Why were some popular Quorans banned in the last few days?

Before this question, too, gets deleted:

  • The reason given by Quora Moderation in those users’ edit logs was either harassment or sock puppeting.
  • At least one user has found evidence on Reddit of brigading—coordinated reporting. At least two of the users banned were aware they were likely to be banned as a result.
  • There have been indications in other answers to the now deleted question on these bans that there was retaliatory reporting between people.
  • Quora Moderation is obligated to follow up on reports from users. The fact that they have provided rationales in the case of these bans, and that these bans came so densely, certainly indicates deliberate action.
  • Quora Moderation is known to be fallible, simply from the fact that they have unbanned users that were banned. Whether these users will be unbanned or not, who knows. But sockpuppeting and harassment in particular are something Quora has zero tolerance of.
    • I am not accusing the banned Quorans of this myself. I am saying that such claims from Moderation are very hard to argue against, and deem subjective.
  • Finally, Quora Moderation does NOT ban users for posting boring clickbait (as a now deleted answer hints). Moderation acts on accusations of policy violation, not on subjective quality assessments.

Who invented the word “Mathematics”?

In its modern meaning of mathematics, the earliest citation Liddell–Scott give is the treatise of the same name by Archytas. (However, the German Wikipedia doubts that was the original title of his work.) The term comes into its own in its modern meaning in Aristotle, a generation later, who uses it extensively.

Plato was the exact same age as Archytas and his friend, but he only used the term to mean “fond of learning” (Timaeus 88c), or “scientific” (Sophist 219c). He does get close when he refers to the three mathemata (sciences) of arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy (Laws 817e), but he isn’t quite there yet, and his term for mathematics is logismos, “calculation”.

Answered 2017-03-19 · Upvoted by

Gerhard Heinrichs, Master Mathematics, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (1973)

Who has invented the word philosophia?

The word is all over the place in Plato and his contemporaries and it’s not in Homer. Philosophy – Wikipedia guesses that Pythagoras probably came up with it first.

The basis for that guess, from what I can tell, is that as cited in LSJ (s.v. φιλόσοφος), both Cicero (Tusc. 5.3.9) and Diogenes Laertes (prooem 12) report that Pythagoras called himself a philosophos “lover of wisdom”, and not just a sophos “wise man, scholar”. That implies to me that this terminology was an innovation by Pythagoras. Pythagoras was certainly early enough in the philosophical tradition for that to make sense.

What would a conversation between planets of our solar system be like?

Originally asked as: What would a conversation between heavenly bodies be like?

Downtown at Brazzers HQ:

—Hey stranger! Woah! Nice sixpack, dude!

—Yeah, gotta work out when I can. Hey, you’ve healed up nice!

—Yeah, you like? I went with the single Ds. Better match for my frame.

—Awesome. So. Standard set of positions in this shoot?

Oh, I’m sorry, you meant a different kind of heavenly bodies.

Well, to take my mind from the gutter right up to the sublime, I invoke Michael Masiello’s answer to What was God doing during the infinity prior to creating man? (I’m an atheist.)

The thing to understand is that temporality is the dimension in which finite beings, who undergo change, who begin and end, perceive reality and have their being. It is sequential, narrative-like, a process of generation and corruption.

God is typically conceived as eternal, atemporal: he sees all of what finite, conditioned minds would perceive as “times” uno mentis in ictu, as Boethius would say, “in one stroke of the mind.” There is only one eternal moment, one word eternally speaking. This is sometimes called a nunc stans (see nunc stans – definition of nunc stans in English | Oxford Dictionaries).

What sort of conversation do you have with someone timeless? Someone for whom there is no new information to exchange, nothing to learn? Never mind understanding such a being, how do you even meaningfully talk to someone in the nunc stans?

No, Arrival (2016 movie) did not really cover this off.

Well, what conversations do the heavenly spheres have? They’re just as timeless, just as unchanging: nothing to learn, nothing to forget, nothing to exchange that won’t already have been exchanged. Even in the physical universe, what discourse can there be between bodies whose nunc isn’t stans, but which does measure in the billions of years?

You might say my imaginary discussion between two professionals in peak physical condition, in the San Fernando Valley, is inane. I’d say by our metric, the discourse of Mercury and Mars would be much more inane:


—Other Orbit.

—I see you.

—Then you won’t. Then you will again.

—Is this over yet?


—Other Orbit.

—I see you.

—Then you won’t. Then you will again.

What language games do linguists play?

More of a polyglot game, this, than a linguist game, but: switch the TV to a foreign language film halfway through, and try to work out what the language is. The fact that the language almost always sustains a local film industry does constrain the possible choices.

The rule of thumb I worked out quite early is, if they look Swedish and sound Turkish, they’re Hungarian.

What is the Greek equivalent of “Skin in the Game”?

Tough one, I agree. And it turns out OP was after Ancient Greek.

For Modern Greek, I agree with Yiannis Papadopoulos’ answer to What is the Greek equivalent of “Skin in the Game”? that “skin in the game” is about emotional investment, not “putting your ass on the line”. It’s easier for me to actually think of negative rather than positive statements.

  • Positive: τον κόφτει “it cuts him”—using an archaic form of the verb “cut”, rather than the normal modern form κόβει.
  • Negative: αμέτοχος “unengaged, unparticipating” (learnèd); δεν τον κόφτει “it doesn’t cut him”, πέρα βρέχει “it rains far away” (i.e. he’s indifferent), ζαμανφού “I don’t care” [archaic slang: this is of course just French je m’en fous, “I don’t give a fuck”]


  • τῆς δὲ ζημίας μεγίστη τὸ ὑπὸ πονηροτέρου ἄρχεσθαι, ἐὰν μὴ αὐτὸς ἐθέλῃ ἄρχειν (Republic 347c): But the chief penalty is to be governed by someone worse if a man will not himself hold office and rule.

What does Quora look like for a banned user?

Another recent data point: Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir

Quora ban

I wasn’t given a reason — all I know is that I was automatically logged out yesterday, and the next moment I’m locked out of logging in because I’m permanently banned. I lost a lot of detailed answer drafts, some content I’d written in response to questions in Quora messages, and a 8000+ word blog post criticising The Political Compass. I’m glad I’d at least posted the long comments I was writing before I got banned.

What are some examples of word-play in constructed languages such as Esperanto and Lojban?

Esperanto neurotically tried to avoid lexical ambiguity, but didn’t get there for compounding, and between that and soundalikes, it’s doing ok. Raymond Schwartz was the main punmaster of the language.

Examples: the sundry aĝo “age” compounds in La Diversaj Aĝoj de l’ Homo, or the groanworthy “tumble dry” of Molière in El “Verdkata Testamento” (1926); Ero (lava rulo; The Miser is L’avarulo).

Lojban really is designed to avoid lexical ambiguity, including at compounding, and I don’t remember much play there, if any.

Klingon has a fair bit of polysemy, and that has been used for jokes. I’ve mentioned here, I think, my spontaneous pun when I walked into my first Klingon meetup, and a guy I’d managed to antagonise said SaH ’Iv? (“Who cares?”) Quick as a pistol, I responded jISaH jIH, naDev jIHmo’: “*I*’m present, because I’m here.” (The verb is ambiguous.)

Polysemy also explains a joke by Okrand, which at first glance seems to be an anti-joke:

Doq’a’ SuvwI’pu’? ghobe’! SuD! “Are warriors red? No! They are blue!”

The chuckle by Michael Dorn on the recording was… unnerving.

But SuD doesn’t just mean blue. (Or green. Or, in violation of how human colour works, yellow.) SuD also means “to take a risk”…