Clarissa: The limits of what users can do to protest


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One thing is that just withholding answers doesn’t matter to Quora because your value to Quora is your already existing answers. These answers will get views as long as Quora exists and provide them a neverending stream of income. They don’t care if you leave.

That means that the only way you have power over them is if you delete all your answers, and maybe then they could still reinstate them. Though I’m not sure if that would be legal. If you wanted to make it harder for them, you could also edit all your answers and turn them into Lorem Ipsum filler text or other word salad.

But still then, a single user or even a largish group of users isn’t a real loss for them. Even if several thousands did that, they would be dispensable. The number of people who would need to join forces in order to make Quora really vulnerable is just too high, it’s never going to happen.

A lot of people who have contributed to Quora are emotionally invested in this and attached to it. No matter how upset they are, they aren’t going to leave.

This recent episode was probably the most outrageous thing Quora ever did, it angered even the people who normally defend Quora, and I don’t see large masses of people leaving it. I don’t know what Quora would have to do to really shoo people away large-scale, and I hope I’m never going to find out.

And really, what matters is not so much what users could realistically achieve, but what threats users could make against Quora. If there was a way to make Quora believe the users can hurt them, we’d all be in a more powerful position.

On the other hand, I’m glad users aren’t a hive-mind that make unified decisions but a group of individuals. Such a hive-mind would be a bit creepy.


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