Quora has awarded the Quill in strange ways.
Quora has awarded the Quill to writers with piercing intellect. Quora has awarded the Quill to pablum-peddling peacocks.
Quora has awarded the Quill to established scholars. Quora has awarded the Quill to ordinary Joes.
Quora has awarded the Quill to people spreading well-founded scholarship. Quora has awarded the Quill to people advocating variants of the Phantom time conspiracy theory.
Quora has awarded the Quill to gnomes and monitors and community contributors. Quora has awarded the Quill to fly-by celebrities on the basis of one session.
And yes, Quora has awarded the Quill to people who write good knowledge, and Quora has awarded the Quill to people who write good anecdotes.
I can name examples of all of the above, but not publicly, because of BNBR.
Unlike another answerer, I don’t think all that have received the Quill deserve the Quill; but my aims for Quora are not Quora’s aims. Quora awards the Quill for its own purposes. Whatever the hubris of 2010 was (“Quora will replace Wikipedia! Quora will replace Google!”), Quora’s mission is not restricted to “spreading knowledge”; it also involves getting eyeballs to advertisers. And it involves funnelling listicle articles for republication to the Buzzfeeds of this world.
And in many ways, I’m happy that Quora is not restricted to “spreading knowledge”, and that people can tell anecdotes here. For those who smirk “if you want Facebook, you know where to find it”, I can only retort “if you want StackExchange, you know where to find it.” Quora is not StackExchange, and it does not need to be.
Just as my aims for Quora are not Quora’s aims, Quora’s aims are not my aims; and I’m grateful to the bots of the Quora feed that I am largely insulated from the Top Writers writing stuff I don’t want to hear from. Some people come here for the Chicken Soup For The Soul pap and the Listicles; I don’t, and I rarely see it. Some TWs grow entitled and complacent, opine on anything they feel like, and are neither Nice nor Respectful when called on it. Them, I mute, if they don’t mute me first.
Use Quora for your own ends, and don’t make Quora’s aims your aims. The Quill means that a bot picked a writer from a pile using some stats, in accordance to some witches’ brew of quantitative criteria, and some staffer OK’d them. If you’re depending on quills to pick who’s worth reading, you’re missing out.
If you’re like me, and you follow people despite having a quill rather than because of it, well, maybe we’re missing out too. 🙂