Why do some questions, answers, and messages on Quora contain figures like this: U0001f60f?

The Quora text editor does not support ANY Plane 1 Unicode characters: characters whose 5th digit is 1, not 0. For example, U0001f60f. Emoji are included in Plane 1. So is Gothic: Nick Nicholas’ answer to Will Quora ever support emoji?

It’s not, I would contend, targeted at Emoji; that’s just a “happy accident”.

But these Plane 0 dingbats, I’d argue, are Emojis:

⏱ ☃☹☺☻♨⛄⛱✊✋✌

And they render just fine.

Why are Gary Teal’s more ancient answers to questions about Republican politics suddenly appearing at the top of my Quora feed so often?

Because, from this stray comment (https://www.quora.com/Has-your-Q…), and from my own experience, the Quora feed this week is promoting more “ancient” answers in general.

In the topics I prefer to frequent, this is a very very good thing indeed, and I do not want to see it undone.

The correct answer would be to treat politics and other recentist topics differently in time depth than slower-moving topics. But frankly, no, I don’t have the confidence that Quora can implement that right.

What are the best and worst things about public transit in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia? How could it be improved?

This is a subject of acute interest to many a Melburnian.


  • Overall, reliable. Yes, when it falls over, it falls over horridly; but considering how much of the infrastructure is 150 years old, it is bearing the load remarkably well.
  • Reasonable coverage, given it’s 150 years old. So long as urban development followed the train tracks, which was the case until a decade ago.


  • Overcrowding; if you’re in Zone 1, don’t even bother boarding a train between 7:30 and 9.
  • Chronic underinvestment. I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords; at least they understand infrastructure. (And they don’t have federalism as a mechanism for everyone to dodge the responsibility of infrastructure.)
  • If you’re in exurbia, particularly in the Western Suburbs, you’re shit out of luck: the train network is radial, not tangential. In fact, real estate agents in the Western Suburbs are reportedly told not to even bother showing clients a house, if it’s not 10 mins away from a train station.

The lack of a train connection to the airport is unfortunate, but not the worst thing possible.


  • More money. And none of this bullshit federal/state nonsense. Take Tony Abbott out with a projectile tram if he ever comes into power again.
  • More longterm thinking. I hope the new central tunnels are part of that.
  • More tangential connections. Good that money is being poured into more central connections, I guess, but exurbia is tumbleweeds, and radial connections only get you so much 50 km out.

What are some Greek folklore stories?

Category:Greek fairy tales – Wikipedia

Category:Greek folklore – Wikipedia

That’s a start.

We’ve got Christmas goblins (kalikantzaros), we’ve got vampires (vrykolakas), we’ve got mermaids (gorgona). Fairy tales involve, interchangeably, fairies (neraida), ogres (drakos), and black men (arapis). And saints.

My favourite fairy tale rather incongruously involves Jesus Christ. The Blessed Card Deck, from Kephallonia.

Let me summarise.

Once there was a card shark. He gets a knock on the door one night. It’s Jesus Christ.

“Mind if I spend the night?”

“Nah, that’s cool. Come on in!”

In he comes. The twelve disciples right after him.

“Oh. All… right then…”

And he entertains them with all the hospitality a Greek would muster for 13 people at the last minute.

The next morning, Christ heads off, and he tells the guy:

“Thanks, man. Three wishes.”

“Hm. OK, fairy tale logic applies, right?”


“OK… so what do I want…”

St Peter prompts him: “Immediate admission into Paradise.”

“OK, I want a Magical Card Deck that never loses.”


St Peter prompts him: “Immediate admission into Paradise.”

“Magic Pear Tree, that people get stuck to until I say otherwise.”


St Peter glares at him.

“Oh, OK, and that immediate admission thing, what the guy with the key said.”


The card shark has a long successful career of winning at cards. Until one day, the Angel of Death rocks up.

“Oy. Time’s up.”

“Oh. Yeah, cool. Listen, I’m in the middle of a card game right now. In the meantime, how about you go out the back, and help yourself to some pears.”

“Thanks, man!”

So he plays on for another few decades, until he finally gets bored, and he goes out the back to the pear tree.

“OK, Angel of Death. Let’s go.”

The peeved Angel of Death leads him along. On the way, the card shark accosts various randoms, and plays cards with them. If they lose, they have to follow him.

By the time he gets to the Pearly Gates, he’s got 12 randoms tagging along.

“Hey! It’s the key guy!”

“What the hell?! Who are these people?”

Christ comes out to see what the fuss is.

“You know, I only granted you immediate admission into Paradise. I didn’t say You And Guests.”

“Yeah, well you rocked up with 12 guys, and I didn’t complain, did I?”

“Oh. Fair enough. Come on in!”

(Much, much chattier original text: Σκιαδαρέσης, Σ. 1951. Η βλοημένη τράπουλα. Mélanges offerts à Octave et Melpo Merlier. Athènes: Institut Français d’Athènes. 2:379–395.)

Regarding the fact that Iranian Azeris are much more than Azeris of Azerbaijan, which group should be considered as the main and central Azeri group?

I will preface this by saying that I am speaking from a position of profound ignorance.

As full disclosure, I will now say everything that I know about Azeris.

  • Azerbaijan and Armenia seem to have been on the edge of going to war, for a while now.
  • Azeri sounds to me like Turkish with Persian vowels.
  • Tabriz is where the Byzantine astronomer Gregory Choniades studied. Which is why half the words in his first textbook on astronomy are untranslated Persian.
  • Pegah Esmaili is awesome, and should be given lots of money.

This concludes the list of things I know about Azeris.

Which makes the Anon A2A delightful. Yay, more bulls-eyes on my back.

(Is this the Anon I think it is?)

OK, so how does one objectively work out the question of who is the main and central group is, out of the Baku Azeris and the Tabriz Azeris?

Is it about population? If that was the only criterion, English would have been renamed American a long time ago.

The choice of the group that is deemed the most central in an ethnicity is that group which is the most prestigious vehicle of the ethnicity.

What criteria make a group most prestigious, when it comes to the ethnicity?

  • History: if the group claims immediate continuity, genetic or geographic, with the past of the group.
  • Culture: if the group has produced the more cherished component of the ethnicity’s cultural heritage.
  • Power: if the group, either previously or currently, exercises power over the rest of the ethnic group.

Because I know nothing about Azeris, I have no idea which way the criteria weigh.

There is, of course, a fourth criterion, which is pretty straightforward.

  • Having a country with the ethnic group’s name on it.

Even if the History, Culture, Power and Population all weighed towards Tabriz instead of Baku (and I have no idea if they do or not), Azərbaycan Respublikası [Republic of Azerbaijan] sounds more like where the main and central Azeri group hangs out, than Şərqi Azərbaycan ostanı [East Azerbaijan Province].

That’s the outsider’s perspective.

That said, of course Rashad is right. There shouldn’t be a competition about who is more Azeri than the other. That’s counterproductive. Objectively.

It’s almost as clear an objective truth, as the assertion that Pegah Esmaili is awesome, and should be given lots of money.

Does modern Greek still use the six tenses of classical Greek?

No, thank God. Although there’s some noteworthy continuities in what has survived: the morphology and semantics are pretty much the same. In the indicative:

  • Present: yes.
  • Imperfect: yes. The imperfect shows up in subjunctive contexts, to do the work of the erstwhile optative.
  • Aorist: yes.
  • Future: no. Replaced by a succession of auxiliary formations (μέλλω, έχω, να subjunctive, θέλω); the θέλω formation has prevailed, and is now a θα particle. Just like the will future in English.
  • Perfect: no. Replaced by auxiliary formation, with have or be. Just like the perfect in English.
  • Pluperfect: no. Replaced by auxiliary formation, with had or was. Just like the perfect in English.
  • Future perfect: no. Replaced by auxiliary formation, with θα and have or be. Just like the future perfect in English.

In the subjunctive, imperative, and participle, the present/aorist distinction survives, and is purely aspectual.

Apparently many Quorans are barraged by stalkers. I have yet to attract a single one. What am I doing wrong?

Chad, you’ve been answered by the best, Gigi J Wolf. So there’s little for me to add.

I’ll go ahead anyway.

First of all, my immediate reaction was: Who the hell are you, OP, and what the hell have you done with Chad Turner?

Knowledgeable, studious, taciturn Chad. Always at the ready in the Classics questions with a well thought out answer, but a man of few words and dry. This does not sound like the kind of question Chad would pose, surely.

In fact, Chad came up in conversation I had once with another Quoran, linguâ graecobarbarâ. (The context was Hellenists’ reactions to another poster.) That was the closest I’ve ever been to stalking him. “Nice guy, but a bit stryphnos” was my interlocutor’s remark. Yeah, I guess you could translate stryphnos as “dry”.

Ignore any negative connotations you might find in your Greek–English dictionary under stryphnos. Greeks don’t get dry.

In order to ascertain who the hell OP is, and what the hell he has done with Chad, I popped over to his feed. I do follow Chad, but I don’t see his stuff that often.

My verdict:

…. You’re goddamn hilarious, Chad (or whoever it is that’s running Chad’s feed). The non-Classics answers sound like they’re written by the selfsame guy who writes the Classics answers I’ve seen, and they are fricking bone-dry delicious. I am pissed off that I haven’t seen more of your stuff, and you’re getting a shovel of upvotes from me to address that.

So why haven’t you been stalked?

  • Dry and curt makes you a very small target. Most Quorans, like most Greeks, don’t get dry.
  • You’re not an attention-whore like, oh, me: you don’t seem to chit chat much, or hang out in threads full of selfies or interminable flame wars.
  • And of course, all the stuff Gigi enumerated. Including cleavage.

Is the pic you, btw, or some pop culture reference I’m too Australian to get? I can’t work it out.

EDIT: Hey, we’re both 45! I think you’ve got yourself a stalker!