Question-and-answer platform Quora has modified its messaging policy to make it safer for all users. The company announced that, starting today, everyone will only receive messages from users they follow (by default). However, if you want to make yourself more accessible on the platform, you can tweak your privacy settings.
The company said that a small number of users will be exempt from this rule, including Top Writers and Verified accounts. These individuals will be free to message anyone. Diana Gerr, a product designer at Quora, wrote that the rationale behind this exception was that “these people have been vetted by Quora and are held to high standards, so we trust them to send respectful and relevant messages.”
Quora seems to be trying to find the balance between hosting serious and free discussion, even on controversial topics like politics and religion, and protecting its users. Just like Reddit, the company needs to continue to make efforts to strike the right balance, and while Quora hasn’t really had any public issues like some other sites, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be proactive.
Gerr explained that the setting change will “push people to be more public and less private with certain communication.” This could be interpreted as: “If you have anything to say to me, you can tell me in public.” The goal, obviously, is to expose bad behavior, thereby motivating the community to police itself and get rid of it.
Quora’s chief executive, Adam D’Angelo, once told me that what the company cares about is the dissemination of knowledge, “There’s a lot of things in people’s head, and not on the web.” But in order for users to share that information on the site, they’re going to need to feel safe doing so. D’Angelo said that there are two key principles for contributing on the service: Be respectful and make the page more helpful. Without these ideals, Quora can’t prosper, so it’s definitely in the company’s best interests to find ways to protect and uphold its mission through safeguards such as this.