Quora – An Almost Successful Website

An entrepreneur wanted to rent out his store, but salespeople were hesitant to take it because there were no customers around. Since there were no vendors in the area, there were no customers either. This problem, often colloquially referred to as the “chicken and egg problem,” persists in the business world.

But this problem is not unique to real-world stores. A discussion of whether the decade-old Q&A platform Quora still trying to solve its chicken and egg problem has gained momentum among users. The website has been trying to find ways to drive engagement for years now. Launched by former Facebook employees, Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheeverthe platform has had its ups and downs, but recent attempts show how the website is still finding ways to drive user engagement.

Recently, Quora launched the very controversial experiment, ‘Quora Prompt Generator (QPG)’, a second attempt by Quora to use AI to deliver questions on the platform. This effort was made in light of Quora’s endless problem of “diminishing amount of questions”.

Is Quora almost a hit?

Almost every Google result for a query in the mid-2010s directed users to Quora — which was by then already well known for its eclectic community of astronauts, politicians, scientists, and other luminaries — and allowed them to ask their queries directly on the platform to get answers from credible sources.

Prior to 2016, Quora was a very different site than it is now. The communities on the website were more tight-knit. The website was primarily geared towards an exchange of technical information, facts and ideas. Early on, Quora developed its reputation as a reliable source of trustworthy knowledge obtained directly from well-known people. Even the co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohaniangot down to answering questions about the platform at some point.

However, when Quora interrupted the ‘Quora’ credit system, things started to change. For the first time, Quora tried to get more questions. In the past, users had to spend the credit they had accumulated by answering questions from other users in order to seek an answer to their questions. With the dissolution of this credit system on the platform, any user would be able to request answers to their queries.

Following this, the infamous Quora Partner Program (QPP) – which rewarded users for asking unique questions – was launched. Despite a disastrous rollout, it continued to exist on the platform and eventually enjoyed some success.

However, according to Sean Kernanone of the most-followed people on Quora, “When outliers reach remarkable earnings every 6-12 months, the platform had to cut their earnings by 50%. In contrast, 99.9% of users rarely earn The deceptive complexity of algorithmic earning schemes is as follows.

On the other hand, Quora was experiencing an increase in spam questions as a result of this initiative. The problem with the QPP was that it rewarded people for asking more questions; therefore, when a user asks 50 questions every day, it stands to reason that the quality of the questions also deteriorates.

QPG, a new attempt to revive the company?

The ‘Quora Prompt Builder (QPR) is the latest addition to Quora’s experiment with question-generating bots. In comparison, the first one – “Quora question adding a bot” – wasn’t a big hit. He was asking questions that did not improve the quality of the website or the SEO ratings.

To better understand how QPG works, OBJECTIVE reached out to Gopalkrishna Vishwanath, one of the most followed Quora users. When asked what he thought of Quora’s decision to launch its prompt generator, Gopalkrishna replied, “Because they weren’t happy with the way the QPP was working. There were not enough questions asked by Quora partners. These partners were reluctant to ask questions once QPP payments were cut.

He added that “The space provided by ad responses generates ad revenue for Quora. Therefore, Quora needs as many questions as possible. It doesn’t matter if the questions are not addressed. They will all receive at least some answers.

However, according to Gopalkrishna Vishwanath, another logic contributed to this movement. He said, “But a bigger reason was to save the money the platform gave to its partners. Why pay Quora partners for mostly low-quality questions when those low-quality questions can be asked by their own bots? »

He shared that, “Rumor has it that these bots ask a question every two seconds, so Quora can generate 40,000 questions in a day using one bot.”

“They may have more than one bot with a different set of operating parameters that generate a different type of question for other countries, where the questions would be more relevant. So the total number of questions will be really astronomical. , they don’t have to pay for these issues.

Gopalkrishna Vishwanath thinks most of the questions asked by the prompt generator are meaningless. However, he speculates that it might not even matter in the numbers game – “The majority of them are nonsense, but that doesn’t matter. For them, it is enough that 1 out of 10 questions makes sense. The whole effort is an experience. They test whether bots will learn new skills over time and through user input. Ultimately, they have two options: either they can improve these bots and produce higher quality questions, or they can abandon the initiative and relaunch a new RRQ program with new regulations that will reward higher quality. »

However, William Gunn, Head of Communications, Quora, disagrees with the above QPG discussion. In conversation with OBJECTIVEWilliam explained how QPG helps users write good answers.

“What QPG has done for us is to provide a very large number of questions so that we can select from those the right questions for the right person and direct those questions to people who have the knowledge and experience to answer well. ”

“We find that when our best writers get a good question, they’re more likely to write a good answer.”

He further claimed that the quality of QPG questions was found to be comparable to human-generated questions in a survey of millions of people. “We believe this is an impressive achievement made possible only by recent developments in the quality of the large language models we have access to.”

road ahead

Quora claims it has over 300 million active users per month, a figure that even exceeds that of the social media giant “Twitter”. However, by comparison, the most-followed user on Quora is nowhere near the most-followed user on Twitter in sheer numbers alone – Barack Obama has over 133 million followers on Twitter, making him the most followed person on the platform; while Balaji Vishwanathan, the most followed person on Quora, has just over 600,000 followers.

While the QPG program may be a hit for Quora, its users certainly don’t feel good about it. The website has focused on statistics for so long that many believe it may have lost credibility with users in the process. Initially, Quora handed out rewards for correct answers, badges to top writers, and also held frequent gatherings. However, from a user perspective, all that seems to remain of Quora at this point is its SEO-optimized website.

Sherry J. Basler