Quora: Online community

What is Quora?

Quora is a question and answer forum where people ask questions which get answered, edited and organized by  community of users. It aggregates questions to various topics and users collaborate to edit questions and suggest edits to other user’s answers. Users also contribute by up-voting or down-voting answers. This community representing a crowdsourcing platform to generate information exchange.



Key Features of Quora:

The Quora community includes some well-known people, such as Marc Andreessen, Dustin Moskovitz, Jimmy Wales,Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher, Avicii, John Green (author), Adrián Lamo, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. There are questions regarding these famous people answered by themselves. This is a huge draw for users to this community.

Obama on quora.PNG

Community Commitment on participation:

In this blog post, I want to analyze the key aspects of community commitment that impacts the user participation.

According to Bateman et al. there are three kinds of commitments in a community.

Continuance: It is when the users feel locked into a place because there are high costs associated with leaving the community.

Affective: It is when the users are emotionally attached to the community and organization.

Normative: It is when the users have a feeling of obligation to contribute in the community.

Quora, has a group of dedicated users. So the primary type of commitment that is prevalent here is Affective commitment. This is further emphasized by the pride they take to be a part of this community and they get rewarded for their participation. Every year Quora selects a list of top 100 writers of the year. This motivates members to be active and answer questions. Given the community is very active, one can’t get away with poor responses just to increase his participation. The community can up-vote or down-vote answers and suggest edits to responses.

Normative commitment is also quite prevalent in this community. Everyone has to use their real name to be part of this community. Users typically list down their profession and educational qualification on their profile. Other users can request anyone to respond to questions based on their expertise. Quora has a concept of credit system. Each user gets credits when their answers get up-voted. So to request another user to answer any question, one has to spend credits. So any user getting a request will have an obligation to participate and respond to the question, given some user had spent some credits in requesting him to do so.

Community managers at Quora have done a good job in understanding that it may not be necessary to encourage each member to engage in all the major behaviors that keep a community functioning; instead, they tap on the psychological models to stimulate desired participation from the members of the community. This model has been working well for Quora so far and it remains to be one of the successful online community forums, where members are welcoming and yet strive hard to maintain quality of the content.


Bateman, P. J., Gray, P. H., & Butler, B. S. (2011). The Impact of Community Commitment on Participation in Online Communities. Information Systems Research, 22(4), 841-854.



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