Quora is leading 2011 startups, and while it offers several neat features – including the ability to get real time answers and access to social media industry insiders – the site isn’t without its problems. Here are the top five things Quora could do better.
1.Â Improve the clarity of policies and guidelines. This isn’t Jeopardy; not everything should have to be in the form of a question. While I appreciate the consistency in form, having every single policy and guideline presented as a question makes policies difficult to sift through.
There are several issues here. From a technical standpoint, each new question takes you to a new page, which takes load time. It also requires clicking back and forth between pages to cross reference answers. For clarity’s sake, it would be nice to have all the policies in one document that can be easily skimmed through.
Also, combining the two sections can be confusing. There is actually a difference between a policy and a guideline (a guideline states what you should do; whereas a policy states what you must do). And, by placing them in the same list, Quora indulges in the grey area, by posting questions like “Should I feel a sense of responsibility over questions that I ask on Quora?” The answer is “no” because once posted, a question becomes public property. This is an example of a policy disguised as a guideline – a confusing, and occasionally frustrating, glitch in the organizational system.
2.Â Make Quora more functional. From slow load times to the inability to bookmark “questions to answer” Quora has a lot of small items that would make the site significantly more user friendly.
3.Â Clarify editing practices. Quora’s editing policies have been evolving as the site grows; however, editing is one of the hot button issues which significantly impacts the content generated as well as sense the sense of community on the site. Any user can edit a question; Quora reviewers can delete questions; Quora admins can lock questions and delete comments; some Quora admins work for Quora, but admins don’t necessarily work for Quora. Not straightforward. While there’s a real challenge in creating a community that is both moderated and democratic, Quora needs to find a way to make the editing structure easy to understand, efficient, and fair.
4.Â Improve search options. Right now, Quora can only be searched for users, topics, and questions. This means that answers – which is where the bulk of the content is – can’t be searched, making it time consuming and difficult to go directly to the information you seek.
5.Â Expand qualified knowledge network. From Andrew “Boz” Bosworth to Naveen Selvadurai, Quora has some big name social media and technology experts. And while there are some top tier professionals on the site in other areas, generally, the calibre of professionals on topics outside of social media and technology is not nearly as high. For Quora to truly be a resource, it needs to find ways to attract an equally high level of expert accross several topics.