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You say our motivation is "to force users to pay or share advertising data or some such bullshit". Actually, we don't charge users anything, and we don't run ads or sell user data or anything like that. We only try to get users to sign up because they have a better experience when they do and in the long term they write more answers and more knowledge gets shared that way.

You may not want to sign up yourself, or you may disagree with this tradeoff on principle, which is fine, but I want people to understand the motivation. We just want to increase the total amount of knowledge shared. In the short term requiring signups means some people don’t join. But a lot of people do join and start to use Quora regularly, a lot more than if there was no requirement, and those people end up contributing so many more answers that we judge this to be the right decision for the long term.

In fact, at this point, most of the answers written every day would not exist if we had not had the signup requirement. I realize that this choice makes the product worse for people who refuse to join. But in the counterfactual world Quora is a product with much less coverage of any topic, and that is a much lower quality experience for users. We are trading off a little annoyance at first for a much better experience and the ability to access a vastly larger base of content in the long term.

Thanks for the thoughtful response, I'll link it in my blog post. My apologies for mischaracterizing Quora as running ads. http://www.quora.com/Quoras-Business-Model-and-Monetization/...

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