They think that the experience of their largely 20-something staff is anything short of revolutionary.
A bunch of kids running a digital media company with questionable morals and no connection to digital history.
I will delete me Quora account. So far I have gotten little value from it. Time for it to have no data on me.
I followed up with an email to FEEDBACK@QUORA.COM asking them to delete my account and data.. will see what happens. I dont like the idea of a limbo account that can be reactivated/mined.
I'd prefer to have it deleted.
Unlike you, I've gained a ton of value from it. Unlike the trivial discussions or content spam posted on Facebook or Twitter, Quora features tons of interesting conversations. The closest comparison to it might actually be Wikipedia, at least in terms of general scale of ambition.
It's the one online community I've found that I think is better than Hacker News (though admittedly the quality of discussing has slid as the audience has grown wider). There's few other places where a question about politics might be answered by a Washington insider, or a question about startups might be answered by a top name Valley VC, or a question about snipers answered by an actual sniper.
Their real name policy has generally been fairly sensibly and sensitively implemented (http://www.quora.com/Why-has-there-been-an-outcry-against-re...) - they've always allowed anonymous posting, and they've been more flexible on the definition of "real name", than, say, G+. For example, danah boyd is able to post with the legal, lowercase form of her name.
Whether they'll begin bowing to advertisers once they need to monetise of course remains an open question -- but I'm hoping they can find alternative revenue streams. For example, a lot of consultants post answers on there to gain clients -- that's an example of the concrete monetary value Quora creates, and if they can capture some of that value they can build a great company without stooping to Facebook-style data mining controversies.
One of the most appealing things about Quora is the extent to which it creates a pleasant community. When I saw this, I thought, "Hey, neat! I'll have a better idea who's reading my answers." But I understand why people are upset.
On the other hand, I almost murdered them when they started forcing people inbound from Facebook to log in with Facebook:
So I've got my eye on them. The extent to which they can square the community vibe and their relatively high moral standards with the expectations of their investors is still unclear.
Fun fact: There's no way to get a list of your anonymous answers on Quora. They don't show up on your profile at all. All you can really do is browse through your list of followed questions and manually check each one to see if you responded anonymously.
It's this kind of BS that makes me create fake facebook or twitter accounts to log on shady sites like Quora.
It was non-obvious as to whom I needed to contact... Ill try that email as well.
I think you mean nothing short of revolutionary.
127.0.0.1 quora.com www.quora.com
Unfortunately it's too old to edit.
Whether or not that's related to their age is debatable, but one would assume that people who have been publishing on the web for awhile -- bylined or anonymously -- would understand the negative impact this would have on their community or at least would have learned from previous companies' mistakes that just isn't something you do (both the deploying a global change that opts users into something they didn't initially sign up for and the very concept of making previously private things public). There are separate services out there that one can use if they want others on the web to know where they are and what they're doing. I'll use those if I want to be transparent.
My friend was denied permission to use Quora, rather insultingly blocked, for not revealing his ancestor name. We thought it was plain stupid on part of Quora to behave this way, so didn't bother to follow up with them either. What's amazing here is that even Government passports don't force revealing names of ancestors like they do.
Could you explain how it happened in this specific case, since it sounds like the name that your friend gave appeared to be real. That it, it wasn't something like "Fake Name" or "Bite Me", so how did Quora know?
And, in general, could someone explain how the likes of Quora and Facebook decide that a name isn't "real"? Does someone at Quora or Facebook manually scan new account names? Do they wait for complaints from other users? Is it something algorithmic like noting that you receive messages such as "Hi Mike" but where you registered as "Fred Flintstone"?
At facebook they certainly do. When you change your name you have to wait for some period of time before it gets approved by a human. The person doing it doesn't seem to give a shit though. It is the fashion amongst a certain sector of the youth to use utterly ludicrous pseudonyms on FB - most of my friends do. I would love to quote some of them here because they're very funny but I don't want to jeopardise anyones privacy.
Personally I have changed my name several times on FB over the years and never had a problem. For a long time it was 15 letters with no vowels. That was fun at parties - "What are you called on facebook?" "I literally can't remember. Guess I'm going to have to add you."
AFAIK if you try to change your name to something obviously fake, like "Superman", it will reject it immediately
OT: my favorite "delete your account" is at buy dot com. At least couple months ago, there was no option to do so, so I called them and someone told me: just add "DELETE" in front of your account; this way you wont be able to login to it anymore.
Borderline SERP cloaking, to say the least.
This shit doesn't fly with Google. Delivering different content to Google bot and the user coming through search makes Google looks like a fool, since the user is unable to find the content he searched for. That is why expert-sexchange shows answers at the bottom when Google is your referrer.
If Quora is pulling up this shit, Google will penalize it. I think it's more likely Quora is simply hiding content behind css.
See for example: http://www.quora.com/Bayesian-Inference/How-do-Bayesian-algo...
The answers are in a span with class "blurred_answer", which has css styles: "color: transparent; text-shadow: 0 0 7px #777". Which in effect makes the text completely unreadable to humans.
This is just one step above "color: #fff; background-color: #fff".
I checked with two different browsers (Opera and Firefox under Windows).
Could this mean that the Quora PR machine is up in full swing trying to undo damage (at least in the case of specific links that people cite)?
Although I see in the html source there are some html comments "googleoff". I've never heard of those before.
I guess "googleon"'ing the first answer is enough to get google juice while staying within the letter of rules, it's still really spammy.
(Plus, how does that play with other search engines?)
If I go to the link you cited directly it is not blurred.
But I if search for "How do Bayesian algorithms work" in Google, then click the link that Google finds, then it is blurred.
Once you get the blurred Quora page, then even going to the link directly will get you a blurred page. If you delete all the Quora cookies, then it'll be back to being readable (non-blurred).
Interestingly, if you use Google's encrypted service ( https://encrypted.google.com/ ) to search for "How do Bayesian algorithms work", you'll get a non-blurred Quora page.
Of course, it will be addressed by another "true name" purveyor. My head hurts.
So, if Quora use a GSA (or rack of them) to power their site search, they can ensure parts of the page aren't added to the index of the search. This can be helpful if you want to exclude areas that are repeated a lot in the site but are not helpful if you are searching, like navigation or help panels.
(Quick edit) googleoff/googleon are completely ignored by normal Google, AFAIK it's only used for their Appliance products.
I tried this in Firefox and Chrome in both normal and Private/Incognito modes.
Presumably I could View Source or something; but hey, there's no shortage of info on the web without the silly hoops.
Not only does this shit fly but Google are doing it on their own websites.
EDIT: I'm guessing you don't believe me. Try clicking on a Google Groups link.
This article has another example: http://www.seobook.com/googles-youtube-caught-cloaking-spam-...
Google repeatedly violates the "guidelines" they try to force on other webmasters.
I am not claiming Google is benevolent. As I mentioned above, if a user searches for "rails select in query" and the user clicks on experts-exchange result summary showing partial answer only to be taken to the page where answers are hidden, the user failed to find something on Google. May be he will blame experts-exchange, but he will blame Google as well.
> EDIT: I'm guessing you don't believe me.
I am guessing you were downvoted. I didn't downvote you. If fact, you can't downvote immediate replies to your post. Since you directly replied to my post, the downvote link doesn't appear for me for your reply.
In fact, Google wants even more such results. See First Click Free: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&...
Oh and here are 240 million login-walled pages: https://www.google.com/search?q=inurl:groups.google.com/grou...
Google wants to index as much content as possible. It's providing incentive to content owners to let Google index it. As pointed out by another commenter, clicking on the search result summary shows that document in full. It's only the subsequent clicks that can be paywalled.
> Oh and here are 240 million login-walled pages: https://www.google.com/search?q=inurl:groups.google.com/grou....
Is it asking to sign in? I tried in incognito mode and I could read the groups just fine.
I find it annoying when that happens. Also, Google's recommendation is to allow 5 clicks a day and allow everyone with "GoogleBot" in their useragent. I wish the implementation was better.
> Is it asking to sign in? I tried in incognito mode and I could read the groups just fine.
You are right, I cleared my cookies and I stopped getting the login redirection.
The scummy thing here is that you're taken to a web page where the interesting content is hidden on the first page.
Please can you delete my account.
I'm unhappy with your recent changes that would allow anyone to see the topics I follow and read.
My registered account is set up at <email address>
Please can you send me confirmation when you have done this.
I've fired an email off.
Subject: Account deletion request
I am unhappy with the new Views feature, which is enabled by default. I do not wish to be part of a website that prevents its users from browsing pages anonymously, especially if it also requires them to use their full names.
Can you please delete my Quora account and all associated data as soon as possible, including my public and anonymous answers. Please also send me a confirmation email once this data has been erased.
My account page is located at www.quora.com/XXXXXXXXXXXX.
Quora has processed my deletion request and confirmed that my account has been deleted. Except that not a whole lot was deleted, as far as I can see.
I can still log in.
I left my account logged in and did not deactivate it before sending the request. It looks like most of my details are still intact.
* My name was replaced with User-XXXX, where XXXX is a four-digit integer.
* My followers and the people I'm following were removed
* It looks like the comments that I left on answers have been deleted.
* I'm not sure about things like my biography, country of origin, etc. because I removed those myself first
* I can still see other details such as my edit history and the messages I have exchanged with others.
My answers do not seem to have been deleted.
I'm not 100% sure about this, because I made sure I manually deleted them all myself before asking for my profile to be deleted. But when I view a question I answered, I still have the option of undeleting my answer. Maybe Quora normally permadeletes answers only if they weren't manually deleted first. Maybe they just flag them as deleted like I did manually. I have no idea.
All the questions I had created still exist.
The only questions I was able to delete myself were the ones with no answers on them. The others remain, but with my name scrubbed off them. I find this acceptable and didn't expect Quora to delete other peoples' answers along with my questions.
Ultimately I'm pretty happy with this. I would have preferred to have everything permadeleted, but as long as my answers are no longer visible and my personal informatoin has been scrubbed, I'll leave it at that.
Here's a screenshot of my Quora edit history, with the individual edits blurred out: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4630539/Quora%20Edit%20List.png
Your lack of respect for privacy is unfortunate.
Delete my account and all associated data immediately, and send me a confirmation email once this is done.
My account: www.quora.com/xxxxx
Please *delete* all data associated with my account.
My registered email address is: ______________
I would keep my account except there's no way to
actually delete my content and actions myself.
All you can do is *hide* stuff.
I want my stuff *deleted* permanently without a trace.
Hi Quora team,
I'm not very happy with the recent changes to privacy settings on Quora and I'd
like to delete my account. My email address is ...
I've heard from others that, in lieu of their account actually being deleted, their
followers and username were just reset. Could you ensure all the content I've
created is fully *deleted and gone from your database*? I'd do it myself but all
you can do is hide it.
Thanks again for your help. It's unfortunate that it's come to this, but I'm just
not at all comfortable with your new policies and so I want to make sure my
persona on the site is truly and completely gone.
You also don't have a "Delete" button that simply hides things. That really is unconscionable. Delete means delete.
I've been on the receiving end of thousands of user emails and that email is not even a 1 on the hostility meter. Personally I tend to appreciate very simple and direct email. The hardest users to help are the ones that aren't clear about what they want.
Okay, "deleting without a trace" probably should be "delete as much data as you possibly can". Remove from backups, archives, caches, do not simply "hide" my data, but delete it permanently. Every service should develop a process for doing this. I've developed this kind of functionality many times, and yes it's a pain, but no it's not particularly hard. Quora is clearly not responsible for Google or any other third-party generally.
I doubt that this is related to making money.
So while I agree there would be a loss, I'm not so sure about "huge." Would people be pissed? Yes. Would there be backlash? Absolutely. Would it open the door wider for a competitor? Probably. But they would be making honest money, more than they are now, and could innovate.
I may be wrong about its chances for success, but to me it's not obviously a failing move.
Here's hoping Quora becomes the next Digg.
Deletion erases data.
People usually shut down profiles for privacy reasons, so deactivation will rarely be of any use to them; they are better off trying to manually delete their content, while they still have a semblance of write access in that regard.
Deactivation works in some instances on a hypothetical level, but people tend to leave a service, because they don't trust it, which leaves that option moot.
Yeah, I'm sure it does...
most people won't even know it happened, new users will have to discover by themselves, a lot of people will not like but won't care enough to opt-out, most who really dislike will opt-out and the rest who are actively against it, that are opinionated and will try to shed a light on how unethical and unconsiderate this is and consequently put a bad face on them will be significantly cut down
Subject: Delete my account
the e-mail for it is: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
thats the link: www.quora.com/xxxxxxxxxx
Basically, I wanted to contribute quite heavily to the Depression topic. I'm a sufferer and I wanted to be able to help other people. But on Quora you have a choice of answering a question either Anonymously or as yourself, the problem with answering as yourself is that all your activity gets published to the feed of people who follow you, and with Quora being heavily integrated with Facebook I wasn't comfortable with this.
Which meant I was forced to answer questions anonymously, which I was equally uncomfortable with. I felt like I couldn't make an valuable contribution if I was hiding behind anonymity each time.
I don't mind people knowing things about me, which is why I don't mind saying this here, using my real name, but that's very different to being willing to shout from the rooftops.
I emailed Quora to suggest being able to decide what information gets published to the feed on a per-topic basis. I didn't get a response, which is hardly surprising, but if basic privacy-controls are outside of their plan for the site, I can't be part of it.
Why is that?
Names are important because they allow you to build reputation (ignoring actual reputation algorithms for now). So if a particular question comes up, a user might think "I wonder what Joey Joe Joe thinks about this" or "Let's see what AmazingFace82's answer to this question is".
In the case of any community that's fundamentally about self-improvement, for example the Depression topic, it's useful to see how an individual's contributions change over time. Do they become more positive? What solutions did they try, which ones were most effective?
In my view pseudonymity is usually the best solution - with real names or complete anonymity only occasionally being preferable.
Additionally, my boss was the guy who encouraged me to use Quora more heavily, so he was following me already. Even unlinking Facebook wouldn't have changed that.
There's the option of maintaining multiple accounts, but I wasn't a heavy enough user yet to be willing to deal with the hassle.
Quora was started by an elitist group. They made content policies that were very elitist (similar to HN in a way) emphasizing quality and trained their early adopters to vote only the VERY BEST of content.
They then moved away from the gated status and allowed others to enter their community. The new-comers were however not as qualified to write as the old user base and obviously most of them never got any upvotes for the content they created. So the new users got programmed to believe that up votes are scarce on quora and therefore they themselves stopped up voting on quora.
Well the only problem with this was, up voting also meant sharing. So by training users to not up vote in a way, they cut off their sharing. So now old content stopped circulating and that explains why most people think quora is dead.
To solve the problem of content circulation slowing down, which would heavily impact the discovery of content, Quora first launched a feature called 'Boards' some time back. (Even though this invited comments on how Quora is just copying pinterest).
That probably got the engine up and running for some while.
However this still did not fix the problem. I think the most popular board on Quora has something like 5000 followers. Thats it! So the content is still not circulating well.
So then they came up with the Views feature - a feature turned on by default and which would convert every view into a vote and could turn on their content engine back up again.
What people don't get is - The guy who started eHow is an investor at Quora. It has always been about long tail content, getting traffic for long queries on google, content circulation etc...
Quora is not innovative at all, there is no great model there.
Its just eHow done more cleanly.
One of the things that really bothered me was that I could tell who had made a thread about a sensitive or taboo-ridden subject, although this was not at all obvious to the person who posted the question. The site creates the impression that you are - sort of - anonymous when asking a question, but have to explicitly choose to anonymize, when you post an answer.
To think that this company raised at a $400M valuation in April pisses me off.
The concept of privacy can quickly get very semantic, but I think Steve Jobs summed it up perfectly:
Privacy means people know what they are signing up
— Steve Jobs, D8 2010.
: In the list of portraits of people following a question, the first of the portraits is the person who posted the question.
To an extent, they are correct. I'm getting tired of these self-entitled startups who think they are running the show.
Reality: Quora launched a feature called "views", announced to everyone upon logging in that it was automatically enabled, and is disabled with three clicks from any page on the site.
I wasn't particularly happy when I was opted in, and immediately turned it off. Then, after a few hours, I turned it back on and saw that it was actually a pretty useful feature to see how people were getting to my content. I noticed that a few of my followers were "connectors" of Quora, through which half or more of my views on an answer came. This, I feel, is useful and relevant information.
Yes, being opted into a less private setting is unsettling, but I trust Quora at least as much as any other company. This is the first time I've been opted into anything, their settings are incredibly easy to figure out and are granular, and I trust the people that run the site.
I'll add that this seems to bother non-users more than people who actually use the site regularly.
I don't have an account there. I never intend to have an account there, because the only thing I've used it for is to get answers(or more context) to the occasional bizarre coding issue I've run into at work. I've never felt the need to post anything.
So no, it doesn't matter what new "feature" they added. They have effectively killed their entire product for me.
Personally, I read stuff for amusement or interest all the time that I would not want a large portion of my acquaintances knowing that I read, and certainly not without explanation. For instance, if I read an article about child abuse and get curious about the age of consent in Massachusetts, I don't want that showing up to random acquaintances in my feed anywhere.
Enabling this feature surreptitiously and without an opt-in is insanely stupid and insensitive to users. Given that Quora has very good support for anonymous questions and answers, you'd expect them to be more savvy than this.
Then they can charge more. It's simple as that.
Quora was a darling. It was started from the inside. We didn't expect this one did we?
Why oh why do we keep creating content/value for random people we don't know when we could create a blog on our own website? When we could create a product that has value to us and others and benefits us in a direct and measurable way?
Creating that content is work. Answering those questions is work. It takes time. It takes energy. It takes concentration and value away from work that benefits YOU.
OMG, I'm doing it right now!
I never got pass the real name policy.
I think a mistake is that these services are either built without a clear development strategy, or the development strategy doesn't jive with what the users expect from the early growth phase.
We see this repeatedly with "free" products. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...
What's more stupid is their desperation for you to interact with their site. I went to remove my unused account, and this is what I got when I typed www.quora.com:
You'll notice that I couldn't do anything else - I "had" to choose 5 extremely broad subjects that I'm supposed to be interested in, in order to be able to view my profile. I selected 5 subjects randomly, and...
Only after that they kindly allowed me to view the main page and my profile. I deactivated my account, and won't ever click on a quota link again (and would add them to my spam list so they won't show up in my Google results).
If I don't care enough click a button, either A) I have no meaningful opinion, B) I don't want Quora to know what I think, or C) there's a "problem" with the button.
Quora, if you're going to just make assumptions about why I'm looking at an answer, you will very often be WRONG.
I can't say how much i hate the "social trend" in this era of the internet boom.
"Yeah, our Product is a ripoff of Product X (proof concept, existing since 2000) BUT WE ADDED SOCIAL TO IT, ZOMG!!11"
What's bugging me even more is the fact, that there're so many stupid VCs who think they'll invest in the next big thing and support stupid ideas, too blind to see real innovations.
It angers me greatly. I attribute it to tech going mainstream in a big way. It waters down the entire industry. Worse, it feels like it has slowed down R&D because everyone's so complacent with what we have.
It's creepy and disrespectful that they would turn this on by default and it looks extremely desperate which makes me doubt quora's financial stability. Which in turn makes me not want to spend time contributing to it (not that I've made many contributions).
But this is the sort of thing FB would've done in their place... So I don't know, maybe their staff simply has no understanding of how people feel about privacy.
When did the need to make the distinction of anonymous vs non-anonymous reading arise? Anonymity was assumed for something as simple as picking up a book or a newspaper. It sounds as awkward and unnatural to me as taking an "anonymous shower" or anonymously picking my nose. Pretty scary that we're headed down this path where fewer and fewer things are private.
Quora is overrated. They need to get it together, dial down the hype, and show some freaking humility. To do that they'll need to stop abusing the users they have.
Nothing would kill Facebook quicker than then implementing this, for example.
With such a move, I would not stay one day longer on the "service".
I dislike the idea of passively sharing information. In my opinion, sharing should be a conscious decision the user makes, not something that the user is tricked or forced into.
It's not like the proverbial hyperspace bypass paperwork, it's literally 3 clicks.
I swear guys, some of you have both very oversensitive outrage modules and a broad definition of deception. That goes to most everyone in this thread.
And, perhaps more tellingly, in each topic the few scraps of fresh activity each time I've opened the app since have been from exactly the same users.
Quite an effective way to destroy some goodwill they'd built up with me over the past couple of years.
It might not be new but it was the first time I noticed it (and I immediately left the group without thinking about it for even one second).
If you do want to share knowledge for free (which is of course laudable), there are plenty of other large, well-established websites that are free and open and will remain so in the future. Or you could just set up a personal/community website of your own.
I'd rather just pay a small quantity to be honest. I'm not sure if an alternative site working on subscriber money would be feasible.
If you are too afraid to visit that link, try this one:
So when I see things like this, it makes me think there's surely an opportunity and the opportunity falls squarely in Quora's lap. But depending how they execute on it, they might still be leaving the space wide open for others.
So try viewing the homepage and then check the setting, or closing the fewture notification... it may then be 'Yes'.
It's not happening now so possibly was part of some A/B test.
That coupled with this passive browsing would be a step too far.
1. Not collect any information (in this case who read what article) at all. Obviously that company would be at a big disadvantage, having no access to a useful set of signals.
2. Collect the information and use it for their own goals.
3. Collect the information and make it freely available.
If I understand the article correctly, Quora went from strategy #2 to #3. From my perspective, this is a positive move. In case #3, users are aware of what is happening with their private information and may log out if they do not want to be tracked this way. It is way better than living in peaceful ignorance as in case #2. Also, the company cannot sell the private info, because it is publicly available.
Uh. Maybe you don't understand why people don't like it when companies sell their data.
It's because it ends up in the hands of every shady marketing agency and intelligence organization on earth. Making it public just means that these parties can get it with no barrier to entry.
See: Usenet, where any email address that's ever touched it is supposedly under constant siege by spam.
They are very skilled at interpreting needs and desires we didn't know we had and quickly correcting themselves the times they do make mistakes (like the recent notification spam issues).
edit: lol @ downvotes. Unacceptable to not be a Quora hater I guess...
This is basically the same line that I use when I'm mocking targeted ads and joking around with friends about how thankful they should be for them. If your edit wasn't there I would have guessed this was a level aka fooling someone w/ sarcasm or non-serious remark.
There is a difference, however, in explaining away unpopular changes as being this and actually being good at it. Quora is actually good at it.
It's just ExpertSexChange all over again
That quote is based on the (false) premise that privacy is there to conceal illegal/shady activities. It puts you in one of two groups; You're either guilty of something and have a reason to hide it, or you're not guilty and have no reason to hide anything. It doesn't include the possibility that you might not be guilty of something but may still want to keep something hidden. I'll give you an example. You might NOT want to give your phone number when you register on some social website because you don't want that data used for marketting purposes.
Either you are being sarcastic, or idiotic. Please tel me which one.