Questions and Answers site Quora exploded with popularity at the start of 2011 with the initial attention of the more technologically inclined, but now after it's introduction is gaining a wider and more mainstream demographic. The Q&A's specialist site is now looking to grow its user network and therefore potentially risk its generally high standard of user generated content. The question is; will Quora manage to maintain its renowned quality content while simultaneously encouraging audience diversification?
Founded by a forward thinking team of former Facebook and Google developers the site continues to champion an new way of getting satisfactory and reliable answers to important questions.
Maintained with a steady flow of interaction from industry thought-leaders and professionals the site seems to resemble a mixture of the formal professionalism of Linkdin but the freedom and accessibility as Twitter.
At the same time Quora provides a simple yet positive platform for cutting edge knowledge attainment and sharing. Initially being used by very high level developers from AOL and Google Popular web tech sites such as Techcrunch received criticism for shifting its agenda toward focusing on hot Quora topics.
Users can ask questions and answer anything they like. Though the popularity of the question is a direct result of its relevance, importance, value, usefulness, who and how many users answer etc; influences the stratification of each topic. It's like a Yahoo / Google questions forum meets twitter with an influence score.
Once registered, users can fill in the details of their profession, interests and knowledge, connect and find users from other networks. Quora then works around your own interaction with the platform by developing your profile, feed and notifications around what questions you answer and who you may follow. Collectively capturing your habits and using them to give you more and compliment your status.
The definition of how popular an answer and therefore the status of the user is defined by a voting system for each answer. The better the answer the more votes it will potentially get.
Answered questions or questions raised can optionally be tweeted out or posted to your Facebook and, as yet, Tumblr profiles, in order to draw attention to your profile and henceforth the Quora site itself.
Users also have the option to send direct messages to others, and update their own profile that others can see and interact with by describing experiences of specific words found in their posts.
The layout is a refreshingly very simple list format resembling a design none too far from a twitter feed of questions, topics, and profiles you follow.
It tells you where the questions have been posted to who and how many have answered, and showing the most popular answers according to how many votes the answer has.
The feed is separated into 3 parts being a general 'all activity' feed, an 'open questions' feed and notifications of the activity of your own or people you follow.
Quora is another step in the web based evolution toward shared knowledge, though a step from twitter discussion or Yahoo answers as users in Quora are measured on the accuracy and usefulness of their answers and how they are voted on, posing a new element to modern information sharing, trust.
Unlike simply wiki-ing or reading others opinions or posts online, with Quora, one can now get increasingly more accurate answers from relevant and specialist individuals who are verified through their interactions and popularity of their past answers within the Quora site.