What do you do if you’ve spread yourself too thin on Quora because you have many different interests? How do you decide what questions to respond to?

I’m suffering this right now.

If you’re overrun with A2As, as I am: don’t get around to answering them in a hurry. And if someone else has gotten around it before you do, and you’re happy with their answer, well, that’s a win, isn’t it? 🙂

I would not dilute my interests, but I would let some questions slide. I’m not good at that, but what’s the alternative.

Should I just stop trying to be more likable, and be myself if I have found a way to do it with out hurting or offending others?

Abigail, I go all Michaelis Maus whenever I see unanimity. I go all the more Michaelis Maus now that Michaelis has been banned.

It’s hard for me to, because the OP (who has since deleted their account) put in the proviso: “without hurting or offending others”.

But pay attention to that: they had to. Being yourself is not a paramount goal. You still have to be part of society. You still have to be not-yourself enough, in order not to make your life a constant battle. You need discretion in life, too, and discretion is about holding back on being yourself.

If you’ve found a way to do that, that’s great: that means you’ve worked out discretion. But it’s not a one-off deal. You need to recalibrate how much of yourself you need to suppress, to be more likeable, in given social circumstances; and those circumstances are going to change, and expand, as you move around. They’ll certainly get more constrained in the workplace, for example. It’s a balancing act, and you’re going to keep balancing. Middle age is about grubby compromises. We do what we can get away with.

No good saying this to OP, they’re not here. Good luck to the rest of you.

Is there a tradition someplace in Greece, to give a special name to your last girl to get a male child?

Ah, you know there is, OP.

Greeks do have a tradition of omen-names they give kids, once they’re run out of grandparents to name their kids after—although with the drop of children per mother, and of traditional superstitions, they are probably no longer issued.

Greeks did not like female births, because they cost them. Less hands to help around the family farm, when they moved away to join their husbands’ household; and a whole lot of expense in paying out dowry. So if you had a whole lot of daughters in succession, you would eventually give one a name, asking it to stop.

One of those names, in fact, is Stamato or Stamatina. Those names are the feminines of Stamatis, which is derived from stamaˈto ‘stop’. There is no St Stamatius, and the feast day for people called Stamatis, Stamato, or Stamatina is November 8, St Michael’s day. Apparently (Σταμάτιος – Σταματία), the Archangel Michael was supposed to have said “let us stand well, let us stand with fear of God”, a line from the Mass, to stop the fallen angels from falling.

(OK, I lied. There are neomartyrs called Stamatius. Neomartyrs are martyrs under Ottoman rule; that tells you that the name was already around before Ottoman rule, and it wasn’t around thanks to any of the original batch of saints. So those neomartyrs were just called “stop!”, even if it they were boys.)

Tina Fey is Greek from her mother’s side; Tina is short for Stamatina. She has one older brother, so her name is likely not an omen name; it could have been an ancestor’s though.

Another such omen name, used in Thessaly, is Agoro, a feminine derived from aɣori ‘boy’. Αγόρω.

Is Quora’s BNBR policy reasonable?

This has been said plenty by others, and I’m just clearing my backlog with this, but:

All justice is reasonable when administered with equity. See Michael Masiello’s answer to What do you hate about Quora as of March 2017?

BNBR sure does not look like it is administered with equity. Moderation does not do context or extenuating circumstance, and it’s not supposed to.

But that’s the complaint about the implementation of BNBR.

I have plenty of concerns about BNBR as a policy itself: I think it is problematic.

BNBR licences bad knowledge and truthiness: Nick Nicholas’ answer to Why has Quora become a magnet for flat Earth and Moon landing conspiracy questions that must be given BNBR respect, even though they’re undeserving? BNBR suppresses criticism of individuals, and has a chilling effect on criticism of a lot of things. BNBR gets fetishised as an end in itself, rather than a means to more civil discourse. And BNBR is blatantly culture-specific: there is no universal measure of niceness or respect. (So everyone gets measured by a Northern Californian norm. Or that of the subcontractors thereof, or that of the bots thereof.)

These are all controversial claims, and there’s plenty of arguments to be made for and against. But saying BNBR is reasonable as a given, before moving on to how it is misapplied in practice, is not how those arguments get had.

How would you translate “Ithaca-bound” (as in “sailing towards Ithaca”) into Ancient Greek (Homeric or Attic work)?

Ἰθάκηνδε, which occurs five times in the Odyssey (1.88, 1.163, 11.361, 15.157, 16.322).

How do Quora’s algorithms “understand” irony?

I agree with Dion Shaw’s answer: detecting irony is a subtle skill, which requires you to deduce, from real world knowledge, that the speaker intends the complete opposite of what they’re literally saying, and that they think it’s appropriate to do so because they regard the question as not worth answering literally (typically because they regard the answer as obvious).

Computers aren’t doing well at detecting irony in general, and the problem is AI-hard. (Real Artificial Intelligence, with a social and intentional factor, not just machine learning.) In fact, the one paper I read about it recently was as crude as it possibly could be—it only got so far as working out that the person was speaking an untruth, ergo, Irony! But of course lying, error, and irony are not the same thing at all, even if all of them reduce to the same truth-conditional purview of a statement not being true.

Quora’s algorithms, sadly, as not in the business of extracting truth from ironic answers, which is at least part of the reason why Joke Answers are frowned upon. I have to say, I find it difficult to see how Quora’s algorithms are extracting meaning from the wide range of answers given here at all. But they don’t have to; they merely have to understand upvotes, credentials, and social networks of users.

How did the Byzantine Empire named the Mediterranean Sea?

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium confirms John Bard’s answer:

As late as the 4th C., the Mediterranean continued to be an “inner sea,” totally surrounded by the territory of the Roman Empire. It was the only sea for Greeks, the esō thalassa [internal sea] (Aristotle) as opposed to the exō thalassa [external sea] or ocean; for the Latins the mare internum, intestinum, or nostrum. The term mare mediterraneum did not appear until the 3rd C.; Isidore of Seville used it in the early 7th C. (O. Maull. RE 15 [1932] 2222). The Byz. did not have a general term for the Mediterranean, although they used special names for its parts—the Aegean, Ionian, Tyrsenikon (or Tyrrhenian), Sikelikon, Kretikon pelagos [sea].

How can we deal with the depression we’re feeling after Quora’s recent removal of question details: the way they did it and the damage to previous answers?

I delighted once or twice in doing drive-by gloats of threads in which Top Writers have just been shocked to discover that Quora doesn’t particularly care what they want, and peppering comments with repeated use of the word “fungible”. That’s dwelling on it, though, not really dealing with it.

I’ve worked at raising consciousness about what happens here, in and beyond those drive-by gloats. That’s still dwelling on it, though, and Quora has no shortage of fresh missteps to document.

I’m trying to move on from answering too many questions about the Removal of Details, which is one way.

I delight in making fun of Quora Inc., which is another: Nick Nicholas’ answer to What was the last thing you wrote by hand?

I write impossibly obscure and detailed, Medium post-like answers to non-personal but snowflakey questions, that no computer could feasibly extract meaning out of, and no canonicity is relevant to. Like Nick Nicholas’ answer to What is the so-called Greek word Albania/Αλβανιά (derogatory word), and from what does it stem?; or Nick Nicholas’ answer to Why didn’t the Greeks convert to Catholicism under the Latin Empire? Those were fun. Those were long. Those were not addressed to Quora bots. In some ways, in fact, those are the postludes to my Der Krämerspiegel.

It’s a somewhat stretched analogy (which I’ve used here once before). Let me work through it.

Richard Strauss: Der Krämerspiegel, Op 66

Unfortunately, in the contract for Opus 56, he had unwisely allowed a clause to be inserted giving Bote & Bock the rights to his next six songs whenever they might be composed.

Becoming increasingly at loggerheads with the firm, Strauss prevaricated for as long as he could. […] But in 1918 he found himself threatened with a court case. By then he had in his desk drawer the six Brentano-Lieder, later published as Opus 68 (see Volume 5), but he had no intention of surrendering such a magnificent set to Bote & Bock.

Instead he turned to Alfred Kerr, a well-known Berlin literary critic, who in March 1918 produced for him a witty set of satirical verses lampooning music publishers, and mentioning many of Strauss’s principal enemies by name. By May Strauss had set all twelve poems to music and dispatched them to Bote & Bock, who not surprisingly refused them out of hand. […]

It is easy to understand why the cycle is now rarely performed, given that the texts consist entirely of in-jokes, and that the lion’s share of the music is given to the pianist. But Strauss’s music is well worth savouring, not least for its humorous references to Strauss’s own works, such as Der Rosenkavalier and Ein Heldenleben, and especially for the beautiful prelude to the eighth song and its reprise as the final extended postlude. This has a history quite independent of the cycle, as Strauss revived its lyrical, Schumannesque theme nearly a quarter of a century later, in his opera Capriccio.

Michael S. Hurst did his PhD on Der Krämerspiegel in 2007: Interpreting Richard Strauss’s Der Krämerspiegel from the perspectives of the performers and the audience. The sense he makes of that postlude: it’s Strauss telling his publishers, “this is the music you could have had from me, if you’d only treated me with respect.”

Write the content you want, because it makes you happy, and it makes the people you’re trying to help happy. What Quora wants is secondary. It cannot but be secondary: we write for us, not for D’Angelo. It’s not like he’s paying us to write here.

Make yourself proud of what you write here. That’s the best revenge, and that’s the best way of getting over it. In particular, if you’re here to help specific question askers, and not a canonicity bot, then strike up a conversation with them in question comments on what they’re after. That’s still allowed.

And if that becomes untenable, *shrug* take your content elsewhere. Strauss did end up reusing that tune, after all.

English spelling is infamously irregular. Is it possible for it to branch into several categories (e.g., Germanic spelling, French spelling, Greek spelling, etc.)?

Yes indeed. Bear in mind in particular that Greek and Latin fall under the rules of Traditional English pronunciation of Latin. (Greek is almost always borrowed into English via Latin; but there are late exceptions like kudos, not †cydus.) Those rules are not the rules of French words in English. For example, final –e in a Greek word like psyche is always pronounced; it is never pronounced in French or Germanic words.

(That link should be mandatory reading for everyone ever btw. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve learned from it.)

Germanic and French spellings get squashed together via the crucible of Middle English spelling—and Middle English itself; but you can still discern differences. For example <k> is a Germanic thing; word-final stress is a French thing.

Do you spend more or less time writing and reading on Quora than you do interacting with ‘live’ people each day? I am attempting to assess how my time compares. Am I the only addict?

On days when I’m catching up on A2A backlogs (such as today), me. My time on Quora varies between half an hour and six hours a day. It is, on average, way too much.