Right before this post
was deleted, I wrote up a bit of a rant about Quora for those interested, explaining my theory of how the site is structured and why it is evil.
posted by deathpanels to Etiquette/Policy at 1:18 PM (109 comments total)
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If you're interested: Quora does something interesting and very, very evil that breaks the web. Notice how these pages show some of the content but not all of it? You'd expect this to be an overlay HTML element, right? No. What Quora is doing is indexing its own content (probably using Cairo
) and scanning the text into PNG format so they can put a blur-radius overlay on top of it be absolutely certain that the public can't view it.
How do search engines crawl their content? Probably they have something built into their web app framework that puts relevant content on a CDN and monkeys around with 301 redirects and canonical URLs to make Google think it's serving up publicly available content when that's not what a human user will see. Since the web is built on the assumption that I can click on your link and get the contents (provided it is not secure content, like user login data), Quora is doing something ethically questionable here. I encourage you to block sites like Quora that refuse to "give away" their content without making you log in. It's one thing for a newspaper to put up a pay wall and require subscribers to have an account, quite another for a forum/Q&A site to force you to login via one of their spyware marketing "social media" partners. Pretty skeezy.