A section of the users who throng the popular knowledge-based social network Quora are finding themselves faced with a unique problem these days.
That’s right. The question and answer platform now has an entire topic devoted to this matter – Indians on Quora. Apparently, the social network that had so far been predominantly populated by queries related to American pop culture and matters of a generally Western nature, has, in recent months, seen a rising tide of Indian users and topics.
(Image source: Has there been an influx of Indian users on Quora?)
According to a controversial answer written by David Stewart here, the large number of Indian users on Quora has become a turn-off for many. “Indians now make up 38.5 (per cent) of Quora’s user numbers,” Stewart says before adding later in the answer:
“But the general pop-culture topics are started to become dominated by Bollywood and Indian TV. I’ve introduced friends who have assumed Quora was an Indian word and this was an Indian site that native English speakers were starting to penetrate.
“If things continue at the current rate the majority of Quora users will be Indian by this time next year. Soon after which it might reach a critical tipping point in which non-Indians start to become discouraged by the majority Indian focus and start to leave at the same rate that new Indians sign up.”
This seemingly anti-India (or anti-Indian) reaction by many users on Quora as being ‘racist’ or at least ‘xenophobic’. User Ariel Williams, in a blog post titled Too many Indians? NO! Too much racism!, says:
“It matters not what your friends are turned off by. To say that any one country’s people contributing to a site is a problem is racist. PERIOD.
“It is bull. You cannot defend a position that any country’s people turn people off of Quora without in effect saying that country’s people are somehow undesirable.”
Quora came into being in June, 2009 and was a rather quaint place in the beginning. The site’s limited user base comprised scientists, philosophers, and pop culture enthusiasts. Predictably, the general drift of the site’s content was towards things pertaining to the West. To be sure, there were questions and answers about the rest of the world, but the tone of such content was always that of an outsider.
Now, with a surge in the number of Indian users, the site may simply be experiencing one of its first growth pangs. Quora isn’t mainstream the way Twitter and Facebook are, but it has striven to be a quality place where readers and writers create great content together. While the Indian internet public does tend to bahave like mobs online, Quora’s great challenge with its new ‘Indian problem’ is to make best use of the traffic the sub-continent is providing it.
How to Use Quora
Most web services acquire a personality of their own depending on the overall nature of their user base’s focus. Twitter, for this reason, is seen as being very political and Facebook is seen to be a place for funny pictures and casual conversations. As an early user of Quora, one of the big turn-offs for me was the absence of a desi crowd. In recent months, engagement on patently native Indian topics (Shaktimaan anyone? The topic has 615 followers as of this writing.) has seen drastic increase. So it is really no wonder more and more Indian users are feeling at home on the Q&A platform.