You may have noticed recently that Quora has increasingly required you to log in to see the full breadth of the site’s question-and-answer content. Today, it’s rolling out a new feature that shares some of the data it collects from those signed-in users: Quora ‘Views,’ site analytics that show you just how many people have read your Quora questions, answers, or posts.
Now, when you’re signed into Quora, you will register as having “viewed” questions you see in your feed or in your weekly digest email. That will show up to others who view the question or the person who wrote it as seeing your face and name next to it — and it will also say what led you there, as your view being “via” a person or topic you follow.
Views from people who are logged out of Quora will still show up in the aggregate number of views on that post, Quora product manager Sandra Liu Huang said in an interview yesterday. “The rationale behind all of this is it creates a better system where people can engage,” she said. “People have been able to give feedback [on Quora] through upvoting and commenting, and now through these views they can see even more reach.”
The views are turned on for all users by default, but you have the option to turn it off completely or to delete individual views you’ve made. But the system works like LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” personal analytics: If you’ve turned off Quora views, you won’t be able to see the views of others. The views will be visible on each individual post, and also Quora users will have their own personal dashboard to see analytics on the views across all the posts they’ve made.
However, unlike LinkedIn, Quora does not plan to offer premium paid features that allow you to browse anonymously while still seeing others’ views, Quora exec Marc Bodnick told me yesterday.
Quora says it will only register views from feeds, digest emails, and public actions like upvoting — views won’t be shared on adult topics or on content you’re not officially “following” on the site, such as things you come upon while browsing the site or through web search.
In all, I think this is an interesting choice — it will certainly be gratifying for Quora’s power users and frequent posters, since as a writer it’s always a plus to get feedback on how many people are looking at your work (we at TechCrunch check our analytics and Chartbeat pretty much non-stop.) But for the if the site’s casual users, having their photos pop up next to something that just showed up in your weekly digest email might rub some people the wrong way.
That said, Quora’s set-up seems carefully arranged to make view activity as easily controllable and unobtrusive as possible, so it could very well not bother people at all. And there is certainly some precedent here: The aforementioned LinkedIn profile view feature, of course, and also Path shows “view” analytics in a similar way. It will be key to see how people respond to Quora’s new look in the coming days.