Should cities and agencies be on Quora?

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Candace Riddle Candace Riddle 3 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #119419
    Avatar of Heather Coleman
    Heather Coleman
    Participant

    Quora has had a recent burst of new users and activity. Someone asked the question of what cities are on Quora and so far it looks like just Oklahoma City.

    Should cities start using this platform – or is that just too much? Are they better off sticking with larger platforms like Facebook and Twitter to respond to citizen questions/comments?

  • #119461
    Avatar of Candace Riddle
    Candace Riddle
    Participant

    What is Quora?

  • #119459
    Avatar of Heather Coleman
    Heather Coleman
    Participant

    It’s a social network based on asking questions and getting answers to your questions. You also have the ability to comment on answers and vote answers up/down – go to http://www.quora.com/ to check it out.

  • #119457
    Avatar of GovLoop
    GovLoop
    Keymaster

    My sense – it’s still super early with Quora. Personally, I think there is still room to focus on doing a great (not just okay) job on larger platforms like Facebook/email/traditional web. But a little fun playing with is always promoted

  • #119455
    Avatar of Adriel Hampton
    Adriel Hampton
    Participant

    Quora is perhaps a fun diversion, but first check out how many gov folks signed up for Formspring and are inactive there. And think about Google Buzz. And then think about how many cities and govs actively answer questions on Facebook pages – I suspect it’s less than 3 percent. First things first.

  • #119453

    I think we’re still feeling out what Quora can do. The problem is that with Quora, we don’t get to ask our questions – we have to wait on somebody to ask them. I’ve answered some questions on unemployment, but I don’t think the average person would check Quora to find those answers anyway.

  • #119451
    Avatar of Zach Nash
    Zach Nash
    Participant

    The City of OKC jumped on Quora this morning and signed up to a.) get a feel for how many local users were active and b.) to ask the question to those users: “would Quora be a beneficial platform for the City to use to answer questions about City services?”

    However, I was just contacted by Quroa admins to change the name from “The City of OKC” to an actual name. So, looks like I will be pulling the plug on the Quroa test and wait to see where it goes.

    If Quora continues to grow, I can see the benefit for citizens to have their municipality at least monitor topics. Like most new concepts, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • #119449
    Avatar of Adriel Hampton
    Adriel Hampton
    Participant

    Wow, way for Quora to shoot itself in the foot! And Zach, I’m always impressed with OKC’s willingness to experiment. I’m just getting WAY too much Quora love in my Twitter stream, and I’m turning into an Angry Old Man of Social Media again.

  • #119447
    Avatar of Zach Nash
    Zach Nash
    Participant

    I appreciate it. We try to do the best we can and stay on top of new tech with our limited resources. As for Quora, hopefully, if their model is successful, they’ll see the benefit of allowing Govs to have active accounts. If not, there will be other, more inclusive solutions to be a part of.

  • #119445
    Avatar of Bill Brantley
    Bill Brantley
    Participant

    @Heather – What kind of safeguards are there to ensure that people are getting quality answers? It seems to me that Quora – as it is now implemented – could easily promulgate false or misleading information rather quickly.

    This is not to say it isn’t a good idea. But, as an experience at OPM has taught me, you really need a good quality control system for a crowdsourced Q&A system.

  • #119443
    Avatar of Jimmy Leach
    Jimmy Leach
    Participant

    I happened to blog on the same sort of thing and was pointed here, so would appreciate the thoughts of others:

    http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/is-the-foreign-office-too-cool

  • #119441
    Avatar of Heather Coleman
    Heather Coleman
    Participant

    No safeguards really. Certain questions can only be answered by the person being asked (as the authority on themselves), but other than that it is a free for all, with users voting answers up and down (crowdsourcing).

    Seems like an opportunity for government to have a presence and be the authority for quality answers on certain topics that are relevant to their agency or location.

    Of course, I’m not for jumping on every new tool, just cause it’s new and shiny. It should fit within your overall communications strategy and meet the needs of your audience. If it’s just for trial, make users aware of that.

  • #119439
    Avatar of Bill Brantley
    Bill Brantley
    Participant

    Sounds like a secondary service is for government to also correct misinformation given by others. That is also another good service that will help citizens.

  • #119437
    Avatar of Adriel Hampton
    Adriel Hampton
    Participant

    Two words: Yahoo! Answers.

  • #119435

    Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid it turning into. There are no moderators over there. I know wikipedia was not reliable for a long time, but eventually it became self moderated and most articles have references which they pull from. I’m wondering if Quora will go that direction

  • #119433
    Avatar of GovLoop
    GovLoop
    Keymaster

    I really like Quora as I’ve found the quality of answers and people very high.

    Honestly, I think that’s its best asset – a high quality community that self-reinforces good behavior. It’s kind of soft and who knows if would change but I generally think it feeds on itself and continues that vibe. It’s kind of like self-reinforcing behaviors from good parents behaving well themself.

  • #119431
    Avatar of Sierra Summers
    Sierra Summers
    Participant

    The city of San Francisco has a Twitter account SF311. This is a great place for up to the minute news on the city, such as road closures, parades etc. What I like is that is a great resource if you have a question – where can I get a parking permit, what if my trash doesn’t get picked up. I think Quora is almost like a new version for FAQ.

  • #119429
    Avatar of GovLoop
    GovLoop
    Keymaster

    Would be cool to see a Quora like FAQ on agency pages where can build that knowledge together vs standard slow moving FAQ

  • #119427
    Avatar of Heather Coleman
    Heather Coleman
    Participant

    Agreed. Make it happen ;)

  • #119425
    Avatar of Robert Eckhardt
    Robert Eckhardt
    Participant

    The primary thing that keeps the answers legitimate-ish is the fact that users are required to use a name to sign up. In my experience real names reduce the flaming. Furthermore, answers can be voted up or down by other users and voted as helpful or unhelpful.

    I have had answers hidden as unhelpful because of smartassedness on my part.

  • #119423
    Avatar of Domingo Rogers
    Domingo Rogers
    Participant

    Quora is a collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The main goal is to be the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about each question.

  • #119421
    Avatar of Elliot Volkman
    Elliot Volkman
    Participant

    Though they are shooting themselves in the foot, it does help prevent companies from joining the network. Personally, and from experience people truly like seeing a person over a brand speaking anyway. I get a much greater response rate on my professional Twitter account apposed to my branded one, and both generally are producing the same info. Could just be me though.

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