Day: February 15, 2017
If you could add “but” to some of your Quora bios/credentials, what would you write?
Well, if I’m going to be A2A’d by Ms Tsymbarevich, I am of course going to accept!
- Lived in Launceston, Tasmania, but I got better. (I actually do say this!)
- Tasmania bio: “Was born in Tasmania, but I got better 🙂 ”—see?
- Lived in Irvine, CA, but I don’t really consider that living.
- Former Project Scientist at University of California, Irvine, but let’s not open that sad chapter again.
- Senior Business Analyst & Standards Architect at National Schools Interoperability Program, Australia, but really, more policy analyst AND infrastructure developer these days. Yes, it is an odd combination.
- Nicknames: Linguist, but I couldn’t fit my usual bio “PhD in Linguistics from Melbourne University, lectured historical linguistics” into the new Credentials system, because Quora Knows Best.
- West Wing: Married to an addict of The West Wing, but after the first 20 viewings, all the holes in the show become really visible, and I want to embed a pickaxe in Josh Lyman’s head.
- Grammaticalization: Used grammaticalisation as the framework for my PhD. (It didn’t quite fit.) But I think it’s a great framework for understanding language change, even if it is hazy on the causations and overly optimistic about the unidirectionality.
- Roman Empire: Have read about the BYZANTINE empire, co-wrote monograph on a Byzantine poem, but the Quora Ontology has decided not to differentiate between Rome and Constantinople.
- Survey Questions: I… occasionally succumb to answering survey questions, but likely not occasionally enough.
- Quora Usage Data and Analysis: My kingdom for a functioning Stats page, but I have learned to manage my expectations. And yes, it’s functioning better than it used to, but it’s still not that informative.
- Politics of Australia: Federal Australian Politics. Gladiator sports for the 2010s, but really, not much less gladiatorial in previous decades—just less corpses.
- Nick Nicholas: I am a world expert on at least one Nick Nicholas, but you’re going to have to work out which one on your own.
How will the upcoming changes to how anonymity is implemented (March 2017) impact your Quora experience?
I post some answers anonymously, due to their subject matter.
I will not now be able to engage about any of my anonymous content, nor find out if anyone has engaged with it.
This makes me disinclined to continue to post any of my content on that subject matter anonymously. Even if it is anonymous, I still write to be engaged with, not to hurl out a message in a bottle. And since I can’t post on that content under my own name, for reasons of sensitivity, I am considering not posting it at all.
Anonymity was being abused and used frivolously, and some action was needed. This action is excessive, even if it does have technical reasons (overscrupulousness about anonymity), and it is a disincentive for me to post anything anonymously.
Do Quora moderators have the ability to upvote and downvote questions, answers, and comments?
Trusted Reporting (Quora feature): Trusted reporters (who are not moderators but designated power users) can insta-collapse an answer or comment: Moderation at Scale: Distributing Power to More People by Marc Bodnick on The Quora Blog. They cannot delete them though.
Moderators who are in-house Quora staff are also Quora users (all in-house staff seem to be), and they can still upvote and downvote. Their upvote or downvote may count for more than others’, just as mine likely counts for more than J Random Quora user’s: their impact depends on the user’s PeopleRank, and in-house Quora staff are likely to have high PeopleRank just by virtue of seniority, if not office.
There may or may not be moderators who are outsourced; we don’t know. If there are outsourced moderators, we do not know whether they are Quora users as well, and whether they can accordingly upvote or downvote.
But like I said, the capability for insta-collapse, which trusted reporters have (and which I’d assume moderators have) has far more potential to, as you put it, sink a proverbial ship than a mere downvote does.
At what point does a spiritual tradition cross the line into a religion?
I’m with Lyonel Perabo. Vote #1: Lyonel Perabo’s answer to At what point does a spiritual tradition cross the line into a religion?
The distinction between spirituality and religion is not a particularly old one. People who want to believe in something beyond the material, but want to dissociate themselves from Christianity or other formalised religions, say that they’re spiritual instead. Noone talked like that before the Enlightenment. And what is the stark dividing line between a spirit and a god supposed to be? Between reverence and worship? Between belief and creed? Just organisation? But how can organisation be… prevented? And why exactly should it be?
The distinction looks bogus to me, and reminds me of another bogus distinction. In the 19th century, Westerners discovered that the Ancient Greeks practiced magic. There are full on voodoo dolls and curse tablets in graves.
The Westerners who claimed intellectual descent from the Ancient Greeks were pretty distressed to discover this: their Graeco-Judaean construct of religion was a noble, elevated thing, nothing to do with voodoo shit. (Wait till you look more closely at Talmud lore, let alone the Kabbalah; Rabbinic Judaism wasn’t immune from magic either.) And Western scholars invested decades trying to establish a bright red dividing line between the stupid ancient commoners’ magic and the noble ancient philosophers’ religion.
The recent conclusion I’ve seen: there is none. It’s all expressions of faith in a world beyond the material. The incentive to differentiate them is a modern, class-based prejudice against magic.
And I suggest, the incentive to differentiate spirituality from religion is similarly a modern prejudice against contemporary organised religion.