The Quor-gasm shakes the social web

A few weeks ago, we had a great discussion on {grow} about the “Quor-gasm:” the many problems with Quora.  The main point of the post was that despite the enormous buzz about the next “big thing” in social media, there were chronic problems:

  • Quora is primed to be gamed into oblivion by flacks and SEO gamesters
  • Meaningful contributions are edited or “collapsed” by the Quora gestapo
  • The platform floods participants with annoying notices and requests.
  • The long-format is far too time-consuming for most people.

I knew this blog post was swimming against an ocean of popular sentiment, but here’s what amazed me — almost unanimously, the {grow} community agreed with my perspective!

Now, this is definitely NOT a forum of sycophants. You keep me honest and frequently disagree in a meaningful way so I was really shocked by this … if Quora was such a hit, why did so many people hate it?  I began to think — maybe all of the folks on the comment section were right, and the blogging elite like Chris Brogan and Robert Scoble were wrong.

Turns out the {grow} community was definitely a harbinger of a growing Quora backlash.  In a period of just two weeks, the buzz on Quora is collapsing, precisely for the reasons the community explored and debated.

TechCrunch reported on Quora bitchmemes that were flooding the social web over the past two weeks.  Dozens of anti-Quora posts have popped up and of course there was a huge thread on Quora about it.

Yesterday, influential New York Times tech blogger David Pogue trashed Quora as a confusing, annoying, unusable mess.

But over the weekend, the ultimate backflip occurred.  Robert Scoble, the original catalyst for the mighty Quora buzz wrote a post entitled, Why I was wrong about Quora as a blogging service …

He essentially apologizes for his mis-calculation and over-statement of the benefits of the platform, as it crumbles under a host of problems.

Since I wrote the post, Quora’s challenges have become even worse. The service is filled with set-up questions where companies answer their own submissions, like “why is ABC the leading company for email marketing management?” In turn, the editing by Quora has become more severe and the annoying notifications have multiplied like social media self-help gurus.

I wanted to post this follow-up to say, Hey guys — GOOD JOB!  I think the discussion on {grow} proved to be a leading edge of popular sentiment on this topic.  Really proud of the guts, vision and intellect of this community.

Can Quora recover?  Can they hire enough people to sort through the spam, especially when they are burning through start-up cash?  It’s going to take some immediate and radical surgery. Perhaps a system of qualified or “authorized users” who get kicked out if they spam? No easy answers.

What do you think?  Can anything save Quora or is it going to collapse into a niche?

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