Quora backtracks on ‘Views’ after user complaints about privacy

Did you curb your Quora reading habits after the company announced it would show which posts you looked at on the question-and-answer site? Well now you can go back to reading without worry, since the company announced today that — due to a negative response from users — it will no longer display which posts were read by which users in the main feed. On the Quora blog, the company explained the decision:

We launched Views a couple weeks ago to offer a new way of discovering content on Quora and to let writers get a sense of who they can reach through Quora. While many were really interested in these new stories, we also got a lot of feedback that people weren’t comfortable having what they viewed shared broadly with people following them. So we’re going to stop showing stories in feed about what people are viewing.

Om Malik wrote for GigaOM on the troubling aspects of the “Views” feature, which was launched August 1 and showed when a user had seen a particular post:

This is no different than the passive sharing that has been promoted by Facebook or Path. Now on a closed network like Path, which is based entirely on intimate relationships, I can understand passive sharing. After all, if you have seen my photo or a check-in and I know that, it is okay because you are on my approved list. However, the kind of sharing Quora is promoting doesn’t jive with me.

Under the new “Views,” users did have the option to turn off this feature, and it only tracked topics they were following, not those found through search. But it seems general dislike of the new feature resonated with Quora. In the blog post, Quora explained that it would continue to track “views from feed, topic pages you follow and clicks on digest emails,” but not display in the main feed which posts were read by individual users.

This post was updated at 6:55 p.m. to clarify where Quora will stop showing stories about what users are reading.