Would Quora moderators collapse Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” answer to the question of how to solve poverty?

Likely yes.


And in particular:

Quora’s answer to What is Quora’s policy on humorous answers/reviews?

Humorous answers and reviews are allowed if they make the page more helpful to someone who is sincerely interested in learning the answer to the question; otherwise they are not. Answers and Reviews that are intended as jokes are not helpful responses. In addition, humorous answers and reviews that deliberately misinterpret the intent of the question/topic will be collapsed.

Quora may allow a satirical answer if it is couched with a “but seriously, …” or a “as the following reductio ad absurdum would illustrate”. But a straight joke answer will usually be reported, typically by another user, and will be collapsed.

The policy does claim that if an answer already has more than 50 upvotes (which yours did, OP: Jack Menendez’s answer to Why Trump is considered to be the greatest president in America history?), the collapse needs to be approved by three moderators.

I really am not defending Quora reflexively on this. There are some things I don’t like about Quora’s policies, and some more that I dislike about how they are implemented.

But the premise of Quora is not open-ended writing like Medium, or provocative literature like what Swift wrote. The premise of Quora is informative responses to sincere requests for information (which can still be humorous, as long as an actual answer is in there). The question may have been bait, as John Gragson answered elsewhere, but the culture is either to ignore it, or to make the response unambiguously framed.

In truth, if you (or Jon Swift) had just appended “… but yeah, no”, there would have been less room for instacollapsing.

There is a vital role for polemic in society. And maybe Quora is “a purveyor of ignorance and half truths”, as you put it in your answer, by suppressing polemic. But Quora has decided that it is not primarily a purveyor of polemic. Hence, after all, the aggressive policing of BNBR.

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