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Am I the only one who feels demotivated by credits on Quora?

I answer questions if I think they are interesting and if the person asking seems nice.  What on earth do I want credits for?  They dehumanize the process for me.  And they make me wonder: people who answer my questions, are they doing it because they sincerely know something useful and want to help, or are they just Quora credit freaks?
Balaji ViswanathanBalaji Viswanathan, Product Manager at a Venture f... (more)
I think Quora credits are a great concept. In platforms such as these, questions >> quality answers. By having credits system, the balance between questions and answers are handled well. It keeps people motivated to answer questions well (since the main way to earn credits is by getting a lot of upvotes).

Secondly, it makes you think more before asking the question since it is expensive credit-wise. You would ideally find if there is already a question that fits your needs. This reduces the dupes a bit. Also, given that a good question (in terms of number of followers) earns you twice as many credits as a good answer (in terms of upvotes), it incentvizes you to ask broader and clear questions.

Third, by using the credits you can promote your answers that you think are well written, to a wider audience. I think promotions are the biggest use for the credits. It kind of levels the playing field between the high profile users (who can get their writings noticed easily) and the ordinary joes (who might answer well, but might have too few followers to get their work noticed).
Des RamsayDes Ramsay, A very old Internet / biker guy
7 upvotes by Yair Livne, Pam Dingle-Lubbe, Linghong Hu, (more)
I suspect credits were introduced not as a motivation but more as a governing mechanism.  I haven't quite worked it all out but several times while using the site the thought has crossed my mind how the "currency" of credits could define and modify user behavior to make the site better. 
Here is an example.  People to whom credits are important will tend to hoard, they will tend to think twice or thrice before asking one of the quorarati to answer. 
If there was no "cost", they may just ask to get their names seen, and the questions would flood the answerer.   Others who are more interested in learning and following interesting topics will be more loose with their credits - but these are the ones that make Quora interesting - so that is all good. 
I think it's a brilliant idea, just ignore the non-existent motivational side, and use them as intended.
Quora UserQuora User, Student
20 upvotes by Jeremy Miles, Quora User, Ben Werdmuller, (more)
The short answer is No [wow it's been a long day].

I've found a few ways to combat that feeling, but the truth is that I just come to Quora less often as a result of the credits system. It's taken a bit of the whimsical joy out of the experience for me.

For one thing, you can negate the credit system in your direction by making it free to ask you to answer questions[1]. It's an obscure, frankly annoyingly buried setting that I can only seem to find when I search Quora for an answer to that specific question ("How can I change how much it costs to ask me a question").

Fortunately, for the most part, you can also decide how much you're willing to pay someone to answer a question. When the person is suggested to you, you just click on the number Quora suggests and you change it to the price you're willing to pay. This has very limited success, and it doesn't seem to work at all if you have to go search for the person in question (there's no dialog to change your offering price in the search results), but it's something.

With regard to the other questions, it is a bit of a shame that the system has turned answers into commodities with specific, finite values. Moreover, it downright sucks when an answerer goes "undervalued" for no particularly good reason. It's obviously demoralizing for him/her more than anyone else, and I'm sure it's discouraging to see that the sum total of all your time spent on Quora only amounts to a pittance of credits.

With that being said, I think there have been/will be "Quora credit freaks" for as long as the site is alive. If they don't obsess over their aggregate credit score, they'll obsess over the number of upvotes they get on particular answers. Is that any better than a credits system? Perhaps, since credits are being used to limit our interaction with other users, but then I suppose that was the point, wasn't it?

I can only imagine that as the site got bigger and the userbase grew, the team needed to come up with a way to mitigate referral spam within the site (keeping everyone from getting inundated with "Ask to answer" requests). The credits system was a hackneyed (but effective) means to deal with that issue. Hopefully the clever people at Quora will come up with a more inventive solution to the problems they initially solved with credits.

[1]: http://www.quora.com/asked_to_an...
Carl GrantCarl Grant, Convention Speaker
2 upvotes by Tom Byron and Tracy Crawford.
One of the qualities that I like about Quora is the chance to get reasonably honest feed back on things I write.  Credits are one of the tools I use for the difficult task of assessing that feedback.
Tracy CrawfordTracy Crawford, Top Writer, but...
2 upvotes by Peter Mackay and Quora User.
I just ignore them, and do what I want.  I answer enough questions that get voted up or spend enough credits asking questions that in general I have enough.

It just doesn't matter.
Quora UserQuora User, Science Geek/Trivia Specialist
5 upvotes by Tatiana Estévez, Xavier Maxime, Quora User, (more)
I'm a fairly new Quora user and I feel it's an interesting concept, as it seems to be a way to reward prominent users (although don't quote me I'm still very much a noob lol)  However at the same time I'm afraid to ask dumb questions for the fear of wasting my Quora points.  I never got a chance to see what Quora was like prior to the credit system :(
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I liked Juan's response to my answer and thought I'd add it here so more people can see it (and I hope you don't mind Juan) just wanted to add some food for thought :)

"I like it because it adds value by keeping our community as more intelligent and engaging.

Though I do not care to answer questions just to get credits. I like that the credits are like a scoring system to let me know that people found my answers useful. For example, when I answer questions on romance, I sometimes get very personal. It makes me feel good to know that someone got value out of my writing.

I contribute to many sites and it gets very demotivating when there is no engagement. There are sites where I get PAID MONEY to contribute but still back off from because of low engagement. But here on Quora, especially when I can be very sincere and write as anonymous, it is great to know that people are sending thanks (which translate to credits).

I then use those credits to be able to post questions. There are a lot of people who would normally charge a lot of money for a consultation, but they answer for credits. How great is that! Well obviously they care about contributing and not some internet currency.

Because it costs credits to ask questions, it makes people think harder about what they are asking. It also prevents them from spamming everyone to answer their question. it works in a subtle way which discourages spam."
Joel V BenjaminJoel V Benjamin, Yes, but why?
4 upvotes by Ogagarue Ejiro, Sunil Rampuria, Quora User, (more)
No.
  • You're not the only one.
  • Credits pollute the joy of wonder with the taint of commerce.
  • Quora exists to serve the inquisitive: not the acquisitive.
  • Yet, I admit that I appreciate the approval that credits imply.
AnonymousAnonymous
3 upvotes by Aman Anand, Chris Koerner, and Jessica Su.
Yes.  It gives me the feeling that I had in middle school. I'm not popular.
John PattisonJohn Pattison, Web Developer
2 upvotes by Quora User and Quora User.
I'd guess the system has a bit of a spam deterrent as well. With credits, a person is made to keep it honest and prevents, as said above, people from being requested to death.
Todd GardinerTodd Gardiner, Photographer and questioner of... (more)
I ignore them. Years now and they just keep accruing.

I do not answer to earn anything other than the chance to set right a little piece of the world that lacks something. This is probably why I make edits to misspellings or grammatical errors in people's answers/questions which appear to pervert the intent of their submission. And there is absolutely no credit exchange for tuning the topics on a question or adding a critical or useful comment to someone's efforts.

If you find it hard to ignore them, then perhaps you aren't being demotivated by them at all. Your feelings about credits are a symptom of some other demotivating factor you are fighting against.
Jeff TenenbaumJeff Tenenbaum, I've lost the girl of my dream... (more)
I answer questions of people I look up to for two reasons: First, it's pretty cool to be like, "yeah, I helped Jimmy Wales out with a question he had", second, I'm inclined to help both people in need, and people that have helped me. You gave us Wikipedia. The least I can do is answer a question.
AnonymousAnonymous
1 upvote by Ogagarue Ejiro.
No, same here.

I used to answer questions just because I find the subject interesting and want to share what I know about the subject. Sometimes it is to help people, sometimes it is just sharing information. Before the credits system it didn't seem to matter whether I got upvoted or not, it was nice but not really important, but with the credit system, I have started to think more about upvotes. I like asking questions on Quora because usually I got responses that I wouldn't have expected, some one with far more insight on the matter shares their view and it is quite interesting to find a new perspective on the matter. But the system of 50 credits per question means that I now have to think about the upvotes for every answer that I write and it is demoralising to realise how often than not you get a pittance compared to the effort you put in.

It is particularly annoying when I want to ask a question on Quora or ask someone to answer a question, I don't have the credits. I then have to go about answering questions in hopes of getting some credits (I think this is the point of the credit system, to get users to write more answers), and you can write the best answer to a question in the sense that it is correct, but if it is not easy to read, or not written in a certain way or too long then most people don't upvote (I'll admit my writing is not exactly the most coherent at all times). It also seems that it is easier to get upvotes if your answer is funny compared to dry and informative. It has now become my philosphy on Quora to upvote as many answers as I can. If someone answers my question, and so long as it isn't complete bollocks, they will get an upvote from me, no questions asked.

So I have had to settle for a different approach, I ask questions that I think will be popular, or at least will get 5 followers. If it gets 5 followers then my investment into that question has been returned, and I can ask another question. If it gets more than 5, say 10, then that means I can ask two questions and so on. Unsurprisingly, the questions that get the most followers are things that many people would like to know. It is also beneficial if the subject is a topic that has many followers. Ask a good question on topics like entrepreneurship, or science or programming and you're golden. You could also ask questions where you think someone will write a good answer which will cause more people to follow. As a result, I ask questions from time to time, just for the sake of credits, not really because I'm interested in the answers (usually I know the answer). Sad as that may be, now I'm sitting on a load of credits and don't have to worry about why my efforts in writing a comprehensive answer go to waste.
Erica FriedmanErica Friedman, Has expertise in answering ran... (more)
I dislike the credit system, as I have been expressing on my Board 'Splaining: http://www.quora.com/splaining.

The Ask to Answer system is especially burdensome for me. I don't want to have to feel as if I'm saying no, but if I keep myself at Free, I get swamped with inappropriately targeted questions, and if I let my price rise, I'm buying into the credit system.
AnonymousAnonymous
No. I've made a point to regularly donate the credits in full to Quora employees. It's an annoying gamification mechanism that prods me into keeping counts on how 'well' I'm doing on Quora
Quora UserQuora User, reviewzall.blogspot.com
1 upvote by Anonymous.
As for I have experienced, Luckily Quora credits doesn't drive me in that freaky way to earn more and more credit points.
When compared to yahoo answers , quora credits are used in a decent manner.
In yahoo answers, even if we are not interested in earning points, the system will try to attract in that loop by Showing Notifications for each and every credits we earned , level up for credits etc.

But in Quora, This credit points are visible to my eyes only when I try to Ask to answer or Promote an Answer.

So, I don't feel bad in the way Quora is handling this Credits System.
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