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Quora - my first Use Case

 

Today was the first time I used Quora in anger.  Well maybe not anger... but I needed an answer to a straightforward, almost technical question: I wanted a simple PDF converter quickly for a client's PC.  We've all been there, right? The seemingly simple task that ends up taking an hour of trial and error and leaves you with an end result that you are still not happy with. This is just the kind of question that Google advertisers swarm around, thereby obfuscating the simple answers.
Then I remembered Quora - the new social Q&A site described here as Twitter + Wikipedia.  So, far all I've done with Quora is follow people I already follow on Twitter.  I have just started to read some meaty questions and answers - but essentially I haven't engaged in any meaningful way.  Undeterred, I typed into the Quora search box: 'pdf conver' and at that point noticed the following question appear:
Q. How does one convert .doc files to .pdf files?
A. http://www.quora.com/How-does-one-convert-doc-files-to-pdf-files?q=pdf+conv

This appealed to me - so I abandoned my typing and clicked to find 5 answers.  All were useful, succinct, personal and provided links.  In this instance Quora beats Google on speed, relevance and ease of use. Quora answers are provided by real people, sharing their own experience.  Good answers can be voted up (or down), commented and edited.  I haven't seen any spam... yet.  In general the quality of answers appears to be very good - though I'm still just dipping in a toe here and there.  
What about Wikipedia?  A search there for 'PDF converter' threw up this article: List of PDF software. The list is exhaustive - but in terms of informing a quick decision it's just too much information. Wikipedia has evolved a complex ecosystem of editors and editing etiquette.  On Wikipedia there is no cult of personality visible to the casual reader - the emphasis is on the material rather than on the contributors.
How will its essentially social nature shape Quora's evolution?  What will happen as the site evolves?  What kind of 'society' will evolve on Quora?  How will this society deal with issues like spam, reliability, relevance etc?  
Definitely one to watch... 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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