One of the impressive things about virtual worlds are the communities which create not only those worlds, but also a social media ecosystem around the actual virtual environments. This is a first post in a series about those “other places” where we meet. Instead of starting out with the usual suspects such as Plurk or Twitter, I start with a relatively new venue, Quora.
Quora is an “online knowledge market“, made available to the public on June 21, 2010. At first I was not too interested, but a post by Mark Suster on Business Insider SAI made me give it a try. Suster’s post really helps to “get it”.
Before asking a question or launching a topic, it’s a good idea to search for it: chances are that someone already asked that very same question. It’s a bit tricky to find the search box: in fact, you’ve to start typing in the “add question” box and that generates a list of relevant topics.
Doing this for Virtual Worlds results in some interesting questions and answers. There is the inevitable “What is the future of virtual worlds like Second Life, IMVU?” James Corbett, co-founder of Daynuv answered:
The future of ‘Second Life’, or rather the vision of its founders, lies more with it’s opensource successor Opensimulator than the proprietary Lined Lab platform. Opensim has made huge strides forward in 2010 and with support for the new version of the Hypergrid protocol is poised to become the Apache of the federated 3D web.
It’s important to understand that a major stumbling block in the growth of 3D virtual worlds has heretofore been the limitation of 2D peripherals designed for 3D GUIs – keyboard & mouse. The Nintendo Wii-mote pointed the way ahead but now the Microsoft Kinect has primed a major leap forward which will turn 2011 into a breakout year for virtual worlds. (…)
An as yet unanswered question asked “how can we trigger avatar gestures in Opensim / Second Life using #OpenKinect hacks?”
Another question is about guilds in World of Warcraft and whether there are larger political units there. I learned from Chris Hollander, senior Microsoft consultant, that there are caps introduced in Cataclysm and that there is considerable debate about how to reorganize guilds.
In the Second Life topic on Quora you’ll find discussions about property prices, the profitability of Second Life, whether Second Life should adapt a redistributive and socialist tax policy etc.
My first impression: Quora is still young and it takes some time to actually “get it”, but the quality of the discussions is good and the design seems to be very clever. The whole idea of Q&A forums is not new of course, but it’s one of the most effective ways to incite people to engage themselves in online communities.