What makes Stack Exchange different and unique from other Q&A sites? Why would someone use Stack Exchange over say Quora?

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    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/44618/… – Shog9 May 31 '12 at 21:07
  • And you already want your account deleted – random May 31 '12 at 21:08
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    ...solid edit, @Shog9. – Michael Mrozek May 31 '12 at 21:08
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    I'm not entirely sure why this question is having the down vote hammer whacked against it... If anything, I'd consider suggesting that this question is worth, as posed, of being part of the FAQ (if there isn't already an FAQ question that answers this!). "What makes Stack Exchange different from other Q&A sites" is a perfectly valid question =) – Rob May 31 '12 at 21:17
  • @random strangely enough it was already deleted! I'm really not sure how I can even post. [bug?] – asifahnik May 31 '12 at 21:17
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    The idea is that Stack Exchange has specific, answerable questions, as opposed to subjective open-ended ones like this one. :) (@Rob admittedly has a point though) – Pekka May 31 '12 at 21:18
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    @Pekka, +1, that almost smells like the kernel of an answer to me... =) – Rob May 31 '12 at 21:18
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    Hey downvoters, can you explain yourselves? Maybe you can help improve this question! – asifahnik May 31 '12 at 21:18
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    @Rob fair point. The question looks a bit like flame-bait. But I suppose it could add value if someone worked out the differences into an answer. Not sure whether it's really that useful to have around though. – Pekka May 31 '12 at 21:19
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    I've lost all interest in this now that you've pointed out it's not about stakes, @Michael – Shog9 May 31 '12 at 21:20
  • @Pekka sorry I'm not familiar with the jargon - "flame-bait"? – asifahnik May 31 '12 at 21:20
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  • on the quora link that @random gave, found this meta.stackexchange.com/questions/44618/… – ajax333221 Jun 1 '12 at 17:29
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    Quora doesn't "close as not constructive" this kind of question: quora.com/How-is-Quora-different-from-Stack-Overflow ... – Franck Dernoncourt Dec 25 '13 at 17:53
  • One more difference is "speed". Quora is much slower than SE. – iammilind Jun 26 '15 at 6:42

Quora is horizontal: one site, all fields of knowledge. Stack Exchange is a number of verticals: many sites, one field of knowledge each. That gives you a more sparse coverage of the whole knowledge shebang, but by virtue of being vertical it's bound to have an higher average reach than Quora does, providing you better content.


Disclaimer: I don't have a lot of experience with Quora, just what I can see from a bit of answering and browsing stuff. Please correct me if I am wrong about any of its features.

Most Stack Exchange sites favour specific, objectively answerable questions over broad, open-ended discussion-y ones. Mere opinion polls that seem to be accepted on Quora, are discouraged on SE.

Answers are expected to be equally precise, and to back up their claims with arguments and sources. Posting mere opinion as answers is discouraged. This is different from Quora, which seems to be encouraging more open-ended discussion and opinion. (Not saying that's a bad thing per se, but it's not what SE is about.)

Stack Exchange sites have - by design! - a very narrow focus, and extremely strict on-topicness rules. And indeed, the question of On-topicness is a major part of the sites' internal discussions - sometimes even serious clashes. Content that is deemed off-topic is migrated or deleted. (an archiving solution is said to be in the works but nothing has been forthcoming so far.)

Obviously, this narrowness makes Stack Exchange a bad fit for certain kinds of questions, especially those that require ideas, visions, experience, opinion, and speculation. If you have these kinds of question, you may run into trouble with the local community. I guess that's why some people love SE (I do), and some hate it.

  • +1 for mentioning archiving :) – Benjol Jun 1 '12 at 10:51

My reasoning as to why I prefer Stack Exchange over Quora is quite simple:

I'd never heard of Quora until you brought it up, whereas just about every time I search on Google for some programming related question I find the answer within seconds on StackOverflow.


Stack Exchange doesn't:

  • Require you to create an account to participate (purely on the basis that the Quora home page doesn't show anything other than a Login / Sign Up prompt).
  • Profess "to be the easiest place to write new content and share content from the web". Instead Stack Exchange provides Q&A sites and their associated communities which are targeted to specifics.
  • Own your content. Neither does Quora, but if this question is generalised, it's worth mentioning.
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    I've made this answer CW as it needs some work, but I haven't the time right now (alarm goes off in not very long sad face), but this question, I feel, warrants having a decent answer associated with it. Hopefully this can be the start of said answer! =) – Rob May 31 '12 at 21:29
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    Quora apparently requires a login to see the second answer. The whole site is one huge "you must login to continue". Breaks one of the major rules of the web, never block lurkers, they are incredibly lucrative. Also it appears that Quora does not require you to release your rights completely as Stackexchange does. – Guvante Jan 10 '13 at 21:15
  • @Guvante you can get around that restriction by typing ?share=1 at the end of the question url. Bingo!! – Unitato says Reinstate Monica Jun 11 '17 at 4:18

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