Yahoo Answers used to be the king of the Internet. Desperate people too lazy to use Google asked unemployed losers all of life’s most intriguing questions: Do weddings really make women horny? Is it okay to swim with tonsils? Does my cat want me to get an abortion? Have you ever accidentally urinated on a stranger, thinking it was your wife or child? (TL/DR: definitely, yes, unlikely, define “accidentally”).
Basically, these are all of the things you always wanted to know (that weren’t covered on Wikipedia) but were too
afraid intelligent to ask. Years following its web domination, we’re still dealing with the dump Yahoo! Answers took on the Internet. Just try to do a Google search without finding some dumb, unanswered question from Reptar81 and his stupid cartoon avatar.
There’s a better question-and-answer site in town, one that 90% of you have never used (Special thanks to the six Korean kids smoking in front of Bobst who served as our representative sample). It’s a site so awesome that we can only describe it by its celebrity couple name, WikiYahKenRedJeeves—that is, the offspring of Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, Ken Jennings, Reddit and AskJeeves. Or Quora, for short.
Here’s how the site works: users make an account with their real name (usually linked to Facebook or Twitter), accrue credits and ask or answer questions. You won’t find Reptar81 on Quora, but you might find a paleontologist who exclusively studies Mr. Tyrannosauraus Rex. Re-ask the question about swimming with tonsils and you might get an answer from an otolaryngologists whose daughter competed professionally in the 2012 Summer Olympics. (It’s still a stupid question, though, so you’ll get a condescending answer). The genius of Quora is that content gets to the right people by promotion using credits, and that system also powers which answers bubble to the tops of threads. And it’s not just you that’s curious about the questions, so other users may promote your questions if they’re intrigued.
Not convinced? Here are a few questions from Quora’s archives. Try to resist not clicking on them. Just try.
- What is the most valuable skill a person can have for their entire life?
- What are the optimal siege tactics for taking Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle?
- What does it feel like to murder someone?
- What does it feel like to be blind?
- Given our current technology and with the proper training, would it be possible for someone to become Batman?
There are so many ways to use Quora, it’s just a bag of fun. You’ll automatically receive the Quora Weekly Digest, an incredible roundup of questions tailored to you; it is the most clickable weekly email you will ever receive, like they have a direct line to your brain and its unsolved questions. You could browse and subscribe by topic, meeting the experts and question seekers for whatever your intellectual interest is, be it broccoli or even New York University (check out the latest NYU question, “What are some good ways to insult a[n] NYU student?”).
If you think of an amazing question while showering, planning an essay, or drinkin’ drugs, this is the place to come. Ask your question and find awesome people to answer it for you like JJ Abrams, Jason Segel , Jimmy Wales and this girl who is bizzarely named Spaghetti Paparazzi.
Don’t forget to pay it forward and answer some questions. You’re probably not as useless as you think. At least that’s what your mom would tell you.