Which is the origin of Aromanians?

Ah yes. There isn’t enough of a bulls-eye on my back in Quora already.

There are two schools of thought on the origin of Aromanians, as discussed in Wikipedia:

  • A1. The Aromanians are descendants of Greeks (or at least, Greek-speakers) who were Latinised during Roman rule.
    • A2. Slight variant on this: the Aromanians are descendants of Roman colonists and soldiers, who spoke Latin from the beginning.
  • The Aromanians are not indigenous to the southern Balkans, and came from up north.
    • B1. Romania—which would make them transplanted Romanians
    • B2. Thrace, which would make them transplanted Thracians

As you will not at all be surprised to hear, Greeks prefer A1 (which makes the Aromanians Greek), and Romanians prefer B1 (which makes the Aromanians Romanian). Wikipedia seems to be weighing towards B2, which seems a little more plausible—less distance for the Aromanians to move.

What actual evidence do we have? Not a whole lot.

One piece of evidence is the Jireček Line, which divides up where Latin was probably the majority language from where Greek probably was, according to evidence from inscriptions. The Jireček Line runs north of FYRO Macedonia, much of Albania, and through central Bulgaria; that means it runs north of Aromanian territory. This corroborates B1 and B2.

A second piece of evidence is the torna, torna fratre phrase, discussed at length in Proto-Romanian language. In 587, during a military campaign in Haemus Mons (Balkan Mountains, central Bulgaria), a muleteer yelled at his mule “turn around, brother!” in proto-Romanian, in what the chronicler Theophylactus Simocatta calls “the local language”; the army used Latin for military commands, and the muleteer’s proto-Romanian “turn around” was misunderstood as the Latin command to retreat. Note that the meaning “turn” of Romanian toarnă is archaic, but torna is still Aromanian for “turn”.

The episode suggests that in 587 in central Bulgaria, proto-Romanian was the local language. The Haemus Mons pretty much is the Jireček Line, so that evidence also corroborates B2. “Haemus Mons” does not corroborate A1, even if the Greek PhD thesis about it (L’Aroumain et ses rapports avec le grec / Achille G. Lazarou) claims it does. (And the reprobate Westernising linguists I hanged out with in Greece did not have a lot of respect for Lazarou’s thesis: he had an agenda.)

So, no proof that Aromanians aren’t indigenous to Greece, FYRO Macedonia and Albania. But the theory that they migrated from what is now northern Bulgaria, if not Dacia itself, during the great migrations of the early middle ages, is somewhat more plausible.

Should Quora users who disable the comments in all their answers be allowed to post comments in other people’s answers?

… I guess it’s just me then.

I’m not interested in what Quora Inc. thinks about comments blocking; if Quora Inc. had its way, there would be no comments, and Quora certainly does not think comments are a big part of the desired user experience.

It seems a lot of users agree that Quora comment blockers should get to comment. Because:

  • tit for tat blocking would only exacerbate the situation, and is retributive justice (Robin Corey, Koyel Bandyopadhyay)
  • comment blockers should be given the benefit of the doubt as to why they block comments (Koyel Bandyopadhyay, McKayla Kennedy, Bart Loews), and should not be penalised as a group (Heather Jedrus): I don’t want anyone blocked (McKayla Kennedy)
  • comments are not the proper venue for disagreement; answers or downvotes or reporting are (Koyel Bandyopadhyay, Amanda Glover, Craig Good); and as Quora keeps saying, comments aren’t encouraged, and Quora is not for debate (Jon Sanchez, Amanda Glover)
  • comment blockers are intrinsically allowed to comment on others, because that’s what they want to do (Miguel Paraz, Jean-Baptiste Bertrand); block them if you don’t like it (Viktor Toth, Mohan Vanamalai, Cameron Williams, Lara Novakov, Marcus Sheldon Brandt)
  • You can always engage with me in messages instead of comments (Viktor Toth, Mohan Vanamalai)

Only a few respondents acknowledged an inherent discomfort with comment blockers commenting (Cameron Williams, Marcus Sheldon Brandt, Heather Jedrus, Robin Corey)—including the two comment blockers themselves (Viktor Toth, Mohan Vanamalai).

Well, I would rather the option of disabling comments from comment-blockers, and I certainly decline upvotes to comment-blockers. Of course, Quora UI being what it is, I don’t get options—things are either on or off universally. So I will just continue to shun comment blockers.

  • I have no interest in engaging in an anechoic chamber; if Quora killed comments (as they’d have preferred), I’d leave, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
  • It’s not just justice that’s retributive: morality is foundationally dependent on reciprocity. That’s the notion we call “fairness”.
  • Comment blockers may have whatever motivation they want for blocking comments: but if they take away all possibility of reciprocity, they get no engagement from me, and I fundamentally mistrust any comments they leave for anyone.
  • Bart Loews’ distinction is one I find specious: “This doesn’t mean that they’re refusing to advance conversation, often it’s just that they’ve received a disproportionate amount of hate and are looking to stem it off because they’re tired of deleting the same played out comments over and over again.” In doing the latter, they are also doing the former.
  • If you think private messages are going to encourage more civility than publicly visible comments, and you encourage private message instead of comments… well, you have enough confidence in human nature, that I’m surprised you’re blocking comments at all.
  • Reporting would assume that I have confidence and trust in Quora moderation.
  • I have resorted to answers instead of comments once or twice, when I had enough to say to warrant a competing answer (or when the competing answerer saw fit to block me). Given how downgraded comments are, they are a necessary alternative, and I acknowledge the usefulness of a retorting answer rather than a bogged down debate in comments.

How many times have you watched The West Wing all the way through?

At least six times. My wife is addicted.

I howl whenever she tries to put it on. After the first three times through, you see through all the faults. I end up watching anyway if it’s a good season.

(2nd in particular; and 5th because Josh Fricking Lyman gets at least some comeuppance. I must have been the only fan of Ryan Pierce, for that reason.)

Has Columbo ever been wrong?

Yes, although you won’t be surprised to hear that the change in the usual Columbo formula comes in the later telemovies, which tried to play with the format.

Unsurprisingly, Columbo gets it wrong in the episode called Columbo Cries Wolf (TV Episode 1990). It’s the one with the Hugh Hefner knockoff.

He gets it right in the end, of course. It is still Columbo.