Update: The Quora Experiment

Waaaaayyyyy back in April 2013 we submitted several questions to Quora, a much-hyped “answers” site that purports to be “your best source for knowledge” (clearly we beg to differ). At the time, we thought that Quora might be useful to our customers and participants, giving each greater opportunities to connect with the other. Unfortunately, the experiment yielded no useful results. But wait! Last week we actually got a response to one of our questions! Drum roll please… Quora Question Well done, Quora, we only had to wait NINETEEN MONTHS for this vague and poorly-written response. Meanwhile, the Maven platform delivered detailed responses to this question from qualified experts in a matter of hours. Simply put, if you seek true professional expertise on demand, Quora is not “your best source for knowledge.” Maven is.

By |2017-09-05T01:48:11+00:00November 24th, 2014|Other Fun Stuff, Uncategorized|4 Comments

About the Author:

Wyatt Nordstrom is the co-founder and CEO of Maven. When he's not mapping the world's expertise he likes to row, brew beer, and make BBQ.


  1. Mark December 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    I think what you’ll find is that there are different types of Q/A knowledge sites. Quora is for broad-brush, philosophical questions and answers. Maven is more for finely detailed expertise. StackExchange is in-between and worth researching.

    • Wyatt December 8, 2014 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Mark,

      While I agree that there are different types of sites for different purposes, I don’t consider Quora to be a useful source of professional expertise – and I certainly take exception to their bogus claim to be “your best source for knowledge.”

      This is a company that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital at billion-dollar-plus valuations and been hyped in the media to the extreme, yet has never generated a dollar of revenue. We were hopeful when we launched our experiment last year that the “smart money” really was smart at assessing value and that Quora would provide some utility in the world of professional expertise, but in reality it is just a slightly prettier version of the old Yahoo! Answers.

  2. Alexander Anlyan January 7, 2015 at 10:46 am - Reply

    The question you asked about flowmeters is much more complex than anyone either in school or without actual practical knowledge could ever answer effectively. Having design flowmeters and sold them I know that there are many other facets involved including materials compatibility, Space and size requirements, and accuracy rating, and pressure capacity just to name a few. I don’t think any question-and-answer site on the web is really set up for user to ask a single question and get what amounts to an application engineers response. Quora is in fact A social networking site. People from different cultures or who are separated by by location, nationality, age, gender, religion, or experience level can get perspectives from each other on a variety of questions. As a sometimes fan I have to say that one of my favorite things about Quota is that after several years on the site I have never been confronted by a troll. The site is well run in general and moderated with thoughtful caring oversight that supports but avoids interference with a very rare exception of egregious behavior.
    I’m just getting to know Maven and it seems clear even this early in our acquaintance that this site is geared for a much different audience.

    • Wyatt Nordstrom January 12, 2015 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Yes, this is my entire point: while Quora claims to be “your best source for knowledge,” it actually isn’t anything of the sort. You can’t leave off the most important and valuable type of knowledge – i.e. PROFESSIONAL knowledge – and claim comprehensiveness.

      Rather, to your point, Quora is a social network. And while there may be some mild moderation (though my experiences with it strongly suggest otherwise), there is almost zero vetting of either the contributors or the veracity of their submissions, nor is there any real control over the types of inquiries submitted – not to mention the social/political agendas they are intended to push. Take, for example, the headline item from today’s “Quora Digest”:

      Having been so keen to obliterate the Native American peoples and cultures, why did the European settlers, and later the US government, keep so many aboriginal place names?

      The entire first clause of this question is almost the textbook definition of a troll, yet Quora does nothing to prevent this sort of thing from ending up in my inbox. While the underlying question might be one of some general interest, the highly emotive language in which it is couched destroys all of the author’s credibility.

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