Quora's mission is to share and grow the world's knowledge. We seek to achieve this mission by creating the best page on the internet for any given question — pages that are valuable and that offer reusable resources to readers.
A good answer is helpful to anyone who wants to know the answer to the question. Good answers are helpful to both the original poster of the question and to anyone else who has the same question in the future. An answer is helpful when it's clear, credible, and sincerely addresses the question that was asked.
More specifically, helpful answers:
- Answer the question that was asked. Good answers are very helpful for someone who wants to know the answer to the question. You should always assume that people are asking in good faith and really want help. Helpful answers don't change the subject, obsess over faulty premises, or make fun of the question. A good answer often considers the frame of mind of the typical person that has this question — what are they wondering, what are they confused about, what kind of background they need.
- Provide knowledge that is reusable by anyone interested in the question. A good answer has facts and insights that are general and reusable. An answer is not the most helpful if it only helps one person with specific circumstances not listed in the question. Citing your own opinion or view is fine, but if you think your opinion is the right answer to the question, then you should explain and support the case for your point-of-view (i.e., why you believe that many people should share your point-of-view). The best answers to a general question sometimes cover many different cases with conditions (e.g., "if you're tall, I recommend X; if you're short I recommend Y").
- Support your answer with rationale. Helpful answers typically assume that the question is implicitly asking "Why?", even if it doesn't say so explicitly. This means you should include convincing rationale, so that the reader can understand why the answer is correct. Even in cases where a question is about personal opinion, personal experience, and/or individual expertise, it's still important to demonstrate why your answer is accurate and helpful (and not just popular).
- Demonstrate credibility and be factually correct. A good answer convinces readers that it's trustworthy. An answer that’s wrong or which includes incorrect facts or premises is not helpful. Answers can demonstrate credibility in a number of ways, including: providing reliable sources, listing good examples, and explaining why you have expertise or first-hand experience in the subject. Ideally, writers should indicate why they're qualified to answer the question. (You should provide good topic bios whenever it makes sense.) Some of the best answers don’t need to cite sources, because they are written by people with expertise or first-hand knowledge. However, if an author provides an answer that depends on third-party facts and analysis — not based on their own personal expertise — it’s helpful to provide external links and source material.
- Are clear and easy to read. Good answers are very clear to read and understand, even for someone who is reading quickly or skimming the page. It's helpful to include simple formatting that adds structure and helps emphasize key pieces of information. Of course, a good answer needs to have correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Any images or video in an answer should help bring clarity to your points. Good answers are also usually enjoyable to read. They are engaging and thought-provoking, and may include empathy and humor. A good answer avoids inside jokes or sarcasm.
The best answer should aspire to be the most comprehensive, helpful, and trustworthy resource on the Internet for that question. For any question, Quora wants to attract the most helpful answer for someone who wants to know the answer to the question. Our best answers are the ones that will get distribution and wide readership.
Quality and distribution — how Quora distributes high-quality answers
We will continually improve and change Quora to get better at rewarding quality content with better distribution. This means:
- High-quality answers should get a lot of distribution (in feed, in digest emails, etc.).
- Low-quality answers should get minimal distribution.
- The more complete and thoughtful your answer is, the more likely it will (1) rank at or near the top of the page and (2) reach lots of readers.
- Short fragments that contribute a bit, but not much, to the quality of the page won't get much distribution.