What is Quora and How to Use it Right
Oh, the internet. A place you can kill time by watching an endless number of funny cat videos all day, buy virtually anything you want with just a click, or even build your own website. It’s completely transformed our lives and has allowed us to create new, digital ones. When it comes to getting information and answers to questions, though it can be a bit of a gray area.
What do you do? Simply ask Google and hope there’s a direct answer? Sift through search results? Scour similar questions on social networks to find an answer? And when you find one, how do you know it’s the correct one? If you find yourself in this predicament, which is a fairly common one, you should consider looking into a massive resource that can often-times get overlooked: Quora.
Quora is an interesting site that feels part search engine and part social network, but its purpose is to both give you answers and allow you to answer questions for others in subjects you’re knowledgeable about. There’s quite a bit more to it than that, which is why we’re going to show you what exactly Quora is and how to use it right.
What is Quora?
In a few words, Quora is a questions and answers website. It was founded in 2009 by two ex-Facebook employees, and was actually almost called Quiver instead. Nonetheless, this Q&A website has seen tremendous growth since its inception, where it’s been quite aptly described as, "a more organized Yahoo Answers, a classier Reddit, [and] an opinionated Wikipedia” according to Vox’s Recode journalist, Theodore Schleier.
In 2018, it was announced that Quora had achieved over 300 million active monthly users, showing that the site indeed has legs to run on.
Is Quora a reliable source?
The primary function of Quora works quite simply: You can search questions to get answers or provide answers to questions on the site. That said, the biggest concern about this type of crowd-sourced information is whether the information given is actually factual, or at least, completely correct. Luckily, many of these woes are eased due to the fact that industry experts often use Quora to provide answers. We’ll dive into that a bit further down.
Getting started with Quora
Now we’re going to show you the steps to setting yourself up for success with Quora:
Fill out your profile
Get to know your feed
Learn your question and answer post options
Have fun with Spaces
Ask questions, get answers, and be thankful
1. Sign up
The first part is the easiest part: Signing up. How you decide to do that is up to you, but you’re given the choice of signing up with your Google account, your Facebook account, or foregoing them both in favor of a simple email sign up.
Once you sign up, you’ll be presented with a screen that asks you to choose 10 topics that you’re interested in. The topics you choose will be used to generate your feed, which we’ll touch on below. The next step will ask you if you’d like to join Spaces groups, which again, we’ll cover later on. After that, you’ll be presented with your feed, which is where the real fun of Quora begins. But first, you have a little digital housekeeping to do.
2. Fill out your profile
As with anything even moderately social on the internet, filling out your profile is a must. For Quora, since being a credible source for answers is very important, filling out your profile to the best of your ability is more crucial than compared to some other social networks online.
The profile section of Quora provides you with an assortment of different sections to fill out. It starts with your profile photo and profile credential, the latter of which can be viewed as your primary industry or sector you have an expertise in or your job title. This will be shown prominently when anyone views your profile. Below this is a section you can add a brief description about yourself, as you’d expect in any profile.
On the right-hand side of the profile page, you’ll find two additional sections: one for adding information your employment, school, and location credentials, and another for adding topics that you know about. The latter section will allow you to search topics and it will display all of the topics with the keyword you searched to add to your profile.
3. Get to know your Quora feed
Even if you end up spending a majority of your time elsewhere on Quora, the feed is one of the best places to find questions about topics you care about. In the beginning, your feed will only consist of topics that you previously selected when you first signed up, but you can, of course, add more. You can simply search for a topic in the search box at the top of Quora at any time, select it to open its page, and click “follow.” It’s that simple. From then on, new and relevant questions from that topic will be added to your feed. The same goes for unfollowing a topic: just go to the page of the topic you’re following and click on the blue marked “follow” button. It will then turn white to indicate that it’s a page you’re not following anymore.
It’s more than just your followed topics
Your feed has a lot more to offer than just the topics you follow. It’s also a great place to discover other people on Quora, as well as Spaces to follow. In addition to these, you’ll also see suggested questions for you to answer, in which you can easily answer, pass, or follow each of them. You’ll be presented with questions that have already been answered, and you can then up vote, share, and comment on them. Furthermore, you can see a list of the topics you’ve followed on the left for quick access. Last but not least, at the very top of your feed you’ll find a super quick way to ask a question or share a link with others.
Set Up Your Account
If you’re brand new to Quora, the feed will also have an additional section on the right. It’s simply a list of tips to help you get the hang of using Quora. This section is called “Set Up Your Account” and has a small list of items that will be crossed out once achieved. The list entails the following:
Visit your feed
Follow 5 more spaces
Follow 6 more topics
Upvote 5 more good answers
Ask your first question
Add 3 credentials
Answer a question
If available, each “achievement” on the list will be linked so that you can begin to take action right then and there.
4. Learn your question and answer post options
Getting answers to questions is basically the whole point of Quora, so it’s smart to get to know all of your options for the questions posed.
First and foremost (and most obvious), you can answer a question. But, there’s a whole lot more you can do as well. In addition to answering the question, you can follow the individual question, despite what topic it resides in. You can also click the “request” option, which will allow you to search for someone with knowledge on the topic and request the selected person to answer the question.
While the above options are the most prominent ways to interact with a question, you’re not limited to them. Here are some more options:
Leave a comment
Share on social networks or copy the link
Follow the question privately
Get notified about edits to the question
Edit the question and source
View stats and log them
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do with questions. Of course, you likely won’t be using the bulleted options above for every question you come across unless you’re a Quora super user, but it’s good to know that there’s certainly more to do here than simply answering a question.
Unsurprisingly, answers are displayed directly below questions on Quora. Just like questions, answers have their own set of options, though a bit more on the simple side.
Your job as a user is to find the most appropriate answer for a given question (if it’s not coming from you, that is) and upvoting it. Enough upvotes will change the placement of the answer, and the one with the most upvotes will be placed directly below the question and considered the best answer.
For answers, the primary functions are to upvote, share (on Quora), comment, downvote, and share on social networks. Additional options are:
5. Have fun with Quora Spaces
On November 7th, 2018, Quora announced a new feature for the platform called Spaces. Quora referred to Spaces as, “collections and communities created around shared interests and tastes.” The introduction of the feature brings more of a community and social media vibe to the platform.
Spaces are a bit like Reddit’s subreddit feature in that they offer a dedicated community space for a particular subject. Quora users can follow specific spaces to discover new questions and answers pertaining to the topic.
Spaces can be particularly satisfying, as you’re a part of a community that’s also interested in the same topic and may ask questions you never thought about. Users that are following a Space can post relevant links to share with other followers, so it can be a source of news on the topic as well.
The Spaces announcement post shared that spaces can be used in a variety of different ways, such as:
A group of people can work together to curate the most interesting answers and links about a particular area of interest, such as Farm-to-Plate or SaaS Daily.
An individual can use spaces to organize their own writing into different sections, as Robert Frost is doing with his collection of his Space Exploration answers, Mac Tan with his posts on the US Midterm Election, and Salon with their Culture and Politics articles.
A community of people can create a space to have shared conversations with each other, like Science Lounge or Defense Quorum.
6. Ask questions, post answers, and thank Quora contributors
Much like a Reese’s, there’s no wrong way to use Quora, but there are ways to underutilize it. If you simply use it to search for the answers to questions people have already asked, it’s hard to see the harm in that. Still, asking questions is what makes Quora what it is, so do yourself and others a favorite and get to asking those hard-hitting questions.
Quora also didn’t become what it is today by being a platform full of unanswered questions. Finding answers to questions is likely how many people unaware of what Quora even was found it. If you’re looking to take advantage of the site’s capabilities, you’re going to need to give back a little and answer questions! Plus, sharing your expertise on a subject your knowledgeable and passionate about should boost your mood. Not to mention, the more questions you answer, the more you can build a reputation for being the expert that you are!
A parting tip for using Quora is the be thankful to the users that provide informative, well-written answers. If you see an answer that’s factual and offers an insight that the current top answer lacks, be sure to upvote it and thank the user.
By Blake Stimac
Wix Blog Writer