Last week I was introduced to quora.com . It’s a smart Q&A on almost everything. The crowd is currently very tech oriented, thus so are the questions. The most notable difference to existing forums and Q&A sites is the way you select the content you are interested in. You can follow people, topics (tags) or specific questions. All together building a feed of questions and updates tailored to your interest.
I see some relation to asking a question on Twitter, however with Quora your other followers can actually see the responses. Currently, the quality of answers is one of the big selling points. The people answering are CTO’s, founders, etc. making it a great place to read up on new trends.
Although it took a while for me to figure out the search box, it works very very well and incredibly fast. It can find people, topics and specific questions as you type.
As with every new service, there are still a few things in there that are not as smooth as desirable. First of all, it is hard to see what has been read. This has been a standard functionality in almost every forum out there, not without reason. Furthermore, the homepage feed is structured a bit weird. For example to me it would make more sense to group the ‘new question added’ and ‘answer added’ on the same question together, instead of having them at multiple points in the time-line. Especially annoying is the fact that new items are added to the homepage at the top, while you are reading, moving you away from what you were reading. Finally, on the homepage it some times it shows topic suggestions on the right, but not always. If it’s not showing there, I find it hard to figure out where I can get those.
There are some other things I wish there were in there: for example a way to ‘archive’ certain questions, so they don’t appear anymore, even though they are on a topic I’m following. I would also very much like to see a global feed with all questions, that does not look like a diff screen.
In general it feels very promising, however the big question is: how will it cope with the masses? As soon as this goes beyond the early adopters, will I still be able to cope with the large amount of questions on the topics I’m interested in? Or will I have to wade through batches of unanswered and uninteresting topics?