Why do online communities such as Quora decline in quality?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

This seems like a reliable pattern, which makes the whole question of how to solve it that much more interesting.

Great things never last
I saw Quora’s potential early on — it could have been a giant repository of information, a kind of interactive encyclopedia with views coming from everywhere. And certainly, there are still very interesting questions being asked (this one and this one came in my Quora weekly digest, and were pretty interesting). But it’s all being overrun with meaningless questions. Put simply, it’s just hard to filter through all the noise to get to the worthwhile content. That’s one reason why I visit the site maybe once a month, and just read the weekly digest instead.

Quora died because it put the emphasis on the user. People who use social networks like to see their egos boosted. They like everything attributed to them. When Quora began, it was equal. No one had any prestige (now the prestige of someone is denoted in the amount of “credits” it costs to ask someone to answer a question — an absurd system I don’t even have time to rant about right now). The playing field was leveled, and the information could speak for itself. I wasn’t there for jokes or gags or trollface or blogging or loose-leash egotistical “polymaths” (a common Quora title).

I just wanted cool information. All the time.

Maybe I’m wrong
It could be that I simply thought I was the target audience Quora, but in actuality, they just wanted as broad an audience as possible. I don’t know. The business of startups is a sketchy subject, and I don’t intend to associate myself with it.

What I wanted from Quora was simple: Yahoo! Answers, but not so shitty and full of idiots. It’s hard to believe that this caliber of humanity is rampant across Quora right now.

Sorry Quora. It was nice while it lasted. I’ll continue to check in from time to time, and I don’t plan on unsubscribing from your Weekly Digest, which really is fascinating. But visiting the site is just too much to handle. I don’t need another social network, I just want my questions answered.