A few weeks ago I replied on Quora to this question: “Is Quora the new Google?”
My personal answer was: “Quora is the next Wikipedia, but not Google.”
Today I want to talk about this topic in depth, because I think that knowledge brings to great ideas and as we already said in our motto: “The More You Read, The More You Think”.
Quitting a position as the CTO of Facebook isn’t always easy, but Adam D’Angelo decided to do it. When he came back in the valley, he wasn’t alone, but he showed to the world what he had been working on for months, Quora.
Instead of introducing something new in the market, he, with Charlie Cheever, introduced a Q&A system sligthly different from what Yahoo Answer is.
What is it?
As we have said, Quora is a Q&A system. In order to post answers and questions you need to log in with your Twitter or Facebook account. Whereas many other platform let you post question and answers as anononymous user, Quora invites its users to post by showing their identity. This choice has made Quora more social and interactive. Further the system has several different features such as boards. The users are able to collect news and questions through boards in order to make knwoledge faster and more accesible.
What did they do?
Why is Quora so unique?
Answers and Questions come from real and identified people.
Outstanding people such as Entrepreneurs and VC post questions and answers.
Credits, people are involved to answer and comment thanks to a credit system.
You are able to follow People, Topics and Questions.
Users have their own News Feed.
Answers are based on personal experiences.
High quality content, answers and comments can collapse, letting the best answers emerge.
Why Quora can substitute Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is one of the most visited website in the world. Thanks to it, we have been able to gain knowledge in a faster and easier way. Further Wikipedia is Free Software, so we are not talking about just a program, but about the philosophy which is around this project. In my personal opinion they are on a different level.
However I think that Quora can be the next Wikipedia. When people are looking for information, they want them to be reliable and personal. It is better a personal experience than a cold and impersonal fact. Further Social is the present and the present is social. Quora transformed a cold platform in a social one. The other key ingredient is that people that write answers are outstanding individuals in their working field.
Time ago, I asked which were the first Facebook’s features. Instead of getting an answer from an average Facebook’s fan that has a brief knowledge about the product, I got a direct answer from Adam D’Angelo, who was able to explain me what facebook had in a clear and pure way. Wikipedia doesn’t have these characteristics.
Most of the people that I know say that Wikipedia isn’t always reliable and right. On the other hand Quora found the key factors to get good and perfect answers:
- People can invite others to answer.
- Answers can collapse, if not right.
- Users are involved to write correct and extensive answers thanks to credits.
In this way, questions (which can be edited by the community) have good and high quality answers.
Moreover People can ask to other people to answer their questions. For instance, If I need an answer about Quantum Mechanics and on Wikipedia there isn’t much, I can easily post it on Quora, in the Quantum Mechanics Topic, and invite a friend to answer it. In this way I have a reliable answer, made by a person that I know. Likewise, I can wait for a Physicist to reply to me, thanks to the News Feed, that automatically updates him.
Wikipedia and Quora have different aims and different way of behaving. They are two completely dissimilar projects, so someone could say that there is no need to make a comparison, pointing out that Quora can be the next Wikipedia. That is not partially true, because in the future people could change the way they get the news. They could choose to read personal and high quality answers, instead of looking for their answer in a gigantic encyclopedia, which sometimes can not be reliable.