The End wrote: ericbarbour wrote:
Abd wrote:I got a much closer look at how such companies operate with Quora, which has the best writing on the internet, my opinion. If you know how to use the site, otherwise you will see piles of junk.
Jimbo was one of their "founding lights", and I fully expect that he baked another dysfunctional community operation into Quora. Yes there is good material in there. Quora also has thousands of sockpuppet accounts from Indian IT sweatshops, grinding upvotes for certain items. That just screams "JIMBO".
Quora was started by Facebook people. Jimbo has an account. According to his Quora user page, "I am an advisor to and (very small) investor in Quora." Quora operates in ways that are radically different from Wikipedia. Yes, there are sockpuppet upvoters, and they make no difference for those who know how to use Quora. It is not a compendium of "knowledge." It is an opportunity for writers to write about questions they decide to answer. There is some level of defacto censorship, but quite little, if one bears in mind the single Quora rule: "BNBR: Be Nice, Be Respectful." And what that actually means is that the real rule is "Avoid the appearance of being not-nice and not-respectful." I found out, the best way, by personal experience being warned and even blocked for a week. Be aware that it's necessary to avoid not only the reality of civility and disrespect, but also what may appear to be so, by an administrator who has no time to look at context. I described a troll using language he had used himself on his user page. Bang! Warning, I forget, I might even have been blocked. So one learns DNFTT.
I started a mailing list for Quora users who were concerned about improper management. I got a few Top Writers, but mostly few are complaining any more. It's much more productive to focus on good writing, building audience, and leveraging this into other writing opportunities. Yes, there are veritable mountains of drek. Basically, I don't see it unless I go looking for it. And I don't think this has anything to do with Jimbo. Quora is selling advertising now. Targeted advertising! (That is probably how to support a professionally-staffed encyclopedia; crowdsourcing can be used for certain functions and opportunities could exist for being paid to curate. In other words, the future is hybrid, synthesis. To be reliable, responsible management is needed, and it will never be adequately supervised if the public pays no attention, always, the Iron Law of Oligarchy. Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty. Now, pass the potato chips.
I'm generally skeptical of all these open communities offering premium knowledge from the "wisdom of crowds." I was recently researching a college my employer uses for continuing education. The Quora topic for it looked controlled by commentators from India that showed no direct connection to the college at all. Googling the college just gives you mostly positive PR pieces for it and you have to dig deep in the results to find anything substantially negative. Reddit discussions about the college have more negativity, but I can imagine the college's PR machine can just as easily manipulate those discussions as well. It's getting harder and harder to find good, accurate information anymore even though we have so much information and access to it now.
Obviously, you cannot trust crowd-sourced information, in itself. You can generally trust someone you know to be responsible. Quora is a social media site, not a reliable source of information, it's obvious. But individual writers are reliable. Going to Quora with a question of importance and just trusting whatever Answers have been moved to prominence is setting yourself up to be misled. However, if a question has some broad participation, you may find some Top Writers, others with qualifications, and certainly appealing stories.
Quora is a tool that can be used. Quora is a place where good writing is appreciated, and there are ways to build resources there that fill one's feed with material of interest. There are some very smart, very bright people writing regularly on Quora. To dismiss this as some Jimbo fart is silly.
There are many facets of Quora that could make decent features on Wikipedia. But the mission of Wikipedia is very, very different.
Quora itself was naive, ontologically. "The best answer to every question." Yeah, right. As if there is a best answer.
Nevertheless, it works.