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Has Co-founder Charlie Cheever Been Pushed Out by Quora Insiders?

It’s beginning to look that way and Silicon Valley is abuzz with speculation over more departures. Actually this is just one more exit in a long continuous talent exodus. Since it’s launch Quora has done a superb job of driving away its best contributors leaving behind only the pompous windbags and those shallow enough to be impressed by them.

The Failed Quora Business Model

Charlie Cheever sacrificed by Quora.

Quora’s Endless Night of the Long Knives Picks up Steam

For those who don’t know Quora, it was an attempt by a group of ex-Facebookers to cash in on the Wikipedia concept. Quora was created to provide the platform and the rest of us were supposed to do the hard part of creating the actual content. The problem was that the plan called for enriching the founders and shareholders without providing any rewards to the content creators. A business model like this can only go for so long before even the dimmest users catch on. According to Silicon Valley insiders, it was only a matter of time before people realized that they were in fact working for free in a digital sweat shop to further enrich a group of Facebook millionaires.

Here’s the latest breaking news on Quora.

Quora is buzzing with speculation regarding the sudden departure of one of its founders, Charlie Cheever, only four months after the company received an infusion of $50 million.  In an answer to the question entitled, Charlie Cheever: What is Charlie Cheever’s status at Quora as of September 11th, 2012?, Adam D’Angelo, Cheever’s ex-partner and Quora cofounder, said, “We decided it was best for Charlie to step away from his day-to-day role at the company.” Users immediately called out D’Angelo for his use of PR speak and, specifically, his “we decided” language.  The use of such an impersonal, bland cliché naturally causes the reader to wonder whether Charlie was simply fired. (Why Quora Won’t Scale)

The list of problems with Quora is a long one as the article explains:

  • -A deeply corrupted voting system.
  • -Heavy users who create high school style cliques to drive off good contributors.
  • -Heavy-handed censorship by the staff and Quora’s Political Correctness Commissars.
  • -And perhaps most importantly a thoroughly unpleasant user experience where one is constantly harassed by the moderators.

Perhaps Charlie finally accepted that it was a deeply flawed business model from the start and lost faith?

Either way, it’s interesting to watch the implosion of one of Silicon Valley’s most heavily flogged startups in years.

Business Lesson from the Quora business model: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool ALL of the people ALL of the time. – Abraham Lincoln

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28 Responses to Unlucky Little Quora’s Troubles Grow

  • I am surprised that it lasted this long. But then the Facebook Brats have a lot of money to dump into their Black Hole.

  • I tried giving it a shot last year and gradually realized it’s one tremendous waste of time. The people who run and moderate it are just plain rude.

  • Quora has never had more users nor more traffic then it currently does. This article is completely fictitious and baseless accusation and speculation. Any person that has actually used Quora on a regular basis can see it’s attraction and the entertainment and education value that continues to draw people in. You may be contributing your personal expertise in a particular field for free but then you get to read someone else’s amazing answers in their field of expertise. This process continues on and on and grows as Quora continues to grow.

    Check out some “windbags” like Stephen Fry on Quora or these links…
    http://www.quora.com/peopletofollow
    http://www.quora.com/spoq
    http://www.quora.com/bestoftheweb
    http://www.quora.com/Sci-X
    http://www.quora.com/overkill
    http://www.quora.com/Dan-Holliday/The-Best-of-Quora

    • The Quora douchebaggery spills over everywhere.Pointing to a circlejerk to show that something is not a circlejerk defeats your purpose.

      • How is it a circle jerk? Really. Explain to me how that content is the same as a circle jerk. He didn’t post those boards to show Quorans like stuff by other Quorans — he posted them as a shortcut instead of posting each individual answer on its own.

        • How is it a circle jerk? Ten percent of all posts on Quora are circle jerks where they pat one another on the back for being so smart. It can trigger the gag reflex. The above links are fine examples of this.

          • I guess I see it somewhat differently since I think of the above links as just curating cool stuff. I think anything could be called a circle jerk if merely praising the things other people make counts. For instance, all those blurbs on books are actually way more of a circle jerk than Quora since most of them have to do with doing favors. (And I do think that sucks, actually.)

          • Thank you. Yes, the intent was to post some boards on Quora that were made to highlight answers that Quorans found particularly amazing. It is not a circle jerk it was a handy reference of some of the best Quora answers you can find.

            Anyone can post a collection of Quora answers to a board it is just a handy way to organize stuff you found interesting, entertaining or just useful and wanted to share with others or quickly find again later. I figured by posting links to those boards you might see some of the reasons people love Quora and want to contribute. Maybe seeing the amazing stuff you can learn might change your mind about Quora. But learning is not for everyone. Some people don’t find learning new things fun and actively choose not to learn new things. To each their own.

            There is some really amazing things you can learn on there. I may know a great deal about science for example but would have never known that actors pretending to do cocaine in TV and Movies actually snort powdered sugar and are left with everything tasting sweet for a day or two after and a bad case of the sniffles and congestion that an actor posted there.

            So the actor might love Quora because he can learn about science and I love learning details about how movies are made. Both of us are sharing our expertise whilst learning about things we are interested in but can not fully pursue as much as we would like to.

            The article and some of the commenters don’t realize that it is not about Quora getting something free from me spending my time sharing my expertise in my field it is about the entire community getting something worthwhile from everyone sharing with each other. In a sense it is just like Wikipedia. People contribute to the betterment of everyone by asking good questions and by making good answers.

            Almost anything you search for these days will come up with a Wikipedia article in the first few search results. This is because people searching on Google often click on the Wikipedia link for info on that topic and thus Google lists it higher in the results. Similarly I am beginning to see Quora answers begin to show up in Google searches for some topics where it turns out it is a good reference for said topic or question.

            Once upon a time people said Wikipedia would fail because “no one would waste their time writing good entries for free.” This is not the case though and most people I think find Wikipedia an invaluable though imperfect resource on the net. I honestly can’t imagine a world without Wikipedia and given usage statistics it seems most of the net would agree. Someday Quora may well become a vast repository of knowledge based around more specific questions as opposed to general encyclopedia entries like Wikipedia.

          • Wiki is not for profit. It wasn’t created to make anyone a fast buck. As a result it’s become an asset for us all. Quora is all about making money for the Facebook mafia and little else. See the difference?

            I expect not.

          • I see the difference, but I don’t see why it matters. It seems reasonable for someone who created a platform that allows people to do useful stuff for each might make money for having done so.

          • Considering the site has zero advertisements nor a clear monetization strategy at this time and instead has focused it’s resources and money upon building up the quality and functionality of the site I am thinking you must be speaking of a different site.

            News flash, people make new companies with the idea that if they invest tens of millions of their own money into it they will not see their money wasted and get a return eventually. If making money is your point then no I do not see the difference. For all anyone knows Quora may become a non profit organization too. Certainly Wikipedia started out from the bones of a commercial product or did you not realize that?

            Just because the owners are making a profit (or not) does not mean the product does not have value in an of itself to persons that have no financial stake in it. This is as true of the Discovery channel and it’s related shows and networks as it is Quora. Could Myth Busters be as amazing if the fans did not spend vast amounts of their free time collectively suggesting new show ideas with no expectation of being paid? I think not.

  • The majority of the people there, or better put, the most vocal of the bunch, are all sucking up to each other for the ongoing quest for approval. A “power” wielding figure, ahem a voluntary reviewer or admin asks someone to bend down, and the other person says “how low should I bend?”

    All because they’re lacking, as they’re trying to get something they never got as a child. It’s pathetic and transparent. We can see right through it.

    • See now I have never even once been told there was an issue with one of my answers by an admin or reviewer and I have over 600 answers. It is only trolls or people that make comments without knowing what they are speaking about that have trouble with admins or reviewers. It’s not about approval it is about quality answers. If you write an answer like the comment you left that has no supporting evidence nor detailed explanation to support your claims you will not have a highly voted answer.

      • See now I have never even once been told there was an issue with one of my answers by an admin or reviewer and I have over 600 answers.

        ███████████████████████████████

        It is only trolls or people that make comments without knowing what they are speaking about that have trouble with admins or reviewers. It’s not about approval it is about quality answers

        ███████████████████████████████

        If you write an answer like the comment you left that has no supporting evidence nor detailed explanation to support your claims you will not have a highly voted answer.

        ███████████████████████████████

        Censored!
        https://twitter.com/christiebrkt/status/247043226232553472

  • I fail to see how “I, unnamed staff writer/s, got nothing out of Quora” means that Quora is inherently useless. It sounds sour grapes-ish. I don’t doubt you got nothing good from Quora, but that doesn’t tell me anything meaningful except that it’s not your type of thing.

    I think the main thing I find baffling is the anger. Most web sites people don’t like still don’t inspire angry rants and epithets thrown at their users. Has Fox news given media lessons to the people who think Quora stinks, or something?

  • A,

    Most of those celebs dropped by once, made a perfunctory post, and were never seen again.

    • I am betting I cold name as many or more examples that counter your claim as you could that support yours. Is this speculation or do you have some kind of objective and peer reviewable proof to support your claim? I have not found what you say to be the case and I use Quora daily. If this were in fact happening I think I might have noticed. How often do you use Quora and for how long in each use? This might perhaps give us an idea how you come by this opinion….

      I follow several celebs that still use Quora and have for years. Likely it is harassment of unwitting fans that just want to say kind words to their favorite celebs that drives famous people away from social media more then anything else. In any case Quora’s value is not just in celeb answers but in the answers of subject matter experts. You don’t have to be famous to make a significant impact on Quora you just need to be able to answer the question well in an informative and understandable way, that is one of it’s big draws. If you give a rotten or useless answer you will not and should not expect people to consider it worthy of an upvote.

  • Thought you might enjoy this.

    If Silicon Valley Isn’t Like High School, Quora Certainly Is

    http://betabeat.com/2012/09/if-silicon-valley-isnt-like-high-school-quora-certainly-is/

  • Here’s the deal. Quora doesn’t solve any problem. It’s merely a site that uses gamification to hook users into using it. http://www.attackofdesign.com/why-quora-is-in-trouble/ It offers little of value to the online community.

    • Eh. That is almost entirely about preferences. Example:

      “Thanks to apps, photos, and casual games, it’s very easy to lose yourself in Facebook.”

      I’ve often wondered how people manage to spend more than ten minutes on Facebook. Then again, I also don’t get how people lose themselves in watching sitcoms. Any time someone bases their critique of something on it just not being fun for them, it may be true but it can’t be said that it’s a compelling argument in general. Clearly my “I think it’s fun” means nothing to someone who doesn’t, and the opposite is true as well.

  • This piece has triggered a great deal of howling and gnashing of teeth among the Quora hivemind. Thank you. Yes, they do take themselves way too seriously After I first joined Quora there was gushing post by a high profile announcing that the site had enabled him to solve a problem. Just imagine that. Too bad the Internet can’t help people solve problems through collaboration.

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