Most of us have used Quora when searching for an answer. Because I have a page on the site, I receive email notifications when someone has a question. A Quora user recently sent this question:
“When did they stop using the semicolon as an alternative to a period or comma?”
The question was written by someone with the user name LFEV0516 (PLEASE READ MY BIO).
Before I read the bio, I began to formulate an answer. It would have been related to a post in which I explored how semicolon usage has changed.
But first I read the bio.
- Apparently, I’m not supposed to mention any part of the user name.
- I shouldn’t follow the user or request answers to questions.
- The user claims she (“I use feminine pronouns to describe myself”) doesn’t have time to answer questions.
Most importantly, I shouldn’t mention her profile in my answer. Since I am not answering on Quora, I can use it here. Right?
Why does Quora need an AI bot?
People come to Quora seeking answers to questions. Ask Google a question, and more often than not, Quora will be one of the first results. For example, ask, “What is the oldest star in the universe?” and Quora is the 5th result, underneath Wikipedia.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Type in, “Who first used AI?” A search result from Quora doesn’t come up in the first 20 results. Instead, there are entries from encyclopedias and articles from sites like Forbes and universities like Harvard.
Highly reputable sources, in other words.
Quora primarily generates its income from advertisers. According to Investopedia, Quora’s revenue was $8 million in 2018, primarily from ads. Are these AI bot-generated questions creating click-bait content to drive traffic to the site?
What Kind of Questions Does the Quora Bot Generate?
Not good ones, according to writers and readers on Quora. Some examples follow.
- “Do many writers finish their books before publishing?”
- “Should you talk to restaurant staff?”
- “What colors should be used for a party celebrating the American flag?”
Other writers point to the hidden danger of inaccurate questions. A question about why something happened (when in fact it didn’t happen) leads readers to believe the event took place. For example, if it asks, “Why did Harry Potter kill Hermione?” someone who hasn’t read the books or watched the movies might think he did indeed kill her.
He didn’t, right?
What does Chat GPT say?
Bot Chat came to my rescue. Without prompting, Bot Chat told me the following:
“The Quora Prompt Generator is a tool that helps users generate ideas for questions to ask on the Quora platform. It works by analyzing trending topics and popular keywords and suggesting relevant questions based on those topics and keywords. Users can also input specific keywords or phrases to generate questions related to those terms. The tool is designed to help users find new and interesting questions to ask and to encourage engagement on the Quora platform.”
ChatGPT Bot lists additional questions. I clicked on one, and an ad for a subscription model appeared, which I ignored.
Just for kicks, I asked a question: “What is the formula for more engagement on the Quora platform?”
The answer was regurgitated information that could easily be found elsewhere or is common sense.
Then I asked it to comment on the formula “engagement = money.” It took four paragraphs to tell me my formula was an oversimplification.
The One Advantage of the Quora Bot
Here’s a Quora Bot hack. To avoid paying for a ChatGPT subscription, instead google “How does the Quora Prompt Generator Work?” Scroll down until you find the ChatGPT bot, and ask away.
Personally, I enjoy trying to break the bot. Bot Chat first thought that a computer would eventually be able to beat a human in five-dimensional chess. When I asked about 7-dimensional chess, it informed me that anything about 3-D chess is theoretical and doesn’t exist.
I do not know if LFEV0516 (PLEASE READ MY BIO) is a bot or uses bot questions to create a profile. I do know that as more bot-generated questions arrive in my feed, the less likely I am to arrive at Quora’s website. As Bot Chat itself said,
“Ultimately, the decision to stop answering questions on Quora is a personal one, and it’s important to prioritize your own well-being and goals. If you feel that it’s no longer a good fit for you, it’s okay to explore other platforms or activities that align better with your interests and priorities.”
Thank you, Bot Chat. Adios for now.