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Thursday, January 27, 2011

I think my Quora experiment may have run its course

Quora As I wrote here previously, I've been looking at Quora, but I think I may now have come to the end of the experiment. While at first I felt the site might have potential as an educational tool, I have now moved away from that idea. One of the main reasons for this is the problem that other people can retrospectively edit the questions asked. Editing answers is fine, but retro-editing of questions makes the answers given look rather silly, and I certainly don't have time to keep going back to check.

Another smaller frustration is the number of dumb questions being asked, e.g. not Why is the sky blue?, which is a perfectly valid question, but What's wrong with the USA? etc. Ironically, question editing doesn't seem to help with this problem. In addition, when I have asked technical questions, I've received faster, better and more diverse answers from my admittedly more mature Twitter network than from Quora. For these reasons, Quora feels like it has a flawed architecture, not a flexible as a true wiki but overly dependent on the question format gimmick and I won't be investing any more time in it. Time for Stack Overflow?


7 comments:

  1. This is really helpful information; I hadn't known about the retro editing. I will still probably keep following the answers to questions I am interested in, as Quora seems to be able to deliver a number of decent answers, all in the same place.

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  2. As I commented on twitter the other day, answers I've added have been edited by moderators and somehow left me feeling rather inadequate and a bit put out. It made it feel less like a community responding to need and more like wikipedia with a clique of people who were running it and wanted to retain control. Certainly didn't make me feel wanted. Certainly didn't feel helpful. I need both to get my engagement in a social community.

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  3. Thanks for saving me the job of testing it :)

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  4. There is an interesting discussion on this week's Guardian Tech Weekly podcasts that touches on the differences between Quora and StackOverflow (and other StackExchange sites), on the back of an interview with one of the StackExchange founders. The issue of 'open vs closed' questions is highlighted as a key difference

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  5. Sorry - link to podcast I just mentioned http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/audio/2011/jan/25/tech-weekly-audio-ceo-google-apple-spolsky

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  6. I too have been exploring Quora with the intention of seeing if it could be of use in an educational context.

    The thing that excited me, was how in design, it seemed to address many of my dislikes of forums.

    Questions that I'm still pondering is: would the same set-up work well within a defined context and closed community - i.e. with a single student cohort? Would it still fall short?

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  7. @Steve, I personally don't think this would work with a single student cohort. This is a crowdsourcing model based on a large and diverse population.

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