Quora, Quora, Quora, is a question and answer website. For clarification, it’s just the one word. Don’t go looking for a triple threat or a quadruple one. It’s just Quora.
For the younger set, the Four Qs were a singing group from the 60s, and sang a popular song: Quando, Quando, Quando, Quando. Look it up, you’ll like it. (They weren’t really the Four Qs.)
I’ve been writing on Quora for almost two years now. Over that time, my writing has improved 85 and 1/2 percent. I have an Excel program and an app that actually tells me these things. That’s a lot of improvement. It may have improved anyway had I not written on Quora, but how can we know?
I shall commit the sin of pride here, and brag on myself; I garnered the greatest number of votes when other writers named their choices for who should be Top Writers for 2017. (I can’t find that page anymore. Interesting.)
No reason not to be proud of that, and part of it was because I DO get the positive feedback, and therefore work harder to produce good content. It’s a nice loop.
Here’s my profile page. Take a look now if you want, because after I publish this post, I may be booted out:
It’s a bit like the conundrum of chemotherapy and radiation. If people die with those treatments, the cancer won. If they live, the medicine won. There’s no telling if the ones who died would have survived without the treatment.
Well, that was a depressing sidetrack.
Let’s get into why Quora is no longer my first choice for writing:
A) I spend far too much time on the site, not to write, but to interact with the people.
I’ve made some real friends there. Quora writers aren’t all smarter than my Facebook friends, but I’m so sick of seeing political posters, pictures of people’s trip with a broad, I mean ‘abroad’, and pictures of their dinners with groups of friends I don’t know, that just to go on Facebook for ten minutes launches me into a state of brainless fatigue.
With Quora, I can generally read more interesting, and better written accounts of stories, explanations for why anchovies are on pizzas, or why cats Meow. Whatever.
Quora writers are also a lot of fun for the most part, and include some very educated people from whom I could learn more if I wasn’t always goofing around.
B) The place has been overrun with trolls, malicious users, and repetitive or inane and senseless questions, and I’m beginning to feel that Facebook Fatigue when I’m on there.
I can answer many of the senseless questions, such as, “Hey! How are you?” and have fun with it, but in the past week I’ve come to realize Quora doesn’t really want me there. A group of malicious users who downvote and collapse answers and target a user to try and get them banned or malign them, is all too easy and has happened more than once. Moderation does nothing about this and other problems.
Since we aren’t even notified if an answer is collapsed, we could be leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that are snatched up and eaten by birds as soon as we drop them. That’s rather discouraging, not to mention downright insulting. A chemist friend of mine thought he was pretty safe from collapses, and it turns out he has four.
He doesn’t know why or which ones. It really ticks him off, because who is some faceless bot or user to go around collapsing chemistry equations?
Violations of a mild nature get people banned from the site, but the moderators refuse to do anything about much of it. The Mods haf their little ways, it seems.
C) I’m not a child, nor a student, and I don’t need a faceless site telling me how I ‘should’ answer a question.
I’m fairly careful about answering a question while still being myself, but if someone wants to downvote or report someone’s writing, the moderators will collapse a writer’s work with no notification, and no way to appeal or fix it.
To find it can take a long time and requires two open windows under separate accounts. After all that, if the answer is downvoted, there’s no way to appeal it anyway.
You may ask how I know who the people are doing this since reports and downvotes are anonymous, but this is the most vocal and logical choice of people who have a grudge against me, with high enough ‘People Rank’ to get the answers collapsed. It doesn’t take a Miss Marple to figure it out. Plus, they said they would do it. On Quora.
D) Quora doesn’t like humor.
Need I add more? To write in any other way would be counter to who I am. If I can’t fracture facts and obfuscate, then it ain’t me. See my blog’s slogan for further clarification.
E) They don’t care about their users, alive or dead.
A new Facebook group was formed to which I was invited. I lasted two days before I said ‘Toodles. Probably won’t be back.’
There was a question from a friend about whether Quora would memorialize and recognize a deceased user. I replied that they refused to do so for a friend of mine who died earlier this year, and who was well liked by many people, some of them Top Writers. (That’s important in context.)
The member of the group said that the group wasn’t the place to ‘vent’ and that there were Top Writers in the group. I wasn’t dissing Top Writers, I was explaining the response I received to my request to remember our friend in a formal way, a fellow user of Quora.
That was Red Flag Number One. I don’t need yet another place to spend time where everything I say Will be Placed in My Permanent Record.
The second outrage arrived on its heels a minute later when she said that if a writer has had violations or collapsed answers, Quora admins won’t recognize their contributions, even after YEARS of writing, or the fact that they’ve died.
Collapsed answers! Be Nice, Be Respectful violations! (The BNBR policy is put in place to keep people nice, and is sometimes violated inadvertently, just as it is in- get this- REAL LIFE.)
And collapsed answers! The sin! The omission! We should cast their bodies in a pit of LIME and never speak their names again! Let the starving dogs have at them!
I have close to 7,000 followers. So, if I should drop dead tomorrow, Quora would refuse to put a stupid banner on my profile page In Remembrance telling a curious person, puzzled by my Eternal Absence, that I won’t be back.
That topped the sundae with a cherry.
F) They’re philistines.
They drive away some of the kindest, funniest, most thoughtful and educated people I’ve ever met with their stupid, uneven, and non-transparent policies. One particularly smart and funny writer was edit blocked for SIX months for using an infographic in an answer. What an egregious infraction!
Meanwhile, back at Sesame Street, a friend, a professor of literature and a well-beloved writer and contributor, was so fed up with it all, he began posting Kermit and Miss Piggy puppet porn, and all is well. Sigh.
G)Their rules and policies vary depending on who the writer is.
See letter ‘E’. If you’re a ‘favored’ user, or an admin or employee of Quora, you are a shoo in for Top Writer, even if you don’t exist, like Hilary Clinton (she exists, we just know she’s not writing her answers, ‘mkay?), and you can get away with the most egregious infractions of the BNBR policy. Those users are fairly easy to spot.
Benburr is the word I invented for it. Much easier to say, and it really caught on with my compatriots.
Now we have to listen endlessly to the lectures and parse mouthed haranguing of The Quora Apologists, like Garrick Saito, who tells users to ‘shut the fuck up’ if they don’t like something. It must be hard to talk with your lips pressed to someone’s butt. I should ask him. At any rate, his attitude is insulting and disgusting.
Here’s his comment to all of us:
“Moderation has the power. The rest of you do not. We are judge, jury and executioner. So please, with sugar on top, shut the fuck up. You don’t get a say, and your words are pointless.” Garrick Saito, Quora Top Writer, Quora Apologist, and Oh, Yes, Customer Service Representative. Snort.
This is the link to the statement of farewell by a well known and liked Quora user, a linguist and teacher, who had the gall to list people who are summarily banished and never given a reason. In it, he posts Garrick Saito’s insulting and demeaning comment:
H) It’s too freaking hard to use.
The answer page requires constant refreshment, which when you do, it disappears. The comments get lost or a writer isn’t notified of them, and when you’re reading a long thread of them, the page needs refreshing and you lose your place.
The notification box keeps blocking my view, too. Tch.
I) They change and/or implement new rules and changes constantly, making us dizzier than we already are, and none of the reasons for them are transparent.
Except for one thing: They want to monetize the site, so the humanity and personality of the answers and writers have to go.
The reasons for many things, such as their choices for Top Writers, their bans of fellow writers, the collapse of answers and the issuing of violations, are not transparent. We don’t expect them to give up all their little secrets, or even to pay us much mind.
But we would like a little respect. Just a little.