Ok, the title is a trick question. There's no concrete answer to this. You'll find a mix of quality across both Quora and eHow. Furthermore, these sites are two different animals, but there is some overlap. Both sites have more than just how-to content, but both sites also have a great deal of how-to content.
Have you had a better experience with content on Quora or on eHow? Let us know.
It is this realization that led me to this piece to begin with. Browsing Quora, looking for some interesting conversations, I came across this one for, "How should you wash clothes?" Yes, that's Quora, not eHow. The thread has actually been open since June of last year.
Quora gets a lot of press for content about companies - people with direct knowledge of situations answering questions about said situations. Apparently it’s also a how-to site. Do a Quora search for "how to" and you will be inundated with search results. Among those, you'll find some of the kinds of content Quora is more well-known for, but you'll also find things like "How can I learn to love salads?", "How do you learn to love yourself?", "How is sunscreen thought to cause cancer?", etc.
We've called out Google in the past for ranking apparently non-authoritative content from eHow for cancer related queries, so it seems only fair to address that last Quora example as well. Quora is not ranking high in Google's results for that, and I have to wonder whether or not it was before the Panda update. That would be interesting to know.
The top answer itself comes from someone who is following medical and cancer topics on Quora, but her bio does not appear to be present. It would be helpful for these types of answers to know something about the person who is answering. Is this person a doctor, for example? We don't know. We just know that other Quora users (including co-founder Charlie Cheever in this case) liked the answer enough to vote it up. I wonder if Quora might be more useful with required bios. Of course, then the whole online anonymity debate comes into play.
One interesting thing about Quora is that it had a feedback system built-in from the get go - something eHow has just implemented with its new redesign.
Quora answers are voted up or down by users, and there are links for "thank" and "not helpful".
Someone posted the question on Quora, "Is Quora trying to copy eHow?" but it has not been answered at this point. Seems like a good place for Quora's founders to jump in.
Your Quora experience is what you make of it. You choose the people and topics to follow, so if you're a user, you can keep it at least somewhat relevant to your needs. We talked before about how Quora's experience is about the content more than it is about the service itself. A lot of high profile people have had plenty of interesting things to say on Quora. The same could be said for Twitter and other services.
In fact, the same can actually even be said for eHow, as it continues to make more partnerships to bring authoritative (or at least celebrity) voices to its content. It's a different format, but again, there is some overlap.
I find it interesting that Quora users seem to be churning out more and more of the kind of content that usually gets associated with content farms and alleged content farms - "how-to" stuff in particular.
In some ways, one might even consider Quora a direct competitor to a site like eHow, but Quora isn't dominating the search results the way eHow does. Of course, Quora's model is not to create content based on what people are searching for. Quora starts with questions, and people answer those questions (some likely hoping to be found in search results as a result - not to get traffic per se, but at least to be viewed as an authority on a given subject).
As far as who has the better quality, it depends on the topic, and it depends on your opinion. Google is certainly holding eHow in higher regard for the examples I've seen. Searching for "How should you wash clothes?" I see wikiHow ranking at the top, followed by eHow, and this is the exact title of the Quora piece, mind you (it's not for wikiHow or eHow). The Quora result doesn't even appear in the first ten pages.
Should Quora results appear more for Google searches? Less? Tell us what you think.