If you ran Quora, what would you do to make it better?

Ah, Mez.

There’s symptoms of what needs to be fixed in Quora, and then there’s the underlying issue.

Almost all answers are targeting the symptoms. Which is cool, the symptoms are what they’re experience and being frustrated by.

But look deeper. If I’m running Quora, I have to deal with the underlying issues. Not just the symptoms.

Scott Welch got closer than everyone to the issues—the lack of a continuous improvement culture, and the debacle of corporate culture reported on at Glassdoor.

But dig deeper yet, if you step into the shoes of Adam DiCaprio. Scott and I have done so face to face, and I know he’s said it here too.

But he’s had his shot at an answer, Mez. And here’s mine.

Why do I loathe Quora Inc. by Nick Nicholas on The Insurgency

I decided that if I’m going to be a Welchite about Quora, and complain about it, I owe Quora the courtesy of articulating why constructively.

And I split the post into “At the surface”, and “At the core”.

At the surface is the stuff everyone complains about. Moderation, UI, User Relations.

At the core… well, I’ll quote my blog post.

Lack of leadership

Who’s running the show? Is there a CTO? Is there a CFO? Why are all the high profile managers jumping ship? Does D’Angelo even exist, or is he a scripted bot? If he’s a scripted bot, can we at least improve the frequency of his posts?

Lack of vision

What problem is Quora solving? Is it an expert forum? Is it a social forum? Is it a knowledge repository, crowdsourcing Doug Lenat’s Cyc? Is it a training bed for AI bots? For intranet knowledge bases? Where do we writers fit in? Why are we here and not on StackExchange?

Lack of sustainability

It’s been six years of burning through venture capital; even by Silly-Con Valley standards, that’s been a while. Is there a plan for profitability? Is there a not-for-profit exit strategy? Is there a strategy at all? And will there be a Quora in five years’ time?

These issues are not getting visibly fixed. And these, in the end, will unhouse us all.

You want to make Quora better? Don’t just fix the symptoms. Fix the core. A Quora in five years that’s exactly the same, with the same random number generator UI and unaccountable moderation and adversarial user relations—is still better than a defunct Quora.

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