Q & A site with very smart people and good community.

I was horribly addicted. But now I've left.


When I was there, these were my key pages :


And my Being on the Platform. A Quora "blog" where I collate my answers thinking about Quora.

My Space FutureProgramming for discussing and speculating about new programming ideas.

See QuoraAnswers for pages where I'm dropping links to answers I make on Quora.

I've now exported all my Quora answers (see below), and the good ones will be merged into ThoughtStorms in due course.

How to rescue your data from Quora


The trick is to use the EuropeanUnion's GDPR

Interestingly. Perhaps they see their mission as fighting TheEndOfConsensus.

But also through creating knowledge in a form suitable for training AI : https://medium.com/quora-design/why-design-at-quora-aa7a0899e486

Quora Answer : What unpopular opinions do you have about Quora?

May 15, 2017

Interesting question.

Probably my most unpopular opinion about Quora is that I disagree with "Quora is not a debate site".

I understand why lots of people say this. They're frustrated by and fed up with all the dumb insincere questions and cut'n'paste troll responses to answers. Sure, these are a pain. And I wish we didn't have to put up with them, and I don't want to "encourage" them.

But I take seriously the idea that Quora is about generating new knowledge. Not just reporting on a stock-pile of existing knowledge.

And as I'm a Popperian critical rationalist, I believe knowledge comes from a critical or even "adversarial" process where someone throws up a conjecture and other people trying to knock it down with criticism. That, for me, is the creative life-blood of our intellectual tradition.

Socrates is the well-spring of European thought. Through asking insistent rhetorical questions until he became a total PITA. Many Quorans would have this behaviour banned as Sea-Lioning. Heraclitus declares that "war is the father of all things"; all creativity comes from strife and all knowledge is "polemical". Our entire intellectual history since then, has benefited from structured disagreement : from devil's advocates, to the scientific method, to trial by jury, to representative democracy.

If Quora aspires to be part of that cannon, and to fulfil its purpose of being a (possibly great) platform to generate new knowledge, then the question is not how to avoid being a debate site, but how to become a good one.

Quora Answer : Why does Marc Bodnick think Quora will soon be one of the most important companies on the Internet?

May 27, 2017

You'll have to ask Marc Bodnick

I suspect it WON'T be one of the most important "companies" on the internet. If your idea of a company is something that makes large revenues and wields a lot of economic power. The way Google, Facebook and Uber do.

I suspect it may go down in history as one of the most important and influential communities on the internet in our time.

Right now, I'm pretty sceptical (or pessimistic) that the management will discover a business model that doesn't break Quora. And the most likely "good" future for Quora is that it's bought by a larger company or extremely rich philanthropist. Or becomes a non-profit like the Wikimedia foundation.

Quora Answer : Which company do you want to buy Quora?

Jul 18, 2017

One of Oxford / Cambridge / London / Yale / Harvard / MIT etc. A world class university.

I'd love to see this for two reasons :

I really want to see a good university starting to figure out how academia and learning are going to change in the next century. Quora is a huge collection of incredibly smart, and incredibly curious people. It is doing some of what academia / "the Republic of Letters" is meant to be doing. In some ways it's better than academia. In some ways it's worse. But it's something that academia needs to get to grips with.

Quora is a great platform and an even more impressive community. But it needs to go somewhere. It needs to "grow" in some sense. Or it will crash. I believe that to grow, it needs to invent / introduce new structures of discourse which can be more "productive" in some way. It needs to create structures for argument and debate. It could create structures for brainstorming. For other kinds of collaboration. For more formal teaching and accreditation. Some of these structures can be learned from traditional academia. Or worked out in conjunction with it.

Failing that ...



Because it's big enough to fund Quora more or less indefinitely.

It's NOT driven by advertising (sorry Google / Facebook) and relying on advertising would kill Quora.

It's NOT stupid. Microsoft has wasted / screwed up every major acquisition it made (Hotmail, Skype, Nokia ... probably LinkedIn).

Whereas if Jeff Bezos buys Quora he will either have an interesting plan for it, or will be buying it purely out of philanthropy.

I boycott Amazon, so it will possibly make me give up Quora. Which I'm dangerously addicted to.