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answer questionsQuora is an online knowledge market. It was founded in 2009 by Charlie Cheever and Adam D’Angelo and went live to the public in June 2010. Interesting fact: one of its co-founders – Adam – is the former CTO of Facebook.

A lot of really important people in the tech world have been using Quora to share ideas and information. The site aggregates questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it, and they are continually improved upon by experts in the community.

In this article, I’ll explain more about what Quora is and how you can get started using the service.

What Is Quora?

answer questions

As I stated above, Quora aggregates questions and answers to many topics and allows users to collaborate on them. The goal of the service is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone looking for the answer to that particular question.

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One way you can think of it is as a cache for the research that people do looking things up on the web and asking other people.

Eventually, when you see a link to a question page on Quora, your feeling should be: “Oh, great! That’s going to have all the information I want about that.” It’s also a place where new stuff – that no one has written about yet – can get pulled onto the web.

Starting Out With Quora

To begin using Quora, head over their homepage and connect with your Facebook or Twitter account. If you don’t have an account at either of those sites you can sign up with your email credentials.

find answers to questions

Once you’re in you can follow your friends and connections who are already on Quora, as well as invite others to join.

You have a basic profile/about page where you can list your headline (e.g. web designer, programmer, etc.), add a photo, detailed description, and links to your websites and profiles so users of the site may ask you questions directly.

If you’re an expert in something, this is a good place to show it.

find answers to questions

You can also begin following topics that interest you. There are topics for just about everything you – or better yet I – can think of. You can search or choose from a list of topics and once you’ve got started you will be suggested topics related to your interests.

find answers to questions

Another interesting feature is the ability to post messages right on your profile page. “Share your knowledge” it says. This is where you can begin sharing your thoughts and expertise on any number of subjects. Your followers will be able to read everything you post here.

Posting Questions & Answers

Onto the Q&A! With Quora, each question page is a reusable resource, and answers on question pages don’t depend on any context about the asker except for what is specified in the question text and details. There is only one version of each distinct question on the site, so everyone who is interested in or knows about that material is focused on that one place.

answer questions online

Almost any public space on Quora can be edited by anyone who knows how to improve it. This includes the text of questions and the details around them, what topics are attached to which questions, and the summaries of answers. It’s kind of like Wikipedia in that Quora relies on the good faith of everyone using it to make it a high quality resource.

You can write your own answers to questions any time you think a question page could become a better resource with more information added to it. Answers are rated so that the best ones can rise to the top of the page and make it better. And you can comment on others’ answers as well.

Each question has a set of topics (like the ones we discussed earlier) attached to it which makes it easier to find questions already on the site. Topics are also used to identify related questions and sometimes give context to a question.

answer questions

The topics you’re following allow the system to show you questions you might be interested in. You can also follow individual questions to be notified of new answers.

One interesting thing to note is that everything you do on Quora is tied back to you. Each question and answer has a revision history associated with it, and each change in the log is associated with the person who made it. And because people use their real names and pictures on Quora and have a short bio describing who they are, this helps give readers the proper perspective.

Conclusion

I think Quora is a really interesting platform and, like I said, there are a lot of high profile people in the tech world actively participating there. If you have a question about Facebook, for instance, who are you more likely to believe: Mark Zuckerberg (yes, he’s on the site) or someone with unproven expertise? That’s where the value lies with this community.

If you’re looking for answers to tech-specific questions, however, you should also check out our community, MakeUseOf Answers!

What do you think of Quora? Will you be looking for answers to your toughest questions there?

  1. shareshoppe
    June 6, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Great blog!!! I liked the complete article…. Good written,Thanks for all the information you have given…

  2. Craig Hubley
    March 1, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Not a lot of "big names" meaningfully participate in Quora. Most, like Barack Obama, clearly have someone else writing or ghosting their answers for them.

    Regarding net entrepreneurs, you are probably less likely to get introduced to anyone that will work with you on Quora than in other forums like LinkedIn, or just by going to a conference etc.
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-Internet-entreprenuers-active-quora/

    Quora's over-hyped "gamification" model is worth studying but mostly for its failures. It is basically no better than SlashDot's in the 1990s, with the same problems ("first post" trolling, cliques echo chambering friendly posts or positions to hide dissidents) plus many of the worst problems of early Wikipedia (moderators clearly politically or corporate biased doing their best to hide or intimidate disagreement, poor sourcing, no respect whatsoever for well sourced versus rhetorical answers).

    I don't agree that "participation, range of topics and the information on the site is top quality." Wikipedia, WikiHow, etc. give you generally a far better return of knowledge per page of reading. LinkedIn has far more experts commenting under their own name. And the upvoting/downvoting system is pure noise.

  3. Black soft
    March 19, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Glad to see this information.its very useful for everyone.thanks for sharing this post.
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  4. Ktrouvat
    March 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Steve, Could you kindly send me an invite too? ktrouvat@aol.com

  5. Doron Tilleman
    January 30, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Hello,
    since your article is probably the reason why people need to invited into Quora, is it possible to get one?
    Thanks in advance,
    Doron.
    dleaper@gmail.com

  6. Doron Tilleman
    January 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Hello,
    since your article is probably the reason why people need to invited into Quora, is it possible to get one?
    Thanks in advance,
    Doron.
    dleaper@gmail.com

  7. Silvio Conte
    January 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Hi would You please 'invite' me (contesilvio@gmail.com)?
    TIA

  8. Francesco
    January 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Sorry Steve, I thought you could read it by back-end otherwise I would have written in my previous comment. here it is: francesco[at]asturi.it (please dont'publish this address/comment).
    Thanks a lot!

  9. Francesco
    January 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Very interesting article and comments!
    Steve could you please invite me too?

  10. Angela Alcorn
    January 6, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I thought about it afterwards — Maybe it's open via Facebook/Twitter in the US only. For me, I have no Twitter/Facebook option and it sends me to a sorry page if I try to sign up. :(

    http://i.imgur.com/3RRAO.png (That's just an image - not the page!)

  11. Steve Campbell
    January 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Whaaaaat? It says you can sign up with Facebook or Twitter for me. And there's nothing on the site about invites or I would send you one.

    Is anyone else having this problem?

  12. Angela Alcorn
    January 3, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I've just tried to sign up with Quora and can't! It just has an email/password login screen and if you click "sign up" it says you need to have an invite. :(

    • Steve Campbell
      January 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      Whaaaaat? It says you can sign up with Facebook or Twitter for me. And there's nothing on the site about invites or I would send you one.

      Is anyone else having this problem?

      • Angela Alcorn
        January 6, 2011 at 5:35 pm

        I thought about it afterwards — Maybe it's open via Facebook/Twitter in the US only. For me, I have no Twitter/Facebook option and it sends me to a sorry page if I try to sign up. :(

        http://i.imgur.com/3RRAO.png (That's just an image - not the page!)

        • Steve Campbell
          January 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm

          hmm that is very strange. On the bright side, I found a way to invite people via email, so I'll send one your way. :)

        • Angela Alcorn
          January 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm

          You rock - Thanks. :)

        • Anonymous
          January 15, 2011 at 3:15 am

          Could you also invite me? Thanks.

        • Steve Campbell
          January 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

          Sure! Just need your email...

        • Francesco
          January 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

          Very interesting article and comments!
          Steve could you please invite me too?

        • Steve Campbell
          January 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

          Thanks! All I need to send an invite is your email.

        • Francesco
          January 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm

          Sorry Steve, I thought you could read it by back-end otherwise I would have written in my previous comment. here it is: francesco[at]asturi.it (please dont'publish this address/comment).
          Thanks a lot!

        • Mr Tay Yang Shun
          January 24, 2011 at 6:33 am

          Hi after reading your article, I'm highly interested in Quora, may I get an invite from you too? My email is mr.tay.yang.shun@gmail.com

        • Silvio Conte
          January 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm

          Hi would You please 'invite' me (contesilvio@gmail.com)?
          TIA

  13. Steve Campbell
    January 3, 2011 at 3:31 am

    My understanding is that it's all Adam D’Angelo and his Facebook connections. Everyone seemed really supportive of this project and the big names came on board to help get it noticed.

  14. Aibek
    December 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    The fact that lots of big names such as Mark.Z. using it makes it very interesting. I wonder how they managed to get those guys on board.

    • Steve Campbell
      January 3, 2011 at 2:31 am

      My understanding is that it's all Adam D’Angelo and his Facebook connections. Everyone seemed really supportive of this project and the big names came on board to help get it noticed.

  15. Anonymous
    December 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Participation, range of topics and the information on the site is top quality.
    But something about their UX approach seems counter intuitive. I've struggled to do simple things, not actually accomplish them but "feel comfortable" that I'm doing it right.

    Search for topics: Go to your profile, then "Search For Interests". Click on a suggestion, it doesn't show the topic content, it subscribes you. If you just want to find topics... use the "Add a Question" box... that makes sense, right?

    Search box is labeled "Add a Question", maybe call it "Ask a Question", that fits both search and "Add".

    All bitching aside, great content, and they have also added some nice improvements to QA/FAQ concept.

    • Steve Campbell
      January 3, 2011 at 2:30 am

      Great comment, rdq123! I agree with everything you said. The site has a lot of great information, but it could be easier to navigate. Hoping they implement some of the changes you mentioned.

  16. rdq123
    December 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Participation, range of topics and the information on the site is top quality.
    But something about their UX approach seems counter intuitive. I've struggled to do simple things, not actually accomplish them but "feel comfortable" that I'm doing it right.

    Search for topics: Go to your profile, then "Search For Interests". Click on a suggestion, it doesn't show the topic content, it subscribes you. If you just want to find topics... use the "Add a Question" box... that makes sense, right?

    Search box is labeled "Add a Question", maybe call it "Ask a Question", that fits both search and "Add".

    All bitching aside, great content, and they have also added some nice improvements to QA/FAQ concept.

  17. Saikat Basu
    December 23, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Joined up. Like it's organization and it seems to have some genuine experts on first glance.

    • Steve Campbell
      January 3, 2011 at 2:28 am

      Glad you like it, Saikat! I was really impressed with the depth of knowledge on there.

  18. Tomas
    December 23, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Many people encounter the following computer problems: take a long time to start up, load websites or run programs. Recently I find the functional software which can fix all these problems just with one click: tuneup360, maybe you guys could have a try.

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