An insightful connection…

… made by the same correspondent as before who wanted to remain anonymous about Ads under lightboxes.

The lack of upvote counts in your feed (which I’m now conceding is a feature, and has just been rolled out to me) incentivises you just that little bit more to click on “stories”…

… which you view as lightboxes…

… which now have ads at the bottom…

… just under where the upvote count is.

Why do my classmates like using my Chinese name instead of my English name?

Two contrary reasons. In the particular context you’re detailing (them laughing), one is likelier; but both should be stated for others coming across this question.

One tendency is mockery of the exotic; teenagers in particular have a strong, even brutally, conformist ethic, and they deride names that they find out of the ordinary.

The contrary tendency, which you’ll find more with adults, is what its proponents will call intercultural respect and its opponents political correctness. It is a rejection of assimilation, by people aware that assimilation is a cultural imposition on minorities. This can lead to overcorrection (people expecting chopsticks in Thai restaurants), and it can lead to paternalism (they may insist on using a Chinese name for you, thinking they are respecting you, even if you’ve told them you’d much prefer them to use an Anglicised name). There’s some exoticisation going on there too.

That tendency, for better or worse, seems to be more an Anglosphere thing than elsewhere; check the controversy over what to call the capital of China, for another example.

Why did the post-structuralists ignore linguists such as Chomsky, who is far more important than Ferdinand de Saussure?

I’m not convinced by Michael Minnich‘s account, which makes a French Swiss linguist a Teuton. But it is certainly true that poststructuralism, as a European invention, was always going to draw more inspiration from what was happening in the generation of the European linguists who had trained the first poststructuralists, than in what was happening at the same time across the Atlantic in linguistics.

That aside, there is an internal reason why de Saussure was more useful to the post-structuralists than Chomsky. De Saussure’s structuralism emphasised both paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations of signs. The European structuralists generalised his semiotics, applying it outside of linguistics. And outside of language, the syntagmatic relation does not do as much work, and is not as complex, as the paradigmatic relation.

The point of Chomsky was to elevate syntax as the primary domain of linguistics. Outside of language, syntax just isn’t as important in sign systems. So what Chomsky was up to simply wasn’t as useful to those philosophers and semioticians.

Why did Quora remove the number of upvotes before clicking an answer?

Originally Answered:

Why is Quora hiding upvote counts from me until I upvote an answer?

If any of you have been on Quora long enough, you should know that most surprising UX features here are either bugs or trial balloons.

Claire J. Vannette’s answer to Why did Quora remove the number of upvotes before clicking an answer?

And note from that question that the same bug (or trial balloon) was observed 10 months ago.

EDIT: I don’t have this yet, but yes, this is likely a feature…

EDIT: I have it. I proclaim this feature.

Shouldn’t it be σ in front of a word?

The question asks why this mosaic has written “know thyself” as ΓΝΩΘΙ ϹΑΥΤΟΝ.

That Ϲ you see there is a capital letter, and it is not a final lowercase sigma ς. It is a lunate sigma. The Lunate Sigma predates the invention of lowercase, and was the form of the sigma used in the Roman and Byzantine eras; it is still used to allude to that period in modern fonts (e.g. in church contexts).

Both the medial and the final lowercase sigmas, σ ς, evolved out of the lunate sigma; and if you try writing lunate sigmas in cursive, you can work out why.

I have written more on the lunate sigma on my site on Unicode Greek.

Should some of Mahler’s early symphonies be considered more collections of movements than unified statements?

does anyone regularly listen to the Third all the way through?

*raises hand*

In fact, the Third is so through-composed, that its original final movement, which ended up as the first movement of his Fourth, quotes the fifth movement of the Third. And the Third has a quite intentional, programmatic structure of building up from the unconscious (nature) to the fully conscious (God).

Ditto the Second, again with a clear programmatic structure (notwithstanding the exceedingly awkward request for a five minute break between the first and second movements). The Fourth has the famous flash-forward of the fourth movement in the third, though you could argue that the first three movements are more loosely coupled; but of course the Fourth is deliberately less expansive than the other symphonies. And the Middle symphonies are awash in recapitulating material from earlier movements.

I think the only symphony you could argue that for is the First Symphony. There’s meant to be a programme holding that symphony together too, and Mahler did not disavow that programme as thoroughly as he did for the later symphonies; but the movements really do sound like they have nothing to do with each other. But the First is an immature work structurally anyway.

The criticism is a legitimate one to raise with symphonic works in general, and until Mahler’s generation, having thematic cohesion between movements was rare. (Beethoven rummages through the other movements’ themes in the start of the fourth movement of the Ninth, but that’s because he’s programmatically searching for a tune.) The pursuit of thematic cohesion within a symphony is plausibly an inheritance from Wagner; and in that regard, Mahler was a Wagnerian.

Answered 2017-04-18 · Upvoted by

Saul Tobin, composer, writer

If I have a cool idea to improve Quora, who should I talk to?

Not Quora Feature Requests Notepad. I have no evidence to suggest that the Quora Design team reads it.

Not an answer in the How Could X on Quora Be Improved? topic. Ditto.

Honestly, I’d find a Quora Designer’s account, and message them. I think your suggestion will still be ignored, but at least there’s a chance your suggestion will be read first.

If you are a Top Writer, you will have somewhat better access to Quora staff, but not substantially better. There is a dedicated Facebook group for user feedback.

From anecdote I am passing on from an unnamed source: there is a group of users that Quora staff solicit regular feedback from, including IRL; but its membership numbers in the single digits.

Has Nick Nicholas ever studied any form of Norwegian and can he actually speak Norwegian?

Peter J. Wright, why didn’t you A2A?

I have not studied Norwegian. However, one of my fellow PhD students did, writing her thesis on it, and she was a gung-ho Nynorskist. I actually red-penned a passage in her thesis where she referred to Bokmål as Danish.

I didn’t think I was actually all that pro-Bokmål in my answers; but if I come across that way, it’s because I’ve been in contact with biased Nynorsk-speakers, and it’s to refute my own instinctive attraction to Nynorsk, as a “language of the people” (Osloans are people too), or as a counterpart to Greek Demotic. (Then again, Standard Demotic is artificial too.)

And yes, it’s because I’ve read linguistic and sociolinguistic research, and Wikipedia.