If you check out my Quora account, you’ll notice I’ve been around for a while. I don’t say this to brag — because Quora isn’t anything I’m proud of anymore — but I was around for quite a while. I was around when Quora was awesome. Now it’s just as bad as any other moderately successful internet community — 80% useless.
I have to date answered 195 questions and asked 86. This is not at all close to what some other people have done. I just didn’t have the time to become a Master of Quora — it was a tool for me, nothing more. I thought it was cool to have my questions answered, and answer other people’s questions, but I didn’t see it as a community I wanted to engage in. My interest in Quora was intellectual, not social.
My answer to the question “Has Quora lost its way?” gives a snapshot of the very beginning of Quora’s problems. It was a turning point I happened to catch at its birth. Basically, Quora introduced these things called “Boards” which functioned as mini blogs for users to post whatever they wanted. Most people collected links and questions from around Quora and “reposted” them to various boards. It was thinly veiled microblogging, only…no one really cared.
Well, that’s not precisely true. Tons of people cared. Lots of people were into making boards. Few people were reading them. But then, more people started making Quora accounts, finding out about boards, contributing the stupidest questions I’ve ever read in my life, and generally ruining everything.
Not exactly. They were just ruining everything for me. Plenty of other people Quora as a vibrant social network, full of its own memes, its own peculiarities, and its own little weird in-jokes. But the audience has changed since its beginning, and for me, it’s kind of a personal blow.
Great things never last
I saw Quora’s potential early on — it could have been a giant repository of information, a kind of interactive encyclopedia with views coming from everywhere. And certainly, there are still very interesting questions being asked (this one and this one came in my Quora weekly digest, and were pretty interesting). But it’s all being overrun with meaningless questions. Put simply, it’s just hard to filter through all the noise to get to the worthwhile content. That’s one reason why I visit the site maybe once a month, and just read the weekly digest instead.
Quora died because it put the emphasis on the user. People who use social networks like to see their egos boosted. They like everything attributed to them. When Quora began, it was equal. No one had any prestige (now the prestige of someone is denoted in the amount of “credits” it costs to ask someone to answer a question — an absurd system I don’t even have time to rant about right now). The playing field was leveled, and the information could speak for itself. I wasn’t there for jokes or gags or trollface or blogging or loose-leash egotistical “polymaths” (a common Quora title).
I just wanted cool information. All the time.
Maybe I’m wrong
It could be that I simply thought I was the target audience Quora, but in actuality, they just wanted as broad an audience as possible. I don’t know. The business of startups is a sketchy subject, and I don’t intend to associate myself with it.
What I wanted from Quora was simple: Yahoo! Answers, but not so shitty and full of idiots. It’s hard to believe that this caliber of humanity is rampant across Quora right now.
Sorry Quora. It was nice while it lasted. I’ll continue to check in from time to time, and I don’t plan on unsubscribing from your Weekly Digest, which really is fascinating. But visiting the site is just too much to handle. I don’t need another social network, I just want my questions answered.