The core lesson of life, which I rebelled against at 20 and acquiesced to at 40, is that all that we do, and all that we are, and all that we love shall one day be dust.
The core lesson of Silicon Valley is that, without a clear plan to profitability or even not-for-profit sustainability, all the online services that you do and are and love shall be dust, a hell of a lot sooner than you think.
My profile says I love Quorans, and I hate Quora Inc. My main reason for the latter is the ongoing bumbling of UI and knowledge management and moderation.
The subsidiary reason is what my One True Quora Master Scott Welch and I mutter darkly to each other, in our monthly meetings of the Insurgency. With no discernible leadership or roadmap, I’d be rather pleasantly surprised if Quora is around in five years’ time.
Quora is not made to last forever. It is not a government agency, it is a private company. And as private companies go, it is not made to last 100 years.
Is there anything Quora can do to prevent this fate? Yes, have a completely different structure and a real business plan. And the time to do that, from my uninformed external perspective, was several years ago, when they last went cap in hand to the venture capitalists who are paying for our daily salon.
You can thank me for my cold shower of Silicon Valley Venture Economics 101 later.
What shall we do in the fact of this prospect, OP?
- Bookmark Brian Bi’s answer to When, and how, will I be able to download all of the Quora content I have produced, like the Facebook and Twitter feed export options? If you can’t run Python on your computer, get in touch with someone who can. Archive your answers, and archive them periodically (and incrementally, lest the ScrapingBot be roused into rampage). You will lose the comments, but then again, Quora’s notion of copyright is that you have no right to archive others’ comments anyway.
- If there are people whose company you cherish, get their contact details now, through more sustainable avenues. Facebook is one. Email is another. And find ways to stay in touch with them.
- I’m anticipating Quora In Exile groups on Facebook. I’m anticipating lots of small Quora In Exile groups; not all 80 million of us (or whatever the inflated user count is) actually want to hang out in the one place.
- If you have been writing, find other venues to write. Blogs still exist, even if they aren’t as cool and now as they used to be. (I’ll most likely be reviving Ἡλληνιστεύκοντος and opɯdʒɯlɯklɑr, my two defunct blogs.) Other Q&A sites exist, though they don’t have the balance of seriousness and sociability that Quora has; your choices are Reddit and StackExchange.
- As Jordan Yates drolly put it, Grindr is a more plausible alternative to Quora than Yahoo Answers is.
- If you have been learning, find other venues to learn. They won’t be as wide-ranging and sociable, so you will truly need to hone in on core topics you’re interested in. If Wikipedia’s around (and that’s likelier), reacquaint yourself with it. Even if you can’t stand to write on the very snippy StackExchange, you can probably get a lot out of reading it.
- We’ll all get our lives back. Let’s just make sure we don’t lose our thirst for knowledge in the process.