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While “Answers” websites aren’t particularly new or unique, Quora is one website that has successfully taken the Q&A format to new heights thanks to its creative execution.

Don’t lump it in with other crowdsourced answer websites For The Scientific Spirit: 7 Websites For Science Questions & Answers For The Scientific Spirit: 7 Websites For Science Questions & Answers The web is the Grand Oracle. It sees all and answers all. I wish we had the educational and self-learning edge it gives to today’s generation. In a snap, you can tap it to ask... Read More like Yahoo! Answers or WikiAnswers. Quora is loaded with several features that make it more than a one-stop destination for search engine queries. It’s a living ecosystem worth participating in.

For those of you who aren’t already using Quora, why not? Maybe it’s time to give it a try. You may be surprised by how useful it can be and how well you fit in.

Real Answers From Real Experts

The most distinguishing feature of Quora is that there are real experts 10 Internet Entreprenuers Who Are Active On Quora 10 Internet Entreprenuers Who Are Active On Quora Quora is a simple premise beautifully realized. It's an online knowledge depository where people can ask or answer questions. And it's populated by a mix of ordinary, everyday folk like you and me, as well... Read More answering the questions you ask. What good is an answer if there’s no credibility backing it? That’s why most Answers websites build bad reputations. If there is no reliability, how do you discern the good answers from the bad?

Earlier this year, Quora launched a brand new feature that marked certain users with a blue checkmark to indicate verified expertise in whatever field(s) they participate in. This kind of verification system has already proven useful on Twitter (to cut down on celebrity imposters) and Reddit (to verify the integrity of high-profile AMA participants The Best Reddit AMAs Of All Time [Weird & Wonderful Web] The Best Reddit AMAs Of All Time [Weird & Wonderful Web] Under the IAmA subreddit, you'll find informal interviews with all sorts of interesting people. These are some of the best AMAs online. Read More ).

quora-quality-answers

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Another important aspect of Quora, which stems from the community’s atmosphere rather than being a built-in feature, is the fact that answers tend to be longer and more in-depth than other Answers websites. Length doesn’t necessarily equal quality or value, but it does show that Quora contributors put more effort into their responses.

And then there’s the Ask To Answer feature of Quora that allows users to request an answer from other Quora users of their choice. You can use this feature on any question, even if you weren’t the one who asked the question. And when combined with Quora’s Online Now feature, you can essentially receive an immediate answer.

In order to use the Ask To Answer feature, you’ll need Quora Credits. Every user starts with 500 and can earn more by contributing in useful ways (e.g. asking good questions or giving good answers). This gamified system Tried And Tested: 3 Gamification Tools That Try To Make Your Life Better Tried And Tested: 3 Gamification Tools That Try To Make Your Life Better I'm a big fan of gamification, truth be told. I'd even go so far as to say our entire society should be gamified, with pleasures in life reserved as rewards those who actually contribute. Apparently... Read More  promotes activity, encourages higher quality content, and helps direct attention towards noteworthy questions.

Follow Relevant Interests

The Quora community is big. Topics are used to categorize the multitude of questions asked every day on the site. These topics range from Books to Music to Food to History to Finance to so much more. And the best part is that you can follow the topics that interest you.

Every user has a Quora home page that acts as an activity feed. New questions show up in the feed, much like new tweets would show up in a Twitter feed, which gives you the opportunity to answer the questions you know about OR follow up on questions that might catch your eye.

quora-finding-topics

If it wasn’t obvious already, the questions that show up in your feed are limited to the topics that you follow, so it’s a great way to ignore all Quora activity from areas irrelevant to your interests.

Not too long ago, Quora also introduced a Reading List feature that lets you collect questions, answers, and posts. It’s useful for two main purposes: saving remarkable content so you can return to it in the future and building up a list of interesting content that you can read later in case you can’t at the moment.

Establish Authority, Build Your Brand

What incentive is there for an expert to participate in Quora?

At the moment, there’s no system of monetary compensation for top contributors. Doesn’t that seem like a one-sided relationship? Is it fair for experts to share their expertise so freely? What drives them to be productive members of Quora?

User profiles on Quora provide several fields that can be used to establish one’s authority on a given subject. What topics do you know about? Where have you worked? Where have you studied? They lend credibility to your answers so that they carry more weight and attention.

quora-verified-authority

This kind of authority can be helpful when trying to build a brand, especially since Quora users are displayed using their real names. For example, being a regular contributor of high-quality answers for the Venture Capital topic could increase visibility for your consulting startup.

Another way to build authority and visibility, is to write posts using Quora Blogs. These blog posts, which aren’t restricted by the Q&A format, show up in relevant topics and can be seen by tens of thousands of viewers every month. Most blog platforms only share your writings with those who follow you, but Quora puts your content out in front of people who are interested in it even if they aren’t following you.

In the future, when Quora implements a revenue strategy, reputation of expertise could lead to a system that matches prospective employers with potential employees. In that sense, there’s real potential for Quora to become an online platform for employment networking This Is How You Use Facebook To Find A Job This Is How You Use Facebook To Find A Job Welcome to the modern age of career networking! It’s a wonderful world where you can find a white collar job in the same place you’ll find Grumpy Cat – that is, the Internet. In fact,... Read More (at least for the topics covered therein).

Take Quora With You Everywhere

Estimates of how many Quora users interact using a mobile device range anywhere from 20 to 65 percent — an official quote puts it at 40% — but there’s one truth we can conclude from that regardless of the exact number: a significant portion of the userbase regularly takes Quora on the go.

And as it turns out, it’s a great way to use Quora.

quora-android-mobile

When we reviewed Quora on Android Quora for Android, Reviewed: Does The App Do The Service Justice? Quora for Android, Reviewed: Does The App Do The Service Justice? With its tech-savvy foundations, it makes sense for Quora to have an official mobile app. I took it through its paces, and I'd be hard-pressed to say it blew me away. Read More , we came away with good thoughts about it. The app is clean and modern without putting much burden on device resources, meaning that it runs smooth and fast. It’s a joy to use and it’s no wonder why so many Quorans prefer to use a mobile device when submitting answers.

If you haven’t used Quora on a smartphone yet, give it a try. You may find that you enjoy it much more than using Quora on a computer. Find it on the App Store and Google Play.

So, Is Quora For You?

Some people think that Quora peaked long ago while others still believe that its best days have yet to come. Either way, the fact remains that Quora still has value to offer today. If you frequent Q&A sites and yearn for higher quality, consider switching to Quora. It’s where all the cool people are hanging out 10 Websites Where Cool Computer Geeks Reside 10 Websites Where Cool Computer Geeks Reside Geeks were once ridiculed and reviled. Or perhaps that was just at my school. Either way, as first computers hit the mainstream, and then the Internet entered into our lives in a big way, geeks... Read More .

What do you think about Quora? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below!

  1. shashi
    December 13, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    nice

    • shashi
      December 13, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      <alert(String.fromCharCode(72, 79, 67))

  2. Craig Hubley
    March 1, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    "What Makes Quora Better Than Other Q&A Sites?" Nothing.

    There are better technical Q&A sites for essentially everything. If you know what expert you are interested in the opinion of, it's very easy to find their blog or articles by a general web search. In general http://linkedin.com has far better expert contribution.

    The weak redirect mechanism for redundant or similar questions is a failure. Very few redundant questions actually get redirected so that the good answers appear in one thread, entailing a lot of searching that is better done on the general web.

    Simple upvote/downvote mechanisms for ranking answers fail, and have reliably always failed. Of what possible interest is it that 20 Bible college students downvote an agnostics' eloquent answer on whether Jesus existed historically, or 15 fringe US libertarians upvote an absurd counterfactual claim that the US Republican Party or conservatives in general favor small non-intrusive government? On any even remotely controversial topic where one might seek a neutral or informed opinion, sadly Quora is a series of echo chambers for self-congratulating fringe groups. With about the worst moderators on the Internet, actively intervening to block or threaten anyone who expresses a strongly worded opinion contrary to theirs on some favorite topic.

    The "gamification" aspect is interesting but again, it has failed. Rife "gaming" of this algorithm leads to many glib one-liner "first post" answers that are seen by many people on popular questions on quickly upvoted. Driving down better answers to invisibility and obscurity. Similarly, good first answers that are disagreeable to specific people who monitor those topics, tend to be downvoted and disappear instantly and remain invisible as few or no casual readers check the "collapsed" answers that were initially downvoted.

    While some notable people like Jimmy Wales and Mark Cuban do answer questions directed specifically to themselves, and gain vast upvotes (and thus "credits") for such trivia as what they themselves had for breakfast, and how not to offend them when begging them for money, their answers are not interesting as a rule. Far better to read real interviews with better framed questions.

    Some communities like militant atheists seem to frequent Quora perhaps attracted by the participation of Stephen Fry. However ask yourself if you really need to read stuff like this:

    "Q: Why is Stephen Fry such a big deal?"

    "A: I don't know. What if he's not? - Stephen Fry"

    A cute source of one-liners perhaps, but not a serious forum, and very unlikely to overtake Yahoo, Google, ask.fm or any of the WikiHow or Wikimedia projects for general difficult answers. Most answers do not even contain any out-links at all, let alone verifiable sources like Wikipedia.

    Looking for Quora answers that link to Wikipedia articles is often a useful search strategy, because it can help find the exact terminology to describe the problem you have, or the field of study that is interested in it, or the name of a part, or whatever. But that is equally true of every other Q&A site on the Internet.

    Finally if Adam D'Angelo, Marc Bodnick, the private equity firms they are from, and Yair Livne, are your favorite people on Earth, then by all means go ahead and make them rich by helping them perfect their flawed model. But I don't advise it. Wikimedia projects are Creative Commons licensed and truly trying to make the world a better place. I suggest helping those along instead with the precious hours you spend editing online content.

  3. Ramu
    January 23, 2015 at 7:29 am

    I am an active member on Quora. Initially, the feed may not be as per your interest But once you start reading and upvoting some answers, the feed finds your area of interest and gives good questions and answers. The other benefit is that you can get answers from the experts in the field like Thomas Cormen for algorithms, Brain Bi for C++ etc.,

    • Joel Lee
      January 28, 2015 at 3:40 am

      Interesting! The interest algorithm is apparently more dynamic than I thought. Even better. :)

      And I agree. The ability to speak with actual experts is what really sets Quora apart from all the other Q&A sites out there.

  4. James Howde
    January 20, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    It always puts me off when a site demands you sign up just to look at it.

    Probably best I just stick to those low quality Q&A sites with the other plebs.

    • Joel Lee
      January 21, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      It can be frustrating, I won't deny that. I put off Quora for years because of it. But once you get over that hump, it's an easy ride. :)

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