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Quora makes changes to its “anonymous” feature, restricts actions and makes it untraceable

Quora

Quora is a pretty cool place to hang out at. The website is often the perfect spot to find answers to convoluted and complicated questions, seek advice on thing ranging from pet care to dating to spritual dilemma, and share personal experiences with the community. To ensure that its platform remains a happy place for everyone and does not attract trolls and harassers, Quora is making changes to its popular “anonymous” feature.

The anonymous feature is an integral part of Quora and lets users ask/answer questions that they normally wouldn’t to as it would involve exposing their identity. The questions or the answers submitted using the feature could range from all sorts of topics — from those considered taboo in particular societies ,to those that the user wouldn’t feel comfortable being attached with. As such, the feature has been responsible for people coming out and actually speaking their mind in a lot of cases.

However, like every good thing, the anonymous feature too has its drawbacks. For example, it has often been used to target members of a particular community or race with some elements indulging in hate speech with impunity. It is to curb this sort of behavior that Quora is making changes to the feature.

Users who chose to go anonymous on the platform will no be able to do stuff like upvote, comment, edit answer wikis, merge different questions, suggest edits,  thank people for their answers, revert edit log operations, or even send answer requests. If you want to do any one of the above things on the platform, you got to have an identity.

So basically, anonymity will be reserved for asking questions and submitting answers. And even then, content will be reviewed before it is finally published.

Speaking on the topic, Quora said:

All anonymous content will be reviewed for spam and harassment before receiving distribution. You’ll still be able to report questions or answers for us to re-review if you feel that we make a mistake or if a different policy is violated.

What’s more, anonymous content will now be untraceable — even for Quora. Earlier, while the name of someone going anonymous on the platform was hidden from the public, Quora still retained some sort of record of the same. The company is now moving to eliminate that as well.

This particular feature could assuage the fears of even thse who are super paranoid or have a super secret thing they want to share with the public.

Quora’s internal systems will no longer connect user accounts with anonymous content they contribute. When we move to the new experience, we will begin removing existing connections in our internal systems. This means that editing or deleting your existing anonymous questions or answers will require an anonymous edit link.

Meanwhile, all the anonymous content on the platform will remain unchanged and these changes will be implemented going forward.

The changes reflect Quora’s drive to monetize, as well as form part of an attempt to cull the issue of trolls and harassment in the bud. The platform has over 100 million monthly visitors and started a drive to monetize them last year, by displaying ads on the questions page. With that said, advertisers have time and again displayed averseness to controversial pages that have hate speech — and never mind the fact that they could be generating a ton of traffic due to the controversy involved.

As such, removing anonymity will allow Quora to limit the amount of trolling that goes on at the platform while also preserving the base function of the feature through still allowing people to post questions and answers without having their identities exposed. The new updates will go into effect from March 20, 2017.

A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

mudit.m@thetechportal.in


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