the blog of dan pontefract | Quora: Questions & Opinions not Questions & Answers
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Quora: Questions & Opinions not Questions & Answers

I’ve spent just over a month on Quora, the so-called site that hosts a “continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.”

So far I’ve answered a few questions, with both short and somewhat long answers, and I’ve reviewed in and around 50 different topics or threads. My cumulative time on the site has tracked in at roughly four hours.

Yes, I would agree it’s a social learning tool … but nothing much different than previous discussion forum technologies (eg. early versions of Community Server via Teligent) that have existed in the past. Clearly there are benefits to having a cloud-based discussion forum platform utilizing social networking wizardry enhancements found in the likes of Twitter (followers), Facebook (activity streams) and LinkedIn (notifications) than simply a cloud-based Community Server platform.

But where things are getting interesting to me is the fact it is billed as a Question and Answer platform and not an Question and Opinion platform.

Maybe I’m a purist or have some weak fascination of partnering with Jimmy Wales someday, but Wikipedia seems to be the place to go for Question and Answers, not Quora.

If I want to know something, most of the time not always, I’m going to find the answer on Wikipedia. And due to the fact Wikipedia has been set up as a collaborative and cloud-based encyclopaedia, opinions are generally removed by collective intelligence and facts surface.

Of course, when I want to know something, it’s usually based on the premise I’m looking for a fact, not an opinion.

So, enter Quora.

If I’m interested in a collaborative and cloud-based discussion forum of opinion, now that’s where Quora shines. Why? Because there isn’t a single entry for each question; every user (up to a limit) can answer a question thus you are bound to get the ‘opinions’ of others, not necessarily the facts.

A couple of examples for you:

Sure, I get it, most ‘questions’ are intended to solicit opinion and not be fact-based with a singular, edited answer.

But then Quora isn’t a Question and Answer site, is it? It’s a Question and Opinion site.

I’ll still use it, but only when I’m interested in gauging opinion, not an answer, per se.

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