Why does Quora ban so many great writers?

Originally Answered:

Why does Quora continue banning so many great Quora writers?

Konstantinos Konstantinides’ answer is true enough: people get banned because they break a rule. The multiple account rule has been quite frequently applied lately, as you can see by perusing the edit logs of banned users listed on Necrologue.

Remember Hanlon’s razor, folks. It’s easy to speculate that Quora is getting rid of anyone too contentious or colourful, because they might scare off potential investors somehow. That was widely speculated about after the expulsion of the sainted Jimmy Liu.

But no, I don’t think Quora is getting rid of its most popular and/or best writers on purpose.

What’s actually going on is four things:

  • Popular writers get exposed to more interaction, so they are more at risk of adverse attention, reporting by people that don’t like them, and losing their temper to begin with; they’ve said as much.
  • Quora makes a point of applying moderation against TW writers, pour encourager les autres.
  • Quora is not strategic about who it bans and who it tries to keep. I’m yet to see much evidence that Quora is strategic about anything. Especially 6 years in.
  • Quora doesn’t actually care that much about TWs. This contradicts the impression of a TW cabal, and the natural expectation that Quora cultivates its top assets. But there’s a lot more writers where they came from; Quora knows it and acts accordingly.

Where should I start with Shostakovich?


  • The 5th is the standard introduction to Shostakovich.
  • The 9th is small, but has all the hallmarks of true Shostakovich. It’s how I got started.
  • The 7th is populist (rat-tat-tat-tat-tat), but its slow movement is sublime.

The 24 Preludes and Fugues have something for everybody.

What is the history of Greek punctuation?

I have written some pointers about the history of Greek punctuation on my Greek Unicode Issues website: Punctuation.

To summarise:

  • The basics of punctuation as we know it in both Latin in Greek were in place by around the 10th century, including commas, periods, and interrogatives. They appear to have developed independently, although they had common antecedents in Roman era punctuation, as pioneered in Alexandria.
  • The high dot was Alexandrian, and ended up with the function of the semicolon in Latin.
  • The Greek question mark developed at the same time as the Latin interrogative, but it looked like the Latin semicolon, and has not changed.
  • The high dot also performed the function of the Latin colon. Typesetting of Ancient Greek still often uses the high dot in that function. Modern Greek now uses the colon instead.
  • The other shared punctuation—exclamation mark, parentheses, dashes, ellipses, quotation marks—are Renaissance innovations, introduced into Greek from Latin script.
  • Different countries punctuate Ancient Greek following their local norms—e.g. use of quotation marks, propensity to ellipses and exclamation marks, etc. The Modern Greek preferences in punctuation are French: use of guillemets, use of quotation dashes, etc. Greek also used expanded typing (Sperrdruck) from German instead of italics, although that is now out of fashion.

What is continua of biliteracy?

Continua of Biliteracy

An Ecological Framework for Educational Policy, Research, and Practice in Multilingual Settings

Biliteracy – the use of two or more languages in and around writing– is an inescapable feature of lives and schools worldwide, yet one which most educational policy and practice continue blithely to ignore. The continua of biliteracy featured in the present volume offers a comprehensive yet flexible model to guide educators, researchers, and policy-makers in designing, carrying out, and evaluating educational programs for the development of bilingual and multilingual learners, each program adapted to its own specific context, media, and contents.

You have a definition of biliteracy right there.

Continua simply means that there is somehow a gradation in situations described as biliteracy, that situations in the world (different language community practices of biliteracy) can fit the description more or less clearly.

Hornberger’s edited volume claims that it provides a framework in which different kinds and intensities of biliteracy can be made sense of. My experience of edited volumes is that they do no such thing—they’re excuses for different contributors to write different snapshots of what they’re interested in, and if you’re lucky one contributor will be tasked with somehow bringing it all together, and instead end up doing a glorified summary.

Maybe in this instance they actually have formulated a framework. They said ecological framework, which suggests they’re at least looking at contextual factors to differentiate different kinds of biliteracy.

But OP, you have the book, not us. You’ll have to take it from here.

What are the guidelines for anonymity on Quora?

The community expectation is that users should go anonymous only when they are writing content sensitive enough to warrant it: commercial, relationship, sexual, political, etc. Otherwise, the community norm is that you are eponymous, because that’s what we interpret the Real Name policy to be about. And eponymous users loathe people who go anonymous for no obvious reason.

But that is a community expectation. Quora itself has never said so, and I think I’ve seen it defend people’s right to stay Anon for no obvious reason.

How does everyone accept that they are going to die someday and there’s nothing they can do about it?

If you are a believer in a religion with an afterlife, as others have said, you are doing something about it.

If you’re an atheist? You accept it the same way you accept other unpleasant facts about life. Grudgingly and gradually.

When I was in my late 20s, I resented the fact that one day I would be dust. I hoped that non omnis morior. I wanted my linguistics papers laminated and buried in Svalbard.

I actually said that last bit out loud to people.

I accepted, gradually, that one day all that I was and loved and believed in and am part of would be dust. I accepted even that, if we’re not careful as a species, that might be a hell of lot sooner than the heat death of the universe. Maybe even within the century.

You may call it giving up. I prefer to think of it as growing up.

When I was in my early twenties btw, even before I was writing those papers I wanted laminated, I’d hang around this annoying guy. (Philip Newton, he was A in that XYZ and A anecdote about polyamory I wrote once.)

When I mentioned how we’d all die one day, and doesn’t that suck, he’d smirk and say “Speak for yourself.”

God I hated that guy. Don’t be that guy, OP.

The fates have had their revenge on him, for what it’s worth. He’s a middle aged management consultant with blue hair now. Blurgh.

Does language play any significant role in shaping national identity?

Language plays a huge role in shaping national identity, as any European knows. But from OP’s details, their question is really more, how does national identity get shaped in the absence of a distinct language? If it’s a sufficient but not a necessary condition, how do such countries get their own identity?

Let’s go shopping. Why does Austria have a distinct identity from Germany? Longstanding political separation, distinct history. Why does Cyprus have a distinct identity from Greece? To the extent it does at all (and the bicommunal experiment clearly failed): sense of grievance at Greece. Why does Belgium have a distinct identity? Distinct history again; and Belgium’s problem is it doesn’t have one identity, but three.

To speak of Australia (thank you Irene Colthurst!), there is a distinct Australian dialect, and it took only a generation to koineise out of the Sydney convicts’ dialects. But that dialect was not foregrounded in the formation of a national identity, which accelerated in the 1890s, in the leadup to federation. Australians then were mostly proud Britons (and remained so up until the 60s), to an extent that modern Australians find unintelligible. There was a republican narrative, but it was minority.

So what did it in Australia?

  • Sheer distance, of course.
  • The start of a distinct national mythology. Lots of romanticising of the Australian bush, and the virtues of its hard men. Poetry and short stories and paintings proved critical in the 1880s and 1890s.
  • The popular notion that Australians were superior to the Britain British physically and, ultimately, socially. Australians were loyal Britons far too long, but they also took pride in defining themselves against the British.
  • Sport. No, I don’t get it either. But sport. Both within Australia, and as an opportunity to beat the British at their own game. When Australia contemplated becoming a republic in 1999, one of the most pressing questions from the public was whether Australia could still participate in the Commonwealth Games. The international sporting competition where Australia is guaranteed to beat everyone else showing up. And which up until 1950 was called the Empire Games.
  • The strong republican and Irish-Australian undercurrent: Australia was divided into English and Irish, with the English having the upper hand, but Catholicism had a strong presence, and bequeathed a legacy of resentment of the crown.
  • Different, local bogeymen to what the Britain British had. It sounds horrible now, but the White Australia policy was really part of the how White Australians asserted their own identity: through pinpointing a regional threat that Mother Britain was indifferent about.
  • The mythology that cemented Australian national identity was Gallipoli: the first time Australians fought in numbers overseas.
    • It’s swept under the carpet now that they fought under the Union Jack, and that the reason returning Diggers found little resentment in Turkey was that, as far as the Turks were concerned, they had been English. In fact, it was much easier for ANZAC to be part of the national mythology, once the original diggers had died off.

Do you urinate, defecate, and/or fart in front of your significant other? If not, why not? If so, how did it happen, and how long did it take you to feel comfortable doing so?

Jeremy Glenesk said:

I’ll even kiss my wife when she is on the toilet.

… *raises hand sheepishly*. Yeah, but usually because she’s asked me to. 🙂

I will tend to draw the door when in the dunny myself, though as much as anything that’s to forestall protestations about associated odour.

Farts… well, I have done, but I can’t say it was welcomed. 🙂

Are there some Latin alphabet languages except for Latvian that change personal names when translating to their language and why don’t others do that?

Refer to the related question What non-Roman scripts keep foreign words in Roman?

You ask which Latin alphabet languages do transliterate, and why more Latin alphabet languages don’t transliterate. I know Czech does (right, Zeibura S. Kathau), but it is indeed the case that most Latin alphabet languages don’t, and certainly any that do are Eastern European: no Western European languages do.


The following related reasons, I surmise, though this is a surmise:

  1. Based on the Greek experience, where foreign names started showing up in Latin alphabet a couple of decades ago: respecting the prestige of the source language(s), by keeping them in their source orthography.
  2. Showing off that you are an intellectual and a polyglot, and you know exactly how Hungarian or French or Danish pronounces those names, so you have no need of demeaning cribs like transliteration. Remember, after all, who the people were who needed to refer to contemporary foreign names to begin with. And remember also that politically familiar names were often assimilated popularly; Napoleon, for example.
    1. These two points are really the same point presented differently.
  3. Minimising the risk of not recovering the source spelling of the name from the transliteration, in case you need that source spelling. (Who’s Smits? Smith? Smit? Smeets?)
  4. Once people started doing things that way: inertia.

Oh, and OP? People do write Sean in English as Shawn. But only if it’s their own kid. 🙂

Up until the 1600s, foreign names showed up around the West in Latin. And in Latin, of course they were changed to meet both Mediaeval Latin phonetics and inflection. So this is a Modern Era thing.