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(Pocket-lint) - If the question what is Quora hasn’t already been on your mind, then check through your Facebook and Twitter accounts and it very soon will be. As ever on Pocket-lint, we like to tell you what the new and exciting gadgets and internet services are all about in our own words but one of the interesting things about Quora is that being an internet based question and answer social network, it’s got answers all of its own. So, rather than us tell you what Quora is, we’ll let Quora do the talking itself.

What is Quora?

Quora is a collection of questions and answers that is created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The main goal is to be the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about each question. Quora answer summary

Why is Quora named Quora?

A quorum is a group of people coming together and reaching a consensus. It also rhymed with ‘Flora’ which is about being healthy and alive. It was also the only name idea where the guy would actually sell us the domain. Answer by Todd Gingrich, Grad Student, Theoretical Chemistry

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How is Quora different from Wikipedia?

  • Quora is not an encyclopedia, and does not strive for objectivity.
  • There is no requirement for a neutral point-of-view, but a desire for some consensus
  • Quora is designed to encourage contribution from a broader user base.
  • Quora allows for multiple revisions of content to exist for one question.
  • Quora is a VC backed company, while Wikipedia is funded by Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization. Quora answer summary

What’s the difference between Quora and Yahoo Answers?

It's hard for me to give a good answer to this because I know so much more about Quora than I do about Yahoo Answers, but here are some things:

Quora has a focus on making questions canonical and reusable; whereas my impression is that Yahoo Answers has a focus on getting answers for users who have asked questions;  Some of the reasons that I think this are: Yahoo Answers asks a question asker to choose a best answer to a question which will then mark the question as resolved (which means no new answers are asked for.)  On Quora, the person who added the question is deemphasized and other users can edit the text of the question to make it better, and on Quora, the asker of the question isn't necessarily expected to be the best judge of the answers given.

Quora users are expected to use their real identity when answering questions, where Yahoo Answers encourages usernames and avatars. Answer by Charlie Cheever, co-founder of Quora

Why should I use Quora instead of just searching the Internet?

A few reasons:

  • Your question can't be answered by a simple search because to answer it properly requires specialist subject-matter expertise that you lack.
  • Your question can't be answered by a simple search because even though it requires little expertise to answer, it does require extensive research and synthesis of multiple sources.
  • Your question could have been answered by a simple search but you don't have the expertise to verify that the answer is correct; an upvoted Quora answer written by an expert in the field is more credible than the first Google hit, even if they both say the same thing.
  • Your question could be answered with a simple search, but you're not time-sensitive and you'd rather have some other Quora user (like me) do the work for you. Answer by Ani Ravi, User #224

Is Quora a social network?

Given that I've been corrected every time I've referred to Quora as a social network, I'd say that the founders do not believe it to be one. But considering that it involves interactive discussion between multiple people, directly & indirectly, and people choose to follow each other,  I think it resembles a social network.

Although I have met new people through Quora, its structure doesn't encourage interaction necessary for casual conversation which is usually an important part of developing new friendships. Friendship is a byproduct, not a goal of Quora. Answer by Liz Pullen, First time user, long time admirer

When will there be an iPhone app for Quora?

As of March 2010, we have a mobile site now that is designed to work well with phones like the iPhone. See Quora Mobile. I don't know if or when we'll make a native iPhone application. Answer by Charlie Cheever, co-founder of Quora

How do I get started using Quora?

  • Follow some topics that interest you.
  • Browse questions that interest you.
  • Add answers to questions you know about.
  • Improve question pages.
  • Find people you know who are already on Quora.
  • Check out the Quora FAQ for New Users. Quora answer summary

When choosing the name Quora, did the Quora team know that the lead female character in the new Tron movie would be named 'Quorra'?

Nope. Using the name Quora was my idea and I didn't know about the Tron Legacy charcter until reading this question. We settled on the name and got the domain in May 2009, and I don't think the character was even named Quorra then. Answer by Charlie Cheever, co-founder of Quora

Does Quora sound like a service you'll be using or is this one website too far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Writing by Dan Sung.