Confession: lately, Betabeat has been on something of a Quora binge. In a fit of heat stroke yesterday afternoon, we found ourselves wishing we could just type “Quora” along with any question and have the answers magically appear. Quora: How many degrees will my apartment be when I get home? Quora: What’s a good age to freeze my eggs? But in our estimation, the service’s appeal isn’t the answers as much as the questions. It’s basically a window into the secret preoccupations of the human mind.
Take, for example, one anonymous user’s probing query into the development of Airtime, the video chat startup cofounded by Napster alums Sean Parker and Sean Fanning. “What does it feel like,” the user asked, “to be the engineer at Airtime who created the wiener detection technology?”
The question has already been viewed 6,460 times and has 190 followers, including Quora founder Charlie Cheever, The Awl’s Choire Sicha, and yours truly.
Below the question, the interlocutor goes into more detail about his/her intellectual concerns: “In order to not be chatroulette, Airtime allegedly has software that automatically detects wieners. What challenges did you have in creating this technology, both technically and personally? What other practical applications do you see for this technology?”
The lone response comes from another anonymous prankster, who seems to insinuate that the male population of University Avenue–the Stanford-adjacent hub, home to Facebook’s old office–is less than well-endowed.
“The specs we had going in were totally off-base – in field testing, the detection technology had to get even more finite – We used the same numbers from the spec, but instead changed the measurement unit from Inches to centimeters.Our field testing was done in and around University Ave in Palo Alto.”
Dick-tecting jokes are all well and good, but he doesn’t answer Quora’s favorite question: what does it feeeeel like?