Does Quora deceive the people

M. Moorstedt

The wisdom of the masses has always been one of the greatest and at the same time never implemented promises of the web. The approaches and ideas how to tap into this potential are known and numerous. Wikipedia - of course. Countless question-and-answer sites such as yahoo.answers or gutefrage.net. Likewise, all search engines from Google to Wolfram Alpha. But some people are not satisfied with the options available so far.

"We believe that more than 90 percent of the information people want to get on the Internet is not available in the format they can quickly understand," says Charlie Cheever, a former Facebook employee and one of the founders of Quora . This is the name of a new knowledge portal that has recently received a lot of attention. Here questions can be asked, which are then answered and rated by the crowd. Charlie Cheever is right: there has always been a problem with imparting knowledge on the Internet. The search engines' algorithms do not understand what to bring up for the day. On Wikipedia there is a dispute about relevance criteria. And the answers from fellow surfers were often incomprehensible or simply wrong.

Quora is a hybrid, it combines features from Wikipedia, Facebook and Google. It wants to be a social network that is not about your own vanity, but about knowledge. It wants to be an encyclopedia that represents your own interests and not those of other people. It is not known how many users search for answers on the portal. At least the majority of the Silicon Valley opinion leaders have already arrived. The new website will then also experience its "Twitter moment" in 2011, oracle at least the blog Techcrunch. Loosely translated this means exploding user numbers, plenty of risk capital and little prospect of reaching profitability anytime soon.

At first glance, the majority of the texts are informative and factually correct. They even pay attention to correct spelling and grammar. An absolute rarity on the Internet. However, users in Germany have a problem. If you want quick answers, you should ask your questions in English, the lingua franca of the network. In addition, access to Quora is limited. New users have to wait to receive an invitation. In doing so, the portal violates a fundamental principle of the Internet. Exclusivity on the internet is always a false pretense. After all, every offer could in principle be available to everyone. Exclusion criteria from the analog world such as time, place or money do not count here. So why this elitist access restriction? "Quality and quantity are opposed to one another on the Internet. The more people work on a project, the faster the level falls," says Adam D'Angelo, one of the founders.

In order to at least limit this effect, new users need an existing Facebook or Twitter account to register in order to increase the credibility of the entries. However, the founders wish it would be best to register with real names in order to increase credibility and reliability. Most of the users who are otherwise concerned about their anonymity follow this request with surprisingly little reluctance. No wonder that with so much open-heartedness from the audience, so many marketing experts are already moving. The most pressing question they are asking is how one could use the new platform for advertising purposes.