LinkedIn Missteps: Killing LinkedIn Answers

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327122302_bbc4a3935b_z

I don’t usually get all up in arms when a social media site I like changes its features.

Stuff happens. Things change. Improvise, adapt, overcome.

But when I heard the news about LinkedIn killing its Answers section today through my friend, Todd Van Hoosear, and then this article on AGBeat, I was upset. This, I feel, is a big misstep.

Maybe not everyone who uses LinkedIn uses the section. The people who do use it, however, find great value, and there are many.

When I answered a question there after I was laid off from my newspaper job a few years ago, that led to one of my first consulting gigs, which in turn led me to the path I walk now. So, sure, part of it is likely sentimental. I can be like that sometimes.

It’s more than sentiment, though. Answers was the best spot on the site to really show your stuff. Your profile can be stuffed with whatever. Groups may or may  not be open to everyone, and so many are filled with so much spam that they’re nearly unnavigable.

Answers, though, was simple. Someone asked a question. People answered. Answers could be rated by the asker, and if someone repeatedly was graded as a “best answer,” it gave their replies in that section more weight. It allowed you to show what you really knew and find out what people really wanted to learn about.

On many of our platforms, we live in an echo chamber, surrounded by others who have similar skillsets. On LinkedIn, our personal network may be like that, as well as our groups, but in Answers, you could find anyone who knew something about anything. Sure, we have Quora now, and some of the questions and answers there are fascinating. But when you want to do business, LinkedIn is where you go. And where you ask your business-related questions.

Sadly, as of Jan. 31, that will be no more.

Photo by Alexander Henning Drachmann via Flickr Creative Commons.

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33 comments
MZazeela
MZazeela

Looks like the Q & A Forum will quickly replace LI answers. Too bad they had to remove it.

judymargolis
judymargolis

The link I just posted is to a new and fast-growing LI group called the Q&A Forum. I encourage you to check it out.

NCWiseman
NCWiseman

I used LinkedIn Answers periodically. I generally always got a good answer, and made some good connections at the same time.  My only discontent with LinkedIn answers was that there seemed to be a group of people who always answered my question with no meaningful content. I never understood this, beyond the possibility of wanting to be seen, even with no meaningful value. 

Regardless, I still liked LinkedIn answers and hope that we can create the soon to be missed value in another way 

altumv
altumv

I have found LinkedIn answers an excellent resource. I have enjoyed answering others people's questions and providing them with information and support. One of the other benefits of LinkedIn questions and answers is that it has allowed me to connect with individuals who I wouldn't have otherwise connected with. I am disappointed that they are not going to retain the archive of all the previous questions and answers. This is a tremendous resource which should be retained and made available to people. I think this move by LinkedIn is Quora's gain.

vanhoosear
vanhoosear

Yeah @chelpixie, losing the archives seems especially cruel -- so many good answers, gone! Anybody who invested a decent amount of time and effort into this must be pretty pissed!

Ike
Ike

Wow. Very mysterious. Even yanking the archives.

There is something really screwy at the bottom of this story.

stevelevine1
stevelevine1

Totally agree Amy. I don't understand this move AT ALL especially considering that LinkedIn is a B2B resource. I also agree with the comments on Quora jumping for joy. Very strange move.

ShellyKramer
ShellyKramer

I never really used LI answers, but for me it's really more about where I spend my time - and that was never on my radar screen because I didn't have the bandwidth. And for a long time I always felt like it was people trolling there looking for things to do, answer, etc., because they were looking for work, clients, etc. Which is fine, but I don't have time to do that, nor do I need to do it for business development purposes (and I very much know how blessed I am that that's the case). And I loved Quora, but again, it's someplace that I don't have time to spend my time, so its a community I never really engaged with, followed, etc., even though I have many friends (including you) who do.

So now, I'm taking a step back and seeing YOUR thoughts and the responses here and realize it probably IS a great tool and a great resource (and a trusted one, I suppose), so it makes sense. I'd love to know that the rationale on the part of LI is for killing this off. And really? I think more people go to, use and rely on LI daily than they do Quora or other Q/A forums, so I'm just not sure what the upside is for LinkedIn to kill it off. And as Judy mentioned below, what a HUGE, searchable, valuable database that must be. Hmmmm. Great post, Amy. Thanks for making me rethink this.

judymargolis
judymargolis

Why oh why would LI kill its enormous Answers database, in particular, when it should have been promoted as a powerful search tool? The timing is particularly ironic, given FB's announcing the coming wonders of its Graph Search function. I will miss the sense of community I gained from the forum, plus the global assignments I received due to my active participation.

wordwhacker
wordwhacker

I  also put the link to this in #mediachat when we were discussing LinkedIn.

Des
Des

Couldn't agree more, Amy. Shocked, in fact. I have have terrific value from LinkedIn Answers and tell people it's my unpaid, highly knowledgeable global consulting group. What a shame they are killing it off. I agree with Todd. LinkedIn Answers has been, hands down, so much better than Quora.

wordwhacker
wordwhacker

I agree that LinkedIn has been the place for business-related questions. Quora is quirky - you never know what you'll get. It makes me sad that LinkedIn again is "dumbing down," trying to be more of a social network than business network.

vanhoosear
vanhoosear

As a test, and totally coincidentally, just yesterday I posted the same question to LinkedIn Answers and Quora. I got 9 replies on LI, 2 on Quora. The 9 on LI were WAY better. LinkedIn Answers will be sorely missed. I'm not convinced Quora is a full replacement.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@MZazeela I'll have to check it out. Still not the same. I'm really wondering if there's going to be a Quora integration.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@NCWiseman I saw things similar to that - I think that if LinkedIn had provided even a smidge of moderation, that could have been avoided. But overall, the value I saw from it was far greater than those downsides, as you noted. :)

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@altumv Yes! I definitely made some connections I wouldn't have otherwise, because it was the one spot where everyone on LinkedIn could participate, regardless of connection, even moreso than groups. I agree, that this is a huge spot for Quora and the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this is the first step in the acquisition of Quora by LinkedIn.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@chelpixie Me, too! I didn't do it all the time, but I'd go on binges where I'd read through a whole mess of Questions and see what I could answer or learn. :( I didn't realize about the archives, either, when I posted this. Ugh.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@Ike I really wonder if there's a Quora offer in the offing....

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@stevelevine1 Thanks, Steve! I agree, too, about Quora. I wonder if we'll hear an interesting acquisition announcement soon.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@ShellyKramer Thank you, Shelly! The fact that you rethought just 'cos of my silly post means a lot to me. I do like Quora for interesting questions that probably wouldn't even be asked anywhere else. Fabulous for that.

I feel like the issues you saw with LinkedIn Answers could have been easily avoided with even the slightest bit of moderation there, but it was not to be. And as you noticed, the database being killed off is borderline insane. Sigh.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@judymargolis When I posted this, I didn't even know they were getting rid of the database. That, especially seems to be an odd move. I agree about the weird timing with Graph Search. I wonder if we're going to see a big Quora announcement soon.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

Thanks for commenting, @Des. I completely agree. I love the "unpaid, highly knowledgeable global consulting group" analogy. :)

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@wordwhacker I think you hit on the head there. The whole "endorsements" fiasco also was kinda goofy. This is a much more serious misstep, though. I've always been a huge booster of LinkedIn. This makes me sad.

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@vanhoosear I completely agree. I love Quora for the bizarre and fascinating Q&As, such as the one I linked in the article about whether you can shoot a rocket into space from your backyard. But not for *real* questions. Thanks!

AmyVernon
AmyVernon moderator

@chelpixie @AmyVernon @vanhoosear I hadn't heard that yet, but I would not be shocked to hear that. To just yank the archives and not make any use of it would be completely bizarre.


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