Following the ‘knowledge exchange model’ of several popular websites such as Yahoo! Answers, Wiki:Reference Desk, Google Answers and the like, Quora is yet another internet based ‘knowledge-market’ site which is trying to become a community driven question and answer bank.
Quora was founded in June 2009 and made available to the public last June. The website tries to aggregate questions and answers on many topics and allows users to collaborate on them. On the first look, the website appears tidy and fairly simple to use. The homepage consists of three main tabs; ‘browse’, which gives you a snapshot of the popular questions floating around the site; ‘answer’ which apparently acts as a ‘Do you know’ section offering answers to curious questions.
The one that caught my attention was ‘Why is Harry Parker from Harvard such a successful rowing coach?’ The third tab ‘notification’ provides users with necessary alerts.
Finding or asking questions is as simple as changing your status message on Facebook. To find an answer just type in the question in to the search bar. As results are refreshed in real time it makes it convenient to find the right match. If you cannot find the question you are looking for, just hit the ‘Add Question’ button on the right of the search bar. Each question is then linked to other several categories. Like the previous question was linked to categories like Coaching, Sports, Olympics, Harvard University and Rowing. The ‘Rowing’ category on Quora appears underdeveloped but the few questions posted look quite interesting and worth a scroll.
Further digging into the website, it seems the developers have tried to give the site a ‘Wiki’ approach where users are allowed to make changes to the content. The website relies on the good faith of everyone to turn it into a high quality resource. Time will tell how far that holds true. It has also integrated the ‘follow’ feature similar to that of twitter, where you can follow others and expect them to answer to your questions. One can also follow categories and get involved with whatever your community is curious about. However we hope that this leads to more accurate information, unlike Yahoo! Answers.
One more concern that lingers around knowledge-based sites is privacy. The users are unable to delete questions once asked and even though a user can deactivate their account but the profile, questions and answers remain visible and researchable.
Go and tell us what you think.