Who writes the answer wikis for Quora
Have questions answered on Facebook and Twitter
A Google search and Wikipedia are the quickest way for many people to find answers to questions today. But what if there aren't any answers posted online yet? Then it's best to ask your network, a practice already followed by many on Facebook and Twitter, by throwing questions to their friends in the hope of a useful answer. Two former Facebook developers, Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever, want to consolidate this informal type of search into their own type of social network. The two have been working on the implementation since April 2009, after a beta test by invitation, Quora has now been generally accessible since the summer.
"There is a lot of information that cannot be found online, but in the mind," the founders explained the concept of Quora to the technology blog TechCrunch. Quora is less of a question-and-answer site, of which there are numerous, and more a kind of "reverse blogging," said D'Angelo and Cheever: "When you blog, you write for an audience. When you click on a blank questionnaire on Quora comes on, there are a bunch of people waiting for an answer. And somewhere there is an expert who can write for that audience. "
Or a kind of reverse Wikipedia. Instead of posting their knowledge on a topic without being asked, as in the online encyclopedia written by thousands of volunteers, Quora members wait for a specific question before they get started. English is the mother tongue of the questionnaire, the topics are still very tech-heavy, many questions also concern travel tips, such as: "What should you do on a winter weekend in Vienna and where should you stay?" (Christmas market in front of the town hall, museums including links, the Flex; and staying in the Hadrigan Hotel, is cheap and feels like in a novel by John Irving).
Questions are organized into thematic groups that can be browsed or followed, not unlike a Twitter stream. You can also follow other Quora members if they turn out to be good questioners or answerers.
Investors seem to believe in the concept, the start-up only recently landed millions more. However, the question-and-answer field is already well filled, if not particularly prominent. Yahoo and LinkedIn try to use human responses instead of algorithms, and Google bought two similar startups (Mahalo, Aardvark). Amazon operates an experimental service in which products are identified (or not) using photos, first by machine, then by humans. (spu / DER STANDARD print edition, October 9, 2010)
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