Quora Blocks Internet Archive

October 30, 2014

Quora’s mission is to “share and grow the world’s knowledge,” but Eric Mill’s blog Konklone points out that “Quora Keeps the World’s Knowledge For Itself.” You might be wondering what Mill means with that post title. Mill works on the 18F team, where he helps the US government develop Web and digital services. Quora sent him a user’s question about his work on 18F, but Mill claims that when he looked up the responses in the Internet Archive he did not find any results.

Quora does not allow the Internet Archive to crawl its Web site and archive it. Mill was met with the Quora’s response to robot crawlers. Quora says it wants to protect people’s anonymity and to remove content at their discretion. Quora wants the ability to go back and change its history. Mill follows with a thoughtful response about how erasing historical records ruins credibility and it is a feature sought after by organizations and governments.

He also voices his opinion:

“What Quora is asking for from the Internet Archive — and really, since the Archive has no public competition, from the Internet — is unreasonable, short-sighted, and selfish. Quora is simply being a shark about “their” content, at the public’s expense.

I usually try to be generous about people’s motives, but I’m comfortable assuming the worst here. Quora’s reason is simply too flimsy, and its business incentives too tangled up in the outcome, for their comment above to be the full story.”

He makes a valid point about what would happen to the content if the company foOKlded and how Quora used to lock down content unless people made accounts. Quora is similar to Stack Overflow, where users can share and ask questions, but Stack Overflow has allowed itself to be archives. Mill states that Quora is not contributing its knowledge to the world and others might consider sharing it in other places.

Whitney Grace, October 30, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext


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