Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 51: Legend of Korra? Quorra of Tron? Nope, Quora

As much as I love "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and enjoyed "Tron", neither of those are the Korra/Quorra that I learned about today.

Today, I learned about Quora. It's a very knowledge management oriented site, aiming to get information out of people's heads and onto the internet where it can be useful to others.

Lesson 49: The Yahoo Answers format is not by necessity bad.

It's not that I have a big problem with Yahoo Answers, it's just that there's so much trolling, and in some cases downright abuse, that it's not always worth sifting through to find answers, plus the ultra hierarchical subject structure can sometimes make it difficult to find what you're looking for.

Quora uses a folksonomic system which allows for more discrete subjects and categories and easier natural searching and browsing. By folksonomic (pesky librarian vocabulary), I mean user-edited tagging, though Quora's is done in a more structured way than say, tagging in Delicious.

Quora is basically a better, smarter Yahoo Answers. It's apparently very popular in Silicon Valley, and it is frequented by a lot of big names across many disciplines. Heck, J.J. Abrams was on answering questions in the moviemaking category while I was on this afternoon!

There seems to be more moderation as well. Name-calling is not tolerated, and most of the responses are well reasoned, self-contained, and polite. It's more discourse than argument even in the touchier subject areas.

There is a lot of really interesting and accessible write-ups about very specific, but common, scientific questions. I've been particularly enjoying the "cultural faux pas" section, it's quite interesting.

Of course when I say that it's a better, smarter Yahoo answers, I suppose that should be modified with a "for now". Who knows how it might be destroyed when more people start trying to answer outside of their expertise and abusing the anonymous function. I've already seen one or two rather obnoxious homophobic and fatphobic responses, but nowhere near the levels of other forums, and mostly only in less fact, more opinion driven topics (ie/Etiquette).

I really hope it stays awesome...

1 comment:

  1. It's worth noting that Quora has reviewers, much as Wikipedia has editors - it is their job to review answers to questions and ensure that content is appropriate, accurate, helpful, and objective.