07 January 2011

When Will Quora Be Quorate?

Almost without meaning to, I conducted a small experiment today.

Over on Twitter, Brenda Wallace asked me a very good question:

do you know a good umbrella term for things like ACTA, TPPA, 3strikes, guilt on accusation etc. ?

Since I couldn't think of one, I naturally turned back to Twitter to ask people what they thought. And since I've recently joined the all-too trendy Quora, it occurred to me that this was just the kind of thing it was designed to answer: what is effectively a "new" question whose answer is not available elsewhere, but which the collective efforts of qualified people might successfully address.

Literally within minutes, I had dozens of witty suggestions from people on Twitter, which you can see by scrolling this list of tweets; here's just a small selection:


IP enclosure

legislative o'erweening

LRM (legislative rights management)

Corsair Laws


(Any favourites there, or alternative suggestions?)

Meanwhile, over on Quora, I had precisely...nothing. Six hours later, I've still had precisely zero replies. Now, maybe I'm not important enough to attract answers, or perhaps I'm just doin' it wrong; but either way, this one data point tends to confirm me in my natural bias in favour of the wit of Twitter.

Of course, it might just be that Quora simply isn't big enough yet to have sufficient users/traffic to answers such questions. In which case, the issue becomes: at what point will Quora become quorate for these kinds of questions?

I shall probably be trying a few more experiments in the coming months in the hope of finding out, and I'd be interested to hear about the comparative experience of others in this respect.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.


John said...

Maybe I'm wrong but isn't Quora just the same as Aardvark http://vark.com/? I tried Aardvark a year or more ago because it sounded like a brilliant, useful, amazing idea. I lasted about 2 days on it before I ran screaming to the 'Delete Account' button.

The idea of "social search" is seductive and intriguing (and is nothing new). But it can only work once it's fully automated and doesn't bug me. I'm fine sharing some of my knowledge with some of my acquaintances but only if they can use my knowledge without annoying me. Hmmm, that sounds like a search engine.

Glyn Moody said...

@John: well, frankly, that's why I've joined - in a desperate attempt to understand what it is trying to do...

Anonymous said...

Only a few would login to quora and wait for questions to answer, which is not the case with twitter. And moreover, most people currently active in quora are from technology related fields, so problems like this may go unanswered.

Glyn Moody said...

@thameer - yes, I agree those are all likely to be factors; but I'm surprised not to have received even one answer to a question that touches on technology fairly directly.

Anonymous said...

qui qua quo p