The mistakes I made in Quora

So, I woke up early in Davos, Switzerland, excited to go skiing, and look at Techmeme and see that the Quora Review has published a post which could be titled “Scoble stay off the Quora lawn.”

Ouch.

Then I look at email. In my email I’ve been sent evidence by some of the 53 reviewers that a small group of reviewers has been marking posts of mine as “not helpful” in retribution to some things they don’t like about my behavior there.

Ouch 2.

Then I see Mike Arrington has posted that Quora is not about my hopes and dreams.

Ouch 3.

I should have just gone skiing without looking at my computer, but now I thought I’d recount some of the mistakes that pissed off these people.

Why?

So you can avoid making the same mistakes and getting the ire (and collapsing button) of them aimed at you.

1. At first I tweeted just my answers to questions. This ensured that my answers would be seen by a pretty sizeable group of people and would gain at least some upvotes, which would ensure that my answers would appear at the top of comment threads. Later, after getting this pointed out to me as a negative bias, I would link to other people’s questions, without my answers, and also to the entire question, so you’d see all answers. On Quora you do this by using the Twitter link on the right side of the page, not the one on the bottom.

2. I broke convention by using photographs in many of my answers. More than anything this seems to have gathered the ire of the reviewers and others. I did it partly because I know that posts with photos and images get more audience and more consideration than posts without, but partly for fun, and partly to, well, get more upvotes. But Quora is already being seen as a place that’s free of photos and videos so this gathered a great deal of hate.

3. I participated too much. In a little more than a month I wrote 400 answers. These made it seem like I was attempting to dominate the service. In reality I was just addicted and liked participating, but when most of the other people answered only a few thoughtful times (Mike Arrington, for instance, has only answered 15 questions) it was behavior out of place and got people to wonder about my participation there and the reasons behind it.

4. Some of my answers were controversial and caused flamewars. Quora is a place that’s free of flamewars and controversy. Why? Because when it happens reviewers pull those answers out of the stream and mark them as “not helpful.” I’ve seen this happen many times, not just to my own posts, but where I’ve answered in a way that got a flamewar going I’ve seen my answers pulled out too.

5. I answered questions too quickly, Part I. Why did I do this? Because, well, I was living on the service. At one point a week ago I was the number one user according to OneTrueFan and most other users, even reviewers, didn’t have the commitment to stay online all times of day and night just to answer the question first. First answers tend to get more visibility and upvotes. Why? Well, let’s say an answer gets five upvotes in first two minutes, because it shows up on the home feed, then it is very hard for a following answer to get the six upvotes it needs to beat the first answer (especially since the first answer keeps getting upvotes after that).

6. I answered posts too quickly, Part II. By answering posts too quickly, and because I knew that first answers were treated better than following answers, especially if the quality of the answer is the same, I would answer first with a poor quality answer and then come back and improve the answer over time. Again, this behavior pissed off people who couldn’t type as fast, or live on the system. Not to mention they saw the first, poor quality answer, and made up their minds that I was a poor quality answerer.

7. I was narcissistic and self promotional. It just leaks out of me. Why? Because I have 4,600 photos I’ve done on Flickr, 694 videos I’ve posted on YouTube, and the hundreds I’ve done on Building43, etc etc. and I pull upon that body of work to answer questions. Yes, many of these things augmented answers, but they pissed off people who don’t have a large body of photos, videos, and blog posts to call upon.

8. I didn’t understand soon enough how my participation in the system, which was mostly due to my own addiction and excitement, pissed people off. IE, I didn’t have my ear to the ground quick enough.

9. I really did think it was potentially a blogging service, not just a QA one. It looked different to me, and based on the answers I was reading (and the feed it generated for each user, here’s mine) that it was closer to a blogging service than to Wikipedia. I was wrong, but funny enough, no one at the company refuted my posts about it.

So, what can we do now? Well, I’m not addicted to the system anymore (partly because I was at Davos and DLD conferences for past two weeks — Louis Gray even noticed I’m not the top user anymore, but also partly because I have learned that if I want to participate I’ve gotta change the way I participate here, which means learning from these eight things myself).

That said, Quora had a huge impact on me the past month. It got me through writers’ block, and I learned some techniques to get me to post more here on my blog. For that I’m very grateful and you’ll see a different kind of blogging here thanks to it.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

162 thoughts on “The mistakes I made in Quora

  1. Robert, you shouldn’t have to be penalized just because you love something so much that you end up using it a lot. That said, this is a really well thought out post. I don’t think Quora is a big deal. With a little bit of tweaking, you could have your own Q&A section right here on your blog. Good to know that you will be writing here more often.

  2. Please remember that blogging Power Law domination has really tired may people who feel they can’t be heard. As early as 1999 posting and links in the then emerging blogosphere followed a power law distribution. Access to Web 2.0 has been rather unequal. And you come along and get 50 votes on anything you post and it kind of is like “here we go again” this is going to be just like Twitter again with maybe 100 celebrities coming out on top.

    I don’t know if you pissed people off per say, well some people but people get pissed off all the time. Its not you personally, its just you are an Alist Blogger with a following of people many who want to get you to notice them and blog about them. This has meant that almost all your answers get voted right up to the top of the question. The the power law thing again, people are kind of tired of watching all new Internet services being taken over by the “celebrity” bloggers and posters.

    I think you can agree that the vote counts your getting on some of your answers have much more to do with your existing Social Graph and not really that your answers are 10 times better than anyone else.

    Maybe Quora can be the anti-power law site, where the mass of like links of follow links can be off set by votes against, giving th Long Tail views who constitute the “crowd” a better chance to participate and for connections that was possible with blogging or micro-blogging.

    1. You nailed it. “I don’t know if you pissed people off per say, well some people but people get pissed off all the time. Its not you personally, its just you are an Alist Blogger with a following of people many who want to get you to notice them and blog about them. This has meant that almost all your answers get voted right up to the top of the question.”

  3. Hi Robert, I don’t comment much, but today I just wanted to share my support. I think you folded too quickly on this one. Since when are web startups dictating how users should use their services ? We all know that many successes (flickr, twitter, etc…) came from people launching a platform and then users inventing new use cases. Yes, you did not use the ‘wikipedia like quora’ and favored the ‘currated discussion quora’. Yes, your answers were all about you, your content and your network. But it is exactly why I liked them ! You have a reputation; you write great content, and you never posted as much as in the last months you were on Quora !

    If Quora wants to change behavior, they should built it in the system (stackoverflow has an awesome reputation engine) and not use obscure reviewer strategies. Lack of transparency creates suspicion, this is not good for a ‘knowledge’ site.

    So, my two cents: stop writing there (more over, they don’t make it easy for you to export your content, they do not support open standards etc.). Write on your blog ! Lookup interesting questions there and give your answers here ! Ho, and maybe you can add a ‘Ask me a question’ widget somewhere, so we can ask and vote for questions to ask you.

    Your community will keep on following, reading, and interacting with you, wherever you are !

    Good luck, and thanks for the writings, the videos, the cinchcast, etc…!

    -Laurent

    1. “Since when are web startups dictating how users should use their services ? We all know that many successes (flickr, twitter, etc…) came from people launching a platform and then users inventing new use cases.”

      Well said.

      With apologies for a little buzzword bingo: Everything is a platform. More importantly, if what you’ve built isn’t a platform, you’re probably doing it wrong.To build something and have have it used in all kinds of interesting ways you couldn’t have imagined (see Evan/Biz/Jack quotes re: twitter) is the ultimate form of flattery.

      When Robert and his horde land on your thing you learn how robust the infrastructure is, how robust the community is, and most of all how robust the core idea is. If some popular person with a bunch of followers can get your whole shit in an uproar some retooling is probably required.

      “But Quora is young, yet, and the minds behind the site are hard at work designing a salve for its growing pains.”–Dan Kaplan

      Probably the best advice I’ve seen, certainly better than all the venom.

  4. I don’t understand the hype behind Quora, it really does seem like Yahoo Answers for an exclusive club to me, but hey, just my opinion. I believe what Robert is pointing out here aren’t really mistakes on his part, they are weaknesses of the service. If the Quora staff is as sharp as they are made out to be, they will adjust the system so it can’t be influenced in the ways Robert is describing.

    Good job Robert. I don’t always agree with you, but I do believe you are honest.

    1. Agreed Paul. If Quora users want to comment on the volume of Robert Scoble photos appearing on Quora, then why not discuss it on Quora?

      Regarding use of images on the Quora site: I’ve used images in an answer I wrote on Quora, as it seemed to clarify my point. But more important is this: If Quora did not want photos or images on the site, the functionality to include photos would not be available!

      If you choose to express yourself with photos Robert, that is your choice. You have a huge social media “presence”, which makes you far more subject to scrutiny. I think you are aware of that!

      The laser-sight focus on you in particular, led by individuals like Arrington, would certainly be unsettling. I’d make this suggestion: Don’t give up on Quora, take a break if you want, and maybe go back to it later. It would be unfortunate to lose your contributions.

  5. I’m not the biggest fan of Quora. It’s okay, but it’s not about to change my life the way FB, Twitter has, or impact it the way Google or LinkedIn Answers does.

    And I like you as a person, Robert, but I’m not the biggest fan of you either. You have your days, and you occasionally deeming my viewpoint worthwhile enough to share was life changing. ;-) But as an audience member, I definitely skew a bit behind your ooo-shiny curve – you’re just too fast for me – it’s not the volume of content, it’s how close you are to the bleeding edge of everything.

    I share those facts to properly frame this as a mostly unbiased opinion.

    Quora’s community/supporters actions in response to your Opinion, (which you are entitled to write about on YOUR blog, no matter how influential/popular you are) is a thousand times worse than anything you did.

    The ways in which you were wrong are forgivable – with the possible exception of your narcissism.

    And I say possible because 1- weren’t you invited there? 2- weren’t you expected to be, well, YOU? and 3- If Quora – if ANY new media tool – can’t be used for at least light self promotion, well. We haven’t seen one succeed long term yet without the dreaded marketers, and that’s what they do best. Even Digg eventually ate itself.

    So yeah. Gonna hafta call BS on everyone crawling up your ass, including you hitting yourself with sticks. I can understand why you felt you had to apologize, but in my world, part of your function is to map the limits of the system. And if they can’t survive a little Scobleizing, how are they going to deal with the two things that could kill them? Either the system will be overwhelmed with people, allowing spammers to infiltrate, or they will underwhelm the people they need to raise the money required to survive.

  6. I upvote this post Robert. It’s easy for a lot of people to be turned off by your self promotion and (almost) arrogance about your ideas (and I hope you don’t take that the wrong way). But there’s nothing wrong with getting excited about a service and exploring everything you can do with it.

    PS it’s a shame that people would downvote answers for personal reasons. But I guess that’s the internet…

  7. Welcome to the age old characteristic of the Internet – people finding a community and using it for their own purposes – Myspace being used for music (it was originally a dating site), Twitter being used by shameless ‘digital ninjas’ and affiliate marketers and now Quora… Ultimately, everything evolves, and Quora can exclude people as much as they like for not conforming to their intended purpose, but people will continue to make posts to self-aggrandise or educate, depending on who or what kind of online person they are. notwithstanding, whatever your users, you shouldn’t attack them – if you’re foolish enough to lock out your most effusive supporter, just because you feel they are misusing your product, you deserve to fail. All that has happened here is that Quora is demonstrating how it choosing to respond to stimuli. Like a bunch of wannabe academics who don’t understand the Internet. Alternatively, if it turns out Robert owns one share in Quora, then it was a particularly effective way of communicating what Quora is trying to achieve. And that’s relly up to Robert’s integrity. Sleep well everyone. We are what we do. Or not.

  8. Here is my experience of Quora:

    I know Scoble uses it and so do a few other technorati types I follow on blogs and podcasts.
    I haven’t used it, but hey, I like things that are all the hot new rage…
    I went to quora to “get a feel” for it. It wants me to register; it has no browse option; no front page content.
    I search via the quora searchbar… “how can I browse quora?”
    This question is answered in a sentence by a quora admin: “you can’t”

    Now I see Scoble tarred and feathered by bunch of snarky internet know-it-alls.
    Scoble backpedals and apologizes, but the attack continues.
    Scoble accused of being “vacuous”, “self-contradictory” and “unwelcomed” to Quora.
    Are you kidding me?

    Quora is stillborn with that attitude.
    Quora: 2011′s version of the BOFH.

    Good luck in future obscurity Quora.

    Scoble: Love your content and love the energy. You are productive beyond all reasonable expectation.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Robert, if I were running a service like Quora, I’d be looking for users like you. People who would take the idea and run with it and innovate, even stretching it beyond its intended use. People who would write early and often. You participated too much? Good grief. What kind of a lousy complaint is that? Is Mark going to complain that someone’s using Facebook too much? Is Rackspace going to complain I’m paying for too much bandwidth?

    No photos? Kidding me? People love photos.

    Too controversial? We love a good discussion.

    Alex, you’re right. Quora is killing itself.

    We’re behind you on this, Robert.

  10. Robert, if I were running a service like Quora, I’d be looking for users like you. People who would take the idea and run with it and innovate, even stretching it beyond its intended use. People who would write early and often. You participated too much? Good grief. What kind of a lousy complaint is that? Is Mark going to complain that someone’s using Facebook too much? Is Rackspace going to complain I’m paying for too much bandwidth?

    No photos? Kidding me? People love photos.

    Too controversial? We love a good discussion.

    Alex, you’re right. Quora is killing itself.

    We’re behind you on this, Robert.

    1. “Is Mark going to complain that someone’s using Facebook too much?”
      No – the Facebook admins will delete your profile without warning if you invite to many friends or do other semi-spammy behavior.

  11. As a response to the first answer, most up votes thing.

    a) are you to be blamed that quora readers are lazy and dont read all the answers
    b) I have written plenty of 3rd answers that got voted to the top, so I don’t really buy that logic as definite.

  12. I like your writing Robert and your video’s. You are everywhere, you can’t spend too much time at home. The Audi on the Ice piece, where was that filmed? The Audi is a fine piece of workmanship!

    Tom

  13. I remember when people used to get hot under the collar about what was or wasn’t acceptable behaviour on Digg and how it was special… now, nobody cares – Quora will go the same way.

    1. Exactly… Quora is killing itself with this BS as we speak. Mainstream users that I survey show up and are turned off by all of the “geekier-than-thou” attitude. Robert’s original post was about the question of service valuation too… without successfully accepting/metabolizing the mainstream, Quora can’t become a social media powerhouse. Simple as that.

      1. ‘mainstream users’ may get you money, but they’re typically low in intelligence.

        ‘geekier-than-thou’ is an anti-intellecual epithet. those geeky people give correct answers.

        share knowledge, or get money and get out fast. which do you choose?

        how long before the top question on quora is ‘how is babby formed’.

        1. You are sadly mistaken. I am talking about “mainstream users” who I interact with on other social services, typically talking about already rather geeky topics such as archetype branding, information overload/management, digital learning, (social media) marketing, advertising models on the internet, GTD/Lifehacking, pricing psychology and behavioral economics, etc. etc.

          Who are plenty intelligent. And BTW “geekier-than-thou” is NOT “an anti-intellecual epithet”, instead it is describing an *attitude* issue that comes from a false sense of competition that is completely unnecessary, and is typically based in depth-psychological distortions or issues (I won’t bother you with the detailed clinical diagnoses).

          However your presumption that most other people are low in intelligence speaks volumes about what kind of users Quora has been attracting. And the presumption that “those geeky people” automatically give “correct answers”, on topics that are often too arcane for inclusion in Wikipedia no less (presumably one of the founding ideas of Quora), is equally flawed:

          I’ve yet to read any answer on Quora that reached the level of actual scholarly research papers or anything of the sort. If Quora users were so extremely adamant about correcting the World’s knowledge mountain, they’d slug it out on Wikipedia along with the rest of many of the experts in their respective fields. But that would be really hard work, wouldn’t it? If they’re so smart, they’d have ways of convincing Wikipedia to include more of the topics they care about ON THE MERITS.

          So we are still absolutely talking about the expression of people’s *opinions*. Same as on most other social media services or forums. Yes, when an insider to a company talks about what happened internally in their view, that is quite interesting, often new information to consider, however it is still just one person’s view of events, and hence their opinion.

  14. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  15. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  16. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  17. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  18. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  19. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  20. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  21. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  22. sounds like some people really need to get a life. I think there are more important things to worry about than how many photos/ video or whatever someone uploads onto whatever service.

    This is like the kiddie flame wars in the early days of the internet. When you got flamed because you cross posted a message to two different news categories.

    Really people get a life…

  23. > this gathered a great deal of hate.

    Not a gram of hate. No one on Quora hates you — and if you can recognize me as your most fierce critic there, wait for a few more rebuttals to come up. We do not like your answers because they are false, vacuous, they do not answer the questions, they miss the point, they are self-contradictory. If you can’t detach yourself from your answers, if you do not have the humility to say: strangers, by criticising what I say, can improve me and my answers, then indeed, you are not welcomed on Quora.

    If you fail to see the unique, immense, spectacular wall of criticism that was raised about your writings, most of which is nowhere to be seen in this post, your are not welcome.

    Congratulations on having the humility to write this post, but your actual mistake is that you wrote 400 answers, and 350 sucked and sent to oblivion many great answers. You should have taken the time to write 100 that were great, send drafts to editors with many top answers, accept that for most of them the answer would have been: “You have no significant contribution to add to this question. Do not answer it. Encourage those of your followers who know something about it to do.” Then rewrite those where you had something to contribute until they are tight. Then find, for the few answers who needed a *relevant* illustration (like the picture at the Computer science museum with all the Old Guard, to illustrate the early days of women in tech) taken the time to find a proper photo.

    1. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

      1. Your style often hides vacuity, opinion presented as fact, unidimensional thinking. That’s my problem.

    2. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

    3. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

    4. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

    5. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

    6. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

    7. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

    8. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

    9. Well, interesting. Name 10 where someone commented that the answer was incorrect. You can’t.

      In truth you don’t like my +style+ and that’s different than not having a correct answer. It’s opinion and that’s OK.

    10. we already heard your OPINION, now you are the SPAM on this *elite* blog comments. I don’t like your writing style which is full accusations and opinion accompanied by zero fact. Interesting how you have just become that which you accuse scoble…having “bad answers”

        1. your answers on Quora are your opinion, your answers here are your opinion. haha, lets retitle that “How can Robert Scoble change to be like us”. Everyone has a different style. Your style is self righteous. Before you criticize here, go write a blog post “The mistakes I made on Quora” and tell us how you would improve. After you do that then i’ll be happy to hear your opinions here. (and i’ll enjoy reciprocating your troll comments) Actaully I have a better idea. Go write “Why I like to troll Scoble and how I can change”.

          1. Right on… this entire Scoble brouhaha has been reminding me of the famous quote by John Gilmore: “The Net views censorship as damage and routs around it.”

            It will be funny when those in the presumed Quora ivory tower of “Q&A purity” will one day find that the world has left them completely behind, and just doesn’t give a dear.

            What makes it even more funny is that there is somehow this presumption of high-quality scholarship, when to-date I haven’t read any answer on Quora, that, however interesting, met guidelines for an academic paper or anything of the sort…

        2. This is great stuff from Quora – personal advice crowdsourced, that’s what is need here. Great attention and personalization – what a lucky guy

    11. For all I am concerned, Scoble has just reinvented a new use of Quora freely for us. Coupled with your recommendations, Quora’s gets their user guidelines upgraded a whole lot. I am thankful. Not you?

      1. I’m very grateful to Quora’s Team, Moderators, Reviewers and the many active users who oddly aren’t part of those.

        1. I think you can explicitly say it and it won’t hurt you – I am thankful to Robert – he’s pushing the limits to our learning. Because it’s all about that no? Quora is being pushed and we are all learning – you can’t have everything on your own terms either. I’m not saying its easy, but if you’re to beat wikipedia – you’re going to sweat it out for sure.

  24. Not sure you need to explain yourself. You were just enthusiastic about the service and have different A-Blogger usage patterns to the rest of us (and maybe gamed it slightly). Nothing anyone else wouldn’t do. Don’t know why Quora was thought about as a blogging service in the first place. I know it shares functional similarities but their operational processes aren’t geared up to it. Their founder defines it “…a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” i.e. a Q&A service. No one is suggesting Yahoo Answers, Mahalo etc are blogging services.

    That said, I have my own issues with it (as a Q&A service) – imperious/commercial vetoing of useful content for example but these were sort of covered on your last post. Overall, I’ll still use it though.

  25. Robert, this is funny somehow. Personally, I like Quora too, but of course, I am not that busy with the service nor do I have any scobelized VIP status, so no one offended me. But, being a technical writer some while, I recognized the quality of your answers in terms of structuring content utilizing the platforms unique styling features like bullet lists, images and so forth. I showed the answers to friends as an example of what happens when a service provides these styling features and a good writer who cares makes good use of them.

    And what’s about that thing with the tons of images? I have more than you, for example on Flickr, so anyone has. okay, it takes some effort to pick the right ones and insert them. To me this is a proof that someone really cares about what he saying. Yes, some others can be very envious about someone putting effort and love in his or her work.

    1. I agree with the principle, but Robert is not the best example of that. Marc Brodnick is more typical both of a standard user, and he makes more systematic efforts.

    1. I’m working on many of those, but I have a wait-for-one-week-before-posting policy on tough answers, and exams coming up.

    2. I’m working on many of those, but I have a wait-for-one-week-before-posting policy on tough answers, and exams coming up.

    3. I’m working on many of those, but I have a wait-for-one-week-before-posting policy on tough answers, and exams coming up.

    4. I’m working on many of those, but I have a wait-for-one-week-before-posting policy on tough answers, and exams coming up.

    5. I’m going to answer the question of why your style of writing doesn’t always work for Quora by showing an example of the style of writing which does work for Quora. Take a look at the comment by Isaac Hall here:

      http://www.quora.com/Dropbox/Why-is-Dropbox-more-popular-than-other-tools-with-similar-functionality

      Isaac’s comment is first person experience (as yours are). But the experience is one which feels like he’s narrating a story about something that he was directly involved in, rather than something he’s merely a passive observer of.

      The second kind of writing which works on Quora is stuff which is simple and factual, and answers the question. Quite a few of your answers fit into this category, so I’ll pick one of those:

      http://www.quora.com/Robert-Scoble-1/How-do-you-get-good-audio-for-Cinch-interviews

      Simple, to the point, factual, based in real experience. Good :)

      The first kind of answer is what differentiated Quora at first, and which got it attention. When someone directly involved in the “history” of something – whether it’s Dropbox, or AOL, or whatever – pops up and gives their first-person account that’s going to get attention, and rightly so. And that, I think, is why you got mislead into thinking of Quora as a blogging platform, because those first-person “I was there” narratives were one of the things that added value to early blogging.

      Unfortunately, though, those kinds of first-person narratives aren’t what dominates blogging now. Now, it’s the likes of you and me batting around opinion: some well-formed and grounded in experience, others not-so-well-formed. And unfortunately, *some* of your longer posts on Quora read like those kinds of opinion-driven articles rather than succinct answers or genuinely valuable first-person experience. Hence the backlash.

      So I’d say: Stick with it. Stick to the factual, short stuff at first. When there’s a genuine opportunity to answer a question where you have direct experience of something, write it up. I would love to read some answers which relate some of your experiences in the early Tablet PC world (at NEC, wasn’t it?) or at Microsoft, or more of your answers about how to do better video. What I, and I think much of the Quora audience, is less interested in is Scoble-the-pundit’s views on something. If I want that, I can come here :)

  26. Robert you basically agreed that you were their to win the beauty contest i.e get more upvotes. I dont think that sort of behavior will not piss many people off. You agree that you made mistakes and hopefully you will rectify them . I love quora because of the fact that real people are answering questions and answering them well. Just trying to be the first and get more upvotes is like spamming the system . I will now agree with people who downvoted / removed your answers.

    1. If the owners don’t want things to be partly a contest why do they show how many upvotes you get? It’s to ensure that people put their best efforts into answering the questions. I don’t mind downvotes, they are the way to clean out the system, but the system of marking an answer (wrongfully) as not helpful just because who answered it is evil and wrong. They should fix that by putting the reviewer’s name on those “not helpful” collapsings (anonymous power is evil, which is why in US courts you are allowed to face your accuser) and also there should be a reason why the item is removed, and also there should be a clear appeals process.

      1. It’s not a contest on who wins, but what answers are the best. Yours were bad. You are not a bad person. Your writing on Quora sucks most of the time.

          1. Which is why I have so many of my answers that were downvoted, and that I rewrote, and edited, and documented and sometimes erased. The first 100 (visible) answers are the worst.

            However, if an answer with 30 upvotes gets collapsed on Quora, that’s not one person’s opinion: that’s at least 30 downvotes—and from the many examples that I saw argumented, structured, justified downvotes. Not school-yard you-too dismissal like what you just did.

          2. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          3. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          4. I’m not privy to Moderators’ or Reviewers’ intents; short of details, I’m not sure what you are saying is reported facts, distorted explanations, or speculations. I simply had countless updates from the comments that I left, that appeared to oppose your inarticulate fans with the majority of people I respect on Quora.
            I tried to explain why your presence is unfair, but you have dismissed my early arguments, so I can’t really to do any better today.

          5. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          6. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          7. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          8. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          9. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          10. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          11. What happened to me was NOT being downvoted by the crowd. If that happened my post would simply be at the bottom of the pile of answers. What happened in reality is that a moderator marked my answer as “not helpful.”

            Later, other reviewers/moderators came along and said “that’s not fair” and placed the answer back on the site.

          12. Oh, and note, even though I believe your answer here is TOTALLY incorrect, no one removed it or downvoted it or marked it as “not helpful” which hides it from people seeing it. Funny to see that difference.

      2. It’s not a contest on who wins, but what answers are the best. Yours were bad. You are not a bad person. Your writing on Quora sucks most of the time.

      3. It’s not a contest on who wins, but what answers are the best. Yours were bad. You are not a bad person. Your writing on Quora sucks most of the time.

      4. It’s not a contest on who wins, but what answers are the best. Yours were bad. You are not a bad person. Your writing on Quora sucks most of the time.

      5. Upvotes are their to find the best answers. Writing an incomplete or bad answer just to be the first to answer and get more upvotes is not done. That is suitable for Yahoo Answers. Quora seems a more genuine place to find answers and your behaviour (as per your own post ) was definitely wrong. But please answering questions and also blogging on this site. We need that more than upvotes.

        1. OK, show me 10 places where my answers are provably not the best but are on top with the most votes. I’ve done 409 questions, surely you can find 10. Provide URLs when you make such a bald assertion that the system isn’t working.

          1. I already pointed out ten of your answers where you were dismissive of constructive criticism. Do you want me to do that for you too?

        2. And, systems reward first answers BECAUSE so many questions don’t go answered at all, which is really the biggest problem for Quora as the mainstream users come in and try it out.

          1. All the questions were I was the first to answer and others came later, I’m not on top. I’ve seen other editors re-used my expressions, my typology and get upvotes because they had far more followers than me, or the question. (That’s fine with me: I care for Quora and I really do not want to be famous.) But there is no First-comer effect, and I’d suspect a negative one.

  27. Agree with the aspects of first answers getting more upvotes. Combine that with your large following and you know how that would piss off the Quora elite.

    Guess they want it to be a cozy little club for some time before they open it up.

    Personally I think Q&A services should be part of a larger community focused on a particular domain/vertical. Or it would go towards the Yahoo! Answers way

  28. OK, I don’t get it .. a service were someone asks a question, and some one with knowledge answers it, and it pisses people off .. Jeez .. for what it is worth you are on of the best technology commentators out there today, that’s why a lot of us follow you on most social media networks. Personally, I think people should spend less time considering their ego, and who is better than who, and just help people by which ever means available.

    1. You don’t get it because Scoble fails to reproduce what was by far, the more frequent critic: most of his answers were “I don’t know, but I’m still going to speculate about it for five paragraphs” burrying the “I’ve been working on that question for five years.”

      1. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

      2. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

      3. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

        1. Are you seriously asking me to go through your own answers, and point out those with detailed, negative comments? I have no idea why I have, yet again, to play your secretary to feel validated, but the time I spend for you (and no “Likes” to thank me) that’s the price of fame.

          Those are the ones with 35+ comments: because of the many comments from influential users, those were far more visible to the oldest users than any other of your better answers.

          The first comment to this one is clear:
          http://www.quora.com/World-Economic-Forum/Is-Davos-nothing-but-an-expensive-boondoggle-paid-for-by-shareholders-or-taxpayers/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          This one seems to have triggered the bulk of negative press
          http://www.quora.com/What-can-be-said-to-Vivek-Wadhwas-criticism-on-TechCrunch-Why-I-Don%E2%80%99t-Buy-the-Quora-Hype/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          http://www.quora.com/Why-are-people-so-impressed-confident-in-Quora/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          http://www.quora.com/Quora-Content-Quality/How-can-Quora-balance-openness-and-quality/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          I’ve posted critic on this one in the question comments, because two of your followers me-too-ed your angle:
          http://www.quora.com/Is-asking-someone-to-use-Tungle-me-an-interpersonal-power-play/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          http://www.quora.com/Robert-Scoble-1/Would-it-be-possible-to-build-a-rival-to-Apple-today/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          http://www.quora.com/Why-do-Techcrunchs-commenters-hate-Quora-so-much/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          http://www.quora.com/Who-are-the-most-influential-bloggers-in-the-tech-space-right-now/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          http://www.quora.com/Who-are-the-top-10-Amazon-AWS-customers/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          And, #10, a dismissive answer and a dismissive come-back to a critic that appears too scared of your wrath to put the efforts that I just did:
          http://www.quora.com/Is-Quora-being-taken-over-by-fanboys/answer/Robert-Scoble-1

          That was within two week and you have been here for months. You did correct some, but they all could use more trimming. Most feel clearly abandoned: suggestions are straightforward to implement.

          But I have to confess: by going through your feed, there are many great answers that have been ignored, and many more that appeared as… less necessary to me, either empty or redundant, but those didn’t get proper correction because no one took the time for those (no more than you took the time to suggest that many edits). Outside of those, I would have heavily edited, or re-directed more than two thirds of what I just read. Now I’m just sad there is so much bad copy giving a bad example.

          I suspect many of those with no activity got negative votes from your most vocal critics, though: you have too many followers for so many to be ignored without a reason. Every editor did the same early on, but, because most of us hadn’t had 10+ follower upvotes and positive comment on every one of them to protect from the instant impact of criticism, and because we took the time to understand, we assimilated those rules much faster. And I didn’t include all the “Quora is amazing/Quora is horrible” drama, but you might want to explore your feed for those, too.

          1. All of these are not evidence of where I had a worse answer that wasn’t voted to the bottom. Geesh, are you really that hard headed when I ask for evidence, please provide it. You can’t, it’s all emotion with you and opinions, something you blame me for doing.

          2. Robert, really the big issue is not about you but about the Power Law nature of blogging, and how a lot of content producers have seen power laws reduce the quality of blogs and micro-blogs.

            I think it is pointless to try and determine if you answers are worse or not, but I would point to a pattern I have observed. Your Quora answers tend to get way way more votes than other people’s answers. Now you might believe that is because you are 5 times or 10 times smarter than everyone else but I would challenge you to suspect that perhaps it is due to your status as a blogger and micro-blogger, and your community of kudo exchange coming from twitter and rather than RTing you they are voting you up.

            Now frankly as long as it is just you its not really a big problem. BUT what will happen to Quora when more and more people with massive, I mean really massive, Twitter followers come over to Quora and start answering questions?

            There is a real real threat that it won’t be the content of the answer but the status of the person who gives the answer.

            I think, if you take a moment to be honest and look at how much higher score you have been able to get than just about anyone else answer the same question, that this is a real threat.

            The more I think about it the ability of people to vote up or down is an excellent solution. In Twitter, just like in TV, all that counts is who gets the most eye balls. So something can dominate the media with only 4% of total viewers, because no other single outlet has so many.

            Quora is a real risk of this, that say 20 people would utterly dominate it because they have a huge fan basis on Twitter.

            The more I think about it the better I think the idea is to allow people to vote down answers. And of course people who get lots of fan vote ups are then going to get lots of votes down.

          3. I agree, but a site that uses real identity should expect to see those with more popular/relevant/expert identities will get more upvotes than others. I’m sure when Oprah answers “where is the best place in the world to visit” that she’ll get more upvotes than I will, even if my answer is more correct. I don’t see anything wrong with that. At least not if a site wants to go mainstream and justify its $86 million valuation.

          4. You kept asking @bertil to provide examples of people leaving ‘this isn’t the best answer’ in response to your posts, but that’s not what he suggested was happening.

            He suggested that, in his opinion (and based on his examples, I’d tend to agree) that many of yours were long-winded pronouncements based on nothing more than your opinion (something you criticise @bertil for having).

            You then state that don’t see anything wrong with a site where the validity of the answer is not as important as its source?

            Case closed m’lud.

      4. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

      5. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

      6. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

      7. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

      8. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

      9. Again, nice to see your OPINION but let’s see those 10 URLs. I answered 400 questions, you should be able to find at least 10 where someone commented under my answer and said “this isn’t the best answer.”

      10. Yes, Quora should be sniper, not shotgun; the default should be silence, unless you really, truly have special insight into a question. But Scoble’s style is talking, not silence — so there is a mismatch in this case.

  29. The fine line between EgoNetMarketing and EgoSpamming. You where missing one tip, Robert. Using broad and narrow topics excessively to get more readers. ツav

  30. I post here first as I will get more upvotes and stay on top, with Disqus I can edit my answer so that I replace this crappy answer with a better one. I too am narcissistic, in fact I’m the best narcissists of all the narcissists. Flamewars are good.

    I wish I could add a picture for effect.

    You should ignore the haters, they will always find a reason to hate.

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