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The Top 5 Reasons Why You Hate Quora

Quora Official LogoSo you’re looking to the answer for a question.  Maybe it’s not a technology question but maybe you have a question about history, politics, world affairs, sports, or business.  So you innocently Google your query and then scroll through the results.

Pop quiz: do your eyes automatically filter out everything from Quora?

Mine sure do.

Quora is a Q&A-type website that has been around since 2009.  If you think “Q&A” website, you probably think of StackExchange, a family topic-oriented sites that allow you to ask/search/answer questions on a variety of subjects.  StackExchange has excellent engineering, robust moderation, and detailed guidelines.  While I find the limitations of their content policy difficult sometimes – people would really like to be able to ask “what’s the best…” questions! – you can’t argue that the site is not well-organized and designed.  SE has obviously put a lot of thought and work into carefully delineating what it offers to prevent abuse.

With Quota…well it’s not like that.  Quora sucks.  Let me tell you why.

1. Quora expects you to login.  This has been relaxed a little bit over the years but still remains: if you want to see answers, you have to set up an account.  It’s silly and frustrating to be looking for an answer, find something that might be it on Quora, and then have to register and login only to find it was some jackwagon ranting.  Hence, many of us simply filter out Quora results.  I notice that StackExchange doesn’t have this limitation…

2. Moderation is automated.  There appears to be very little human oversight of Quora, and answers are randomly flagged, deleted, or mangled.  Just think of any human discussion area and ask yourself how well it would work if you had a machine grepping words and trashing posts because of that.

Here are some comments on Quora itself describing the moderation:

  • “It’s the most random and stupidly set up ‘moderation’ system I have EVER seen”
  • “hocus pocus”
  • “inconsistent, or at least consistently unpredictable”
  • “Quora’s moderation apparently works as a dictatorship in which their moderators threaten to ban anyone who makes a statement they don’t personally agree with”

Quora both removes posts and “collapses them” (which makes them invisible in search results) for seemingly arbitrary, computer-chosen reasons.

3. It’s infested by Chinese propaganda.  Go check out this link (you’ll need an auto translation from your browser if you don’t speak Chinese), published in the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party.  The article discusses Quora by name as a means by which China can “Use the overseas Q&A platform Quora to improve the international communication effect”.

4. There’s no one at the wheel to root out abuse.  There’s the old case (cited on Wikipedia) of the woman whose photo was posted on Quora against her will by an answerer who defamed her and encouraged others to harass her.  People behaving badly on the Internet is nothing new, but Quora ignored her requests to remove it and only acted when there was online outrage.  I guess if no one is watching moderation, they’re not guarding against abuse or handling appeals either.

5. Answerers have to use their real name.  Oh, no, wait they don’t, though Quora still “expect[s] most people will continue to use their real names”.  That immediately turns off a large number of people who will never contribute and that attitude grows every day.  A lot of people will share information about battles with alcoholism, adultery, abuse, crime, etc. but not with their real name.  Even on mundane topics, who wants some coworker to google some goofy comment or technical bad advice they gave 10 years ago and trot it out in the lunch room?

Believe it or not, Quora values itself at nearly $2 billion, though that’s its own investors talking not real external analysis.  It laid off people two weeks after the start of the pandemic (because people have fewer questions now?).  Was that the beginning of the end?  We can only hope.

2 Comments

  1. Susan:

    Yea Quora is a trip. Some of the silliest questions asked with some real doozy answers.

    I cannot recall finding anything there that has helped me, in any way.

    October 12, 2022 @ 3:43 pm | Reply
  2. I think the main reason why we hate quora is it required our real name when answer.

    November 2, 2022 @ 12:57 am | Reply

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