Who are the new, first-time Top Writers named in January 2017, and what should we know about them?

The Wiki Editing Bug (Not the right moment for a bug! by Kat Rectenwald on Rage against Quora) has now hit this Answer Wiki too: entries are starting to disappear.

I will be updating my answer until the bug settles. Updating also from All the Top Writers for 2016 have been declared, but some of our favourites, unfortunately, didn’t make the list. Who are your favourites who didn’t make the list, and should be a new Top Writer in 2017?

EDIT: The bug seems to have gone away, so I’m no longer updating this answer.


2017 First Time Top Writers (listed alphabetically by first name):

What scores do various Quora members get on the 50-item Autism-Spectrum Quotient Index test?

Hey Philip Newton! Hi Chrys Jordan! Over here, Vicky Prest!


Fred Landis, a psychologist cannot choose his siblings! (Simon Baron Cohen, who came up with the test.)

What is the most badass thing about McKayla Kennedy?

The most badass thing about McKayla is that she would never A2A a question about herself being badass.

… Oh.

But seriously.

I don’t know her as well as I make it seem. I certainly don’t see enough of her in my feed. So I may have completely misconstrued her in this.

But what I find the most badass about McKayla is what I see as her essential decency. I hope that does not come across as weak. Because it isn’t.

It is the kind of decency you don’t see enough of. A decency that is prepared to interrogate itself. A decency that would put kindness above dogma, yet that does not compromise its essence. A decency that is earnest and giving, yet still knows how to shield itself. A decency present whether clad in tears or joy.

Like I say. I don’t know McKayla that well.

But that’s what I think is the most badass thing about her.

That, and the McDoodles…

What is the earliest known historical reference to fellatio?

According to “The History of Fellatio”, there’s depictions of fellatio associated with the myth of Isis reviving Osiris. Ancient Egypt is a safe guess, and that seems to be a corroboration.

What is the difference between athematic and irregular verbs?

I’ll answer this for Greek.

Irregular verbs are really irregular, to the extent of suppletion between different persons, and all sorts of other shenanigans.

Thematic and athematic are two different classes of regular verb. The athematic class is smaller, and has more core vocabulary verbs, so we presume it to be older; it’s like the strong/weak verb distinction in Germanic.

The thematic vowel is a vowel that connects personal inflections to the tense stem of a verb in Greek. It’s alternates between an e or an o. So, to take the paradigm verb lyō:

ly-o-ɔː > lyɔː
ly-e-es > lyeːs λύεις
ly-e-e > lyeː λύει
ly-o-ōsi > lyoːsi λύουσι

Athematic verbs have a different set of inflections, with no initial vowels, and no connecting vowel. So tithɛːmi ‘I put’:

tithe-mi > tithɛːmi τίθημι
tithe-s > tithɛːs τίθης
tithe-si > tithɛːsi τίθησι

I’m not googling Slavic, sorry. 🙂 But it’d be the same thing: historical linguists have worked out that the connecting, thematic vowel is present in the thematic verbs, and absent in the athematic vowels. They are still both regular in their own way, compared to the truly irregular verbs.

What in your opinion is the ugliest/most unappealing script?

It’s a cute question. There are aesthetics to scripts. There has been a lot of aesthetic effort put in to the calligraphies and typographies of a lot of scripts.

In fact, when I was perusing Omniglot, to find something that jumped out as ugly, I realised that the obvious candidates were minority—one-off scripts of small communities, that never got the professional attention lavished on them that big-league scripts have had.

So Eskayan script, for example (Eskayan script and language) should not be targeted here. And having found an article about it: it doesn’t look anywhere near as ugly in notebooks in situ, as it does on the sample charts online.

The major Unicode script I happen to like least is Thaana (Thaana (Maldivian) script). But the reason for that, I think, is an Uncanny valley effect: it looks like it should be Arabic, but it isn’t. (In fact, it originated as a mix of Arabic and Indic numbers.)

Does Quora Moderation read your messages?

The evidence reported in Quora deleted a private message I was writing as “unsafe” because it contained the word “stupid”. How do I get it back? suggests that it does.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise… but yes. It does.

Do you report fake names on Quora, even if their answers are very good?

Never. (In that, at least, I am not a Welchite. 🙂 cc Scott Welch

I think the policy is specious, though I’ll save my detailed thoughts why for one of my blogs.

I know women here who have had to do things with their names because they have been stalked. I will not be party to them being punished further. I won’t judge people for following the norm they follow in the rest the internet and being pseudonymous.

And it’s a person’s actions that make them an arsehole and worth reporting, not their moniker. I’ve been on plenty of pseudonymous forums where people’s contributions were exemplary.

Quora’s answer to the challenge of privacy has been not pseudonymity, but anonymity. And we all know how well that’s worked out.

Look, I don’t have to agree with Quora’s policies, I just have to abide by them. I get it. But I’m also not obligated to enforce the policies I disagree with. I report infractions, but as John Gragson put it, I won’t report the chickenshit stuff.