Let me begin by saying that I have only used Quora briefly. Mostly because I don’t see the value. I understand the concept of crowd sourcing. But crowd sourcing only works if you have a large diverse crowd to draw from. That’s the underlying premise, pull the best answers from a large diverse group of opinions and ideas. Compared to other question and answer sites, Quora isn’t large or diverse.
I have only posted one question and that will probably be my last. Here’s why: Earlier today I posted: “Is Quora an appropriate place to ask silly questions for comedic value?” I then posted it to Twitter and one of my twitter followers responded. Then a few minutes later I get a status message that says someone has redirected my question to “Is Quora only for ‘serious’ questions?” At first I was thinking, Well that’s cool they are trying to help by pointing out an already existing thread.
But then I realized that no, they are actually 301ing my original question thread! Meaning that if you go to my original question you will now be redirected to another user’s question instead.
So here we have a site that completely thrives off of user submitted content and they think its OK to highjack that content whenever they want.
I know what many of you are thinking, But, Joe, its the same question. They are trying to help. I don’t care if its the same question. Its not the question that I even care about, its the answers. Just because someone else has posted the same question, doesn’t mean we are going to have the same dialog as well.
So why do I think this means the end of Quora? Because, users don’t like to have their conversations high jacked, and Quora killing their own content mill.
Can you imagine a moderator at Twitter redirecting similar tweets from different users, completely derailing their user’s dialog? I was looking forward to continuing my dialog with my twitter follower that posted a question, but that conversation was cut short (or off rather).
If you ask any web entrepreneur what’s the biggest value in question and answer sites they will tell you, content generation. These types of sites churn out very high quality content that works very well in search engines. But, if your content is riddled with 301’s and redirects then you can kiss that value goodbye. I know what you are thinking, what about duplicate content? aren’t they doing the right thing cutting down on duplicate content? This isn’t duplicate content, because it would take nothing less than a miracle for similar questions to create identical answers and dialog!
Which is where the real value is to begin with! In the dialog! Which in my case no longer exist.