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Is it legal to crawl Quora for top answers?

Scrape Quora

Quora has become the go-to resource for anything and everything that remains unanswered. You are sure to find well-written, informative answers for pretty much anything you are confused about on this Q&A platform. There’s no doubt about the quality of information available on Quora, and it’s not surprising that people are trying to crawl top answers from Quora.

By scraping, we mean the extraction of data from a website, programmatically using bots. Web scraping is a popular means of data extraction employed by companies for various use cases including content aggregation, business intelligence, competitor tracking, brand monitoring, etc. Extracting the top answers from Quora can be beneficial to news and media companies looking for fresh content for news. Apart from that, it will be useful for analytics and research professionals  who work on text mining projects by using techniques like natural language processing, pattern recognition and more.

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Web scraping is perfectly legal

Web scraping is not an illegal activity, but that doesn’t mean you can crawl any site you want. There are some sites that explicitly block any sort of automated data extraction either via the robots.txt file or their Terms of service page. Such sites that do not want to be crawled should not be crawled both in terms of legalities and ethics. Respecting the rules set by the target site is necessary in order to stay in the safe zone. This is what sets apart the good bots from the bad ones.

Can you extract top answers from Quora?

The answer is both yes and no. While it’s technically possible to extract data from Quora using a crawling setup, doing so is against Quora’s terms of service. It’s not uncommon for a site like Quora that’s hugely dependent on user generated content, to have blocked automated data extraction.

Since it is definitely illegal to crawl a website against its Terms of Service, scraping Quora for top answers is not an option. You can learn more about the legal aspects of web crawling here.

Here are some alternatives

There’s no need to be disappointed since there are other sites that could possibly have the kind of data you’re looking for. You can consider StackOverflowand Ask MetaFilter as these are two popular Q&A sites that allow scraping.

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