social media, yea or nay?” (which received answers from techcrunch and PR pros like Richard Laermer) and also to respond to inquiries about press releases (I work for Vocus/PRWeb). To me, it has been useful in that aspect. However, the “voting down” of answers is a downfall of the site as competitors can vote down an answer anonymously and the editing of questions and answers makes me uneasy and worried that something might be taken out of context, or edited beyond its meaning, which causes a lot of confusion (it’s happened before and I received some unnecessary backlash).

  26. faybiz says:

    @ginidietrich @faybiz donpower I prefer hamsters…

  27. faybiz says:

    All the Quora rocks folks selling the opportunity to share your knowledge somewhere other than your own space is funny. Like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and others were not enough?

  28. Rachel says:

    I’m with you. I poked around it and found it hard to use and time consuming. Some of the answers are cool, but it does seem like a popularity contesthat I don’t have the time, energy, or right jeans for : 0

  29. Rachel says:

    I’m with you. I poked around it and found it hard to use and time consuming. Some of the answers are cool, but it does seem like a popularity contesthat I don’t have the time, energy, or right jeans for : 0

  30. Rachel says:

    I’m with you. I poked around it and found it hard to use and time consuming. Some of the answers are cool, but it does seem like a popularity contest that I don’t have the time, energy, or right jeans for : 0

  31. ladylaff says:

    I really like Quora and have received some really generous, detailed answers to very specific questions, the quality of which I just don’t get on LinkedIn and other sites. I actually like the downvoting because I think it makes the system more balanced and real. It helps me understand how my answers are genuinely perceived so I don’t get too full of myself. I have had one answer downvoted and frankly, having read it back over and the question it related to, I could see why. And I really appreciate the absence of spam and blatant self-promotion. Finally, if you use Quora for non-work related interests there is some truly amazing stuff in there about music, philosophy and art. I’m digging it for sure.

  32. timjahn says:

    @faybiz The Q+A format of Quora feels more intuitive for answering questions than the fragmented nature of Twitter or Facebook. I’ve yet to do much with LinkedIn, I know they’re supposed to have a great Q+A product too.

  33. timjahn says:

    @JenFongSpeaks @ShellyKramer Agreed about that. The ability for anybody to edit anything is bound to fail eventually.

  34. marksherrick says:

    @timjahn @andrewatideal to be fair, the same was said about Google Buzz/Wave, etc. Besides, if you really think about it, Squidoo already has this type of collaborative market taken care of.

    Having to go out of your way to teach something you already do elsewhere isn’t really a benefit, either.

  35. ginidietrich says:

    @Rachel You have the right jeans to hang out here, though!!

  36. faybiz says:

    @timjahn I don’t disagree with the case that it is a nice format, but I don’t grasp how its better than linkedin’s or facebook’s http://www.facebook.com/questions/ – how is that fragmented?

    I do have issue with Quora turning into a “memememe” promotional thing contrary to what others have said. I’ve been on the site almost since it started and it went downhill fast once they linked everyone and auto sent all those “follows”

  37. SocialMoves says:

    Hey Gina, great topic! Quora is a great research tool to bend the left/right brain curve. I’m continually AMAZED at the amount of time some folks put into their answers (aka: find the time). I’ve had people edit my answers, but one guy actually took the time to send me a personal message to explain the rationale behind each of his edits of my stuff. That’s learning community. Certainly you have the insider clicks gaming the votes for their incestious MO’s. Seen that video before. But otherwise good research tool. Keep up call out The Spin!

  38. SocialMoves says:

    Hey Gini, great topic! Quora is a great research tool to bend the left/right brain curve. I’m continually AMAZED at the amount of time some folks put into their answers (aka: find the time). I’ve had people edit my answers, but one guy actually took the time to send me a personal message to explain the rationale behind each of his edits of my stuff. That’s learning community. Certainly you have the insider clicks gaming the votes for their incestious MO’s. Seen that video before. But otherwise good research tool. Keep up the good deed of calling out The Spin!

  39. Shonali says:

    I haven’t used Quora a lot, and am still trying to get my arms around it. I certainly don’t think it’s a “Twitter killer” or anything like that, and I can certainly see its value in getting answers directly from CEOs and true experts.

    One of the things I’m trying is, rather than follow people back automatically on Quora, just because we’re connected on Twitter, for example, is to follow questions instead. I get more value that way, and I really don’t see the point of following someone just because they’re there (and that goes for my “follow attitude” across the board). If anything, following a range of people will probably dilute my Quora stream to the point where completely random Q&As – that I have no interest in – will show up, making my experience even less valuable.

  40. ginidietrich says:

    @Shonali But you are following me. RIGHT?! 🙂 I don’t think it’s a Twitter killer and I don’t think it’s going to replace blogging. But I don’t think it’s all cracked up to an $86MM valuation, either.

  41. ginidietrich says:

    @SocialMoves Talk more about this left/right brain curve. And I’d like to know more about your answers being changed. For facts? Or opinion?

  42. ginidietrich says:

    @ladylaff That’s because you’re an overly positive person! Be cynical with me! 🙂 Actually, a really, really great point about the personal side of Quora. I can totally see that. I just don’t think it’s something businesses should run to try to understand.

  43. ginidietrich says:

    @faybiz @timjahn I think Yahoo! Answers and some of the other Q&A sites do a better job of the actual Q&A piece of things. But Quora definitely has the social aspect down.

  44. ginidietrich says:

    @sacevero That’s pretty much the same experience I’ve had – I LOVE that you get information from the insiders, but hate the non-transparency of it all.

  45. ginidietrich says:

    @JenFongSpeaks I moved on too…for exactly the same reasons you illustrate.

  46. ginidietrich says:

    @KenMueller Aha! Yes…it gives rise to hierarchy. That’s exactly what bothers me about it, but you said it much more eloquently.

  47. ginidietrich says:

    @marksherrick Maybe you should use it to find tricks for beating me at WWF?

  48. ginidietrich says:

    @timjahn So how do you promote your existing content there?

  49. ginidietrich says:

    @andrewatideal Oh I agree with the idea that experts can teach things to those interested in the knowledge. But I once posted a question that the editors didn’t like. They changed it and it changed the meaning of the question. So I ended up looking like a tool who didn’t know what I was saying/doing. THAT bothers me. The idea that your question (or answer) can be edited without your approval.

  50. ginidietrich says:

    Amen, sister!

  51. ginidietrich says:

    @LiamDennehey I don’t know Loffles. I’ll tell you what. You check out Quora and I’ll check out Loffles. And we’ll compare notes. Fair??

  52. ginidietrich says:

    @FranchiseKing You mean you, gasp!, want a way for people to find you outside of Quora?! Man, you’re demanding!

  53. timjahn says:

    @ginidietrich @faybiz I actually prefer the content of Quora over the social aspects. I’ve never found any useful information on Yahoo! Answers but I find plenty of information on Quora. Might depend on niche and what one is looking for too.

  54. timjahn says:

    @ginidietrich If somebody asks a question that I’m knowledgeable about, I’ll answer it with what I know. Sometimes that might include referencing (and linking to) an interview I’ve done in the past or whatnot.

    The key is to only do it when it’s relevant. If you’re answering questions for the sake of linking to your content with no clear relevance, your answers will probably sink quickly.

  55. timjahn says:

    @marksherrick @andrewatideal I don’t see Quora as out of the way. It’s a specific tool for a specific purpose. Not necessarily needed by everybody.

  56. CesLSU says:

    Not for normal people???? I’ll be signing up immediately!

  57. ginidietrich says:

    @CesLSU It’s definitely not for YOU!

  58. Shonali says:

    @ginidietrich LOL, YES, I’m following you. 🙂

  59. @ginidietrich Not only that, I want some freaking link-juice if I’m going to answer questions for free! JL

  60. sacevero says:

    @Shonali I agree with Shonali…I don’t follow people on Quora, I haven’t seen the value yet. More value in following topics and questions. Also agree that it is NOT a Twitter killer…I feel like it was popular for like a week and now it is getting a little stagnant (in the categories I’m following, at least).

  61. ginidietrich says:

    @CesLSU You get to be my guinea pig for donpower

  62. AlanMorrison says:

    I’ve had fun experimenting with Quora. It’s interesting to see, for example, what answers get the most votes. I try to post the answers with pictures (via URLs) to make the answer more appealing, and that helps. I’ve tried being pithy versus being comprehensive, and both can work, depending. Answering a question lots of people are interested in helps. Providing a really useful answer to a popular question helps. And you can cite someone else’s wonderful answer out on the Web, and link to it., and that helps. I did that with this question (http://www.quora.com/Which-place-should-a-technophile-visit-on-a-first-trip-to-San-Francisco-and-Silicon-Valley-in-March-2011), and it was great to see that people from several different countries appreciated it.

    The Scobles of the world get tons more votes than I do because they’ve stored up so much goodwill elsewhere that it plays out anywhere they dwell online, including Quora. The people who matter are smart enough to realize, though, that just because someone got 158 votes for an answer doesn’t mean it’s the best answer.

    You learn what you’re passionate about by the questions you answer and the questions you search for answers to. It’s nice to know that some people actually read what I posted, in some cases liked it, and in others suggested improvements to it. I haven’t had much trouble with editors–they made small, reasonable suggestions for changes. It’s a good service. I wish the personalization were better, but they’ve made strides in that area.

    Preferences differ depending on what you care about. I like Twitter, but don’t use Facebook much. LinkedIn has some value, but I don’t post or dwell there. It doesn’t bother me that Quora’s not for everyone, or that so many of the commenters here dislike it. I do a lot of research, writing, and analysis. Quora’s thoughtfully designed; it’s highly interactive, and gives you good feedback. I don’t like the other Q&A sites at all, except when I’m troubleshooting a computer or something.

    Why can’t it be good for just some of us? The probability of finding someone interesting to follow on Quora is higher than on Twitter. But maybe I’m too much of a wonk.

  63. ginidietrich says:

    @AlanMorrison Wonk? Or not normal? 🙂 I definitely think it can be great for some, but not all. And next time I go to the Bay Area, I’m checking out your Quora answer!

  64. AbbieF says:

    Thank you, Gini, and thanks to all the commentors. Some good information here. I appreciate the insight. I’d been poking around in Quora a bit; it is nice to know others are sharing similar challenges. I knew this would be the right place to ask the quesion.

  65. marksherrick says:

    @ginidietrich Brat! lol. Perhaps I should.

  66. ginidietrich says:

    @AbbieF It definitely is something you should poke around on, but it’s not the end all, be all nor is it something you should advise your clients to use.

  67. ariherzog says:

    As I tweeted you the other day, Gini, I created a Quora account a few weeks ago as a latecomer (despite normally being an early adopter of such trends) and was unimpressed. I clicked around, answered a question here or there, but have not returned. It didn’t inspire me in the way LinkedIn Answers inspires me to constantly ask and answer.

    Part of my skepticism stems from the fact too many so-called A-List bloggers are referencing how amazing the site is — but nobody else is writing about it. Makes one wonder why, eh?

  68. Shonali says:

    @sacevero @ginidietrich Last month, Vivek Wadhwa wrote a really good post (IMHO) on why he doesn’t buy the Quora hype: http://wadhwa.com/2011/01/23/why-i-don%E2%80%99t-buy-the-quora-hype/ – and h/t to hackmanj who pointed me to it.

  69. @ginidietrich sizes up Quora, says it’s not for “normal” ppl — what do you think? http://tinyurl.com/68u9ys2

  70. faybiz says:

    @ariherzog ARi- which big names are still talking about it? most of it seems to have died down…

  71. brelow says:

    Gini, how long have you been on quora? Have you had a lot of interaction?

  72. ginidietrich says:

    @brelow I was on there early on – spent a lot of fourth quarter last year using it. I had a lot of interaction – asked some questions and gave some answers. But when they changed a question I wrote from PR to publicity, I nearly blew a gasket.

  73. ginidietrich says:

    @ariherzog Ha! That’s a great point! Did you see Robert Scoble say it was great and then recant?

  74. brelow says:

    @ginidietrich What’s your username? I’d like to follow you. I haven’t had any types of experiences like that yet. I’ve only been using it for a few months though..

  75. Shonali says:

    @ginidietrich Since we’re sharing… :p – what turned me off of it was a couple of experiences. First, I came across a question that asked, “What do people in India eat for breakfast?” I mean – hello! I thought that was absolutely ridiculous – does anyone remember that India is a sub-continent!!! – so I replied saying that that was like asking how people in Alaska have sex.

    Oups! People didn’t like that (though I think a couple did).

    Then, I asked a question about Amplify v. Quora. Someone then asked ME why I was such a fan of Amplify, and did I “do PR” for them, and it was a completely stupid question. That’s when I blew a gasket and in my most frigid tone replied that I certainly did NOT do PR for them, and that since I’d had good experiences with Q&A style posts on Amplify, I was trying to see if Quora stacked up.

    I mean. Really. At least a few months ago, I would see very silly and what I thought were some fairly mean-spirited answers; like I said earlier, I haven’t been on it much lately. When everyone’s an expert, no one’s an expert.

  76. brelow says:

    @Shonali @ginidietrich The marketing opportunities that Quora presents for companies is a growing concern among the site’s users. At times one will step back and ask themselves, “Is this an honest answer or is this a company attempting to garner traffic?” That’s why transparency is very, very important on a site like Quora. Shonali, I notice on your Quora profile you don’t have specific information about the company you work for. I understand privacy but unfortunately, on a site like Quora, posting that information is necessary. It helps filter out the frauds and creates a more open/honest community.

  77. Shonali says:

    @brelow That was so nice of you to go check! You know, I never thought about that; I pretty much use the same bio that I have for Twitter on sites like this. Particularly with sites like Quora and Amplify that are integrating Twitter & Facebook into their platforms, I just figured that would do. I’ve updated it with my business name – thank you for that. @ginidietrich

  78. brelow says:

    @Shonali @ginidietrich Yes, no problem! I hope I didn’t come across as rude. Just thought it may help. I’ve had actual companies post answers to my questions while being very objective. Their goal is to seem informative about the industry and position themselves as thought leaders or opinion leaders within their field.

    For example: I asked this question “How significant are directory-listings in regards to SEO?” Shortly after, I received a great answer from a Yellow Pages company Explore.To. See the question and answers here:

    http://www.quora.com/How-significant-are-directory-listings-in-regards-to-SEO

  79. HowieSPM says:

    I have zero use for Quora. I signed up. I said ‘meh’. I love how new sites and networks come out make a splash everyone goes crazy then it fades away. Chat Roulette anyone?

  80. brelow says:

    @HowieSPM Chat Roulette and Quora are two entirely different entities. I don’t think it gets more opposite than those two actually haha. That’s a tough comparison to make.

  81. ginidietrich says:

    @brelow You should know: It’s OK to ignore @HowieSPM . He’s kind of a mess. 🙂

  82. ginidietrich says:

    @Shonali That’s right! I forgot about the Amplify v. Quora one! I wish I’d remembered that so I could have included it as an example here.

    And asking how people in Alaska have sex – LOL!!

  83. Shonali says:

    @brelow You didn’t come across as rude at all; I thought it was very nice of you to do that. If I thought you were being rude, I probably would have just swished my hair and sat on my high horse. :p

  84. OldMrBill says:

    Signed up w/Quora in late December 2010. Have had nothing but wannabe MLM’rs following me and sending me emails about their miracle methods for making millions on the Internet. What a waste of cloud time!

  85. ginidietrich says:

    @OldMrBill What?! You don’t want to make millions on the Internet!? 🙂

  86. AlanMorrison says:

    Hmm… I haven’t had this problem at all on Quora. Must be your oodles of charm and joie de vivre that attracts them. @OldMrBill

  87. OldMrBill says:

    @ginidietrich Oh, I’ve already made my millions on the Internet, that’s why I don’t need anymore new methods to do so. NOT! Today, I am in the business of “making water” from air and selling it. Not making millions, but I am making a living.

  88. OldMrBill says:

    @AlanMorrison Yes Alan, that’s it. Or maybe it’s just my past history of gullibility. No, it’s definitely the charm and joie de vivre.

  89. cendrinemedia says:

    Hello Gini:

    Thank you for posting this! I have to admit that Quora looked promising at first sight. I signed up and tried answering some questions. Then editors started changing most of the things I was writing. While typos happen (and I am grateful for people pointing them out), what I do not like is when someone tries to completely rewrite my answers.

    So, I figured that since I was not deemed good enough, I had rather focus on other sites.

    To me, the service is not worth the hype.

  90. ginidietrich says:

    @cendrinemedia Sucks, doesn’t it? I’m with you – if they’re going to change what I say, I don’t want a part of it.

  91. […] I guess we don’t have to worry about not liking Quora any longer. Because Facebook questions are […]

  92. estgomdna says:

    I signed in on Quora looking for some answers about a product who boasts about using linux servers but don’t offer linux based desktop support and to express how hipocritical these companies can be and was blocked from Quora because I have to use my real name. These people actually use the information you provide on your facebook and can censor you freely if you express anything that sounds incoherently (against their ideas). So for me QUORA SUCKS! and big time. 

  93. CharlesWood1 says:

    I was extremely offput by Quora because I couldn’t even -look- at it without signing in with Facebook, creating a password, and validating my email address (which signed me up for a newsletter). And then it mined my Facebook profile for as much information about me as it could, which it fed into its question engine without telling me.  It looked like I was going to get a useful answer out of it, but instead I got so irritated with them that I stopped looking for an answer to my question and googled their contact page (which is not clearly listed) so that I could send them a rant about this behavior.

    Very bad form, Quora!

  94. Quorasucks says:

    2014 Update : Quora’s abusive admin problem has proliferated out of control. They are now silencing and banning people without explanation daily, simply because they don’t feel your answers contribute anything to Quora (not explanation, obscure site policy on noticeboard) or they don’t like your name. It feels like a site run by ban happy 15 year olds out to save the world. Someone explain to me how this is different to cyberbullying.

    And then those same ban happy admins feel free to write sarcastic bigoted answers themselves but hey who’s going to ban them, themselves?

    It’s a real eye opener when you examine the candidate list of best answerers for 2014 and find that 10% of them have been banned.

  95. Craig_Hubley says:

    I agree completely with user “Quorasucks”.  My experience is that Quora has abusive admins who (either individually or as a group, Marc Bodnick himself claims all admins are consulted on every decision) simply ban those they think are politically incompatible with their corporate goals.  Bodnick has elaborate and lovely-sounding explanations of how the “policies” supposedly work, but they are demonstrably false.  That is, any investigation into the actual blocks and bans that real users have experienced, almost immediately turn up violations of the rules Bodnick states.  Unlike Wikipedia there is no ArbCom or any other user-run board or appeal mechanism, merely a cabal that supposedly responds to comments at “appeals@” or “moderation@”. 

    Yet, people are regularly blocked and banned and notified by Quora messages *THAT DO NOT EVEN CONTAIN THOSE EMAIL ADDRESSES* to inform them that they have these “appeals”.  That is just one of many direct contradictions between practice and the policies Bodnick states.

    Unlike Wikipedia Quora is privately owned and thus it will never be worthwhile for any serious resistance to this tendency to political and corporate censorship to evolve.  Why make exactly the people abusing you, richer, by wasting your own unpaid time critiquing their abuses and inconsistencies?  It just isn’t worth it, and it never will be.  Especially as Quora works only in English and accordingly will never be reflective of world opinion on many issues.  Wikimedia Foundation, which seeks credibility in all languages, has at least some incentive to care if the French- or Spanish- or Arabic-speaking world would utterly reject some preposterous belief.  Quora has ever reason however to facilitate climate denialists, other science denialists such as evangelical Christians, torturer and war crime advocates, people who sneer at international law, etc., because those generally right-wing audiences pay a lot of money to propagate their drivel.

    So if Quora is to become ad-supported, building audience tolerant of irrational beliefs that are widely held by rich Americans, Israelis, British and Canadians, may well be a good business plan.

    Thus not only is Quora not any good, and driving its good users away, it’s going to get worse.  Much worse, as the structure of the project necessarily will lead it away from rational thought and facilitation of rational debate.  Its future is as an echo chamber for the US and UK far right, and that’s a direct consequence of how it’s structured (as a private corporation), how it doesn’t care if it meets its own rules (re moderation, appeal, etc.).

    By contrast, Facebook is almost never accused of bald political censorship as Quora often is.

    Wikimedia has a transparency albeit complex appeals mechanism that even its own founder(s) abide by.

    Quora also has a weak ranking system that results in “down vote cabal” hiding good answers from sight if they contradict the ruling clique, a problem Wikipedia also had in its early days (via reverts not down votes, but same idea).  Every user getting one absolute vote on every single answer is a bad system, worse even than Slashdot’s, though having 1 vote up or down is nicer than just 1 vote up.

    I must agree 100% with Quorasucks also that:

    “And then those same ban happy admins feel free to write sarcastic bigoted answers themselves but hey who’s going to ban them, themselves?

    It’s a real eye opener when you examine the candidate list of best answerers for 2014 and find that 10% of them have been banned.”

    At Quora, quality is not job one, it’s not even job ten.

  96. Craig_Hubley says:

    ginidietrich cendrinemedia The Quora system allows others to edit your answers by “suggesting” edits.  I have not seen any examples of having “suggested edits” that come with block or ban consequences if the suggestion is refused, but I suppose that they could be doing that.

    Wikipedia works *BECAUSE* people “change what you say”, but of course, the attribution is clear in the edit history.  No one is framed up as having said what they didn’t say, which is a major problem of some wiki software that permits edits to be removed absolutely from the record.

  97. Craig_Hubley says:

    Quorasucks Agreed, it’s gotten seemingly worse since October, with blocks and bans now being issued without the notice so much as including any mention of the moderation@quora.com or appeals@quora.com accounts supposedly set up to dispute such decisions.  It’s very obvious that Quora is degrading even in meeting its own inadequate rules.

  98. Craig_Hubley says:

    https://www.quora.com/Quora-Downvote-Cabal is a good intro to the various claims about a “Quora Downvote Cabal” and the answers given by officers of the company, notably Marc Bodnick, denying that it does or can exist.  This is a slightly different problem than blocks and bans, and a more insidious one, as downvotes keep people wasting their time participating but no one sees their answers, or least without the special effort of uncollapsing them (few do that).

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