Quora is one of the latest web start ups that got my attention. It was founded in 2009 by two former Facebook employees, Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever. Users ask and answer questions on various topics. It is a walled garden, meaning that only registered users can see content.
I decided to register for it. Users can register using Facebook or Twitter logins or using an email address. Rather than connect myself with Quora using a social media site, thereby giving Quora access to all of my Facebook or Twitter preference and setting, I registered using a Yahoo address. This is where the absurdity and privacy concerns started. Immediately Quora wanted access to my Yahoo address book (which I denied). Afterwards Quora wanted me to choose at least 5 topics to follow. If I chose to unfollow my fifth topic, I was immediately sent back to the “Topics to Follow” list. Also Quora nagged me to connect my Twitter and Facebook accounts to find more friends (read relinquish privacy on your social media accounts). Quora also planned on sending me a weekly email of questions and answers that it thought I’d be interested in (no thanks, Quora. I get enough email as it is…).
So why does Quora need to know all this information about me? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since the site was founded by former Facebook employees. I guess I just didn’t think Quora would be so forward to ask for my address book on our first date.
So far I’m unimpressed. Some of the questions posted on Quora are so obvious. Some are more scholarly than what you would find on Yahoo Answers. But to me, this isn’t some website I’d visit over and over again. And I certainly am not interested in building some kind of following for people who I meet on the site.