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7 Tips for Finding Trustworthy Answers on Quora

You can find tons of information on Quora. Answers to questions or debates about a topic you’re interested in—the whole platform is designed around sharing and gaining knowledge.

You may be using Quora for research or leisure, but either way, there is no point in gaining knowledge if it actually turns out to be bogus. Fortunately, there are ways of verifying if you’re getting trustworthy answers on Quora to ensure that you’re not wasting your time…


1. Look for Included Citations

When discussing any topic that you hope will be perceived as reliable, it’s a good idea to include citations. When you’re searching for answers on Quora questions, make sure to pay attention to answers that include at least two different sources. The more sources the better, so long as those sources are reliable themselves, of course.

It can be a bit of a rabbit hole on how you define what’s valid and reputable. But generally speaking, you can be more sure of an answer that has citations from reliable sources backing up its statement than one that seems to be purely from the opinion of the user offering the answer.

However, the subject or topic also plays a part. For instance, you’d likely require fewer citations on an answer talking about the strongest Jedi from Star Wars over an answer about the best CPU for video editing.

2. Check a User’s Credentials

Quora offers you the ability to add credentials to your profile, which is one of the reasons it’s so useful for building your professional online presence. This could range from actual qualifications to your experience level on a certain topic. Naturally, some qualifications that a user has will be more relevant than others. But it’s still a good idea to check a user’s credentials if you’re trying to assess the validity of their answer.

You’d likely believe a user’s answer about the best CPU for video editing if they had qualifications and relevant professional experience listed in their credentials over a random user.

3. Check a User’s Answer History

If a user has answered a question in a way that seems intelligent and accurate, you can have a look at their answer history via their Profile to gauge how often they seem to answer questions in a helpful way. Chances are if all of their answers seem legit, they’re genuinely interested in providing useful insights.

Just be careful with this one, as people can become more knowledgeable and/ or improve their articulation skills over time. If a user’s past answers from months or even years ago seem to be unreliable, don’t automatically assume that it means you can write off their most recent answer that you’ve come across.

4. Check a User’s Intent

A user may answer a question in a certain way because it can benefit them professionally. For instance, if you’re reading a question about the best antivirus program, and then you find an answer that looks legit but is essentially promoting a specific solution; you may want to check further. Upon going to their profile you may discover that they are the CEO of a brand new antivirus software company.

The situations you come across on Quora may not be quite as obvious as that, but it’s a good idea to ensure that whoever is answering the question doesn’t seem to gain from it themselves or through the company they work for. Chances are, their answer could very well be informed by their own goals which may not be as obvious to you on first glance.

5. Has the Answer Been Confirmed?

If an answer for a question you’re searching comes up a lot, you are probably safe to assume that it is the correct answer. Most people are trying to build authority on Quora, so even if the correct answer has been given already, users may want to articulate it in a different way. This is good for the platform but also shows you that an answer is more likely to be correct.

You do have to be careful about confirmation bias though, and take note that in the case of subjective questions, such as ranking the best movies. The popular view isn’t always the correct one. When it comes to fact-based topics, a repeated answer is a good sign that you can trust what you’re reading.

6. Stick to Fact-Based Topics

Chances are that if you’re searching for trustworthy answers on Quora you’re generally somebody who prioritizes truth over opinion.

Many topics can leave room for differing opinions, even scientific ones, so you won’t always be able to search for questions which have a definitive, objective answer. In this case, it’s about getting specific with your search queries and sticking to questions that are popular enough to have a definitive answer.

7. Verify Off-Site

If you’re still not sure after checking a user out on Quora and seeing if the answer they gave was confirmed by other users, you may want to consider heading off-site to verify the information. There are tons of platforms where you can find reputable, peer-reviewed journal articles to read. And you can even use Google to fact-check information.

If you’re coming from a Quora answer that included citations you won’t even need to spend time finding the relevant literature. You can instead click the links directly, and wherever you’re taken will likely cite and source to other relevant places.

Quora may offer a lot of knowledge, but it is important to be aware of biases and how the user demographics of the whole platform can affect answers to certain questions. Verifying off-site can be a great way to know for sure that you’re receiving trustworthy information.

Ensuring Quora Answers Are Trustworthy

There is no point seeking knowledge if you can’t trust that it’s true. Quora can be a really great resource, a way to build your own authority online, and a place to have fun while learning and sharing information.

However, if you are interested in only getting information that is trustworthy then you should consider using the tips outlined here.

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