The Quora Algorithm Explained, Sort Of


It’s not a puzzle that has a solution. It’s like a woman. I’ll never really understand them, but I have noticed some anomalies and patterns.

I’ve talked about a lot of things I’ve done in the past. Once thing I have not talked about is what I did at a company called GoSecure. Our product protects against malicious code. But not in the traditional way.

Traditional Anti virus scanners use a database called a virus dictionary which has lots of codes from different known viruses. When anti-virus scans a file, it will take a snippet of that code and compare it with the codes in their virus dictionary, if the files match then the virus attack on a computer is confirmed.

But what if there’s a malicious code that is not in the virus dictionary? A brand new virus. Advanced Heuristics. What if the virus uses an attack vector not previously used? Machine learning. We had one customer…

Awesome. What does that have to do with the Quora algorithm.


So what does the sex, #nanobotmeth, AC shower guy know that every else doesn’t? You guys really want to know how that WordPress template really works? I do. I bet you would like to know too.

Fuck you. Pay me.

If everyone knows the tricks they are no longer tricks and this place would go to shit. But here’s another piece of the puzzle.


There’s multiple facets of time. What time it’s posted. You wake up. You look at Quora. Quora wants to serve you the freshest content possible. What are the times of the day you read on Quora? The morning. Who posts before sun up? The early bird who’s guaranteed the worm.

There’s a reason Quora forces you to use the app on your phone. Time. It’s not just upvotes, it’s engagement. The slower people read your story is more important than upvotes. This is why longer is better. If people actually read it. If it’s long and sucks that’s bad. It’s not just upvotes and shares, it’s about who upvotes and shares.

This picture demonstrates my point. Study it.

Naw, I’m fucking with you. Sorta. The longer you look at it. The better it is for my ‘score’. The more engrossed in my story you are, the longer you read. The longer you read, the more my influence grows. The more likely other things I’ve written show up in your feed.

Meet Vis Tankian, soon to be the next popular teen Quoran. Vic is an incredible writer and it’s likely he could have done it just as well with out me. But he reached out to me and asked for my opinion on his writing. He started out hot and had a few flops as we all do. His writing is rock solid. Not the problem at all. I told him what I knew about what to answer. If you think I’m talking out of my ass, follow him and see what happens.

Personally. I don’t care. I use none of the tricks I know will work and do what I please. The tricks are useful to get you to the popular level. I’d have to change my style completely to get to that famous level and screw that.

Sean Kernan’s answer is absolutely correct. Knowing what I know I’m fairly certain he knows even more than I do. He hides behind his bro facade, but that dude is really smart. Notice how his paragraphs go to the end of the page before he hits return. It’s not a coincidence.

But knowing this doesn’t matter if what you write isn’t engrossing, entertaining, and educational. No trick in the world can make an uninteresting writer popular. A good post in a popular topic will always do well no matter what time you post it. It just may just take longer.

Upvote posts. Leave comments. Reply to replies on the comment. Start a space. Contribute to other spaces. Do all the things. If the posts aren’t getting the hits the problem isn’t Quora, it’s you.

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