November 14, 2011 § 202 Comments
By: Yishan Wong
Quora gives you 500 credits to start.
You can see your credit “transaction history” at http:///www.quora.com/credits
If you go below 100 credits, it will be periodically refreshed back up to 100 credits. This means if you have zero credits, you will get 100 credits. If you have 70, you will get 30 credits. Quora calls these “system refreshes.”
How you get credits:
You can earn credits by answering an Ask To Answer request, by getting upvotes on answers or posts you’ve written, or if someone gives you credits.
For every upvote that you receive for an answer or post, you will receive 10 credits. This is even true if you wrote the answer anonymously.
When someone who you Ask to Answer a question write an answer, you will receive 5 credits for every upvote that answer receives.
The primary usage of credits is the Ask To Answer Suggestion function, where Quora will suggest users to you that you can ask to answer a question. Each user who is not your friend (you are both following each other) may have a price you must pay in order to ask them to answer. You use your credits to send them Ask to Answer requests. 25% of this price is paid to them immediately, and the remaining 75% will be paid if they respond with an answer within a week.
You can give credits to other users, but you must have at least 500 credits in your account. For example, if you have 570 credits, you can only give up to 70 credits to someone. If you later receive more credits, you can then give more. The reason for this is because every user starts out with 500 credits, and Quora doesn’t want people to create multiple fake accounts just to send the initial 500 credits to a single account. You can give credits to any user for any reason, and you can send a message along with the credits.
Under the covers:
When you upvote an answer or post, the author receives 10 credits, but you don’t spend any of your credits. Yes, this is how credits are “created” in the economy (in addition to system refreshes).
If someone pays credits to ask you to answer a question, you will immediately receive 25% of that fee, and you will receive the remaining 75% if you answer within a week. This 75% is the amount that the system says in the “earn X credits by answering” notification that you receive – the 25% has already been given to you.
The number of credits it costs to ask you to answer a question is determined by the rate of incoming requests that you receive. This gives you a maximum price, which you can adjust to any number of lower thresholds on this page: http://www.quora.com/asked_to_answer – click on the “Asking you to answer costs X credits” link.
If you give credits to another Quora user, there is no way to reverse this transaction.
Tips and Tricks:
You can make money off your friends if they are prominent people whose answers tend to get upvoted out of proportion to their answer’s inherent quality (e.g. Quora staff, famous people) by asking them to answer for free, and then collecting the 5 credit/upvote reward that you receive for being the one to ask them to answer.
If you are following someone and they are also following you (i.e. you are “friends”), it is free for each of you to ask each other to answer questions. Therefore, a potentially cost-effective way to get an obvious-but-highly-priced person to answer is to ask someone who is their friend who is also your friend to answer it – it will be free to ask your friend, and they may subsequently then ask the other “obvious” person to answer.
Another way to ask someone to answer who has too high a price (or simply one you don’t wish to pay) is to go to their profile and send them a message with a link to the question and ask them to answer it. Obviously this doesn’t work if the person disallowed incoming messages, but very few users have that setting turned on. Plus, a personal message asking them to answer is much more likely to meet with a positive response. On the other hand, this means you will not receive the 5 credit/upvote reward that you would normally receive if you had asked them to answer via the “system.”
If you are offered a very high bounty to answer a question but don’t really want to give an answer (or can’t come up with a good one), you can write a crappy short answer and then immediately delete it. You will still be awarded the bounty. Keep in mind that your answer will still generate a notification, and this seems like something Quora would fix pretty quickly somehow.
If you happen to be on a question page and you see that someone is in the process of writing an answer (“Currently Answering”) but they haven’t posted it yet, you can quickly ask them to answer and, assuming they end up posting the answer they are writing, you will receive credits for each upvote the answer earns. This is a lower-risk way of trying to draft on peoples’ answer upvotes because you can be relatively assured that they will probably finish and post their answer.
Got a tip about Quora credits? Add it to the comments below!