Quora first entered my inbox after one of my Google queries threw up a Quora link among the finds. I must have found the answers useful and signed up, because after that, I found Quora in my inbox every morning.
My usual reaction to these email previews was to think, ‘What a stupid question!’ or ‘Where has this person been for the last ## weeks without TV or newspapers?’
I deleted them unopened, but never actually got around to unsubscribing.
One day I must have double-clicked on one as I was scrolling down my inbox. Or perhaps one day’s email had a question I wanted the answer to myself. Having actually opened the email, I found a whole lot more stupid questions. But one must have piqued my interest – or perhaps it was the beginnings of a reply that drew me in.
Now Quora is part of my morning’s entertainment, having realised that the stupidest questions are bait to stir unrest. Most regulars are wise to this.
When someone posts a tongue-in-cheek reply, it may prompt follow-up responses that send up the original question to new heights of ridiculousness.
Or the conversation might go in a different direction when an answer along the lines of, ‘Don’t be silly, dear,’ gives an example of a parallel situation to show up the idiocy of the question. Responses might then go off on a tangential discussion of the parallel – often in the form of personal experience or reminiscences, that can be fascinating. They are nothing to do with the original silly question.
True, some arguments get batted to and fro, belittling opinions that the current respondent doesn’t agree with, but I don’t waste time reading those. Let’s face it – nobody with a fixed opinion is going to be convinced differently by a post on a discussion forum. Even less will opinions be changed by posts that contains insults instead of reasoned argument. Such tirades say less about the topic than they reveal about the writer, and none of it good.
I do love it though when a fatuous question is answered with a mock-serious reply and other writers bounce off it, like comedians feeding from each other’s lines, to scale new heights of absurdity .
I now spend far too long on my Quora feed each morning before writing commences, as if my inbox and WordPress reader weren’t diversion enough.
Postscript: Nicholas Rossis certainly seems to have a more productive Quora feed than I do… (https://nicholasrossis.me/2021/06/02/how-did-they-make-iron-in-the-iron-age/#comment-3062780)