Quora Moves Beyond Writing to Curating
The user-generated content site Quora has become a sort of long-form writing platform, with a community standard that demands user contributions that have originality, depth and proper grammar. But that’s hard!
Today, the site is launching a new product, called Boards, that lowers the burden of participation a bit.
Quora Boards is basically a social bookmarking tool. Users can curate posts from Quora, links from around the Web, and other content. It’s similar to other sites like Pinterest — though Pinterest tends to be more visual and product-oriented — and Snip.it, (both of which Katie Boehret recently reviewed).
Introducing Boards wasn’t necessarily a play to broaden Quora’s appeal to a larger audience, Quora co-founder Charlie Cheever said in a phone interview. The intent was to give users tools they wanted — such as ways to feature their favorite Quora answers, or ways to acknowledge outside resources from the rest of the Web.
“It’s easier to put stuff on a Board than it is to write a five-paragraph answer,” Cheever said.
His co-founder, Adam D’Angelo, said in a blog post that Quora has evolved away from its original question-and-answer format. Now the service wants “to connect you with everything you want to know about.”
Boards can be public, subscriber-only or secret, and they can have multiple contributors. Users can also add descriptions and commentary to anything they add to a Board. That’s more personal than Quora’s traditional upvote, which Cheever described as “a blunt instrument.”
Boards take Quora further from the “best source” mentality of its questions and answers, and bring in a bit more personality and nuance. For instance, Cheever said, a math teacher might be interested in higher-level content than the general audience of the site, so she could create a Board of her favorite Quora content — and non-Quora content too.
Quora has traditionally been highly structured and organized, with its moderators collapsing overlapping questions into each other and editing top answers into wikis. Boards, by contrast, seem like they’ll be redundant, overlapping and personalized by nature. That could be a good thing.