Q&A: an Unexplored Dimension

Mark Suster points out the virtues of Quora, which has been getting a lot of press, a lot of early-adopter usage and a lot of funding. He makes a strong, solid case for them. Clearly, Quora  is a rising force for good in community Q&A and social search. It has tremendously trustworthy people using and backing it. And the team coming out of Facebook knows what they’re doing. Quora definitely speaks to the next generation of community Q&A, which places Q&A squarely in a social networking and trust framework, and aims for an outstanding archive of quality Q&A threads.

Yet there may still be another dimension to Q&A and social search that remains unfulfilled, unexplored and ripe for new apps, even if sites like Quora and Stack Overflow become very successful community Q&A sites. For example, at any given moment, millions of people are using thousands of sites to Q&A with each other. And with the rise of real-time search it’s now possible to join any of those Q&A conversations, happening anywhere on the Web, in real-time.

Of course, this is the approach we’re taking at Replyz. Starting with Twitter, our aim is pull in any well-formed question being asked anywhere on the Web, and enable anyone who can help to jump in and respond. This is no cinch, and requires substantial filtering and fine tuning to really thrive. But with the right approach, we believe the Web itself can be the Q&A platform. Q&A, like search, does not necessarily need to happen within the boundaries of a given community. Of course, Q&A with a specific audience of potential responders you know and trust, such as one’s followers, or the members of an established community, such as Quora, is invaluable, irreplaceable and thankfully here to stay. At the same time, being able to ask not only a given community but the whole Web, your question, is something that at the very least, holds real promise. The Web itself is a community, and we’ve all got answers.