I Don't Like Quora

Posted on July 26, 2013 by richardgoulter
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I don’t like Quora.

That’s a really negative thing to say, and I should go on to qualify and justify that opinion and all.
Maybe there’s a more positive way to express the sentiment.

For certain there are technical reasons why Quora isn’t my thing.
Total lack of privacy about questions is one. On Quora, were I to follow questions or topics about, say, botany or teddy-bears, then it’s for the whole world to see that I like those things. - For those who pursue their interests on Quora, there’s no privacy as to what they’re interested in. (That also leads to a degree of self-censorship. I’m not gonna go look up questions which I wouldn’t want others to know I’ve looked at). - The onus should be on Quora to protect my privacy, not on me to be careful about what I do.

But even issues like that make Quora a website I wouldn’t want to use, rather than a website I dislike.

What makes Quora such an awful website are its people; and the attitudes people who regularly use Quora have.
The original Q&A which led me to this conclusion, alas, I’ve since misplaced. (EDIT: found it. Clearly if you think like this, you’re an asshole. 900 upvotes and counting..). But it’s not hard to dig up foul attitudes in questions like this, this or this.
Clearly I was digging in a topic which reveals the nasty inhumanity of Quora users; but there is a definite, consistent pattern from a variety of users across those questions: that Quora is where you go to be clever and Facebook is where the less-inspired go.
(To be fair, I was amazed to see the comment “ah, Quora circlejerk” on one of these nasty responses. That’s perhaps the best summary of Quora in a phrase).

It’s probably true that a question-and-answer context contains more intellectual substance than the average Facebook newsfeed.
Yet I feel so many of the questions which get shared on Quora defeat the purpose of broad Q&A; questions which might as well be article titles.
Sampling from my newsfeed:

Wow, I didn’t quite notice how monotonous the questions were; but truly, drop the “What are” from the beginning, and you have what sound like reasonably interesting article titles. (Like what folk would share on Facebook).

What loses my respect for regular users of Quora isn’t that they like interesting and intelligent content; it’s their contempt for the common and uninteresting things they perceive on Facebook.
That’s a bad attitude to hold; not only because “the bell tolls for thee” and all, but to me it just seems a rejection of humanity, or of all things human. The crap people write on Facebook is social. Perhaps full of shit, perhaps stupid to the last, but social anyhow.
I’d reckon if you think you’re better than someone else because they’re going about, being human, you’d have to be a right-prick..

But. Even worse, perhaps, is the attitude of “just remove the Facebook friends which don’t interest you”.
Okay; if you’re going to give any weight to the role and status of “Facebook friend”-ing, then I’d have to say there’re more reasons to add/remove someone as friends than just whether their interactions interest you or not.
The crime to be careful of here, though, is that you narrow your view of society, of what it is to be a social human being, by censoring out the stuff you don’t like. - Very much the “Quora circle jerk” is people who like Quora boosting the morale of others who like Quora; bias endorsing bias.
The notion that you’re above the company of others, that they’re not worth talking to is not a particularly healthy notion to embrace.

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