Is the downvote-answer feature necessary on Quora?

Yes.  Without downvoting, I think you open Quora up to non-constructive answers which weaken the strength of the site. See What are good and bad reasons to downvote answers on Quora? That question has a number of answers that get at this point. That question and its answers also support the secondary point that Justin Bishop is making — which I agree with — that unfair/unreasonable downvoting is demoralizing.

How many topics can you add to a question on Quora?

Technically, there's no limit to the number of topics you can add. Generally, most questions have between 3-8 topics. The most important factor is to choose topics that are directly relevant to the question.

If I am a rapper, can I use my rapper name on Quora?

For now, the rule is that you have to use your real name, but it might make sense to nuance the rule for a small number of very famous people like 50 Cent, etc. who are much better known by their rapper name.

If this comes up, the specifics will matter a lot, and so it's hard to say anything definitive until it comes up.

What's the best approach to not coming off like a spammer on Quora assuming you're copy-pasting questions from other sites?

The truth is- if your questions are interesting and insightful enough, it doesn't matter whether or not you come across as a spammer.

(Alt: And what about all the people who won't be able to join the community because they're terrible at making helpful and constructive co– …oh.)

People answer questions on Quora that we find thought-provoking, interesting and insightful. Questions that we want to answer.

All else held constant, we're more likely to answer a question if they feel that answering it is going to make a difference, either to themselves, to others, or to the person who asked the question.

So all you need to do is ask questions that people want to answer. Some questions are so good, you get the sense that the people answering are thankful for having the opportunity to answer it.

If you do your copy+pasting wisely enough, you may be able to get away with it forever and still have hordes of thoughtful answers.

If you copy+paste a boring or pointless question, you could steer it down the road of thoughtful answers by elaborating on why it matters to you, or to anybody else.

TL;DR:

When posting a question, ask yourself- If I could, would I want to answer this? If the answer is yes, you're good to go.

(Sometimes, if you're lucky, a silly, redundant, pointless or "fail" question can still be interpreted creatively by some respondents- but that's no excuse to avoid putting in the effort to do your best to make a question worth answering. [Just because you can sometimes 'get lucky' doesn't mean you should count on it.] You owe it to yourself, and the wonderful community you're now a part of.)

Welcome to Quora. 🙂

What is the motivation for writing an answer summary?

Writing a good question or a good answer is rewarded when you see lots of views, see lots of answers, or you receive lots of up votes. When one of my answers broke the 40 up vote barrier, it felt like I had just hit three-of-a-kind on a slot machine. Positive and often instantaneous feedback, authorship, and connection with other Quora users, is the primary motivator for answering questions. It's nice to be appreciated by people you respect.

So, the motivation behind writing a summary is more anonymous and altruistic. One does it for the same reason one edits a wiki-page or edits somebody else's Quora answer for typos, grammar, or small errors. Often there is a lot of good information spread out among several answers, or there is a clear two-sided debate that can be summarized succinctly. However, this motivation is weaker than that for answers, so most people focus on answers.

Check out Marc Bodnick's answer to: Why is Quora so addictive? You will notice that answer summaries are not included as part of the "cocaine."

I'd like to see Quora build in some "motivation" for writing answer summaries (as Quora User writes above), which will be more and more important to Quora in the long term.

EDIT: And so…with that in mind, I just edited the answer summary of this question.

How do I add a footnote to a Quora answer?

Quora footnotes are in the form of links. To add a footnote:

  1. highlight some text you wish to add a footnote for
  2. click the link icon (or use the keyboard shortcut)
  3. check the option to make your link a footnote

Footnotes will then appear in a section below your answer, after submitting.

What kind of questions on Quora aren't OK? What is Quora's policy on question deletion?

There are three types of question deletions on Quora:

  1. Deletions made by the user who added the question. After adding a question, the OP (original poster of the question) has a grace period during which he or she is permitted to delete the question; this grace period ends when a certain level of activity on the page has occurred. This policy is consistent with Quora's philosophy that questions belong to the community and OPs do not have ownership over their questions—see: Should I feel a sense of responsibility over questions that I ask on Quora?
  2. Deletions requested by a user regarding a question about themselves as an individual. What is Quora's policy on protecting individuals?
  3. Deletions to questions made by Quora moderators. Questions that are merely badly formed or unclear should be improved or tagged for improvement rather than removed. Joke questions should not be deleted; instead they should be tagged with the Joke Questions tag which will limit their distribution to users who are interested in that content. There is a presumption in favor of editing questions rather than deleting them where this is reasonable and practicable. Questions on which a substantial amount of activity has taken place should not be deleted in the absence of consensus among moderators.

Some reasons why moderators may delete a question include:

  • The question is not a sincere attempt at eliciting good answers, perhaps because it is primarily focused on making a point in an argumentative manner. In cases where the question has been posted anonymously: If a question is posted by an anonymous OP, we will aggressively interpret the sincerity test; if reasonable people would conclude that there is a greater-than-50% chance that the question is not sincerely intended to elicit good answers, then it will be deleted. If the OP wants to appeal this decision, they will need to remove anonymity on the question and post a comment on the question making their case why the question should be interpreted as sincere. Once a question has been deleted per this policy, the anonymous OP cannot fix the question by editing it; the OP needs to reveal their identity and explain their rationale. This rule will be enforced especially aggressively on hot topics (e.g., religion, gender, politics, etc.).
  • The question violates Quora's Policy on Protecting Individuals.
  • The question could be considered to constitute harassment or hate speech by a reasonable observer and has the potential to make the experience of using Quora uncomfortable for targeted group(s) of users.
  • The question is posed such that a direct answer that sincerely attempts to provide the information requested by the question would inevitably be contrary to a Quora policy, including but not limited to the Be Nice, Be Respectful policy and the policy prohibiting answers that advocate certain harmful actions.
  • The question's primary focus is the promotion of a product or service.
  • The question is a legal or medical question that concerns client- or patient-specific facts.
  • The question is not written in English.
  • The question is not a question at all, but is some other sort of content.
  • The question is incoherent or otherwise unable to be answered meaningfully, and would not be improved by straightforward edits.
  • Questions that are created with the purpose of attracting spam content are also considered spam and may be deleted.
  • The questions is a solicitation, classified ad and/or job posting. (To be clear, it is fine to ask questions like "What are the best ways to go about hiring great iPhone developers in Silicon Valley?" that are requests for general, reusable advice about approach.)

Notes:
A user cannot delete a question that another user has added. However, if a user notices two duplicate questions, the user can redirect the newer questions with fewer answers to the older question with more answers. Users can also edit questions to improve them, just as moderators can.

If you feel your question has been unfairly deleted, please contact us using our contact form.

Is it OK on Quora for users to add questions like Is Alicia Keys gay?

This is an excellent question.  Great, actually excellent, points have been made about famous and well-known people.  Tom Clancy happened to give one of the best rationales for this that I've ever read.  He is an incredibly private person, but he mentioned that since he is a public figure then people had a right to take a look into his life, but he vehemently defended the right of his wife to privacy when media would ask about her.  Essentially he told them to mind their own business where she was concerned.

Addressing the subject of "outing" someone… now that's a whole different subject in my opinion.  Unless someone has "outed" themselves then I do not believe that any of us have any business trying to do so.  If our society were different, concerning our general view toward homosexual men and women, then it might not be such a big issue.  But because there is still a pathetic (in my opinion) portion of society that will judge a person's value according to their sexual preferences, then I have no business in outing them.  It increases the stress that they might feel in having been forced out into the open and as crazy as it might sound, there is a very real possibility that it will actually increase the physical danger in their lives.  Do any of us really want to hurt another?  Do we want to make their life more difficult whether they are a celebrity or a joe blow like me?  I certainly don't.  I am not gay, never have been and never will be, but I am sickened by the hate which the gay community so often faces.  I would personally do anything that I could to eliminate this hate.

Anyway, long answer.  But it really is my opinion that where sexual matters are concerned, a little discretion might be the best course.  However, that's just me and I have always been a few cards short of a deck.