7 01 2011

As most of you know, when I find out about a new social networking site, I want to sign up and try it.

Well the twitterers kept mentioning Quora, I had no idea what it was, but soon found myself on their website, signing up.

What it turns out to be is a strange cross between Formspring, The questions and answers site, Yahoo Answers, and a bit of Wikipedia.

The idea is to ask a question, which is seen by users who watch particular topics. For instance, let’s say that you know lots about Melbourne, You now where all the good places are, and feel clued in enough to advise visitors on where they should go, then you’d follow the Melbourne topic.

When you see a question about Melbourne, you leap in with your best answer.
This could be quite helpful, though I feel that I could simply ask my Twitter followers and get a good answer and it would be easier than using Quora.

When I signed up, Quora pulled in most of my twitter followers who were already using the service and gave me a choice as to if I wanted to follow them here too.

Quora felt, to me, and indeed I may change my mind, like one of those new things that everybody wants to try, but soon works out that they have very little real use for, certain Google products come to mind here.

Firstly I wasn’t feeling anything, with some of these things I’ve joined, there’s an instant realisation that this new thing here could be very useful, but Quora lost me.

Then when I slowly began to catch on, I felt the thing was difficult to use, I saw that topics could be created somehow and wanted to try doing that, but found that I couldn’t… it was only after about an hour of tinkering that I discovered a topic can only be made AFTER asking a question.

So I asked a question.

“What are your favourite werewolf legends” (Favourite was flagged as incorrect of course, the mac is doing it now).

Then I created the topic “Werewolf” and left it to simmer.

About thirty minutes later I noticed a notification to say there’d been a change made.

I checked and found that someone had altered my question to

“What are the best Werewolf legends” Which is not the same, so I promptly changed it back.

I know that this is typical Wiki like behaviour but it doesn’t mean I have to like it, I pinned it down by answering my own question which began “My favourite legend is….”

Now I may be wrong but I honestly feel that this is one thing that I won’t be using much, I felt the same about delicious and linkedin, things that frankly I had little or no use for.

Still, what I’ve said here doesn’t mean I’m canning it, what I tell people is this, sign up and give it a shot, you may find that Quora is perfect for *your* needs, it simply wasn’t a must-have for me.


*** More ***

Well my question was changed again, back to “The Best” and this time came with an explanation from admin who told me that it was something to do with wording in their TOS in which I had to keep attention to,

Now OK, I would support people for wanting to keep their site clean and looking nice, A lot of people don’t like swearing and although I feel it has it’s place, many people can’t seem to explain themselves without using expletives.

Then there are the type who use lots of slang and shortcuts, R for Are, acceptable in an SMS, but not very nice anywhere else.

But I felt that what I was experiencing was something like a very strict English teacher from the 30’s, the kind who would whack a student over the knuckles for a misspelling, was breathing down my neck.

The Werewolf question above, was simply a demo, just to see what would happen, and now I can see quite clearly that whatever I type in future will be read and edited.

I’m 45, I feel quite confident in writing a question if the need arises, I’m not perfect and I will make the odd mistake, but I’m not attempting to write a classic novel, What I’m doing is merely asking a question.

And I can do this effectively and quickly via tweetdeck, in a relaxed fashion, in my usual, cheeky style, and I will, most likely, receive a timely reply, without a tut-tut from “people who know better”.

Quora might be useful to some, as I said earlier, but now I see that it’s definitely not for me.

*** Update ***

I was going to keep the page I had created as a place keeper, but had decided not to revisit, but then I noticed another user had added me so I went back to my page and checked, and there was a message for me from Admin advising me, that according to their TOS one must never use their service while using a nom-de-plume, it just wouldn’t be proper… therefore we advise the user to rename oneself or exit the building so that our coachman waiting below can escort you to a whorehouse or something more suitable to your needs.

That was it, I told them where to go and promptly deactivated my account.

Now why should I be offended about this? Well you know that I relate to people via my Character, and people like the character I’ve created, there’s nothing wrong with it, we listen to singers all the time who don’t use their real names, and some of the stuff they’ve created is brilliant.

If you’re a cafe owner and you get some scruffy bloke coming around on the weekend who is quiet, minds his own business, is polite, calls himself “Frog” and writes, do you throw him out?

Why would you?

Firstly he’s your customer, he’s not doing anything wrong, and he might just be writing an amazing song or some wonderful novel.

What if you’re all “People like you aren’t welcome here, out you go” and you toss this poor blighter out, and five years later you’re watching telly, and here’s this bloke saying how he wrote this epic novel which everyone has read, at the cafe across the road, and he’s joking that he was thrown out of your cafe? good grief!

I’m just the little guy, asking me to leave, or me leaving on my own terms, isn’t going to have any lasting effect, but your Bob Dylans, your John Lennons, your Mark Twains and J. K. Rowlings.

Or more to the point, your Madonnas, your Freddy Mercurys or your Elton Johns… Sir Elton, I might add.

I am quite disappointed.





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