I previously have mentioned my presence on Quora. I have posted all sorts of things there, one reason why this very blog is now anaemic.
But enough is enough. I have (I think) set in motion the deletion of my Quora account and all my now sprawling Quora content.
Quora seems like a good idea: people ask and answer questions nicely, experts and non-experts alike. Reasonable, democratic, positive stuff. What could go wrong?
The problem (of course) is that Quora needs to make money by selling advertising. So it needs ‘churn’ – more and more people using the site, and/or more people using the site more often. Hence it does not want to be a depository of free wisdom. If a question has been asked and answered, let that happen over and over again!
Plus Quora REALLY doesn’t want you leaving and taking your content with you. On the contrary. It wants you to stay and give it more and more content for free.
Let’s list some Quora dirty tricks that advance its greedy ends.
First, Quora draws you in to answering ever more questions. Mention cheese or narcissism or Mongolia in an answer and you get pestered with endless questions on those subjects.
Quora lets you ask questions aimed at individuals you choose (good) or at anyone it chooses (bad). The latter proliferates annoying or obviously irrelevant questions in your feed. Should New Zealand exist? What’s the most awesome thing you’ve ever done? What does my scariest dream involving snakes and ravioli mean? My boyfriend asked to kiss my neck – what does that mean?
You idly answer a few. Sucker! Churn!
Quora serves up ads looking like questions to get you to click on them.
There’s no incentive to search Quora to see if your question has already been answered. Instead, ask it again! And again!
And GOD FORBID you want to download your own content. It belongs to THEM. You only can copy and paste individual entries into your own document one by one. Likewise if you want to mass-delete things you’ve written. One laborious deletion after another.
And if you want to CLOSE THE ACCOUNT?? Horror. You can press a button asking for that, but it takes two weeks(!) and if you log back on to Quora in that time the deletion is cancelled haha.
But wait? Why not make some money off Quora by joining the Quora Partner programme? Ask questions that get answered and they pay you! What could go wrong?
This person did not enjoy the Quora Partner experience:
At first, I wasn’t too thrilled about asking questions for monetary gain. It seemed dirty and odd. But after some mental adjustment, I managed to ask about 10 questions daily to get those numbers up. Eventually, I started to ask more questions. Around 20–25. And once I got the hang of it I was asking around 80–100 questions daily.
I know, this might seem completely ridiculous but it’s the truth. Asking questions became like a sport to me and I wanted to go to the Olympics. After about a month of rigorous question-asking, I have posted a little over 2000 questions on that platform.
Glory! Hundreds of dollars!
Anyway, two days before payday they kicked me out of the partner program. Without any prior warning or anything. They just removed me from the partner program. Let’s just say that I wasn’t too thrilled about that. I was pretty pissed because I wanted to buy an engagement ring with that extra money (I’m still going to buy that engagement ring, don’t worry).
So, I did what every sane person would do in such a situation and contacted their support team. Long story short: they accused me of foul play and told me that they weren’t going to pay out my earnings. When I inquired about the whole ordeal they were neither able to provide proof for their claims nor were they willing to specify what they accused me of.
In other words, you too can become a Quora hamster whirring around in a wheel that throws out fatuous clickbait questions to help them claim churn to get ad revenue, and you may or may not get paid the pittance they say they’ll pay you. Churn and churn again.
This tragic story illustrates one of the worst features of Quora: it’s idiotic lack of transparency.
Someone not liking an answer (or a responder) can Report. Quora moderators then proclaim on that Report, rejecting it or deleting the allegedly offending content as they decide. So you give Quora your generous time and wisdom and they summarily can delete your answer with no explanation other than the blandly useless assertion that the answer breached their guidelines.
This is really vexing when you’re engaging on eg the Katyn Massacres or the Balkans. Smirking lurking Soviet-Milošević-communist trolls can report you in the hope of getting your answer(s) deleted so that they command the answer-space. This often works, and you can’t get an answer from Quora to explain why they’ve done it.
I (perhaps) can see their problem: with millions of people churning away on all this drivel, there just aren’t the people to deal substantively with specific complaints in a way that shows some understanding of the actual issues raised. Summary justice. Be Nice, Be Respectful to troll-apologists for communist mass murder using Quora to pollute the Internet.
Anyway, let’s move on. It’s time for the Indian sub-continent’s teenagers to do their homework and not ask me to do it for them. Any Quora user who is advised by some passing ‘public speaking expert’ to practise in front of a mirror is welcome to do so without my firm advice that this is insane.
If you’re tempted to sign up to Quora, DON’T DO IT. It’s like timeshare. You’re lulled by the amusement to think you’re getting something valuable. What in fact you’re getting is an obligation to work for free for someone else.
And if you don’t believe me, have a look at the withering reviews on Trustpilot.