Quora: An unbiased place to get information


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1- I understand the word Quora which is the name of an open source platform for gaining information on a variety of topics without bias or politics, comes from Latin for INQUIRY. How would you define this rather well kept secret of solid information retrieval.

It’s hardly a secret, as Quora is part of worldwide top 100 most visited websites and ranks 80th on the list. It gets about 620 million visits every month. On average User browse 2 to 3 pages per visit and it has a bounce rate of 69%.

Bounce-Rate means a person can ask Siri or Alexa a question, and it will give you Quora as link you can go to to get an answer or say something. So this means that 69% of the Quora inquiries comes from these Alexa/Siri/other bounce offs.

If all you want to talk about is politics, it will direct you to those sites also.

They offer generally 3 levels of service for posting a question.

Open for all, anyone can ask any question, and based on the content and will be sent to an appropriate SPACE for responses.

Depending on the content, say climate change, the question will also be sent to individuals who claim or demonstrated expertise on the content. For example, like me. I get about 50-100 general questions per day, dealing with climate change because of my recent book A HITCHHIKERS JOURNEY THROUGH CLIMATE CHANGE. I may respond to 5-10 of these.

Or a question may be directed to a specific person, for example I get an email from a specific person requesting my specific response. I get 30-40 of these per day. And I try to respond to as many as I can.

2- I have heard that liberals believe the source is very conservative. I do not understand how anyone would conclude that. Is it or is it not true and why.

I would say, its generally an open source, but some sites, called space choose to have a no-fly zone for certain responders or contributors. For example, A few sites have blocked me from responding like one called Fighting climate change deniers.

3- what kind of people offer to be experts for free and how do they qualify.

Its actually quite simple, I claimed I was an expert in science, engineering, climate change, etc. I wrote up a detailed bio of my studies and work expertise/experience. After that Quora tracks the views and upvotes/down votes per month, and thats how you get invited to become a contributor or a SPACE owner.

4-What are the knowledge divisions which I understand are called spaces and one needs to be invited as a resident expert in a space but anyone can answer a question without being part of Quora. Please explain this.

There are several ways to post a response

Anybody can respond to any question provided you have signed up with Quora and claim or have demonstrated expertise on the subject when you first sign up.

Or a responder may request or be invited by the SPACE owner to be a contributor to his space.

– I’ve joined 12 SPACES as a Contributor, dealing with science, engineering and especially climate change. I average about 25,000 views a month, and with extra effort have reached about 50,000 a month.

As a contributor I can answer questions, post questions, and even answer those questions myself, or I can post a multi thousand word paper.

Then if you developed a large following, Quora may invite you to establish your own SPACE. Then I could restrict access to it for whatever reason. For example, I could restrict access to monetize my responses or leave it open source. I declined a few of these invitations because I want to reach as many people as possible

5- I understand that questioners may always be incognito but answerers must supply a detailed resume of their background. What is the point of questioners being incognito?

Some askers simply want to remain anonymous for whatever reason and Quora allows them to choose a unique nome-de-plume so the participation can be identified. Meaning if they use offensive or abusive or vulgar language they can be moderated. Responders must submit a detailed profile.

6- I think few of our readers know about Quora and now may take advantage of it. Why has it not been widely promoted especially as a platform serving the world?

As I mentioned above it has grown rapidly in the last couple of years and has become number 80 on the top 100 sites viewed in the world. Then bounce offs from sites like Alexa and Siri has accelerated their impressive growth.

I have also seen a huge increase in highly qualified contributor, like former NASA retirees, University professors, even members of the CO2 coalition.

From the questions I get directly sent to me through Quora I see some interesting demographics. Well north of 60% are from people 20-to 50 years old. Most in colleges or college graduates. I also see a growing list from high school students and occasionally from retirees.

Most interesting is that the vast majority of Likes or Upvotes I get are from ladies, maybe 80% or more, go figure?

7-How were you introduced to Quora and how did you become get so heavily involved?

I used to participate in a forum offered by the journal Science. There I also started direct communications with several participants. Some of which expressed growing dissatisfaction with the forum because it was highly moderated and tended to block views not supporting the popular narrative. One suggested that I participate in Academia.edu for the more detailed papers I wrote. A couple of others suggested Quora because of their growing participants and the younger people.

8- Describe Quoras International outreach and who are the major questioners.

I think at least 50% of the questions that reach me are international, from countries all over the world especially India, eastern and western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, S Africa, Arabic countries, etc.

9- In an article you wrote you said that it appears that questions from countries outside the US appear more intelligent. How do you evaluate that?

These international participants are substantially better educated and less dogmatic than the USA/Canadian counterparts. They also respond to my posts and answers affirming my material, asking for additional clarifications, or references where they get another view, etc. More just seem to be more curious and looking for a better understanding of whats going on, more skeptical about what they are told by the popular narrative.

10-I understand Quora will translate a question from any language into the language of one willing to answer the question. Who would be paying for this impressive service?

Quora has me listed as speaking French and Italian. So, I respond to these questions in their native Language.

I dont think its very expensive at all, and its all done by AI. For example, I participate in CLINTEL, and can read their articles in several languages by one click in seconds.

11- what is the structure of Quora that finances it?

I suspect its advertising for the major part. Questions and answers come and go with embedded advertisements. But they also offer a premium service to those members that so choose it. As I previously mentioned they offered me to open my own SPACE and share in the revenues generated by my responses. But I chose to keep everything I publish there free to all. To me reaching the max number of these young people is my priority.

12- Describe the depth and breadth of most answers and are they all visible to anyone browsing the platform.

Maybe the majority of questions I can answer in 50 words or less, and sometimes with a chart or links to provide greater clarity and evidence. The remaining in 100-200 words and these may have several images and links. On occasion I may ask a question and then answer it myself, or simply post a detailed article. These longer posts/responses may range from 1000 to 2000 words with multiple charts, footnotes, endnotes, etc. Many of these more substantial posts/responses I will also post on some of my 12 SPACES where Im a contributor to get a wider audience. Quora also allows the readers to SHARE my responses with their friends and associates and Quora also keeps track and count those metrics.

Quora’s AI is impressive. For example, at times the AI senses that my response should reach a bigger audience. So, it suggests I share my response and it will recommend those additional spaces to me. If I choose to, and I can do that in 2 clicks for each additional space.

13- Are there any down sides to using Quora?

Its time consuming, especially if I choose to get into the details and verification. I try to limit myself to about 2 hours per day and average about 25,000 readers a month and doubling that will almost reach 50,000 per month. I also have about 500 followers who automatically get everything I generate on Quora.

14- Is the platform mostly about science?

Not at all. Its about anything from voodoo magic to boiling potatoes, and social relationships and trending stuff. My profile lists my areas of interest, and the AI somehow is able to focus on these interests and not limited to any specific SPACE. For example, there may be a question on dating tips, but it mentions say CO2 climate change something. It will automatically send that to me and lets me decide if I want to read it or address it.

15- Tell our readers exactly how they can get to Quora to use it?

Just go to any internet search page and type in Quora.com in the task bar. A page opens and asks you, do you want to ask a question or say something. It will make some suggested spaces. Theres also a search Quora where you can enter whatever you want. I just entered how to boil potatoes and got a gazillion suggests about everything to do with potatoes.

Terigi Ciccone is the author of the book A HITCHHIKERS JOURNEY THROUGH CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Dr. Jay Lehr

    CFACT Senior Science Analyst Jay Lehr has authored more than 1,000 magazine and journal articles and 36 books. Jay’s new book A Hitchhikers Journey Through Climate Change written with Teri Ciccone is now available on Kindle and Amazon.

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