On Quora, reviews are the new Q&A

The service is expanding its take on questions and answers to allow for reviews.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
2 min read
A review page on Quora. Quora
Pose a question looking for people's take on a new show or gadget, and you'll likely get back answers in the form of informal reviews. Question-and-answer site Quora today makes the informal formal with the release of Reviews, a product that alters the structure for questions in search of evaluations.

Founded in 2009, Quora is home to more than 300,000 umbrella topics such as iPhone apps or Funny Pictures that contain related questions. Now, members can create new topics, say "Oz: 2013 movie," to solicit reviews (instead of answers) from the community, as well as migrate existing review-like threads over to the new review pages.

"One thing we've noticed over the last year is that there are a lot of questions ... where people are writing reviews," Marc Bodnick of Quora's business team told CNET. Questions like "What do people think about [x product]?" or "Should I buy [x product]?" are very popular, he said. "Reviews provide structure and categorization to these types of questions."

A review page allows members to write and submit answers as usual, but also includes a rating option so the reviewer can indicate how much he or she liked or disliked the product or service on a one- to five-star scale. The average rating is highlighted atop the review page, and the top positive and negative reviews are also featured on the page.

The Reviews feature is the second release from Quora in as many months to deviate from the service's standard question-and-answer format. In late January, Quora added blogs to help contributors get free-form thoughts in front of more readers.

Today's release is more about self-promotion. Quora wants to make sure that the best review threads don't get overlooked by top contributors or dismissed by newbies. Reviews are also meant to solve a content organization challenge that Bodnick said has developed as the site expands and people post duplicate questions requesting information on cars, movies, apps, and books.