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March 13, 2013 by Dan Grose
Asking questions online for people to answer is certainly not a new phenomenon, and nor does it always guarantee you an intelligent or useful response. Yet, despite the obvious pitfalls, this method seems to be the overriding choice when it comes to solving our quibbles via the web. Sites like Yahoo! Answers often come up near the top of Google search results, and it appears we’re more than happy for strangers to provide solutions to any number of head-scratchers.
So, with that many options available, what’s so special about Quora? Aside from having a nigh-on impossible to pronounce name, Quora brings people with the relevant questions to people with the relevant answers, turning the whole Q&A process into a more tailored exercise rather than trial and error. It may take some getting used to, but it’s easy to get lost in what this fascinating app has to offer.
The mobile version of long-standing internet stalwart, Quora takes the good bits from several notable apps and combines them with wealth of knowledge on niche subject matter. In the same way as Google Currents or StumbleUpon, users can customise their question feed using specific topics of interest, meaning you’ll be able to browse Mathematics and Science in one instance, TV & Films the next. With so much going on this makes all the difference and flicking around becomes a lot easier as a result.
Getting down to the business of asking or answering questions is also pleasantly straightforward. Should you spot a specific query on your travels round the app that you wish to get involved with, a few short taps separate you from sharing your wisdom with the world. Similarly, if there’s something on your mind that needs answering, getting your query out can be done in no time at all. Despite the confusing nature of the app at the start – and it will confuse you, we guarantee that – getting to grips with Quora is both simple and rewarding.
Once you’ve scrolled around for a while, it becomes abundantly clear that, despite its billing as a Q&A forum, Quora is a place in which to get totally lost. Thanks to the magic of the aforementioned categories, you’ll find yourself spending as much time reading other people’s responses as you will creating your own, and the ability to subscribe to a conversation keeps your curiosity sharp as the subject develops. Throw in social network integration and the option to follow certain people’s posts and you have a fascinating vehicle of discovery peppered with your favourite Facebook or Twitter folk.
Despite the intrigue and wonderment proffered, Quora is certainly not perfect. Its info-heavy nature makes for an untidy blend of text, meaning those after a particularly stunning app will be disappointed. With so much going on it was always going to be hard to present in a concise, streamlined manner, and this is something that may count against it. Having used both Android and iOS versions the little green robot version manages to square things away more efficiently, but even then you’ll need to spend some time getting yourself accustomed to the less than pretty interface.
Still, if you’re committed to the cause, Quora is worth it. Set it up right and, rather than just a simple question and answer forum, it will open up a vast world of knowledge that you’ll readily return to time and again. It’s certainly not for everyone, and even then a muddled interface may put some off, but if constant knowledge is your thing then you need to get involved.
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