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The rise of Quora has surprised me. It is quite a good service, though not quite as good as Stack Overflow, which is still the best. Still, it has bypassed Stack Exchange, or will bypass it in the near future (in my opinion; correct me if I'm wrong).

Basically, getting mentioned in popular blogs and attracting many people whom other users would like to follow did the trick for Quora.

My question is, now that SE is in place and running nicely, wouldn't it be helpful to make it more popular by marketing rather than pure natural growth? That way, more people would use it and there would be better overall knowledge sharing.

Also, wouldn't it be nice to have follower/following links? In other words, to inject a little bit of social networking; that's what Quora is doing.

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"like Quora does"? Blasphemy! – Michael Mrozek Mar 21 '11 at 17:20
Thanks, @Arjan. – Pops Mar 21 '11 at 17:29
To be precise, maybe you mean "start advertizing itself"? Marketing is a rather all-encompassing term. For example taking care of the quality of a product, on all levels, from design to final tests, is also marketing and it is a deeper and richer form of marketing. – drabsv Dec 30 '12 at 19:48

They're growing, but take a look at the numbers for yourself.

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+1 for numbers. – Pops Mar 21 '11 at 17:16
But those are the wrong numbers. seems to cover all the SE sub-domains – Pëkka Mar 21 '11 at 17:23
@What: Aha! That actually explains why someone might think Quora is bigger than SE. That doesn't take SO, SF, or SU into account. (What non-SE domains am I missing?) – Bill the Lizard Mar 21 '11 at 17:26
AskUbuntu and OnStartups, the former of which is among the top in SE 2.0. I don't think there are others. – Grace Note Mar 21 '11 at 17:27
Or on one page: – sth Mar 21 '11 at 18:25
@Pekka웃 At this point in time, both and, individually, have more page views and higher rank by website than Quora. SO is higher by more than an order of magnitude, and SE is close to that. BTW, I just happened upon (and of course, up voted ;o) an old comment you wrote, on a collapsed answer, not yours, from 2011, on Quora. The question was about StackOverflow. – Ellie Kesselman Mar 25 '13 at 9:01

At first, quora is getting good answers, good questions and better rankings. So they are doing something right (as well as stack exchange is). There is no single winner (think about Facebook), as good QA-site is rather complicated thing - for example finding right questions is really difficult, and finding questions you can answer. If there's just one huge site.

But growing through marketing is not always good thing. You get also more negative things - people come through ads and ask stupid questions without bothering to see how site works at all. Of course, you'll also get positive sides.

Social networking is much talked area in this meta, see for example this, this and this. Basically, no, SE is not social network, and look like it will not be.

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now that SE is in place and running nicely, wouldn't it be helpful to make it more popular by marketing rather than pure natural growth?

"Marketing" as you describe it has been the plan for SE sites from the beginning; the blog post A Recipe to Promote your Site suggests lots of things, including specifically:

  • Reach the right kind of publications and bloggers. Make sure that the key experts in every field know about the site; not just the “Martha Stewart” big names; we want to talk to the people who go to these conferences.
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