Not on TWs, but on 2K

Jordan Yates has just posted On TWs and 20K by Jordan Yates on Jordan Yates’s Blog. With the laudable conclusion

I’m not here to be a Top Writer or to get followers. I just want to write.

This is true. The quill and the followers are gravy.

Though I’ve written stuff in a vacuum for years: my academic papers, with no audience and no recognition. And that’s why I’m not writing academic papers any more.

Anyway. I’m not writing about the quill here, I’ve said too much already. But just as Jordan has just hit 20K followers with no quill, I have just hit 2K followers, with no quill.

To celebrate me (not that many will see this): I don’t track followers any more, too many of you for it to be feasible. Anyone reading this that I haven’t interacted with already: why are you following me? And what would like to see more or less of?

Why was Byun Baekjin banned?

2017–03–27 by Nick Nicholas on Necrologue

Byun’s own understanding, as relayed via Emlyn Shen:

… I was notified by Quora mods via email that I was banned for possessing multiple accounts on Quora.

This is a completely false charge. I’ve always been a law-abiding Quoran. I never violated BNBR policies or any other Quoran community guidelines worthy of a ban. I take Quora’s policies very seriously. And I never had more than 1 account on Quora.

There is another Quoran account under a similar name: Baekjin Byun. What are the odds that our names are nearly identical, if this is the reason why Quoran mods charged me?

Very frankly, Quora is an amazing community. The concept is simply fantastic. Free knowledge to share with the world? Genius. Also very frankly, I am very frustrated with Quoran mods. As great As they are, they make many mistakes in “modding”. I was initially edit blocked for supposedly violating “fake-name” policy, for which I made a successful appeal. And now this issue.

From what I understand from her comment, Byun is appealing.

Why doesn’t Mongolia use the Uighur script again and leave out Cyrillic?

Read the fine print of the caption in the image of what Wikipedia would look like in Mongolian script, at Mongolian script – Wikipedia.

Mongolian Wikipedia preview. A representation of what would look like if Mongolian script support was properly implemented. already exists, but support has not been implemented. Not all text is “real Mongolian” — only the actual text of the article, and the name thereof.

Vertical scripts are not well supported on computers. Until they are, abandoning Cyrillic would be suicidal for Mongolia. Conversely, of course, if they don’t abandon Cyrillic, there is little incentive for anyone to improve vertical script support.

There are cases where national governments have lobbied Silicon Valley to improve their scripts support. I wish I remember which Asian country it was, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Mongolia.

Who are the high-end literary types on Quora?

No question, Michael Masiello. Formerly a literature Professor, and still a teacher right here on Quora. Give him a decent (and not too broad) A2A; it’s what he’s been missing.

Do not, on the other hand, ask him a homework question. Just don’t.

Susan Bertolino, Michael Masiello: Is Quora social media, and how does that make us view bans?

I left a comment about Top Writers at… , which triggered an excellent exchange with Susan Bertolino.

The response I particularly want to draw attention to is her insightful take on how, if you are more invested in Quora as a social media site than as a Q&A site, the bans will have more of an impact on you. I think it deserves surfacing out of comments:…

Is Quora social media? For me, no, but I have made friends. I used to run a blog and it got very popular. I made a lot of friends and even traveled for it despite making no money and getting a few free books to review. Many of those people are still friends because it was organic. I started the blog actually to help with with my academic job as I had to teach John Locke and my background was Comparative Literature. I didn’t know what to do. So my blog was my way of working out thoughts for class. Then I got followers. It was a shock.

I see Quora the same way. I came here to write on Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire. Then other topics came up. Then came the friends. It also feels organic because it is based on what I write, not my pictures of my cat even though I decided to put one on my profile as she is gorgeous. Quora is the first place where I felt I could write what I see as my strengths and perhaps find like minded people even though I didn’t seek that out initially.

Others view it as a social media site. So when so and so gets banned, edit blocked or some moderation thing happens, they see it as painful because the friendships I liken to one big body and a finger got stubbed, cut or even maimed. People react strongly because the primary reason they are here is to share their ideas with their Quora friends. And those are the people I see as more angry because they feel under attack when the body is under attack. (Are you a Star Trek fan? I am referring to the episode with the Body of Landru (sp) in which all are meant to be part of the body, but it turns out to be a computer.)

Look, that is their choice and what works for some will not work for others. A friend got edit blocked a few months ago. I didn’t like it. Another gets moderation notifications. I don’t like it. But I don’t see it as an attack on the body. I just wish it wouldn’t happen or that these friends could still get out of the bad situation and do what they do best—write.

I’m just being honest here, Nick. It isn’t criticism of anyone’s motives. As a teacher I need to see what motivates others. And I see that as a primary difference in attitudes on Quora as people who get edit blocked or banned or quit for those who want this to be social media feel that their tribe has diminished and they are alone with fewer friends. For me, it is about the topics and the friends are an unexpected delight. But it isn’t why I joined this place. Does that make sense? I apologize for the length.


I have a different perspective than you, and I understand and like your exposition of the difference. (I’m also delighted that you’re not just dismissing the social media perspective, as too many users do.)

I can report that indeed, I do feel bans as an attack on the body. I do not regard every single user as a peer—certainly not proven trolls and reprobates. But there are people whose politics or personalities I have disliked, that I am saddened to list on Necrologue, because I feel that way.

It’s one perspective; it’s not the only one, and it may well be a minority perspective within Quoradom. It’s an interesting clash, because your perspective is closer aligned to how Quora sees itself, and the curtailment of socialising implements that; OTOH, the social perspective is the norm outside of Quora, so the clash is unavoidable.

And of course I do not take your comment as a criticism! It is seriously a good exposition.


I don’t dismiss the argument for Quora as a social media site because people largely create their own experience. Who knows how many people even thought of it as such until it turned into precisely that—social media—a place to meet and share friendship. One cannot deny what is real to a group of people.

It hasn’t been my experience, but I’ve always done poorly with what are defined as social media sites such as Facebook. They start out okay, then something goes wrong for me or they lose their charm. So if I had primarily seen Quora as a social media site, I probably would be long gone. I might do better with Facebook again if I could see it as something else, but I think Facebook is designed to be social media. Quora strikes me as something that the user can mold into his or her own paradigm of usefulness. Some seek answers, but interact with few. Some enjoy comments along with answers. Some message people. If the tools are there, why not use them? The interpretation belongs to the beholder.

I also want to add Michael Masiello’s contribution to that discussion:

Susan (if I might interject an unsolicited thought here), I think yours is a wise assessment. But I might poke at a couple of your ideas a little.

My own, not-wholly-dissimilar characterization of Quora would be that this is a Q&A/knowledge site that, as it developed, created virtual intellectual communities. I think that the site is less attractive if depersonalized; I think friends here provoke friends to more extensive and useful participation and interaction. In short, I think the “social” aspect of Quora fuels the creation of some of its best and most rigorous content, and also addresses a problem Quora itself never set out to do: the isolation of intellectuals in an increasingly anti-intellectual world.

Quora could be a Republic of Letters if it only let itself be. We have Erasmus’ works, but also his correspondence with countless other humanists. Erasmus talking to More, and More to Erasmus, is a great gloss on both writers’ literary output; and their literary output, likewise, illuminates the correspondence. More vascular articulations of thought and its discontents, and more verisimilar representations of selfhood in its relation to “knowledge,” are the result. I cannot imagine how this would ever be deleterious to a site like this, nor how stifling the voices of those who underscore this sense of Quora as a community of knowledge-sharing, rather than a vessel into which bland information, always less rigorous than what exists in other media (esp. in topics for which there are peer-reviewed journals), is blithely deposited, could ever be a good thing. The latter feels like a dead letter office to me. The former feels organic, living, and human.

I think that’s important. Quora Inc. does not.

Does Quora pay users to answer questions? Do people answer me with the goodness of their personality or because they get paid, or both?

Originally Answered:

Does anyone get paid to answer questions on Quora?

The question as it currently stands (and there’s been a lot of question merging) is: Does anyone get paid to answer questions on Quora?

The question doesn’t say Quora is the party doing the paying.

Let us pop over to, shall we? And do a search for “quora”:

  • Answer Questions on Quora Regarding Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin. Budget: $600/mo Payment: Hourly Schedule: $30/hours Length: 5 hours/week Period: 20 hours/month Content: 2 Quora Answers/daily Length: 300~500 Words.
  • We need a copywriter who would rewrite basic technical text into marketing text with a fluent English for answer templates at I’ll write the basic text, you’ll task will be to rewrite into marketing text.
  • FORUMS: Post comments and respond to questions on forums like quora, reddit, other YOUTUBE: Need to search for candidates and then send private messages to potential clients.
  • QUORA EXPERIENCE A MUST. Looking for an experienced Quora writer with proven record. Are you already writing on Quora? Why not get paid for it? Looking for a writer to post specific questions on Quora and get compensated based on the answers.
  • Quora Top Answer Expert. I would like my website linked in the TOP ANSWER of many Quora questions that are related to the websites topic. … If you can do this then there will be a chance for ongoing work to promote a few websites weekly on Quora.
  • Quora Blogger. QUORA EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. Looking for someone to help with and handle posting Quora answers. Please provide case studies and references.
  • Looking For Freelancers Who Use Quora A Lot. We’d like to pay you to write about specific subjects (answers) on Quora. Usually around the Facebook online marketing area through your Quora account. It’s important to us the answer are quality and represent you and us well!

These were all posted in the last week.

I have no idea whether this is within what Quora policy allows. But it’s certainly ongoing.

The Death of Twyborn

Digenes Akritas was a hero of mediaeval Acritic songs, ballads celebrating the deeds of border guards of the Byzantine Empire. The hero survived into Modern Greek folk song, and The Death of Digenis is a song that got a lot of renown.

I cited its depiction of the Grim Reaper at… , since I’ve come to be regarded as a Grim Reaper of Quora on Necrologue. If I’m to start rendering the folk song in blank verse, well, I might as well see it through.

The hero Digenes “Two-Race” was so called because his father was an Arab and his mother Greek. The name got alchemised into Twyborn by Patrick White, in The Twyborn Affair—White having heard of Digenes from his Greek boyfriend. Twyborn fits English metre better.

Ο θάνατος του Διγενή

Tuesday was Twyborn born; he dies on Tuesday.
He bids his friends and all the brave come gather,
Menna, Black Ali, and the Ogre’s Son,
and Trembling-Lip, whom world and earth both fear.
They went and found him lying in a field.
He moans—the mountains quake. He moans—fields quake.
“What is it, Twyborn, makes you wish to die?”

“Friends, you are welcome, friends and dear to me;
sit down, be quiet. Let me tell my tale.
Mountains of Araby, and Syrian valleys,
where two men dare not march, three dare not talk,
but fifty, a hundred men tread fearfully:
I’ve passed through them alone, on foot and armed,
my sword four cubits long, my lance three fathoms.
I’ve trod through hills and fields, through fields and summits,
on moonless nights, on nights without the stars.
And living all these years above the ground,
I’ve felt no fear for any of the brave.
I see now a barefoot man, with shining clothes;
his blazon from the lynx; his eyes are lightning.
He bids us fight on marble threshing floors:
whoever wins will take the other’s soul.”

They went and fought on marble threshing floors.
Where Twyborn strikes, blood flows, and forms a ditch.
And where Death strikes, blood flows, and forms a moat.

Will Quora someday come to an end? With all the absurd questions arising everyday it seems the threshold for meaningful questions has been reached.

Nick Nicholas’ answer to What will kill Quora?

Of course, as Bill Husted said (Bill Husted’s answer to Will Quora someday come to an end? ), all things end, and of course, it won’t be because questions are a finite resource: Are the number of questions that can be asked on Quora finite?

There are things that will kill Quora, and D’Angelo is not the source I’d seek any assurance from, about the future of Quora. I mean, come on. The guy’s a Silicon Valley CEO. What else is he gonna tell you?

No, it’s not the dumb questions.

No, it’s not the trolls.

No, it’s not the smugness.

No, it’s not the teens.

No, it’s not the moderation.

No, it’s not the UX randomness.

If Quora is the second incarnation of Gutenberg, remember that Gutenberg lost his printing press in a lawsuit, and he made his money from printing indulgences.

Monetisation. That’s what will make Quora live or die. The venture capital vat of money is running out. You’d better hope Quora has a good marketing arm to deal with ads.

Why is Cæsar pronounced “seezer” and not “sayzer” or “sahzer”?

Traditional English pronunciation of Latin – Wikipedia

One of the characteristic features of Anglo-Latin is that the diphthongs æ and œ merged with e. This is fully represented in the American spelling of Latin loanwords, though the simplified spelling is not consistently applied:

æon and eon, æther and ether, amœba and ameba, anæmia and anemia, anæsthesia and anesthesia, cæsura and cesura, chamæleon and chameleon, dæmon and demon, diæresis and dieresis, encyclopædia and encyclopedia, fæces and feces, fœtus and fetus, hyæna and hyena, prætor and pretor

In particular, names were not respelled. So Cæsar was pronouned in Anglo-Latin Cesar—even if it wasn’t spelled Cesar.

When the Great English Vowel shift came to town, the long e ended up changing pronunciation to /iː/, just as it did in English proper. So Classical Latin kajsar > cajsar > tʃajzar > sajzar > Middle Anglo-Latin seːzar > Modern Anglo-Latin siːzar.