Quora testing new barter-for-answers system

Quora creditsQuora continues to steal the spotlight as the cult-like Q&A site to rule them all. While its core users are the original, extremely devoted insiders, more of the general population (particularly journalists) have caught on and figured out how to use the site for their own benefit. New York Times reporters recently took to the site to answer users’ questions. Crowd-sourced Q&A always comes with some risk attached, but Quora has largely managed to rise above this and offer reliable, insightful commentary.

Of course, the site’s long-term success has been anything but proven. Quora’s experienced a quick rise in popularity and registered users have skyrocketed, but the somewhat isolating UI and lack of a revenue model means its future is iffy. And to that end, TechCrunch reports that Quora has begun beta testing credits that revolve around a system called “Ask to Answer Suggestions.”

“Since experts only have so much time to answer questions, we are also introducing credits as a bookkeeping mechanism so that incoming requests to a user stay at a manageable level. How It’ll Work: When you use Ask to Answer, you’ll now see other beta testers suggested based on how likely they are to give you a good answer. With your credits, you can ask these users to answer questions. Note, however, that if you and another user are following each other, you can ask each other for free. The number of credits required to ask someone reflects how responsive she is to Ask to Answer requests; to give responsive users who are willing to provide answers more requests, their prices come down while their ranking suggestions improves.”

Users will begin with 500 Quora credits which can be used to – honestly – barter for answers. Quora is so inundated with users now that a discouraging amount of queries get ignored, and getting one of the community’s elite users to offer insight can be nearly impossible. But as the site grows, introducing a game-like element adds incentive for both new and veteran users to stay involved. You’d be lying if you said you weren’t tempted to offer up Quora coins just to see if Mark Zuckerberg will answer one of your questions (does he have a price?! Can the man’s response be bought?!).

Ask to Answer is still in beta testing, and it will be interesting to see if down the road it begins a system similar to Facebook Credits where it can turn its e-commerce model into real dollars.

Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

NASA selects the all-important landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission

NASA said on Monday that the landing site for its much-anticipated Mars 2020 rover mission has the potential to "revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbor life."
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for November 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Wearables

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.
News

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."
Social Media

‘Superwoman’ YouTuber Lilly Singh taking a break for her mental health

Claiming to be "mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted," popular YouTuber Lilly Singh has told her millions of fans she's taking a break from making videos in order to recuperate.
Social Media

Facebook is rolling out a Messenger ‘unsend’ feature, and here’s how to use it

Facebook is starting to roll out a "remove message" feature for its Messenger app. It lets you delete a message in a thread within 10 minutes of sending it, and replaces it with a note telling recipients that it's been removed.
Social Media

Going incognito: Here's how to appear offline on Facebook

How do you make sure your friends and family can't see if you're on Facebook, even if you are? Here, we'll show you how to turn off your active status on three different platforms, so you can browse Facebook without anyone knowing.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.
Product Review

It's not a spy, but you still won't want to friend Facebook's Portal+

Facebook has jumped into the smart home game with the Portal+, a video-calling device featuring an Amazon Alexa speaker and a screen. While it has lots of cool calling features, we’re weary of Facebook taking up counter space in our home.