Yet Another Top Writer is Leaving Quora

Another dirty rat flees a sinking ship

Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash

For those of you who may not know, Quora is a question-and-answer website. It’s a bit like Yahoo Answers, but it has a strict policy that forces people to be respectful of others, and so the overall quality of the answers and the experience is much nicer.

I have been a member for over a decade. For the first couple of years, I was just lurking and didn’t engage with others, but once I did start answering questions, I soon became addicted and have been posting almost every day since. I’ve really enjoyed my time on it. It was the only social media platform I participated in, and I made many friends there, a couple of whom I’ve since met in real life.

In 2017 I was made a Top Writer, which was a fairly prestigious accolade at the time. I received a nice jacket in the mail with the Quora logo, which made me feel somewhat appreciated.

In 2018 I was made Top Writer for the second time, but they changed it so you had to buy your own “Top Writer” merchandise. No thanks! That year I think they made a large percentage of members Top Writers hoping to sell a bunch of junk, and so it meant nothing at all, but I was still pleased with the title.

In 2019 I hoped I could make a Top Writer hat-trick, but the announcement never came. I don’t believe they ever announced an end to the Top Writer program, they just let it silently disappear. Okay…

I’m far from famous on the site, but I have had a few people tell me they are ‘fans’ of mine, and even had people send me stuff to show their appreciation of my writing. It’s nice. Currently, I have over 25,000 followers, which I’m pretty proud of. I have written nearly 9000 answers, many of which are comprehensive, well-researched, and technical.

And so it is with a heavy heart that I say I am leaving the site. I will keep my account and leave my answers up, but I will no longer be spending my time writing content for them. I will continue engaging with other people and perusing the questions to get ideas for Medium articles.

Some time ago, Quora began weaving ads in with their feed. That’s fine, I don’t begrudge a site making money. But since they made ads look exactly like answers to questions, it became almost a Russian Roulette of spam-vs-content.

Then they started paying people to write questions. I am technically in that program, but I don’t see the point of asking questions, I prefer answering them, so I never made any money from it. Money was never my motivation for writing. If it was, I certainly wouldn’t have spent so much time and energy on Quora. What happened is that Quora was flooded with garbage questions. “What’s your favorite movie that begins with A?”, “What’s your favorite movie that begins with B?”, and so on.

Lots of people assumed they would soon follow that up with a program paying the people who answer questions, you know, the people who actually provide the site’s valuable content. Nope, never happened. For me, it wasn’t an issue as I was never in it for the money, and it’s not up to me to judge a company on how they make a profit, but for many, it felt disrespectful.

Also, moderation on the site has grown way more sensitive and biased recently. I am politically left of center, and so were several of my friends who received permanent bans for saying what things that I think are quite reasonable centrist things. As for people on the political right, woah, they really are stepping through a minefield. I learned to avoid topics that would ‘trigger’ those people who can be ‘triggered’.

The last straw for me was receiving a permanent ban on sharing links after I shared three of my Medium articles with my followers. There was no warning beforehand and no message to tell me I had been banned. My privilege just…vanished. I wasn’t spamming, I shared one link per day to a comprehensive article that I know my followers would enjoy. I emailed Quora to ask if I had done anything wrong and received a trite message from a clueless intern that (maybe) everything would be okay after 24 hours. It’s wasn’t and it still isn’t. To think of all the content I have given Quora for free. Well, it made me realize how inequitable the relationship has been all this time.

Unfortunately, such changes mean the quality of the site has seen a drastic decline of late. I guess it was inevitable. I seem to spend more and more time scrolling down looking for non-trivial, non-spam questions. In the last couple of years, I have seen many respected Quorans leave the site for various reasons. Several times I have been tempted to leave, as the quality of the questions and answers plummeted, but I stayed because I still enjoyed writing and still engaged with people I consider friends.

If you’ve made it this far down my pointless rant, well done. And if you are one of my Quora followers, let me say a big heartfelt thank you. I’m not abandoning writing, I’m just moving platforms because I don’t feel Quora is worth it anymore. I don’t feel as appreciated there as I did, and I would rather write for Medium where I can feel appreciated.

My reason for writing this article is not to persuade others to leave Quora too. That’s not what I want at all. If you enjoy it, great! I still appreciate what Quora has done for me: the sense of community, the chance to solidify my thoughts on topics through the process of writing, and the opportunity to learn new things and have my opinions challenged. I merely want to put down in words my feelings and motivation for leaving a site that has been a real hobby of mine for a number of years.

I am just one of many Top Writers who has seen too much negative decline in the platform. I have been pretty slow to come to this realization. Many of my Top Writer friends left long ago for reasons of their own and it is no longer the fun, dynamic, positive place it once was. Medium seems to be a far better place for writers.

I apologize for the clunky idiom-splice, but it’s time to stop flogging that horse and move on to greener pastures. I don’t want to say I will never ever write on Quora again. It may turn around and improve in the future, which would make me happy. You never know. But certainly for now, I’m done with Quora. C’est la vie.

Scifi writer, roboticist, and game developer, 2x Quora Top Writer. I write about writing speculative fiction, computer graphics, AI, evolution, and programming.

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