Discourse and Quandora (or other Q&A platform like StackOverflow)


(Dave McClure) #1

Discourse and Quandora

Questions without clear Answers

Quandora is modeled after Q&A systems like StackOverflow which heavily value facts over opinions, and questions which have a clear answer. On systems like StackOverflow, the rules for what types of questions can be asked are strict because they only want questions that have a clear answer in order to build a reliable knowledge base.

You are likely to find that most of the questions you would post on Quandora do not really fit the Q&A model. Much of what seem like candidate questions for a Q&A system in a community does is really a continual attempt to refine their collective opinions about a variety of things. Discourse is a much better fit for these kinds of discussions and exchanges of different and evolving points of view.

Discussions take place chronologically

On Quandora and other Q&A systems, the natural chronological format in which discussions actually take place is disturbed by two things: unnecessary threading of comments under ‘answers’, and the shifting order of answers as votes change their rank.

Deeply-nested threading and upvoting of comments within topics on sites like reddit suffer from the same issue.

On Discourse, every post follows another as it naturally unfolds chronologically. Reply indicators and in-line quotes help keep disjointed parts of the conversation together without disturbing the natural flow of conversation.

What about the existing content in a Q&A system like Quandora?

If you have existing content in Quandora, a basic implementation of an importer now exists to migrate this content to Discourse.

Here is the simple importer.

It’s a little odd at first to think of trying to do so given the mismatch in the data models, but I was pleasantly surprised when I first tried it. It really proved in many cases how much more natural the flow of discussion was after converting it to the format of a Discourse topic.


related topics

  1. Discourse Solved (Accepted answer plugin)
  2. Is Discourse suitable for use for a question and answer type page?
  3. What is the best use cases for a company comparing to a Q&A? (Using askubuntu as the concrete case)
  4. Discourse as a questions platform

see also:

  1. Discussions: Flat or Threaded?
  2. Web Discussions: Flat by Design
  3. Slashdot terviews: Stack Overflow Co-Founder Jeff Atwood Answers Your Questions

(Jeff Atwood) #2

What exactly is being proposed here? I’m not totally clear.


(Dave McClure) #3

I wrote this initially when we were migrating from Quandora to Discourse to compare the two platforms.

Re-reading it now, it could probably use another revision and be re-written as:

“Why a discussion platform like Discourse may be a better fit for your community than a Q&A system”