Would Quora be better if there were a filter to reject questions that are trivially answered via a Google search?

Consider the thoughtful responses in Is it bad to ask questions on Quora that could easily be answered via a Google search?

And the headline response by Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, Quora cofounders:

Adam D’Angelo’s answer to Why do some people ask questions on Quora that could easily be answered by using a search engine?

Charlie Cheever’s answer to Why do some people ask questions on Quora that could easily be answered by using a search engine?

I think their vision of Quora acting as a cache for Google is… well, ambitious. Insane. Counterproductive, even.

But that’s their vision for the company until we’re told otherwise; so for them, Quora would not be better. (And you’re not a stakeholder, OP.)

Which English dialect do you speak, according to the linked quiz?

Our top three guesses for your English dialect:

1. New Zealandish

2. Australian

3. Singaporean

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:

1. English

2. Swedish

3. Chinese – See more at: Which English? on GamesWithWords.org

Was it the She’ll be right answer?

I didn’t mention sheep once, how did they get New Zuhluhnd?

I want to start a polyamorous/polygamous lifestyle. What are the most important things I need to know/be warned about?

As a monogamous individual (hello, wife!) I’m not well placed to answer; but I’ll add a tidbit of my own limited experience, to corroborate what Claire J. Vannette said at the end of her answer.

In my early twenties, I hanged out with a group of poly folk. I was in a brief relationship with one (let’s call them X), and found that it wasn’t for me. Not why X and I broke up, but it didn’t help. And I’ll save the TMI on that for when I’m more drunk, and I have a less broad audience.

Anyway, the thing about this poly group was that a critical mass of them (particularly group member A who got together with X) spent a lot of time talking about how being poly made them more highly evolved human beings than the unenlightened masses.

Well, you could argue that. In hindsight, given that everyone involved was in their early twenties, I would be reluctant to infer much of anything. It’s the kind of thing obnoxious twenty year olds would say.

Somewhat ruefully, about a decade later, I went to X’s housewarming party. And because I hadn’t stayed in touch, I asked what had become of Y, and Z, and W.

It turned out that half the group weren’t on speaking terms any more, and the other half were grudgefucking.

Now, I may well have gotten my immature vengeful monogamist jollies out of that situation; but that’s not the lesson you should be drawing from my anecdote, Anon.

The lesson you should be drawing is to go back to Claire’s answer, and Noël’s.

  • Being poly is work: it’s not just a full-time orgy.
  • Being poly depends on open and clear communication.
  • Being poly doesn’t make you a superior being, any more than it makes you an inferior being.
    • And I know twenty-year-olds are sexy, but God, don’t get drawn into stoner debates with them about superiority. You’ll end up like an Ayn Rand acolyte.
  • Being poly means you still have to deal with insecurities, defensiveness, and all the other stuff that flesh is heir to. And you have a higher responsibility to deal with them, if anything, because more people are being impacted.

Oh, and one more thing. One of the arguments A would use for being poly is that “love is not a cake”: it’s not a finite resource, you can share love with multiple people.

Which is true. But you know what is a cake?


You will be sharing time with multiple people, and you will need to be there for them when they need you with them, as a partner. (And even as a fuckbuddy.)

As the numbers go up, so do the logistics. (Another thing I was amused to see A work out a bit too late.) Be prepared to have open discussion about that too.

How would you describe the dialect and accent of the languages which you can speak?

Ooh! Ooh! All the good people are here!

(And if not, they will be, dammit.)

The languages I speak or have spoken with some degree of spontaneity:

English, Greek, French, German, Italian, Latin, Esperanto, Lojban, Klingon

*deep breath*


Australian English, probably General vanilla. Nothing particularly “ethnic” about my accent (the “woggy” accent of my youth, which had strongly centralised vowels). Some Americanisms in my vocabulary, but no more I suspect than most of my contemporaries; I don’t think my infancy addiction to Sesame Street, or my three years living in Orange County had an impact. Americanisms do come out when I talk to Americans though.

A tiny bit of interference from Greek: “shut the phone”, “shut the lights”, and the propensity to spout proverbial Greek folk wisdom at inappropriate moments. (“Silk boxers require adroit arses.”)

(It sounds better in the original.)


My accent has been impacted from living most of my life outside of Greece: my dentals move to alveolars, and when I’m tired I no longer trill my r’s. I don’t have great command of slang, and I find it challenging to tell a story in Greek entertainingly (i.e. fluency in narrative strategies).

My vocabulary is eclectic in the opposite direction from Dimitra Triantafyllidou, as she has noted—it’s on the hyperdemoticist side. I delight in obsolete loanwords (guverno for government < Italian (Venetian?) governo; lakirdi for conversation < Turkish lâkırdı); and I’m probably the only Greek speaker left who prefers englezos over anglos for English. Paradoxically, that actually shows you how bookish my Greek is—the demotic comes from literature.

My pronunciation, I’m convinced, is influenced by my father’s Cypriot: my nasals are a bit overlong. But my father does not speak dialect (apart from the odd explosion of θκιάολε μαύρε!), and any dialect influence I have is from my mother’s Cretan. I can fake Cretan dialect just convincingly enough that my relatives get concerned (“you, a scholar, talking like a peasant!”); but actual substrate influence is limited. Maybe a bit of intonation, occasional Rj > R (I thought δεκαρά was slang for δεκαριά “ten-odd”; it’s dialect. The lexicographer who picked me up on it thought this adorable.)


A little bit of Southern French from my high school French teacher—pronouncing final e’s. But mostly, I’m afraid, Pepe le Pew. My vowels are more often than not wrong, in the way that ’Allo ’Allo alludes to.


Like most of my foreign languages (other than Klingon and French), my German sounds Greek. I can try and remember to speak crisply and teutonically, or I can try and remember my vocabulary and putting the verb at the end; I can’t do both.

When I was attempting a particularly convoluted sentence one day, my German interlocutor interrupted me with:

Ein Kebab bitte! Viel Sauce!

Ever since, I’ve described my German to others as Kebabverkäuferlich. Kebab-sellerish.

You won’t be surprised to hear that when I was in Vienna, my best conversations in German were with cab drivers. We shared that kebab substrate.


I never actually learned Italian; I just reconstructed it from Latin and Esperanto. But I did hang out with Italian lecturers, and I got more of the intonation than I did in German. I actually modelled myself after the guy I was research assistant for—who is Slovene–Croat and L2 Italian. He’s fluent, but his accent was a little blunted, which I found less intimidating to imitate.

I don’t double consonants (because Greek), and any alternation of long and short vowels are probably accidental. But I was confident enough with my Italian, that I did get asked in Desenzano del Garda whether I was from Friuli. (They assumed I was from the next county rather than the next country.)


Greek. No long vowels at all. Closer to classical than church Latin, modulo /v/, but… yeah, less said the better.


Greek. Hilariously, Greek and Spanish are meant to be the model accents for Esperanto, because Esperanto is not meant to have long and short vowels; but the older reference grammar deplored Greek accents as sound like machine gun fire.

Come to think of it, yes, that’s what my Esperanto sounds like too.


Eh, Greek with sibilants? Lojban is a hard language to speak fluently, because you have to think in nested parentheses; but in between the rat-tat-tat accent and the rushing through the bits between nested parentheses, I think I was hard for anyone else to follow.


My Klingon does not sound Greek. With phonemes like <q, Q, D, S, tlh> /qʰ, qχ, ɖ, ʂ, tɬ/, it really couldn’t.

My Klingon sounds New Zealandish.

The vowels of Klingon are described by their author… impressionalistically. He’s writing for Trekkies, after all, not professional linguists. The author emphasised how lax the <I> is, and that it’s not an /i/. (That’s why it’s capitalised: to show that it’s not the same as <i>.)

I… took the laxing a bit too seriously. It was intended to be /ɪ/, I ended up producing /ɨ/. When I first spoke Klingon to other Klingonists, they were sure I was saying /ɛ/.

Apart from that, my gutturals are probably on the lenis side. It’s still meant to be a language, not performance art.

How often are you seeing ads on Quora?

I’m in Australia, it’s been four months since ads started rolling out on Quora. I’ve seen an ad once in all that time.

EDIT: in the two weeks since, I’ve seen ads twice; both, inexplicably, inviting me to follow Quora on Facebook.

EDIT 2: It’s now September 18. In the 5 weeks since the last edit, I’m seeing them a lot more, maybe three or four times a day. Some of them well pitched, some of them less so; the well pitched ones, unsurprisingly, were in IT.

Does the word Medical have any relation with the Medes people?

At first, I thought “oh come on!”

Then I thought “hey, I should check.”

Now I think “probably not, but it was worth checking”.

medical comes ultimately from Latin mederi “to heal, give medical attention to, cure”: Online Etymology Dictionary. In turn, this ultimately derives from the Indo-European stem *med– (Pokorny’s dictionary), “to measure; to give advice, healing”. The Greek cognate is Homeric μέδομαι “provide for, be mindful of”, and μήδεα “counsels”; the other Latin cognate is meditari “think or reflect on, consider”. The English cognate is to mete out.

Oh, the other Greek cognate? The name suffix –medes. As in Ἀρχιμήδης “Archimedes”.

Looks like Medes, doesn’t it. So where do Medes come from?

Online Etymology Dictionary has the unadventurous suggestion “from king Medos”. Blah, that doesn’t mean anything.

Wikipedia offers: Medes

The original source for different words used to call the Median people, their language and homeland is a directly transmitted Old Iranian geographical name which is attested as the Old Persian “Māda-” (sing. masc.). The meaning of this word is not precisely established. The linguist W. Skalmowski proposes a relation with the proto-Indo European word “med(h)-” meaning “central, suited in the middle” by referring to Old Indic “madhya-” and Old Iranian “maidiia-” both carrying the same meaning and having descendants including Latin medium, Greek méso, and German mittel.

That’s Pokorny’s dictionary : *medhi-. It looks like *med– , but is not the same.

So: medicos are those who mete out healthcare; the Medes are the guys who live in the mid part of Persia. And if that proposal is right, the similarity is coincidental. But for all we know, that proposal might be wrong…

Do languages other than English have a numerical concept similar to “dozens”, plural?

Modern Greek has borrowed duzina from Venetian, so that does get used.

What is more idiomatic is the suffix –arja added on to tens-words, meaning “approximately”. So ðekarja “around ten”, triantarja “around thirty, thirty-odd”, eksindarja “around sixty, sixty-odd”.

[EDIT: correction to hundreds]

Also ðjakosarja “two hundred-odd”, triakosarja “three hundred odd”, up to enjakosarja “nine hundred-odd”; “one hundred-odd” is (e)katosti or katostarja.