Monday, 24 January 2011

Quora: a gossiper's wet dream


And yes, it is a big wet dream to begin with, for all those self-promoters out there overshadowing the few good and helpful answers that are given on the platform

An ingenious tweet from Olivier Blanchard in a rather long conversation with David Armano pushed me to this post:

@armano Quora is almost like a perfect little mousetrap for human flaws. Everyone can peer into it and see what's what.

But, why on earth do I think it's a gossiper's wet dream?

Well, because all questions, answers, votes and voters are openly visible to all - even if you're not signed in (or, like me, have never even signed up)

An example would be best there then. Let's take the fun example of What does the Dachis Group do?

Most voted answer there by Sherri Maxson, whose entire contribution to Quora has been... this one answer only.
Now how would a Dachis customer accidently end up at Quora at the right time, exactly only once, and give this flattering answer? Greapevine, I think where grea... stands for (really) great.
Nonetheless, let's take a look at the votes:


Oh my.
Jeff, Jevon, Brian, Caroline, Susan, Lars, David, Peter, Rich, Kate, Lara, Amanda, ... nearly the entire Dachis / Headshift crew, given a few ex-employees, voted there. Now that's what I call company-customer love. I could split these in Dachis and Headshift, and innocent bystanders (Ross Park looks innocent, Rod Rakic looks so too).
Amanda Johnson and Kate Niederhofer solely came to Quora to vote up this answer, just as Jenny Murphy and Ross Park, Joe Ponaire, Niels van der Zeyst and probably a few more

Fine data so far. I could find out what the innocent bystanders are doing, but David's vote is clear of course, and Christopher being his bloodbrother at Edelman makes that move clear as well. Now, onto step two: David Armano gave an answer to the question as well, at the very same day and if memory serves me well then his was even earlier than Sherri's

So what do his ex-colleagues think of his answer? Well, here are the votes:


(you'll notice that I'm completely neglecting the answers themselves - that is entirely on purpose)

Jeff voted for David, Jevon did, ... and there it seems to end. When I follow David Mastronardi back, he seems to have initially voted for David Armano, and then withdrawn - at least something is amiss with Quora as he's only voted once, according to them.
Not much love for Armano there, but then they probably only came there to vote up the spontaneous customer-answer and be gone again - right?
Wrong

Jevon himself also posted an answer - his votes?


Hmmm - a good bit of Dachis and Headshift - did they all miss David Armano's answer? Again, if memory serves, his came prior to Sherri's...
I could make some assumptions of course, the worst one being that it is forbidden for Dachis and Headshift people to vote for David on Quora, and a quick glance at his current 26 answers doesn't show me that's beside the truth. But, as I showed, a good portion of Dachis only came out to Quora to vote up the customer-love answer.
And Jeff voted of course! As the only active Dachis employee (I might not be totally up on all of them but I think I'm accurate here). Well, maybe Jeff just made a mistake?

It's hard to tell really, as Quora only shows you one vote per person per question. Pick any one who upvoted more than one answer, go to their Quora page and you'll only see they voted up one answer there. Bug or feature?

Anyway, if I wouldn't know any better, I'd say that Dachis and Armano didn't "part in peace". When David's answer on Quora rose to the occasion, Dachis quickly found a customer who put up their answer, then summoned the entire crew to quickly upvote that over David's

This is all gossip of course. If you know me, you know I'd be one of the last ones to give Dachis a hard time - although I do believe that they deserve at least a bit of one within this given context

Quora? Possibly the most painful way to give away your social ties

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