Quora: Community-driven questions and answers

NewImage.jpgQuora is an online question and answer service with the goal to accumulate community knowledge into a single, go-to source of answers. Think of it as a large online discussion board that’s open to a large audience (the whole web!) that helps get answers based on human interaction and open discussion, as opposed to answers derived by computer algorithms (keyword search) or answers that must fit in an encyclopedia-style reference (Wikipedia).

Getting started is easy. If you’re just looking for answers, chances are if you type your question into your favorite search engine the Quora page on that issue has been indexed and is present within the first handful of search results. To participate in discussions about questions, you’ll need an account. Quora is free to use, and should take less than a minute to get up and running. Once you’ve registered, search around for topics or questions you’ve got an interest in, using the Add Question field at the top of the window. Here are a few topics of potential interest to the Stratepedia blog reader:

If you’re looking to establish yourself as an authority in a given topic, Quora is a good way to make your name known by providing good, community-approved answers. My advice, if you’re going to do this: Don’t show up and be an instant know-it-all. Read through the discussions currently going on in your topics of interest to get a feel for the community. If you’ve got additional information or insight to add, go ahead and add it–but don’t spam every question just to make yourself heard. Start small, gauge feedback, and continue from there. From what I’ve seen (based on the topics I’m following myself) the Quora community is pretty friendly, much more so than some other services offering open comments can be.

Sign up for Quora to begin answering questions, and asking new questions of your own.

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Aaron Sumner

Aaron Sumner is the Director of Technology for Research and Development at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has worked in web development and instructional technology since 1994.