If you’re one to go on the internet looking for different answers and opinions on a topic by real people from diverse backgrounds, then you most likely have dabbled in Quora or Reddit.
They are not the typical social media platform like Twitter or Facebook but, instead, they are channeled towards discussion and answering questions.
Quora is by definition a question-and-answer platform while, Reddit is a social news aggregation and discussion website.
Although, Quora and Reddit are different at their core, what makes them primarily similar is that they are platforms for engaging with a large community of people, asking questions, answering questions, getting upvoted and generally sharing your opinions, and having access to the opinions of others in a constructed and organized website.
So we know their similarity but, what sets them apart? What are the differences and which one is better?
This article will compare both platforms side by side based on their functionality, type of community, and other factors that give each of them their unique identity.
Quora or Reddit? Let’s find out:-
Quora vs Reddit
Before we dive in, let’s briefly take a look at the origin of these two platforms.
Reddit was founded in 2005 by University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, and Aaron Swartz. The platform has come a long way since then.
Reddit supports virtually all user-generated content including photos, videos, links, and text-based posts and discussions. It is also commonly referred to as a social news platform. As of 2021, there are more than 430 million monthly active users worldwide.
Quora was founded by former Facebook employees Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever in June 2009. In a way, Quora is a more organized version of Yahoo Answers and some say a classier spin-off of Reddit.
Quora is a question and answer website that has evolved and added more features while still maintaining its originality. The website has over 300 million monthly users.
Quora has similar functionality to social media platforms like Twitter. You can follow fellow Quorans and be followed. You can also follow topics of interest and spaces.
In your profile, you have a section like a bio, where you can describe yourself or your interests. In place of ‘liking’ or ‘unliking’ a post or comment, Quora uses upvotes and downvotes.
You can add a comment as well as share another user’s post with your followers or space; this feature is similar to the retweeting feature on Twitter.
Because at heart, Quora is a question and answer forum, the website displays a button in its top-right section that prompts the user to ‘Add Question’.
If you want to ask a new question on Quora, all you need to do is click on that button and a pop-up form will come up, in which you fill your question and any other details.
In Quora, the option to add details to your question was removed years ago.
According to Quora’s product updates announcement in 2017, the removal of question details was made to emphasize canonical questions. This goes further to show that Quora prefers serious and concise questions.
Reddit’s functionality is a little bit more complex. The basics are there; you can create a new post by clicking the pen-on-paper icon on the top right of the website (right beside the messages icon).
Once you click on that, you can see a pop-up form that has a lot of tools for you to make up your post.
Like Quora, Reddit makes use of upvotes and downvotes to rate posts and comments. You can also join subreddits although, Reddit doesn’t have the feature for followers. You can’t follow a user and neither can you be followed.
Now, this is where it gets interesting (and a bit confusing if you’re new to Reddit).
Reddit is like an entire world on its own and they have a bunch of terms and structures put in place that makes it especially unique. You can find some of these like ‘Karma’ and ‘Cake day’.
‘Karma’ refers to the total votes a user has gotten in their contribution to Reddit. If you’ve been upvoted 20 times, your Reddit Karma is 20. If you’ve been upvoted 20 times and downvoted 20 times then, your Karma is zero.
This means you can even have negative karma on Reddit which indicates that you’ve been downvoted more times than upvoted.
‘Cake day’ is symbolized with a cake symbol and represents the yearly anniversary of when you signed up on Reddit. The birthday of your account if you will.
Reddit also makes use of awards and trophies that Redditors give to one another if they are impressed with a response.
These awards can be used to get Reddit coins which is a virtual currency that allows you to be able to give out awards. It’s a little cycle of Reddit.
Recognition Vs Anonymity
On Quora, who you are is important. From signing up for your account to set up your profile, you need to put up your real identity.
Quora’s user profile showcases your full name, credentials, where you studied, and even your location. Other details like user statistics such as questions asked and answers are also displayed.
Reddit on the other hand gives minimal details about its users. They make use of usernames which are most times widely creative and hilarious. User statistics like ‘Karma’ and trophies received are also on display.
The differences in the approach of presenting a user present two different concepts that highlight a major difference between being on Quora or Reddit.
Quora operates on recognition. Its users get the chance to build up really detailed profiles that are real. You can even find popular personalities like Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jackie Chan and so many more on Quora.
Asides from celebrities, there are Quora personalities that have gained popularity on the platform through the use of followers on the platform. Although you can ask a question or answer anonymously, the setting would only apply to that particular question. Your general profile is still pretty detailed.
Reddit operates on Anonymity. Hardly would you find a user with a profile picture of themselves. In fact, you might not even know that that option is available as most users opt for an avatar which is some variation of the popular Reddit mascot ‘Snoo’.
Reddit doesn’t use the followers’ system so there’s no real sense of popularity. Reddit users generally do not interact with each other based on who they are. Identity is pretty irrelevant on Reddit.
What are the implications of this observation?
First of all, the presence of recognition on Quora can be a pro or con. The pro is that you can easily identify if someone is an expert on a topic or if they have qualifications or certifications in reference to a particular topic.
Also if you are very knowledgeable on a topic, you can mention it in your profile and grow an audience of people looking to learn from you. The con is that some people put up false and exaggerated information about themselves and can give Quora users a reputation of being a little stuck up.
Whereas, Reddit excels on an anonymous culture and people recognize a good answer because it is good not because of the titles attached to the person who posted it.
Because of the anonymity of Reddit users, some people may abuse their lack of being identified and make some abusive comments but, thankfully these platforms have a way of moderating user behavior.
Humor Vs Sophistication
We can’t talk about Reddit without mentioning its humor. Reddit’s lax approach to discussion makes it the perfect environment for all kinds of humor.
From witty and concise comments to dark and even controversial jokes, you would find all on Reddit and most of them are bound to get a chuckle out of you.
Some discussions even completely divert from the point in the comment sections and they explore deeper and you’d find a handful of jokes being made in the comment section.
Quora oozes sophistication. From the style of user-profiles described earlier, you can tell that Quora is more interested in a serious approach to answering questions.
Even from the answers, you can see this as people spend time writing long and detailed answers. Quora’s comment sections are similar to the comment section in a social media like Instagram.
They are mostly short appreciation messages or short criticism (although this is not as common when it’s a popular Quoran posting).
This difference is birth out of the simple fact that Quora is fundamentally a question-and-answer platform while Reddit is more of a discussion forum.
This means your time spent on Reddit could be more like surfing the internet just having a good laugh and exploring other people’s unhinged thoughts. Serious discussions are held on Reddit too but, it’s really based on what subreddit you’re in. We’d talk more about this later.
Quora is naturally more straightforward. Answers are direct and hardly ever deviating. Most people present the professional parts of themselves and usually appreciate sophistication over humor.
Both Quora and Reddit make use of moderators on their platforms but, their techniques are a bit different. Platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and many more all have moderators. The higher, the population, the higher the chances of chaos.
The work of moderators is to keep inappropriate content odd the website and act according to the platform’s moderation policies.
Basically, the guidelines encourage civility and also outrightly stand against racism, sexism, and common forms of discrimination. They also have the power to delete irrelevant messages like spam and the likes. A user could be banned for violation of the policies.
How are these policies and guidelines enforced?
Reddit’s moderation system is quite transparent. For the most part, the whole website is regulated by 3 bots and its subreddits make use of human moderators.
On Reddit, ‘A moderator is just a regular Redditor like you except they volunteer to perform a few humble duties within a particular community’. They help to enforce the site rules and they even have their own subreddit community known as ‘r/modclub’.
The fact that the moderation of subreddits is a task partly assigned to regular Redditors has its perks but, it also poses some threats to the system.
These Redditors/moderators actually dedicate their time and serve as the eyes of Reddit which has 130,000+ subreddits. The downside to this as you expected is that some of these moderators abuse their power.
Since they get to make the rules on their subreddits, can delete people’s comments that they find objectionable and even ban users from a subreddit.
These abuse of authority are usually pretty subtle and do not directly go against Reddit’s moderator policies so, you might be upset to see that the moderators truly have all the power over you in their subreddits.
When it comes to Quora, it’s not pretty clear if there are any human moderators at all. A portion of moderation enforced is simply just other users reporting an abusive user repeatedly.
Quora is believed to have employees who actually work as moderators on the site. Since Quora Q and A’s aren’t mostly grouped in sub-groups, having human moderators for communities isn’t necessary. Asides from the obvious policies stated in Quora’s policies and guidelines, some of the other rules are a bit uncertain.
Sometimes a moderator would delete a post because it contained links that are seen to be irrelevant to the question but, would not delete the post of another user who did the exact same thing.
This confusion leads many Quorans to believe it’s not the bots constantly deleting posts but, perhaps the human moderators who delete posts based on reports or an even more controversial reason- because they personally disagree with someone else’s opinion.
This controversial outlook at the forces behind moderation has influenced some Quorans to even refer to the moderators as ‘Dictators’.
If you are respectful and follow their policies, you might never fall victim to the dark side of Reddit or Quora moderators but, every system has its flaws and for the most part, these two platforms do a decent job when it comes to their content moderation.
Community Vs Individuality
Reddit is like a large community made out of thousands of little communities that are created by its users. These little communities that make up the whole Reddit are referred to as ‘Subreddits’. You can find subreddits on a wide variety of topics.
Some subreddits are created for followers of a belief, or fans of a celebrity, or even specific conspiracy theories. Think of almost anything worth discussing and you are most likely to find a subreddit on it and if you have an idea for a Reddit community that doesn’t already exist, you have the option to create your own!
Although there are a few basic requirements your Reddit account must meet in order to create a subreddit such as it must have existed for at least 30days and you need to meet the minimum ‘Karma’ required. You can find out all you need to know about creating your own Subreddit in this detailed article.
You can identify a subreddit with the signature ‘r/’ that comes before the name. The subreddits have their own set of rules and it’s pretty flexible. For example there is a subreddit called r/Roastme that is literally about humorously humiliating one another.
So even though Reddit policies encourage civility, this subreddit has it in its rules to be uncivil (in a funny way of course). Just as there are goofy and silly communities for a good laugh, you can also find insightful subreddits like r/history. The most popular subreddit is r/Askreddit.
Many people might not know this about Quora but, it does have mini-communities also. These communities are called ‘Spaces’ and the feature was added to the platform in November 2018. You can identify a Space by the ‘q/’ which is found at the beginning of the URL. In Spaces, you can discuss and share content related to the space topic or subject.
However, to give a thorough review, Quora isn’t known for its Spaces. Maybe it’s because it’s still a relatively new feature but it’s mostly because the Quora community is mostly seen as one.
And in the Quora community, users are most on their individuality rather than creating and maintaining communities. Some solid spaces you can find dwell on topics like programming and trading strategies and some other informative topics.
Spaces generally aren’t as active as individual questions asked. You would have an easier time searching for a question and seeing the multiple answers rather than trying to navigate through the spaces.
So Reddit focuses more on communities while Quora focuses on individuality.
I guess we can agree on one thing – Quora and Reddit aren’t as similar as you thought before you read this article. They are very different at their core and their founders and the team do not share the exact same priorities.
Quora is generally a bit more sophisticated, more conservative, and very appealing to the more serious audience. Reddit while it has more than a few conservative subreddits, is generally more liberal, casual, and let’s face it – it’s addictive.
So Quora vs Reddit? Which one is better? I say it depends on you and what kind of atmosphere you’re looking for but, why to settle for one when you can sign up on both for free and get the best of both worlds!
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Hi, I’m Chandan Negi, Founder of SoftwareTools – a Software Review Blog that provides Software Reviews, SaaS Software, Software Tutorials, and Software Products.