Some questions posted on Quora are ‘answered’ by the questioner and there is no place for another answer. Quora, why are the commercials allowed?

Because such “commercials” are not inconsistent with Quora’s missions:

  • publicly: to increase the world’s knowledge
  • publicly, when the Founders let their mind wander: to serve as a cache/substitute for Google
  • speculatively: to serve as a testbed for from sweet, sweet AI

They’re not very sociable, I admit. Even though I’ve done it myself, and recently at that. But, after all—all together now:

Quora is a Q&A site, not a social site.

Should Quora ban questions “Are people x white?”

Should they? No, because they don’t pass the threshold of Insincere or Trolling. And Quora has enough ease already in hammering down contributions to Quora.

However, such questions are indeed fingernails on a chalkboard to anyone living outside the US. A renowned Quoran of the Hellenic persuasion has once described such questions to me as αμερικανιές /amerikanˈjes/.

The colloquial modern Greek suffix –ja, plural –jes, < Mediaeval Greek –éa, is a flexible and expressive morpheme. It is not, however, complimentary.

Downvote the questions. They won’t go away, and they seem if anything to have been templated, which would mean that Quora was complicit in putting them up: Question patterns by Jay Wacker on The Quora Blog; Question Patterns (Quora feature)

Oh, you didn’t know about templated questions? Well, now you do.

Is there a way to accent an “e” to make it sound like “ah?”

I echo other respondents in expressing frustration at the vagueness of the question.

In English, there are two diacritics that can be applied to <e> to change its pronunciation.

<è> is occasionally used to ensure that the <e> is pronounced and not silent.

Grave accent

The grave accent, though rare in English words, sometimes appears in poetry and song lyrics to indicate that a usually-silent vowel is pronounced to fit the rhythm or meter. Most often, it is applied to a word that ends with –ed. For instance, the word looked is usually pronounced /ˈlʊkt/ as a single syllable, with the e silent; when written as lookèd, the e is pronounced: /ˈlʊkᵻd/ look-ed). In this capacity, it can also distinguish certain pairs of identically spelled words like the past tense of learn, learned /ˈlɜːrnd/, from the adjective learnèd /ˈlɜːrnᵻd/ (for example, “a very learnèd man”).

I make a point of writing learnèd. Very very few people do.

<ë> properly is used to split up a digraph, so the preceding vowel and the <e> are pronounced separately; e.g. Zoë /zoʊi/. However, <ë> was occasionally used for the same reason as <è> was. So (Brontë family) Brontë was a much more posh-looking rendering of the Irish surname Ó Pronntaigh, than the normal anglicisation Prunty or Brunty. Tolkien picked up that function of <ë> in his renderings of Elvish languages.

If all indo european languages come from one language, does that mean that it used to be one people who spoke that language?

Probably, but not necessarily. As the astute Joachim Pense put it (answering this question, rather than the OP’s question):

Joachim Pense’s answer to Linguists believe Proto indo European is the root of all those European languages. Does this mean that at one time everyone spoke the same language?

No. Proto-Indo-European is a reconstruction that has a scope of many centuries and a large area. The reconstruction is not able to get to a finer resolution.

In fact, the idea has been put out there (by Trubetzkoy) that Indo-European may not have been a single language at all, but a Sprachbund of languages. The reconstruction assumes that it was a single language, but the reconstruction does that for methodological reasons: it’s not like we actually know.

Even if Indo-European was a single people, languages are not genetically transmitted. There’s a lot of genetic diversity in people who speak Indo-European languages now; there may have been some diversity back then too—especially if Indo-European was always a language that spread from place to place, whether culturally or militarily.

Has Komnenos/Komnena survived as a Greek surname in modern Greece?

The question about this is always whether it’s a survival or a revival.

The Greeks of Cargèse for example convinced themselves that their main clan (the Stephanopoli) were descendants of the Comneni, and got the paperwork from the King of France to prove it. As a result, almost everyone from the village is now surnamed Stephanopoli de Comnène. (And they didn’t pronounce it /komniˈnos/ either, when they spoke Greek, but /komˈnenos/. Which shows you it wasn’t a survival, it was them reading Comnène out loud.)

From Komnenos, I see that Konstantinos Varzos did the Comnenan geneaologies in 1984 (1500 pp, linked from the article), and found the last descendant of the royal line died in 1719. And even he may have been lying about it.

So, did the surname survive? Sure. Did the family, as a patronymically passed down surname of the erstwhile Byzantine dynasty? Not as obvious.

Can a person be banned from Quora for lying?

What is Quora’s policy against users who frequently write factually incorrect answers? has an answer by a Quora Insider, and a Quora Trusted Reporter.

Triangulating between these two answers, and the Quora’s answer to How does Quora deal with reports of factually incorrect answers? policy:

  • The official consequence of incorrect answers is collapsing the answer.
  • Persistent incorrect answers may (at the mods’ discretion) be deemed spam.
  • Incorrect answers are not a reason for banning users (in the stated policy); but spam is.
  • In Marc Bodnick’s exegesis of the policy, persistent violation of policy results in bans, which makes the spam-connection explicit.

Of course, User (long live the resistance!) is right: it’s a theology. More specifically, the process of banning someone is a Star Chamber, as a result of being a cryptocracy. (See the intriguing Chrys Jordan’s answer to What if Quora were a country?) The spam connection is at the Star Chamber’s discretion to draw.

In fact, Marc’s answer had a pretty funny comment underneath:

Grant Barnes: Thank you. Will Quora say more about its criteria for factual accuracy in regard to questions of science?…

Marc Bodnick: Probably not. Jay Wacker – have we said anything publicly about this?

Oops. You’ve lifted the curtain there.

Konstantinos Konstantinides, that Greek proverb’s actually rather more violent in the original: it’s literally “better they take your eye out than your name”. But your response assumed a readership well-informed about the proclivities of individual users, enough to make judgement calls about individual users. If Quora had confidence that we could all do that, and that those judgements would scale, they wouldn’t be modding the place so heavily.

Or at least unleashing bots and outsourced near-bots to do so…