Quora is a question and answer site focused on getting really high quality, authoritative content on any topic that people are interested in.
The big idea is to try to get every question page to be the best possible resource for anyone who wants to know about the answer. One way to think about it is as a cache for the research that people compile by searching the web or asking others. The feeling you get when you see a Wikipedia article and you think "Oh, that's going to have all the information I want about that" is the feeling we want to create across a much broader space.
The best things you can do are asking and following questions you're interested in, answering other people's questions, and voting or commenting on answers.
Right now, you need to use your Facebook account to sign up. We might add other ways to join later on.
We're still in beta and are making a lot of changes and have a lot of work to do but wanted to get some feedback.
In approximately inverse order of importance (sorry about that):
- Don't like using my Facebook account.
- Always find myself hunting for the "follow" button.
- Front page is a visually undifferentiated mishmash of 20ish different questions, most of which contain no more than a few sentences of content. Also: do we really need number of answers, number of topics, follow, star, time, topics (selected arbitrarily?), profile picture, answer snippet, answerer name, answerer description, and answer votes for every single one of these questions? You're making me sort through way too much stuff to decide whether I'm interested in the question or not.
- The options menu is cryptic and poorly located. Ex.: If I want to answer something anonymously, why do I go hunting at the right-hand side of the screen by all the navigational / related links stuff? Put that by the text box.
- The personality types on the site are not substantially different from people I already know. Most of the questions (both from my feed and via "All Questions") drip Silicon Valley techie. I'd love to see intelligent questions/answers from people who have lives very different from mine. As things stand, I'm not sure whether, if I were to ask a question, I'd be getting a range of opinions or an echo chamber.
- Answers tend pithy. On the other hand, some of the questions encourage that. Is there some way to see only questions/answers with meat?
Summary: Right now I feel like Quora has a lot of features (too many features) and not enough content, even in what look to be active topics. I don't know how you get people to invest in writing high-quality answers, but that's the question you really need to be focusing on. I would say that you should try to to cultivate a sense of sitewide community, but the siloing of the site into a bunch of semi-intersecting topics could make that tricky.
But then, the only Q&A site I've ever really liked has been Ask Metafilter, so maybe I'm looking for the wrong thing here -- but I don't think so, since, for me, it's the first site that comes to mind when I think of your mission. (Put together a better-indexed version of Ask Metafilter and you'll have a winner in my book.) If I need to ask a short question that can be answered quickly, I'll consider Quora. If I'm looking for significant thought, longer meditations, a diverse range of opinions, or interesting browsing material, though, I'll head elsewhere.
The Facebook Connect stopped me as well. Seeing as the entire Quora team previously worked at Facebook (http://www.quora.com/about/team), including Charlie Cheever who "led Facebook Connect and Facebook Platform" it seems unlikely that this unfortunate requirement will be dropped anytime soon.
While there are certainly people (especially on HN) who are unwilling to give Facebook this kind of control, I don't think it will be a problem for the vast majority of users. In my opinion, the power of having an identity behind all of your users far outweighs the cost of the few who will not use Facebook Connect.
I'm not sure this is a reliable way to get an identity behind all of your users. It was reliable back when Facebook required .edu email addresses, but these days there are huge numbers of fake profiles, and it's easy to create a throwaway profile if you need one to sign up for a site.
We have our own login system. We just use Facebook to connect you to people you know and get your photo. Having real identities for people and having people connected to other people who know them are important for the system to work, and we found that the best way to get those things was to require Facebook to sign up.
Your service sounds awfully lot like Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange, which seems to work just fine without the need to "verify" users or require users to login via Facebook. Why does your service need it? Also, I have no desire for a site (yours or otherwise) to take my picture and friend list from Facebook, and it's a little presumptuous for Quora to require me to provide this information.
But I too am a bit iffy about the FB login. Mainly cos I feel it might post stuff to my wall. I am sure you guys don't do that. But I wanted to put it out there since that might be a concern other people might have as well.
Yeah. We don't post anything to any service right now, and we'll never do that except when you want it to happen, but I think you're right that people are worried about that since there are so many apps that do that kind of stuff.
This is a valid concern. I'm not too keen on connecting my Facebook account to things either. This may be an incredibly cool product...but I wouldn't know. I'm not clicking that blue button to find out.
To follow up with some potentially helpful feedback: Why not allow people to create "regular" accounts, and then they can associate their Facebook account with the account later? I'm not opposed to associating my Facebook account with services I value (for example, I connected to Flippa) -- I just don't want to do it upfront.
I got an invite to Quora from a friend of mine a few months ago but the need for the FaceBook id was a killer. As long as they have this requirement, I won't use the product. Too bad really, because I hear good things about it.
In follow up, I'm now receiving e-mails notifications about people following me on your site!
There are some major identity issues here. Are you a social network? Why am I getting notifications of people following me, which now I must clear, on a site I'm going to for answers on something specific? These social network tactics were fine for Facebook, but people are over it. You need to deliver meaningful relevant content, not spam users with meangless e-mail to attempt to get them to revisit the site.
Way too much Facebook in your Quora, so to speak.
DOES THIS SEEMS REASONABLE:
Send me an email on:
Someone answers a question I'm following
Someone edits a question I'm following
Someone edits details of a question I'm following
Someone adds a topic to a question I'm following
Someone removes a topic from a question I'm following
Someone comments on questions I'm following
Someone edits the wiki on questions I'm following
Someone edits the short wiki on questions I'm following
Someone shares a question with me
Someone adds a related question to a question I'm following
Someone redirects a question I'm following
Someone comments on answers I've written
Someone votes on answers I've written
Someone removes my answer
A moderator edits my answerSuggested edits on answers
Someone starts following me
Someone asks me to answer a question
Someone shares a question with me
Someone makes me an admin
Someone removes me as an admin
An admin changes the status of my account
Someone edits my topic biography
Someone sends me a message
Someone gives me topics to follow
Someone endorses me on a topic
Someone suggests topics to me
Someone edits the name of a topic I'm following
Someone edits the wiki of a topic I'm following
Someone shares a topic with me
Someone merges a topic I'm following
Someone adds an alias to a topic I'm following
Someone removes an alias from a topic I'm following
Someone deletes a topic I'm following
Someone adds back a topic I'm following
More importantly, how does one delete their account?
Site is good, easy to use. Fix your e-mail validator (you can, afterall have a domain name that starts with a number). The facebook only signup thing is a bit of a hiccup (especially with the HN crowd) even with your priors.
As for the site itself, I would recommend ditching this whole "tagging" system. For example:
Having these tags:
Compensation, Engineering in Silicon Valley, Salaries, Startup Compensation,Startups, Stock Options, ....
Is just going to be very overwhelming, and if you're letting users define these, it seems you're going to have a big problem with trying to eventually police the content, and thats just an endless can of worms..
How about some term extraction, fancy analysis, and leaving that to automated semantics?
On a side note, some of the main topic landing pages are pretty sensible, easy to use, and well defined. Some of the indexing pages seem to have an awful lot going on...
Mainly, the homepage once you're logged in. Very busy here, not even sure exactly what is going on, and its awfully repetitive..
There also seems to be topics/categories broken down, but no real way to browse them effectively -- although there is a "browse" tab which is really more of a "feed", adding a bit more confusion. It'd be nice to be able to consume these "Topics" in more of a directory type of style.. (eg, being able to look up "Dog Breeds" and seeing a list of breeds to click through/browse leading into the particular Quora for a specific breed itself..)
All in all, I think its an excellent start, but there's a definitive need to establish a much clearer picture of the companies identity.. Is this a new E-How, or is it a Wikipedia? More importantly, how is it really different from either? Right now there is a ton of grey area here for the end user, but hopefully a lot of this will work itself out as the ideas mature.
Now that I really look at that homepage again (logged in), I really dont like it. There's almost no meanginful content on it -- everything is metadata! This needs to be rethought more in tune with identity/branding of the problem you're trying to solve. I dont think an end user ever wants to see a giant feed of a bunch of meta data if you're delivering a
'really high quality, authoritative content on any topic that people are interested in.' that should translate to content.
Follow-up question added to topic Programming. 8:22pm
What are the disadvantages of having a degree in Math and working as a programmer?
This is a follow-up question to What are advantages of having a degree in Math and working as a programmer?.
2 Answers • Follow • 2 Topics
This "feed" stuff may work well for your news feed on Facebook, but it doesnt translate well to a Q&A site when I'm typing in something specific and you're dumping a giant list of unrelated meta-data with links all over the place. If someone is looking for advice on their health issue or tax problem, this is going to have to scale -- to potentially millions of questions and billions of answers. This feed and tagging system dumped into a "feed" just ain't going to get it done. This needs to be rethought, to better effectively deliver your stated vision of 'really high quality, authoritative content on any topic that people are interested in.' and that should translate to content thats relevant and easy to find.
I've seen Quora referenced a bunch lately, and have been excited to try it out. The design (from the outside) looks really good, and I suspect that your team has crafted a really polished UX. I'd love to check it out. But ...
I'm not going to sign up via Facebook Connect, but it's not because I don't like linking that profile. It's because the Facebook ID approval page notes that you'd be publishing content to my wall. I'm not comfortable with that. Maybe that's a templated display that's shown on all Facebook Connect pages. I don't know. But it's enough to stop me from signing up.
Quora is one of those really amazing sites that you really enjoy using a lot because the UI and UX are impeccable. Things are responsive, actions have weight, and it's just overall very pleasant to use. Congratulations on that—it's nothing short of a masterpiece.
I really like the concept of following topics. I think something that could be worked on is the following questions thing—last time I used it, it was difficult to figure out that a question I'm following has received a follow-up.
I'll explain what the problem with FB sign-in is. Remember Eric Ries's IMVU, where people didn't want to link their IM accounts to IMVU because they don't want to endorse a piece of technology that they aren't sure of.
Similarly, I don't want to tell my friends on FB about Quora just in case it stinks.
Usually, FB login's do not pull in friends details. However, it appears that you are doing that.
I'd be happy to review your app if you can put some kind of assurance around the FB Connect logon to the effect that you are not going to announce on my FB status that I'm using Quora.
I like it, seems very cohesive and simple.
May I ask how do you got people making questions and answer them ? I ask this, because I'm also creating a startup that will need user input in order to grow, so I'm trying to get some tips from others.