Published in AI

Quora is nearly dead

by on05 February 2024

A warning about what happens when robots take over 

Quora, the website that used to answer all our burning questions, is now a ghost town full of rubbish, weirdos, and robots.

According to Slate, the site has been plagued by moderation problems, spam, trolls, and bots that copy questions from Reddit (not to mention the competition from Facebook and Google that forced them to slash their staff). But trying to automate their moderation made things worse.

Quora has been using AI to create images for users' answers, but they look like a child's drawings.

It wanted AI to write answers to some questions, and they wanted to use the users' own answers to train their AI. This means the users are giving away their work for free to a machine that will replace them.

Quora changed its terms of service and privacy policies last summer to make this possible.

As one of their users, David Rose, put it: "You give all other Quora users the right to copy and change your answers… You give Quora the right to use your answers to train their AI unless you say no, and You give up your right to sue Quora for anything." among other things.

Quora's Help Center says, "for now, we do not use answers, posts, or comments on Quora to train AIs to write content on Quora. But this may change in the future." The site lets you opt-out, but they admit that "opting out does not cover everything."

This made the users angry and confused; some decided to leave and take their work.

Famous users, like fantasy writer Mercedes R. Lackey, are deleting their work from their profiles and saying why.

"The AI thing, the terms of service thing, has scared away the best people on Quora, just based on how many people have said, I'm taking my stuff and I'm off," Lackey said.

Not everyone wants to leave, but it's hard for them to stay on a website where they must deal with errors, spam, trolls, and fake accounts.

This morning on the top of the list was a question, “Why won’t the British admit that Richard III was Afro-American?”

Nelson McKeeby, an author who joined Quora in 2013 warned: "Soon Quora will be nothing but robot questions, robot answers, and nothing else." I wonder how the site will answer why Quora died if anyone even cares to ask.


Last modified on 05 February 2024
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