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Tell HN: Google should drop Quora from search results
1007 points by babuskov on Nov 24, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 346 comments
Finding answers to basically any question is now behind a walled garden that requires that you create an account.

This is the exact thing expertsexchange did before StackOverflow came and ate their lunch.

What do you think about it?

They should definitely drop Pinterest from Google Image Search results.

Quora and Pinterest are the worst parts of Google results. Also Google Images has been ruined. Used to be you could View Image and get the source image but now Google images hijacks that too. I gotta say I hate whoever decided that was ok. Do what I mean. Actually come to think of it I think this was due to copyright infringement case against Google. Stupid.

IIRC this was due to a lost court case:

> Almost two years ago, Getty Images filed antitrust charges against Google in the EU, taking issue with the company's image scraping techniques to display image search results. Earlier this week, Google and Getty Images announced a partnership and Getty withdrew its charges against Google. Changes like the removal of direct image links were apparently part of the agreement.

Source: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/02/internet-rages-after...

Meanwhile, the browser feature right click -> "View Image" still works for me on Firefox, as a replacement.

That only gets you the scaled down preview image. I have a Firefox extension that restores the "view original" button.

Have you tried Bing's image search [1]? It's actually pretty great. Bigger previews, much better similarity navigation, easy access to image link, etc.

[1] https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Vija+Celmins

yandex also seems pretty good.

DuckDuckGo is what I use for image search, it works about the same as Google did pre-change.

I second this, especially for similar photos.

DuckDuckGo image search, too

I believe the decision to remove that was forced on them by a lawsuit

The following HN thread has more details:


Quora and Pinterest are freaking poison, I don't like how often those things show up.

It just wastes my time when I'm looking for something.

FYI you can (for now) get the "View image" button back with this extension:


Image search in DDG still has the source images.

Google images returns relatively in-specific and poor results. I have turned to using Yandex. They seem to be better at training their AI as to what is actualy in the images.

Google has basically given up on their image search product. For that matter, their main search product is getting product long in the tooth. It's in the position Microsoft was in during the old days of IE6. Yandex is a good option. Bing is another. I usually prefix my google searches with a domain these days. Instead of merely subtracting a domain, I fix it to a domain I know is good.

Google's IE6 search product needs its corresponding Firefox to give it a kick in the shorts.

Maybe I am missing something but I can get the image URL by right clicking>open image in new tab. This might not matter much to others but I hated them when they recently removed the option to filter image search results by exact dimensions.

Pinterest should just be blacklisted from Google altogether.

For years now I have used "-pinterest" on every regular search term I utilize (I bake that into any Google bookmark). Would applaud the removal of Pinterest from search results.

Google has given up on improving search, much like Microsoft did with IE6 when it became the dominant player. Only real competition would force them to start improving again.

Here is my own userscript that removes any matching URL portions from Google search. It does it in a fancy way with stylesheets so that you never see the Quora, etc results even temporarily before they're removed. It also fixes Google Images to link directly to images again, removes all the tracking URL obfuscations, and more.


Should be more robust than the other alternatives listed, but if not, let me know. I'm always up for improving it more. Contributions also welcome.

Try this extension - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/personal-blocklist...

Blacklists domains from search results in 1-click

Firefox Version https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/personal-bloc...

Could you also make it to remove google amp?

I only use the script on my desktop, and so I've never seen an AMP result. I'd need to be able to use the 'inspect element' developer tool on mobile I suppose in order to see how to filter them. Not even sure the script works on mobile though.

How do you execute this?

Use a add on like greasemonkey

Excluding via search works but there is also a script [0] - not affiliated - which you can use to block other domains as well.

[0]: https://www.jeffersonscher.com/gm/google-hit-hider/

even google had their own extension to do this few years ago until they deleted it from the chrome web store, personal blocklist was called.

There is now another alternative, ublacklist


-site:pinterest.* (hmm, I have to put something here or else the asterisk disappears.)

There's a Chrome extension called Unpinterested! [1] that automatically adds this to all Google Image search queries.

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/unpinterested/gefa...

This is the better option, since it does not hide sites which simply contain the word "pinterest", but are not pinterest.

There's a a chrome extension, from Google, which provide a personal search block list.

There was an extension from Google but they discontinued it. 3rd party alternatives exist though.

This i do too with Quora too. It's too much

And instagram, since they require you to log in after like ten seconds.

For those who don't know, this is entirely client side. If you want, you can delete the overlay (single div) from the dom and remove an 'overflow: hidden' inline style, and continue to scroll the page and look at pictures without logging in.

I do this already for so many sites these days. And it's fairly simple. I wouldn't mind an extension that automated this for me.

Lammy, you're doing the lord's work

Thank you!

I use ublock origin for this. Just use the dropper to pick the element.

You can also block elements by text content [1], for those that did not know. I ran into a site that tried to counter uBlock by randomized class names, among other things, but was able to target it properly that way.

1. https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Static-filter-syntax#...

how do you update the inline style with ublock? (its something I've been trying to do)

For news sites that do this, you can use textise.net to render a text-only version of the page which will have what you want (the article text).

Interesting, thanks! Is there an easy way to do that on mobile?

I use this bookmark:

    javascript:(function(){(function () {var i, elements = document.querySelectorAll('body *');for (i = 0; i < elements.length; i++) {if (getComputedStyle(elements[i]).position === 'fixed') {elements[i].parentNode.removeChild(elements[i]);}}})();document.querySelector('body').style.setProperty('overflow','auto','important'); document.querySelector('html').style.setProperty('overflow','auto','important');})()

Not that I know. I really miss developer tools on mobile. Developer tools are practically required to be able to use the web these days.

It's horribly spammy. I just cannot imagine working for a company like Pinterest. If someone here works for Pinterest, I would love to know what it's like.


>The “spammy” results are when Google indexes a page full of images and picks a “representative” image.

No the spammy results are when I search for something on google, it gives me a Pinterest link that matches my search term exactly, the link has absolutely nothing to do with what I was actually searching for and if you click onto it, you're met with a page full of random Pinterest crap for about 3 seconds before it busts out a signup wall in your face and to top it off it'll take you at least 5 clicks of the back button to actually get off the page. I find it happens a lot searching for tutorials for things.

ETA: to address the original question, I find quora annoying, but a lot less than Pinterest. I actually do get decent results when I can view a page. It just seems to be random whether it throws an account wall up or not. I find copying and pasting a link to a related question into a new tab will sometimes work if I close the original tab first, but not always.

Just add a share=1 to the link and it will work

You are suggesting that Pinterest change the structure of its entire website to cater to Google's search algorithms. Doesn't make much sense to me. Why is it Pinterest's responsibility to change their whole website to cater to Google? Google could fix their search, instead. Pinterest offered to work with Google on this and Google refused.

So on what planet is Pinterest the bad guy, here? Because they didn't completely knee-cap their traffic because Google was too preoccupied to work with them on this issue? No. It's just a popular opinion to hate on Pinterest on HN and people like Google so the facts don't matter.

As far as the signup wall goes, well, that's on Google too. They could stop indexing sites that require registration at any point after clicking through. Goodbye Quora, goodbye Pinterest, goodbye New York Times.

I just checked and there's still a sign up wall. It is not as blatant as it was before, but I can't spend more than 10 seconds or click on anything without getting it. Can't even enlarge the picture or visit the original website.

The spammy results problem is super easy to solve from Pinterest's side. Just make pages full of images non-indexable and provide simple pages with one single image and there will be no more spammy results.

By "easy" I mean technically. Pinterest is a scummy company and I doubt they'd lift a finger to make things better for the web and its users.

With all due respect that doesn't seem like goggles problem. It's their game. Seo hacking and optimization is a thing and Pinterest has failed so bad at it as to have turned entire classes of potential customers away from their site. Same as quora. If we're, the customers that'd sooner leave a site than capitulate to unreasonable demands, known of and written off then so be it. However it is ignorant verging on dishonest to blame Google for Pinterests inability to optimize their site for Google and all of Pinterests customers.

How is this not a failure on Google’s part? Isn’t it a failure for Google to give me results from an unoptimized website? If I click on a Google search result and it takes me to something irrelevant to me, how has Google not failed?

I am very confused by your argument.

The grandparent post's content was deleted, but it pretty much said that the main reason Pinterest serves "spammy" results (where clicks don't lead to the clicked image) is because Google doesn't send them additional metadata telling which image was clicked.

Instead of fixing the structure of their goddamn website, they wanted Google to give them special treatment.

Btw, I agree with you however that Google serving garbage results was 100% Google's fault, though.

Oh, that makes a lot more sense now. Thanks for the clarification!

I can’t upvote this enough. It’s deeply spammy.

Pinterest is already deeply demoted. I'm using Pinterest results as a sign that there is literally nothing else that matches my search.

Part of search quality is serving nothing when there are no results. Putting a bunch of irrelevant Pinterest pages in the results, just because there are no good results, isn’t good for users.

I don't agree. I may be desperate for a result in some situations. If there's a small chance there's something useful out there, I still want to see it. I get to decide whether it's worth my time to look.

The problem with Pinterest is that often the image looks exactly like what you want - eg search for diy furniture plans and a lot of links are Pinterest. That image came from a source somewhere, but Pinterest has better SEO than the source.

I have had mixed results with that as a user - sometimes I get to see a few pages of scroll before the nag screen to sign up.. sometimes it seemed timed instead, like not even second page scroll.

Other times I was able to scroll through hundred on 'pins' before the sign up screen. I also remember times when I had three seconds to look at a screen and then most visuals are blocked by the sign up screen.

Not sure if they are playing with this on a global scale or if my ublock and similar plugins affect it.

The times when I could not see what I had expected - just an overlay nag screen, I certainly wish they were not in the results. Other times I found the curated visual content of pinterest to be better then google results or google image search.

I had thought the big G algo already punished for showing full content to the crawler but blocked content to average web browser.. however I had the feeling some time ago that some manual tweaking on google's side and perhaps pin's side started affecting how all that was working together or not.

Yes, dislike that one too, a grid of tiny images which if you click on them are still tiny and try to make you sign up

And many Google hits for Pinterest images land you on pages with dozens or hundreds of images, making it extremely difficult to find the actual image you searched for, and, from there, to find the original source of the image. The whole process seems designed to provide as little attribution to the original author of the image as possible.

Why does XKCD have to be SO relevant SO damn much?


Human greed is predictably predictable.

In other news, water is wet.

This is a much bigger problem than Quora that at least links to the right page.

I would gladly pay Google $x/year for advanced features like weighting of domains, return of "+" (that actually worked), etc.

Tampermonkey extension to blacklist domains from search:


Would be a great feature to add to Google One? Or a reason to switch search engines, I guess.

Isn't surrounding the term with quotes meant to do the same thing as "+" used to?

Yes, but it is an annoying pita, and the silly reason it was changed, but not changed back when the initiative collapsed, continues to rustle my jimmies.

"I would pay" seems to be the solution to everything on HN. Would you?

Amen. I miss results that aren’t just SEO optimizations. Sites like this hurt the quality of the web by suppressing results that are what people are searching for.

I installed a chrome extension called "Unpinterested!" which does just that - removes all pinterest results from image search.

It was one of those cases where I was getting ready to build it, and then I thought "wait, I bet this already exists for free." Sure enough....

Indeed. I always swear when I forget to add -Pinterest to my queries.

Gee the numbers of times I've had to add "-pinterest -quora". I wish there was just a permanent filter I could add in my Google serach settings.

The most worthless of search results.

Amen. It's useless.

Why? The Pinterest UX is god awful, but I often find stuff on there that I can't find elsewhere(easily).

Maybe you can filter out those results by domain? It would be nice if you could just add it as a setting, though.

When you do find it on pinterest it's on a contextless image that links nowhere.

Many times I've been looking for some obscure part that I would like to purchase, only to find search results flooded with pinterest images of it that are utterly useless-- they don't even tell me what the part is called, and certainly don't let me find where the image came from.

If pinterest was using a GAN to generate plausible random images would we even know?

Maybe this is something I've never noticed, or I brushed it off without thinking about it. If that's what Pinterest is doing, then I can see why I'm being downvoted.

I wonder how much disagreement shows up online because the internet is so different for each of us... from just different interests to search customization.

We could both be completely right about our own experiences.

It makes sense too that if Pinterest is promoted hard enough to get an 'adequate' dosage to everyone, that some people are going to be overdosed really hard even before you begin to factor in differences in tolerance.

I routinely search with site filtering to eliminate it, but every time I forget it's like stubbing my toe and I feel dumb for forgetting the 19 character magic word required to get useful results. Doubly so because I often misspell it.

If the web were my shell I would have punched in "alias gis=..." long ago.

Would be nice if you could get the answer to a reasonable question without the down-votes though.

Maybe they could provide those result for logged in users and leave out pinterest for everyone else.

I can see stuff on Pinterest and have never logged in. I don't think I'd support search engines removing Pinterest merely because it has a nag screen.

It's not the nag screen. I have a pinterest account and want it removed because it's almost always a dead end and it's full of spam.

If you are searching for something and find a link to pinterest and click on it ... then what? You see a bunch of images of the thing you are looking for: no article on bobcats, no way to buy "winter running shoes", no way to buy that book, ...

Why? I once found (for purely personal use) a unique picture which was exactly what I needed this way and that played a valuable role in my life. And the preview I could get without having to actually sign-in to Pinterest was sufficient for my purpose.

Because often the image that was indexed was in the related/other area of the page and is not on the page when you click on the link. Ever since Google removed the direct link to image feature from the search results page anything from pinterest.com is basically SEO spam.

> Because often the image that was indexed was in the related/other area of the page and is not on the page when you click on the link.

Every time I've been affected I could find the image in a couple of seconds of scrolling

> Ever since Google removed the direct link to image feature from the search results page

It's easy to add it back. Most of the people here (me included) use ad blockers, downloaders and stuff like probably violating the Google user agreement, they should not have any problem installing a small userscript/extension to forget about this problem as well.

Because instead of a direct link to the creator's accout you get this copy pasta and this bs: https://imgur.com/a/uhrFVvp

They don’t show that pop up anymore in the majority of countries when you come over from a google link.

Well, they show it here in Russia, but even then - you are still landing on a pinterest page instead of the original (say instagram or pixiv, or whatever).

And for the majority of people - this will be the final destination..

Without Pinterest in the image results, you might have instead found that same image on the creators page.

Q&A is the new spam.

Quora is full of it, and so is LinkedIn.

A shill asks "a question," followed by all these "answers," recommending a particular site, product or technique (that has a backer).

I have had to leave quite a number of forums, because they became completely taken over by Asian spammers; doing exactly this. They rendered the groups useless.

TBH: I did fall for it the first time I encountered it. It's a fairly effective technique, if done right.

A lot of Quora spammers will play the long game. Some of them will take the time to get moderately familiar with a subject, write some organic answers, gain some karma on the site, then start shilling. It's an interesting incentive structure, but ultimately most answers on the site end up being the mediocre filler by spammers trying to build their accounts.

Somehow or another, Stack Overflow is able to maintain very high quality threads. I'm not sure if that is because of filtering algorithms, or human moderation (which is more or less crowdsourced).

I have not run into this kind of spam on SO.

There are a lot of "Kool Aid" threads, where folks get heavily invested in a technique or pattern, but those are legit, if somewhat tiresome.

Probably because most SO questions can't be answered with product recommendations.

Also SO is very specific and narrow (programming questions only), while Quora is very broad, so it's probably harder to moderate effectively.

And before someone says 'Stack Exhange is just as broad as Quora' -- all the SE sites I've come across disallow 'product recommendation' questions or whatever similar thing fits their niche.

SO has human moderators and a points system to gate functionality, and those points are earned by being useful.

Quora did have a points/credits system in the beginning but they removed it for some reason, and ever since then participation and edits were open to everyone which let the spam take over. They also have a faceless AI-powered moderation system that's often overbearing and wrong.

Cannot agree more.

Though I'll say this -- it's hard to optimize Quora's feed, but once you do that by carefully curating the topics and the people to follow, Quora can be an incredible source of super insightful answers on niche topics. But it does take a lot of work, which is a barrier to many.

Their feed display mechanism needs a lot of work imo.

Strange because I find that it's full of day-0 beginner questions and little of in-depth niche, thought out ones.

Like "Where do I start with machine learning?" often with bad spelling, or "Do you need to be very smart to become a programmer?" etc. By contrast, Reddit, the StackExchange sites and HN are a totally different league.

I used to love browsing Quora, and found a lot of answers fascinating. However, in the past year something seems to have changed. Now I get really spammy suggestions, and there is rarely new content on my feed. I get the same suggestions for days.

I don’t doubt that the good content is there. I think their algorithms just changed and now I don’t see it anymore. Not willing to put in the effort to figure out how to get an interesting feed again.

In my experience it was quite good for a while, then they made a couple of changes and suddenly the feed was rendered absolutely useless. After more than two weeks of the feed showing me the exact same questions and answers every day with only 1-2 new ones inbetween I stopped using it.

And at that point they had changed parts of the site so much I couldn't figure out how to subscribe to new topics because all of them were replaced by user-created topics/groups like on Facebook(at least that's how I understood it).

Unfortunately, it's like that on Reddit too. I just can't find an unbiased, not trying to shill their product response to just about anything. Fake reviews everywhere, fake gurus on YouTube, Fake answers on Q&A sites. Now I can't even get news without paywalls. Also, Medium is smelly garbage. I hate their popups on every article. The WWW is in a sorry state right now.

A similar link spam happened with comments on Hackerrank

DuckDuckGo is an offender here. Drives me nuts. See Gabriel’s profile on Quora: https://www.quora.com/profile/Gabriel-Weinberg

Quora back in 2011 was magical. I spent hours reading answers by some incredible people and it influenced a lot of my thinking back then. Unfortunately they kept raising money they didn't need and the VC treadmill turned the site into a wasteland.

There are still gems of knowledge but the experience is ruined. Overbearing content moderation won't let you edit your own question. Credits system was removed and instead Quora now pays people to post useless questions. They ignored every tool and feature that writers asked for. The mobile site won't let you read more than half an answer before forcing the app. Spammers are never stopped and voting rings have taken over most popular questions.

It's a sad case of a site that's successful despite the execution, not because of it.

I had the same experience.

When I was in high school, there was a group of "Quorans" (including a few "prominent" ones) that used to hangout on G+/hangouts, and I used to stop by from time to time. Back then I was very STEM focused, so it was pretty cool to have conversations with peers that had a variety of academic interests.

Unfortunately, Quora has changed significantly since then, and for the worse. The only interesting thing is how it has turned into an Indian social network of sorts, and the associated subculture in that community.

Quora is only one of many garbage domains that clutter google results. Pinterest is another big one.

Google needs a "block this domain from my search results"-- they even had it, for a brief period of a few months a number of years ago. (maybe only for some users?)

I've been using a userscript called Googles Hit Hider by Domain from Jefferson Scher that allows you to blacklist sites since Google removed the ability to do it natively (it works with all the major search engines, not just Google as the name implies) : http://www.jeffersonscher.com/gm/google-hit-hider/

[Edit: credit the author of the script]

Thanks for sharing, I found it very useful.

And yelp! Search for "generic food item" and yelp will come up with these auto-generated lists refreshed monthly to catch the attention of the google crawler.

1. top 10 X near you August 2019

2. top 10 X near you July 2019

3. top 10 X near you June 2019


They're just taking the top 10 reviewed places on yelp that may or may not serve that food item and then publishing these monthly "posts" to be indexed. If I wanted to look on yelp I would search yelp!

I decided to try to search for “Sushi” on both Google and DDG. Top results on Google:

  Sushi in Singapore (thehoneycombers.net)
  9 BEST Places To Get Affordable Sushi In Singapore UNDER ... (thefinder.com.sg)
  Sushi (wikipedia.org)
  Best Sushi in Singapore, 2019 (burpple.com)
  The 11 Best Affordable Sushi Bars in Singapore (timeout.com)
  The Best Singapore Sushi (tripadvisor.com.sg)

  Sakae (sakaesushi.com.sg)
  Sushi (wikipedia.org)
  Sushi Tei (sushitei.com)
  Umisushi (umisushi.com.sg)
  Sushi (japan-guide.com)
  Sushi Recipes (sushirecipies.org)
  The Different Kinds of Sushi (delishably.com)
Google displays the spammy list articles you mentioned, while DDG generally lists Sushi chains.

I think I prefer the DDG results, but I guess that depends on the quality of the list links that Google provided. I guess the differences can be explained by Google being much more targeted by SEO tricks.

I know. It's so frustrating. And it can't be that effective. I mean how many people actually live in an area where "Top 10 Cambodian Restaurants Near You" isn't nonsensical?

Which is what I see anytime I am trying to lookup ideas for some niche restaurant genre.

I entirely agree.

Quora and Pinterest are particularly routine spam sites in my search results.

They rank just below word reference site spam, like dictionaries, thesauruses, or translation dictionaries (sites which I do benefit occasionally from), and below Wikipedia mirrors (which I feel has become so bad that I can't even get legitimate results talking about the problem itself! Try searching something like: search results spam wikipedia mirror "revolvy" "wikiwand").

But for me, the worst (and most obvious!) offenders by far are "pronunciation guide" spam sites. Just a few examples:

plus the scourge of 16-second YouTube videos on channels with names like Pronunciation Guide or Emma Saying.

(If you search for something like "Deidesheimer pronunciation" or "pronounce Canynge" on Google, the vast majority of results will be those spam sites, plus maybe an ancient forum thread from 2004 that veered off topic before anyone even tried to give a serious yet uninformed answer.)

These ad-infested spam sites purport to teach you how to pronounce an unfamiliar name or tricky word (an important and underappreciated service that many people use!). But usually they merely contain computer-generated bullshit, as if fed directly into all available text-to-speech algorithms. Even the ostensibly human-generated recordings and sites are often flagrantly wrong, unsourced, and untrustworthy.

There are a few legitimate sites (such as Forvo, Youglish, etc.), but too often they are woefully incomplete (by nature of their being crowdsourced). Forvo even contributes to the spam with "do you know how to pronounce this word?" false positives.

I once blocked all of the spam sites when the domain-blocking feature you mentioned was built into Google Search; then had to do it once again when I needed a browser add-on to replace the removed feature (which naturally only worked on desktop); and recently I was astonished to find that the add-on also stopped working! The spam never ends.

I know, right? How hard would it be for someone to make a wiki-style site with UGC, a reputation system (I speak this language natively and vouch / do not vouch for this content), a tracker for trending words, fun articles for Llanfairpwllgwyngyll and the like? The Web I used to know seems to be gone or at least in steep decline, supplanted by garbage like this.

There are also the White pages duplicates. Search for a phone number or some digits that resemble a phone number and the first 5 pages of results are all autogenerated reverse lookups under various domains catering to the different plausible personas.

Try searching for “1549 USD in EUR”, and you'll find links to sites that auto-generates individual pages for every amount.

One might argue that the SEO garbage here is less bad, since there really isn't any alternative site they're stealing hits from, but it's still a sign that shows just how horrible the web has become.

Yelp is another I’d rather not see since it is crippled on mobile.

I'd love to have this feature. Does anyone know if this is somehow possible with ddg?

I suspect google is already filtering your search results based on your behavior. I have no proof of this - only suspicion. I purposefully don't click on quora or pinterest. Lately I see them much less on my results feed.

Uhm, you can do this simply by appending to your search query:


The request is for a way to have that automatically added. It gets rather tiring adding -site:pinterest.com to every image search I do.

In some browsers which store search urls as string with a %s qualifier it should be easy I guess.

That's a hassle to type every time, not to mention the typing itself being a little high on the difficulty scale, what with two shift characters and a left-pinky letter.

browser key shortcut that searches google and adds -site:pinterest.com -site:quora.com

done! (mostly)

IDK but do a search with https://www.gmbmg.com/ and check the URL it uses. It may be a useful trick.

I would gladly pay a monthly payment to have this type of feature on my Google searches and more stuff.

I can't imagine google adding it, but it would be something which would finally make me move to duckduckgo.

I use DDG and rarely see pinterest or quora results.

Quora answers are astonishingly bad. People with fake credentials saying nonsensical things. I really hope people realize how bad it is, but I suspect that because its something people inherently don't know the answer to, they don't understand just how bad it is. Most people stop looking after they get their answer. Most people aren't going to keep looking after they've found their answer to find a primary, reliable source.

I find Quora through DDG (not sure why this is specifically about Google), but regardless, 1/3 times the result is valuable. Quora often shows up when the other results look unreliable or ad farms - not that Quora's replies are so accurate, but about 1/3 seem okay.

Loading a few pages from browsing history, I don't see any walled garden.

LinkedIn results on the other hand... Google/DDG clearly didn't index the login page, so LinkedIn apparently shows certain content to the crawler that they aren't showing to the user, trying to get ranked higher for that query than the login page would be. Not sure how that isn't seen as fraudulent from the search engine's perspective.

My experience is the same. When I do get Quora, I do not have to sign up, and it’s usually valuable. I would add that the presence of a Quora result at the top of search-engine results usually indicates that my query is freaking arcane and specific, and Google is doing its best to show me _something_. In other words, it’s not as though Quora results are taking slots away from better results.

> usually indicates that my query is freaking arcane and specific

Exactly this. (That's what I meant with "Quora often shows up when the other results look unreliable or ad farms", but I didn't phrase that quite right.)

I agree.

I often enough search for stuff with no useful answers except for something on quora that can point me in the right direction.

This is about google because google is the only search engine on the internet.

Personally I use DDG but the % of people using it is approximately zero.

It's hard to accept but it's true (0.1%): https://www.webfx.com/blog/seo/2019-search-market-share/

I remember thinking that Quora was really good, I thought that Hacker News and Quora were two sites with the highest quality user-generated content on the internet.

At the beginning the core demographics was Sillicon Valley startup scene. It felt like a small community of smart and interesting people (my favourites were Yishan Wong and Rory Young). At one point, the site got very popular in India for whatever reason and there was an influx of low quality answers. I left some time after that. There was also a trend of people using the site to promote their products, which was explicitly allowed by Quora AFAIK.

Right now, it seems that the site is much more popular in countries like India or Nepal than in the US: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=quora

Agreed, early Quora was interesting, it had a buzz and you got answers from people you wouldn't expect.

Now, it's spammy. Some of the questions are ridiculous, with easily Googleable answers, but makes sense if it's spammers using Q&As to raise profiles of people and services.

Quora now also appears desperate. I occasionally answered questions but doing so would trigger something like three emails a day asking me to answer another question. That level of desperation is offputting, so I just unsubscribed and as a result don't answer any more.

I am from India, and I remember the time when Quora got famous. I remember reading some quality content on the platform. Then "the masses" started answering questions just to rack up upvotes (or whatever Quora was calling it). Imagine Instagram, but instead of uploading pictures of yourself you copy-paste someone else's content in an attempt to answer a question you do not know much about.

And all those 'IIT' Q/A tho

Agreed, Quora answers these days consist of mostly advertisements and copies of (often stolen) blog posts. I personally try to avoid the platform whenever I can.

I completely agree with all of the stated above.

Quora is the dumbest shit ever. They send out these readers digest emails with interesting questions and shit and when you click on them they take you the freaking homepage every time. Like wtf is even the point of sending me the email than if you're gonna make it incredible difficult for me to find that particular question that i really need answered now?!

As a non-US based user, I uninstalled Amazon's iOS app yesterday because of this exact behaviour. Often a US-only deal will get posted on a local forum here in New Zealand. The link for the deal will go to the Amazon US store. If you click that link without the app, you are taken straight to the listing where you can review the price, shipping options etc.

However, if you have the iOS app installed, it opens the app when you click the link, loops twice (never loads the listing) and lands you on the Amazon US homepage. I've tried everything to stop this behaviour (changing regions, loading in logged out state etc), but to no avail.

It finally frustrated me so much yesterday (especially in the lead up to black friday) that I outright deleted the app to stop those links being captured by the native application.

It feels so liberating to click a link and get the desired result.

Disclaimer: I work for Amazon, but nowhere near the team that builds the iOS app.

My experience as a user of the Amazon iOS app is that the developers deeply care about these kinds of quality issues. I have seen the looping behavior before in other contexts; I reported it, and it was eventually fixed.

In the app there is a customer service link in the hamburger menu, with a “contact us” option if you’re willing to spend a couple of minutes telling them about your problem.

As someone who never installs apps like this, I'm curious as to why you'd want an app for something like Amazon?

This irritates me to no end, however, the Quora is that one email digest that has an extremely high CTR for me: I often click on 5-7 entries from each digest because they send me stuff I'm actually interested in. No other email digest or newsletter comes even remotely close.

However, that stupid popup of their or suggestion to install an app is beyond bad.

Quora is far from being the best Q&A system ever (the best was Aardvark, bought and killed by Google) but it provides many interesting clues today. I've found quite a lot of very useful and rather unique information there. It seemed quite dead back in the days I've first tried it (looking for something to replace Aardvark) as nobody would answer my questions but the things seem very different today.

Aah, Aardvark. I answered a few questions on that system, but after a while I felt I was just serving idiots who were too lazy to google the questions.

I enjoyed being one of such idiots and answering other idiots like that. Because I strongly prefer unmoderated, marketing-free opinionated answers based on personal experience/knowledge and expressed in a concise manner to raw web data. I don't even mind googling some details to come up with a clean answer for the others. That's a kind of community I'd love to participate in.

In fact, even when somebody submits a completely just-google-it question you can answer comprehensively by just looking at Wikipedia or the first ling in the search results or something everybody is supposed to know it doesn't irritate me, whenever I can provide a useful answer to somebody's question it floods my brain with dopamine and serotonin so an easy question is just an opportunity to get the reward easily.

Whatever (from a sophisticated scientific question to a rhetoric question/joke) I would ask on Aardvark I would almost immediately receive an interesting answer (better than those you usually find on Quora) to and some more answers during the following hours. That felt so cool. Then my imagination has ran out of questions and then Aardvrk got terminated. Now I know and so much more things and gave so many new questions but there is no Aardvark any more :-(

I actually read their digest on a daily basis, and used to be confused by this as well. My observation is that each link in the digest actually points to an answer of a particular question. When you click on it, it looks like you arrive at the home page, but the page will show "From Your Digest" at the top so you can actually read the answer. You can then click on the question to read all the answers.

It's annoying because if you open a bunch of these links in the background, you would not be happy if your browser crashes, because then you lose all the links.

It's not just Quora, I think about half of notifications, whether by email or on mobile, don't take you to the thing you're being notified of.

Or they insist on sending redundant notifications. Or there's a mysterious number and no way to see that actual notifications. Or the notifications won't go away. Or the notifications go away instantly. Or, naturally, the notifications are abused for spam.

As to why... I think it's one of those features that tends to get neglected, and because users are way too forgiving of broken software.

Not for me. When I click on a link in their digest, it takes me to that question from the digest, with under it a button that expands to the other questions from that digest.

But this is the regular desktop version of their site. Whenever I link of a link in their digest on my phone, their website is a completely unusable piece of crap. None of the buttons work, most of the content is empty.

Lol, that's a pretty good strategy to get people to come back to your site without having to generate new content. Just create(or scrape) some interesting sounding headlines for articles that don't exist and just link to the homepage. ;)

It's a good thing I have a moral compass.

> Lol, that's a pretty good strategy to get people to come back to your site without having to generate new content.

It's a good strategy to make users hate your product. This isn't clever - it's just value extraction from a product people used to find useful.

Lol, not defending Quora, but the articles in your digest are real. Whether their app appropriately redirects when you click them, is another story.

> wtf is even the point of sending me the email than if you're gonna make it incredible difficult for me to find that particular question that i really need answered now?!

"Engagement" - corporate

Tip: close the page that opens and click again on the link in digest emails

There shouldn't need to be a work-around.

Anything that requires the user to login to see the search result should automatically takes a big hit in search ranking.

- Quora

- Instagram

- Pinterest

- LinkedIn

Just to name a few. In fact, I don't remember the last time I clicked on those links because my brain automatically filtered them out already. But they are still spam and should be pushed to page 2 or 3.

Add Red Hat Access to that list as well. Nothing like searching for something relating to Wildfly or CentOS and getting results that require a paid-up Red Hat account.

agree, Twitter is also making it harder to use it without an account + it is terribly slow webapp

Gotta throw Medium on that list. It’s really ruining a lot of tech blogs for me with its paywall. The fact that some companies ceded their whole blog to it is mind boggling.

New York Times too, and all the other paywalled newspapers.

Everything is spammy today...

Like I was trying to find lyrics for a song today, and first 5 sites were showing author and song name, but the page said "we don't have lyrics now, you could be the one who will write them"

LinkedIn, who straight asks you to log in or create account

LinkedIn used to be good. Now it's full of senseless notification spam and ads. Edit: And fake connection requests.

LinkedIn has never been good. It's always been a snakepit of dark patterns. But I will believe that they've become even worse now.

(I'm still on LinkedIn, because many recruiters find me there and send work my way. But I barely use it. They do.)

Look, as a website yes Quora sucks (and so does Pinterest, mentioned many times here in the comments).

But individual answers on Quora (and images on Pinterest) may very well be the only place what I'm looking for exists.

So the last thing I want is for Google to stop indexing and showing their content.

Seriously -- there's zero user benefit to hiding it. It's easy to identify Quora/Pinterest in search results and choose to click or not based on your own preferences.

And at least with Quora, I never have to log in to view all the answers if I come from Google. It only asks me to log in when I try to click through to a second question.

Finally, the last thing I want is Google de-ranking results that are behind any kind of login and/or paywall. Because that would mean de-ranking most news sites I use, which would be a terrible direction to move in.

> the last thing I want is Google de-ranking results that are behind any kind of login

I'm of the opposite opinion. And can't really see your side of the argument. Care to elaborate?

I feel the same way about Bloomberg, and am consistently surprised by the number of Bloomberg links posted here on HN because clicking through any of them results in “Sorry, but you read your free article, time to pay up!”

Forbes is also effectively full of opinion hit pieces of low value (although these don’t seem to be paywalled). These also show up in a lot of Google searches and likewise get up-voted here quite a bit.

The question is, should google actively try to trim this content, and if so where should it end?

I don’t know. Google is a search engine for web content. I don’t think it should discriminate based on the content being freely available or not.

Adding a feature for an end user to say restrict a search in some manner might be nice, but the point, at least in my opinion, of a web search engine is to find any and all matching content on the web. If some of that is paid or otherwise blocked content it’s still doing its job properly.

Once upon a time, I believe Google had a policy that they would only index content that was actually visible when you went to the URL without cookies. Anything else was deemed improper SEO. In particular, it was not allowed to serve a special version of a page to Google.

This was nondiscriminatory, and I think it was a great policy.

I agree with your point, but as a user, I would want Google to rank results lower if the content served to the Googlebot isn't the same as the content served to the general public.

I'd expect this behavior to be a red flag in Google's ranking algorithm. Don't drop Quora, but just let them slide below the fold on results.

This behavior is known as "cloaking", and it is in direct violation of Google’s Guidelines.


It may be in the guidelines somewhere, but if they actually cared at all, LinkedIn and Pinterest would have disappeared from all search results years ago.

Yes, that's an unfair practice. Ans they disable Google cache at the same time. Why do I see it in the results when I can't read it without making an account, or worse paying some subscription. It should be hidden then.

Works with the same way with LinkedIn profiles

They already did something similar for Experts Exchange a long time ago. They threatened to delist EE because of their deceptive SEO (including answers in search results, but requiring accounts when going to their page from Google). Google insisted the actual answers be listed. Deceptive search results made their service worse. Arguably Quora, Pinterest, et. al. are doing the same.

Maybe a flag for the pages that require accounts would be in order. But for the shills on Quora, well, why would Google show ads for businesses' services as top results for free - especially since that's the vast majority of their revenue?

Uh, Google's main job is to rank results according to what other people find helpful. There is no truly objective way to do this. The closest you can get is to define "objective" the way pollsters do, as a way of understanding average opinions.

What does "average" mean here, though? Do you rank restricted sites higher if more people have accounts?

They could probably do a better job if they knew what you're subscribed to. For example, people with a Quora account or Washington Post subscription should get that ranked higher. But this would mean telling Google more about you, which seems to be unpopular around here?

It's not that complicated. Google indexes webpages. Webpages are identified by a URL. If, for any client, without any context or previous interaction, the URL results in anything other than the indexed content, it should not appear in search results.

If a webpage requires login credentials, which the crawler obviously does not have, the crawler should have received a login page.

Sure, that's basically giving up on indexing anything behind a gateway. Google could do that, but it's not at all clear they should.

No, the point of the search engine is to help the searcher find what they are looking for. It should be easy for Google to figure out that searchers are NOT looking for what Quora and Pinterest are providing.

> but the point, at least in my opinion, of a web search engine is to find any and all matching content on the web

This is where the early search engines started out at. Turns out there is a LOT of content found for many searches, and the real value to most people is in finding _relevant_ content.

The devil is in the detail of how do you define relevance? This is why I think it is so important to have multiple search engine choices, each with their own algorithms and different sets of user options.

> I don’t think it should discriminate based on the content being freely available or not.

I feel at least a little weird about giving crawlers a carte blanche to paid content. Creating relevant pages, showing them to the crawler to get ranked higher, and then not showing them to the user but requiring something in return first... I don't know.

I do see your point: it would be good to have everything indexed, even paid content or content available only in certain regions or whatever, just so you know what your options are if you're willing to pay for it. But then I think there should be a button to hide those results (either opt-in or opt-out, to show paid content).

As it is, it just weirds me out to show the crawler different content than you show the user and not be seen as fraudulent and get delisted altogether.

If I create a site that serves a world of unique, useful content to Google, but locks out everyone else completely, do you want that content indexed? Is it really on the web? The search result only serves to annoy you into thinking there's anything to find.

Agreed, but Google does have UX Signals. In a perfect world, you'd think Google would be able to identify the "wall" as part of their signals they measure from a site & rank accordingly.

Google could allow user to select from which sites they like to see hits in paywalled or otherwise blocked content.

How about: Google should let allow users to blacklist sites in the search results.

But I definitely don't want to live in a society in which someone else who just happens to be vocal enough can even start a debate that company X should block company Y from their search results.

Google Search used to have such a feature. I used it to blacklist w3schools. Of course, the feature is no longer there.

What's wrong with w3schools? I occasionally find their site useful for basic HTML stuff and it seems inoffensive enough, certainly compared to others mentioned here (Quora, LinkedIn, Pinterest et al)

w3schools used to be a very bad resource but it has improved over the years. See https://www.w3fools.com/.

Not only that, but the answers on Quora seem to be 80% garbage.

The only value I get from Quora is in the questions, never the answers. The answers are always advertisements and usually advertisements from third-rate companies who wouldn't be anyone's first or second choice for answering the question.

But plenty of times I see a question on Quora and it sparks an idea or leads to questions of my own that I then seek answers for independently. It's kind of like browsing Pinboard's "recent" section. Lots of noise but once in a while it gives me the spark I need to find, learn, or create something new.

q: What is 3+2? a: hello, I am 30 year old guy from india. <insert a story about forced marriage> <some ramblings about caste system> 1500 words later: "and this, in short, how I got my prostate cancer"

It depends what you're looking for. For things that are fact-based or in areas where someone could conceivably sell you something, it's not great.

However, I seek out Quora answers often for questions about people's experiences. I have a long dropdown in my history of searches that start "What is it like..." What is it like to become a parent? What is it like growing up in New York City? Things like I don't know of any better place to find those answers.

Add on top of that the websites that just repost StackOverflow content.

I think you have it backwards. Tons of "content" on StackOverflow is copy/pasted from another source, often some experts personal blog or a niche site, without sourcing to the original.

I've rarely noticed that. Are you saying someone will copy both the question and the answer from a place like experts exchange or a blog? Do they post them under different accounts to make it seem less obvious? Or do you mean the semi-rare occasion where someone cites a blog post?

I think I've seen an unsourced copy only once, I think it was a new answer where nobody else had seen it yet and I edited in a link to the source. But this is many years ago, I don't remember the situation exactly (and I visit stackexchange sites a lot, more than most people I think, since it's the only social site where I permit myself to go to during work hours).

I've found a lot of amazing stuff related to some subjects: history, physics, etc. Anything that does not have commercial interest is spam free and really engaging.

Everything is 80% garbage. That's a law of nature.

At Internet scale, Sturgeon’s law is six-sigma.

Tip: Short term hack: If you do wish to cross the walled garden for a particular quora page, simply add a '?' at the end of that particular link, and then you will be able to view the page. Rinse and repeat every time you want to quickly glance at the posts.

Long term: Use uBlock origin.

Edit: This is for viewing non-tech posts in general. For anything tech, we have other pretty good sites.

Quora used to have a system which rewarded good answers. Now, they pay people to ask popular questions. In the private Top Writers group (I left shortly after this change) it was predicted that this is result in a dearth of garbage questions: template "what is X times Y?", nonsense "what if" questions, etc. And sure enough, it came to pass.

Quora made a conscious choice to trade quality answers for more questions (of any quality). They surely saw in advance what the site would become and did it anyway. It used to be a place where you could read thoughtful replies from intelligent people, and it's become a spiritual successor to Yahoo Answers.

Agreed, writers are what make the site and Quora has routinely ignored their requests and warnings. I'm constantly surprised at how inept their decisions are considering the team behind it.

Google does not need to drop Quora from its search results, Quora itself is already on the way to irrelevancy. It used to be a place for thought provoking questions and answers, nowadays it just contains a copy pasted text from the first google search result. A perfect example of a niche but strong product ditching its target audience in order to pursue popularity.

Though Quora can be useful requiring an account whereas the full text is freely crawled (cloaking) is against Google's guidelines[1] and as mentioned in their help page violating the guidelines is a reason for the site not to be shown. Based on that, what should definitely be banned is Pinterest which goes against half the guidelines.

[1]: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en

I agree completely... sort of on the same topic: It used to be really bad with Pinterest infecting image search. Same problem, almost all hits directing to the Pinterest walled garden. It appears to me that this has gotten better recently, but I don't really know why.

I may be wrong, it I think they made the name of the source more prominent in the preview, and also made cutting and pasting the full quality image straightforward. Just my thoughts, no way to validate.

There is very little signal on quora, mostly noise, the UI is confusing and it pollutes results, so I cannot agree more.

But there are many more websites that should be "removed", instagram, pinterest (basically everything that requires a log-in). Also, all reposts should be removed, there are so many sites reposting SO or mailing list content with weird UI.

I think Quora is such total garbage info and unfounded opinion I just add them to pihole blacklist.

Quora actually points to a flaw of algo only search engine rankings - do a lot of people link to it? Is it a lot of keyword intense content? Yep and Yep!

But the important - is it actually useful, relevant information - well that's secondary.

I agree. If website presents one content to Google and another to anonymous user, it's scam. Actually Google is known to punish that behaviour and ban those websites. Probably Quora is considered too big to fail.

We really need a feature to block websites from Google search. It's impartial and a common thing on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube.

If a Google search engineer reads this, please think about it.

They used to have this feature and removed it. Unlikely they'll bring it back.

I’ve expressed this before, but: just disable JavaScript. Your browsing experience is improved drastically. You can still whitelist a few scripts that you need if you want to.

solid advice, really.

It's mind boggling that the 'world's greatest search engine' does not have a series of advanced features that let's us really alter our searches in a consistently customized way.

The 'advanced search' section does allow for some things, but it's a little awkward, moreover, 'the things we want' are not on there!

The ability to drop sites - or at least discount them (i.e. quora, pointerest)

The ability to turn off Google's extrapolated information, such as the definitions that appear.

The ability to tag/highlight result from some sites (i.e. put a pin on some sites, say Wikipedia)

The ability to prefer some words over others in the weighting

The ability to actually require some words (I find it amazing that top results often don't have a key search term - I understand why that makes sense in some scenarios, but for most others I typed the term because I want it)

Etc. etc..

There are a ton of other features that would be useful, I'm surprised they haven't moved into this niche.

I feel that Google is no longer 'search' it's just 'find'. We type it as a means to 'get to that thing' and we just click on one of the first results.

I wanted to like quora. I tried to engage there and contribute to raise my professional profile and, yes, pitch my side projects as parts of answers when relevant.

That experiment has run its course, and my hypothesis was proven incorrect. I thought it would help, but it was more like shouting into the void.

There is a lot of astroturfed questions, vague questions, and questions that seem as if they were automated.

So, I've moved on.

I wanted to like quora. I tried to engage there and contribute to raise my professional profile and, yes, pitch my side projects as parts of answers when relevant.

Why wouldn’t that be considered “astroturfing”?

I always thought astroturfing was answering your own question, or asking questions that directly referenced the product or service you were affiliated with.

I personally disagree. While it is absolutely true that there is a lot of garbage content on Quora, it is certainly one of my favorite sites on the web because for all the garbage you come across, you can come across some wonderful gems and actual helpful people, and in general I find it pretty easy to just mentally filter the garbage out. That might be because I have spent a lot of time trawling through it and answering questions though.

And perhaps I just like quora so much because it's the only place on the web I've gotten any meaningful amount of impressions and engagement on content I've produced (aka answers), so perhaps I am sonewhat biased due to that. All that being said, I can certainly see why someone might find it annoying, but I think that if you take the time to engage with it and understand the ecosystem within it, it'll make it a lot more tolerable.

Or you can likely just follow what I assume will be a suggestion from other users here as to how to filter quora results out of your queries :)

Google should also drop Medium for the same reason.

>You've completed your member preview for this month, but when you sign up for a free Medium account, you get one more story.

Why people even post there?

There are a number of sites that are mostly useless in Google results. Perhaps a larger issue is that any company that solicits public data input be required to sign an ironclad agreement with me that my content is under my copyright and if they ever try to monetize my content they share any revenues with me. Otherwise they get class-action sued into oblivion.

The legal situation is rosier than you think. What you demand is already the case: content you create is copyrighted by you and can't be relicensed by anyone else without your permission. All without any agreements at all!

Now, it would be tyrannical not to give you any way to transfer rights to your creative output. So some publishers do allow you to agree to a Terms And Conditions waiving certain of these rights, or transferring them to said publishers. It goes without saying that no one would ever compel you to agree to such conditions, but some publishers might not agree to publish your work without such an agreement.

Users giving non-exclusive royalty free rights to the content and for the site to use it however they see fit being in the ToS is pretty standard(especially for comment based data)...

Not sure how you are expecting sites that are driven by the userbase to exist since your phrasing sounds like you believe providing all of the infrastructure, management and marketing for information isn't enough to morally receive payment for that information.

I agree but they should only lower the reputation. Most of the answers are obnoxiously misleading and others are basically spam.

But why wouldn't Google's secret ML sauce gradually learn the right dose of Quora vs Wikipedia to give to the public? That seems more principled (data-driven) than doing a blanket ban on Quora based on gut-level (possibly correct) intuition of search experience.

I'm torn. A lot of my searches are filled with Quora spam, but I also have found some extremely deep, well written answers on esoteric topics there. (To be fair, I think most of those are discovered in targeted emails they send, not Google searches)

I'm not sure I'd support that, but before they drop Quora they should consider dropping Answers.com. I don't think any reasonable person would argue that site isn't a complete waste of space.

Somehow I still occasionally get Experts Exchange popping up in my Google results. I didn't realize they even still existed.

Me too, it popped up like last week and was the only result I could find (I already moved from DDG to Google because the results were irrelevant with any keyword combination I could make) and the answer was, like on stackoverflow, some "accepted" kind of answer (so marked by the person who asked the question). All posts were readable except that one: for the marked-as-answer post, you had to pay.

They've certainly moved on from scrolling down to see the answer...

I surprisingly frequently find answers to extremely obscure older tech issues on Experts-Exhange.

I avoided them for years, but at least as of a year ago, you don't need to pay to see the answer, just wait 30 seconds.

Answers.com is frequently humorous, which is more than can be said of Quora. Answers.com therefore has much more value to me.

I enjoy a good (bad) wikihow article more than either. Top quality terrible art and hilarious q&a

Small tip for anyone that doesn't have a Quora account:

Appending ?share=1 to the end of any Quora URL will remove any signup walls you see. You can even automate with a quick Greasemonkey script for all Quora URLs.

I tried to report a competitor for vote manipulation last month. They have ~20 answers that have the same ~10 users upvoting every answer (and no other answers). In response, they closed my answers ️.

In the beginning I kept going back to Google because the results on duckduckgo just wasn't as good, but it slowly improved, so much that I actually haven't used Google for search for about two years now. Even local searches for my country has become much better on duckduckgo.

And when I have occasionally tested Google to compare results, I also noticed a rapid decline in the relevant results at Google. So much that I can hardly recognize that search engine any longer.

I think google should add a search filter option instead that is by default ignore paywalled/login requiring results, or not ignore them by default, but if the top answer is paywalled/login requiring show an option to do the same search without paywalled/login requiring results

Google already has a browser extension for filtering search results, but you have to configure your own blacklist. It would be cool if there were an extension that was like that but more advanced; I'm thinking the uBlock Origin for filtering search results that could work for both Google and DuckDuckGo based on premade block lists.

EDIT: It looks like Google took down their extension. boo they suck

A suitable replacement? "Personal Blocklist (not by Google)": https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/personal-blocklist...

I agree with you. A domain filter would be the best as there are other sites in addition to Quora that provides junk content. For example, for all health type of search theres a website named healthline.com which appears with 2-3 of the top results. I wish I could block it somehow.

This used to be a feature of Google search. They removed it and published a Chrome add-on that does the same, client-side. I have switched back to Firefox and there are similar add-ons there too.

I'm frequently clearing cookies (not manually) and have no problem reading Quora answers. I also find a lot of useful results there.

Just for a test I searched for "how an atomic clock works" on DuckDuckGo and found this nice answer on 9th place (below few HSW and YT results): https://www.quora.com/How-does-an-atomic-clock-work

Personally I'd rather they not remove any search results, because I can scroll past or use "-site:quora.com" if I don't want to see those specific ones. Google's search results have already gotten bad enough as it is without them doing any more "algorithmic censoring", if they modify their algorithms to exclude/derank Quora they risk removing even more possibly better results too.

>is now behind a walled garden that requires that you create an account

I am not sure I get it.

If you land on quora from google you can read the question and answer (whether either make sense is another issue).

If you click (while being on quora) on another question listed, then it prompts you for "Continuing" and logging via google or facebook.

You can still type a question mark at the end of the address in the browser address and hit ENTER, the linked to page will load fine.

The quality of answers in Quora is ok. As good as all the Stacks that are not computer related for instance. We do need better but no one has worked out how yet.

So your point is it's a walled garden, but then so are many news sites, so would you block them as well?

I'm not also sure it's walled, I can access the articles fine atm. But I do know they did wall it many years ago so not sure if it's changed or something else.

Search results consisting of links to inaccessible content aren't very useful.

HN posts of inaccessible and/or paywalled content also aren't very useful.

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