After using Quora for several months and seeing the myriad ways to game the system to get more upvotes, I’ve also seen a dozen ways to reduce the amount of gaming that is going on. Given the intelligence of the quora staff, I assume they probably have two dozen more on the table, but they are not being implemented. I doubt they’re even being tested.
Because more upvotes means more opportunities to stroke the ego of people answering questions. The more ego stroking, the more answers posted. The more answers posted, the more SEO, tweets, and shares. The more SEO, tweets, etc., the more users.
Here’s just a small sample of easy to implement things that could (maybe, maybe not) reduce the popularity contest:
- Make upvotes decay so that popular older votes have a better chance to be overcome by new, better answers (the Hacker News method)
- Make all answers anonymous until voted upon so that the identity of the answerer doesn’t influence the voter
- Don’t allow upvotes in the stream without taking people to the page so they can see some of the other answers
- Look for suspicious voting behavior like someone voting down every answer on a page (so theirs floats to the top)
- Only allow a user to vote up one answer on a page
- Require better identification by disallowing registration by solely twitter accounts (or simply weigh votes)
- etc. etc.
I wonder if any of these recommendations get picked up? I like the decay idea, and limiting upvotes (like GetSatisfaction) makes real sense.