What hack is going on with Quora?
When we think about learning, most of us probably think about the time when we were at school. Some of us might not look highly upon this word as it reminds us of a time; when we were forced to sit in a dull classroom. The teachers were droning on and on about some rubbish subject that you didn’t care about and knew for a fact that it wouldn’t be of any use to your life.
For some of the more optimistic reading this, you might associate learning with reading a good book or watching a thrilling documentary. And it’s undeniable that these two things are both forms of learning.
However, learning is something that happens every day. When you go to sleep at night, you almost always know more than you did when you woke up that morning. And if you don’t, then you’re doing something wrong with yourself. Learning is not only about having more facts buzzing around in your head; it’s about understanding the world that we live in, and enabling yourself to broaden your mind so that you don’t become prisoned in your mind.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to learn, whether it’s speaking to people, reading books, watching documentaries, or using the internet. The final point is, just make sure you learn something!
When you were a child, it’s likely that if you wanted to learn something, you had to either ask someone (usually a teacher, or parent, or your best friend) or find the answer in a book. Asking people can be beneficial as not only does it improve your human interaction, but it can also enable you to have a conversation which will help you to understand, not just know. However, the reality is that unless they’re an expert, people can be unreliable and may even make something up to stop you from talking.
Alternatively, you could read it in a book. But if you didn’t own a book with the answer, would you want to go to the library just to find the answer to one small question?
Today, the internet provides us with quick and easy access to information. Due to the availability of knowledge, if there’s a question we wish to know the answer to, all we do is type it into Google, and voila! I admit I do this a lot, for example, when I want to know how to cook something, or whether something I am considering doing is safe.
However, just because the internet is here, does not mean you should be throwing away your bookshelf, as well as being terrible for the environment, throwing away all your books is going to be awful for your mind, and your learning.
While the internet might be useful and finding out quick answers to questions that you might have, or for finding out fun little facts, it does not provide the in-depth explanations that books offer. If you want a quick answer, then use the internet. But if you’re going to throw yourself into a subject, and jump into an avalanche of learning, then pick up a book.
Not to mention, that unlike the internet, using a book doesn’t require… internet. This means you can take it anywhere, and it will still work perfectly (unless you’re in the rain, in which case, get under a shelter, and it will continue to work fine). There is also a lag, and it does not damage your eyes to look at it for too long.
While it would be unfair to say that books are better than the internet, or that the internet is better than books, it would be fair to say, that it’s important to understand when to use which one.
There is one widespread criticism of the internet that I dare say you may have made yourself. I have to confess, I have, on occasion, found myself uttering these words too.
This criticism is that on the internet anyone can answer a question. People who know nothing about a subject will be able to make up an answer, and a load of idiots is going to believe it to be true without questioning it. While this criticism is not technically untrue, it does leave out some vital facts.
The first one is that people being wrong, and other people believing them, goes back way before the days of the internet. When you think about it, surely your best friend is about as reliable as a stranger on the internet, probably even less so. Not to mention that while it’s true that anyone can write anything on the internet, it’s also true that anyone can write a book. And unlike a book, on the internet, people will be able to link their sources. This is a common practice amongst sites with a reputation for being unreliable.
In 2009, a couple of former Facebook employees decided to start up a brand new website to take learning into the 21st century and to make it more enjoyable and accessible than it’s ever been before.
This website is called ‘Quora.’ The reason they chose this name is that it sounds like quorum, which means public congregation.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you by saying that this website managed to rise it’s a way to the app all by itself, that this is some wonderful rags to riches story on behalf of its founders, Adam D’Angelo, and Charlie Cheever. They both used to work for Facebook.
Therefore they had plenty of contacts which enabled them to let their website grow. As well as that, there was also no lack of funding. Millions have been invested in this website.
However, that does not mean that it does not serve the useful purpose of allowing the public to learn from one another, to ask questions, and get the answer from someone who knows about it, who has first-hand experience in the subject matter.
The way Quora works is incredibly simple and very easy to understand. You don’t need to be an expert on anything, and you don’t need to know how to read a stupidly complicated language. The idea is that anybody can use it, and it feels more like a community of friends who are all helping each other to learn, that some stuck up, fancy, intellectual club.
So let’s say you have a question, you’ve tried googling it, but you either cannot find an answer, or the only answers you can see are difficult to understand and not nice at all to read. What you would then do is type it into Quora and wait for some people to respond. People can link you to their sources, just in case you want to be super safe with the reliability of this information.
Members of the website are also able to vote for their favorite answers to questions. This means that the people who have provided the best solution will have their response displayed at the top of the page, directly under the question itself. That should stop you from having to read through a load of dribble, to get the answer to your question.
Earlier this month, there was an event that happened at the website. This event is a not so pleasant one that sent a shock wave through the community of people who regularly use the site. One hundred thousand people had their accounts hacked. When you sign up to Quora, you need to give the website your name and email address; this is information that many people would not appreciate if it ended up in the hands of strangers, mainly hackers, as you never know for what they’d want to use this information. They also had access to activity on the site that users may have wished to keep private. If you asked Quora an embarrassing question, then the hackers would now know this. Imagine having a stranger knowing that you have terrible gas!
The issue was first discovered on Friday the 30th of November, and Quora is working hard to find out exactly what happened, they have promised that security is one of its top priorities. They also claim to understand the root cause of it and therefore are enabled to take the appropriate steps. All users have been logged out and will be made reset their passwords upon their next login, to combat the hack.
Have you ever seen the film ‘Life of Brian’? It’s a comedy film about a man who people mistakenly think is the Messiah. If you’ve seen it, then you’ll know that at the end, Brian is crucified, but while he’s up there, he along with some other so-called criminals sing a famous song. This song is called ‘always look on the bright side of life.’ It’s about making sure to stay positive and always be grateful. The message of that song is one that we can apply to this hack.
Firstly, the number of people it affected was minuscule; there are 100 million users on this website. Therefore the hack affected less than one percent of the membership.
But also, the information that you give to Quora isn’t particularly valuable, none of the information that you need to provide to set up an account would be of much use on the black market. You don’t give them any bank details, so there’s no chance of anybody stealing any money. And you don’t give away any social security or legal information, so there’s no chance of anybody committing fraud with your information.
This hack is at worst, a slight inconvenience.
On the flip side of that, while this hack wasn’t so bad, there have been plenty which has been. Therefore it’s essential that you make sure you keep yourself and your information safe online.
The first thing you need to make sure of is that you’re not giving away information that you don’t need to give away. A lot of websites trick you into doing this by claiming that what they offer is free but then making you give your bank details to ensure that you’re over 18. If any ‘free’ website asks you for bank details, you need to throw your computer off a bridge, and run 10 miles! Or you could exit from that website; the choice is yours.
You should also be 100% sure that any shopping websites are safe and legitimate. Many of them take your money and don’t send you anything. If you’re unsure about a website, try googling it to make sure that it’s safe for you to be using.
It might also help you to change your passwords regularly.
In life, everybody ought to be learning about every opportunity that they can. It makes our lives more enjoyable. And now thanks to the internet, learning is more comfortable than it’s been before. You can answer most questions in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. However, that’s not to say that books no longer have their place. Many people criticize the internet as anybody can provide answers and details, even if they are incorrect. But the internet is an oversimplified idea.
In 2009, a new Q&A website was founded, Quora, this is a community-based learning platform. It works by people asking questions, people answering them, and then the most helpful answer being voted as such.
In late 2018, the website was hacked, and 100,00 users had the information they had given the site stolen. Yikes!
However, it’s important not to be turning mountains into molehills, as none of the information that users provided was particularly valuable. Despite this, it’s still important to stay safe online by making sure you don’t offer any information unless it’s essential to what you want to do.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and I hope you now have a much better understanding of what Quora is, and why this hack doesn’t matter too much.