The one thing that I would be cautious about is the group think that might develop from only following popular threads. It's important to not just put the blinders on and ignore potentially insightful threads and comments that aren't popular :-)
Apostolos Koutropoulos wrote,
This statement really bounced out at me. I wonder about this with applications like twitter which show number of followers. A decision to follow might be based on how popular that individual appears to be, rather than the quality of what they heave to offer, or, more importantly, now connected you might be to their ideas so that you can build on them.
The one thing that I would be cautious about is the group think that might develop from only following popular threads.
I spend a lot of time communicating online and meet (and seek out) new people all the time. I notice that some of the most thought-provoking dialogue can be with individuals who are finding their way in a new domain, asking questions, challenging ideas that others skip over because they're so used to hearing them.
I do see value in somehow showcasing individuals who contribute to and advance collaborative dialogue. But as Apostolos suggests it might have a negative impact if we begin to use popularity ratings as an indicator that those are the conversations we should be paying attention to.
While I am no Quora expert, by any means and have only been tinkering with it for a couple of weeks, the voting up or down is connected to answers to questions not necessarily individuals. This is not to say that who composes the answer is a non factor in the voting. Yet, what is rather interesting is this space seems to have a stronger sense of culture than a lot of other online "communities." Of course that is not likely to last long, but for now the features I mentioned are pretty interesting and unlike most of what is available in a lot of other online spaces.