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For days, I saw requests for invitations to Quora everywhere. I was surprised because, after sending links to friends and seen bloggers include more links (me included), I was sure that the site was entirely public and even crawled by search engine spider (except the signatures and comments, but that’s another story).
Just another twit made me doubt. So I took the time to disconnect.
Ok, now I see the problem.
The landing page is not very welcoming, and it probably explains the backlash against the perceived elitism. Believe me, it is purely superficial: the site is very easy to navigate without any invitation. Go for example on page one of the founders. Want to see what they say about vegetarian restaurants in Paris, or what your friend tells Thomas? Use the search bar, framed in black, top of the screen: it finds contributors, questions, topics. It does this even before you finish typing, like Google Instant Search.
The only page on which the bar does not appear, it is the landing page. Why? It is a common arbitration on ergonomics, which had not anticipated the wave of media attention. One should unburden the screens for new comers, to guide them and reassure them. I say this every day to my clients, and it is one of the simplest advice, the most effective and most neglected. But here it is: one query bar to search/navigate/ask questions, that’s a lot. It is disturbing, complicated and very visible — so it was removed from the landing page as prohibiting only in appearance-a-while to explore each Quora like Wikipedia.
We should change that; I took the lead and asked for you, but you are better placed than me to answer: How should we rethink this page? Content portal, video presentation, simple example, having a regular cute, geographically close? Tell me.
And it had not been a problem so far? No, because until the end of December, all newcomers were invited by a friend who had a particular page to offer them (his own, or asking a question their expertise for the most part). This is the first time I see this screen.
But naturally, without registration, that is to say, without invitation, you can not contribute. It is quite unfortunate, but (as you understand it now) most active members would prefer that you spend time exploring the site before writing, just like Wikipedia. You’ll probably prefer to browse first with the ergonomics for Non-registered readers, which is much simpler. The full version more complex than an aircraft cockpit as I realised trying to explain how it worked before yesterday.
When you have located a page that deserves your attention, ask for an invitation to interested parties via his or her Facebook page, Twitter or blog (click on the name, the three links are the little icons to the right of the avatar). This will give your the opportunity to make friends and discuss your contribution with the right person. Seeing you so are so civil, I cannot doubt that he or she will certainly be happy to offer virtual tour of the place. If it were me, you’d probably even the right to a tea (or beer) — actually, if you are in Paris, you would.
This visit-first-talk-later, plus the new invention of Charlie (a permit to ask questions for newcomers) is a bit condescending to me you say. Honestly, you find it unpleasant to go to a site where a stranger is here to help, and without 1337-speak, trolls or grievers?
Update : to share internally about the issue, I wrote a post on the topic