… No, trice is not a mispelling of thrice (or twice, hard to tell).

Ali Cengiz’s answer to How do I say thank you in Turkish?

teşekkür ederim /teʃe’kjuːr ederəm/.
(easier way for English speakers; “two sugar a dream” sounds understandable when read in a trice.)

Harish Aditham’s answer to If you could change any one event of Indian history, what would that be and why?

It turns a city into a graveyard in the wink of an eye, and makes a peasant wench a princess in a trice.

James Tapper’s answer to Why did Nigel Farage quit as the leader of UKIP?

Reading someone’s argument and picking holes in it can be done in a trice.

And of course,

Michael Masiello’s answer to What are books that were written before the Internet?

The internet has been around for a trice of time. People have been reading and writing since the dawn of history.

Definition of TRICE

a brief space of time : instant —used chiefly in the phrase in a trice

< Middle English trise, literally, pull, from trisen

cf. trice : to haul up or in and lash or secure (something, such as a sail) with a small rope

The Magister’s usage prompted this:…

Robert Shaus: Only person I’ve seen use the word, trice. Great.

Michael Masiello: Well, Shakespeare did, too. But not on Quora. He missed out on Quora.

When and how did the idea of multiple choice questions (MCQ) come about?

There has been scepticism about the existence of Frederick J. Kelly, who Rishi Amrutiya refers to:

However the account that he came up with it in 1914 is corroborated in Multiple Choice and Testing Machines: A History, citing The Test | Anya Kamenetz:

The multiple-choice question was an important technique for simplifying and mass-producing tests. Frederick Kelly completed his doctoral thesis in 1914 at Kansas State Teacher’s College. He recognized that different teachers tend to give different judgments of student work. And Kelly saw this as a big problem in education. He proposed eliminating this variation through the use of standard tests with predetermined answers. His Kansas Silent Reading Test was a timed reading test that could be given to groups of students all at the same time, without requiring them to write a single sentence, and graded as easily as scanning one’s eyes down a page.

As digital humanities scholar Cathy Davidson writes in her book Now You See It, “To make the tests both objective as measures and efficient administratively, Kelly insisted that questions had to be devised that admitted no ambiguity whatsoever. There had to be wholly right or wholly wrong answers, with no variable interpretations . The format will be familiar to any reader…. Here are the roots of today’s standards-based education reform, solidly preparing youth for the machine age.”

The article shows a picture of a 1916 article by Kelly in The Journal of Educational Psychology, outlining the new approach. You can read it for yourself at Journal of educational psychology : American Psychological Association : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive, pp. 63–80.

The Multiple Choice article adds that

Edward Thorndike – the “father” of education psychology – had also developed his theory about animals’ learning in part by giving them multiple options to solve a problem or situation and assessing their responses.

What is one thing you would change about Quora?

Philip, you do realise who you have just A2A’d, don’t you?

One thing?

Just one thing?


I’ve been measured, and self-critical, and judicious this past month or two, about all things Quora. I’ve tried to, anyway. Truly.

And just yesterday, I happened across Quora Design.

No, there’s nothing awful on that blog. On the contrary, it has some beautifully argued, well researched essays on UX. Written by the people who have been realising the UX of this website.

One thing, you said, Philip.

Ok then:

Withhold all pay from the Quora design team, until they have posted satisfactory public responses to every entry on Bug? or Feature? for the week.

Where “it’s impossible to please everyone” and variants thereof shall not be deemed satisfactory responses.

Hey, I was being nice. I didn’t say a thing about moderation!

What do Quorans think of Cordially Resistant?

More than one Quoran has been curious to know what I think of Cordially Resistant, as possibly the most visible Quora critic these days. (And again: I hope I’m wrong about that.)

I’ve put off answering this, because I’ve had my own stresses to deal with.

  • I don’t want to get angry. Several responses in this and related threads have made me angry. The occasional patronising. The bland assurances that all is well with moderation. Angriest of all, the assertion someone I am in a mutual-blocking relationship with has made, that “just” and “fair” is for children, and you should just learn to work within the system. Yeah, well I hope I never see you in any protest rallies.
  • I don’t want to get disappointed. Several posts in Cordially Resistant were childish. Several posts described atrociously childish actions. (Don’t look for those posts, they’ve been deleted.) Some teens have earned the banhammer richly. I’m not exactly sure which, but I’m reasonably sure by now it’s non-zero. On my annals of the dead at Necrologue, I am Switzerland; I record the passings, I pass no judgement. Even outside of Necrologue, I’m reluctant to say much; you are all my family. Some of you, I just don’t want to spend much time with.
  • I don’t want to get dispirited. Well, even more dispirited. Where the Cordials are, I was. I started being a Quora critic when I was blindsided by the banning of Jimmy Liu, and then went digging into how often this kind of thing happened. I’ve searched, I’ve queried, I’ve debated, I’ve taken feedback. And all along, I’ve found Quora Inc to be… a wall.

    There are good corporate reasons for Quora to be a wall. But it’s driven me to distraction; and when I protest now, I protest existentially, for my own self-respect. Not because I think it will make a difference. And I am saddened to think the Cordials will come to the same realisation.

    • Which is why seeing Marc Bodnick post on Cordially Resistant, and not post with the defensiveness I’ve come to associate with him, utterly astonished me. You Cordials have certainly done better than I have there.
  • I don’t want to get disillusioned. There’s been infighting in Cordially, out in public for all to see. There’s been schisms. There’s been fumbling at a mission and a purpose. There’s been the perversely adorable spectacle of a group conceived to protest moderation, coming up with its own moderation.

What do I think? A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since Cordially was announced, and a lot of water will flow still. But I stand by what I’ve said to the two people who have queried me privately:

  • I am supportive of Cordially. But I am selective in my support.
  • Jordan Yates speaks for me in her answer. I’m just more existential about it. (See: wall.)

I am heartened by the Cordials trying to sort out their own. I am heartened by the Cordials pushing back against what they feel is their marginalisation. I am heartened by the lightbulbs going off over some Cordials’ heads, that things are more complicated than first appeared. I am heartened by the empathetic, well-thought and constructive responses they have had from adult users.

I happen to think that they’re wrong about being targeted unfairly by Moderation; Moderation has made controversial calls about adults too, and Hanlon’s razor is how I keep my own sanity about Moderation actions. I happen to think Moderation has made some appropriate calls as well about teens—as indeed some of the Cordials think. And any boycott would have just as much impact on Quora Inc as any [redacted] pact would: they honestly have little motivation to care.

But that aside, I am seeing consciousnesses raised, actions contemplated, accountability weighed up, responsibility shouldered. These are never, never a bad thing. And for that, the Cordials have my selective, qualified, distant, but ardent support.

And they can make submissions to The Insurgency whenever they want. I’d rather see them showing up there than on Necrologue.

In your country, what are high-prestige and low-prestige languages for L2 speakers?

Thirty years ago, the most popular languages to learn at school in Australia were those that have inherited prestige from Britain: French, with German a somewhat distant second.

They are being overtaken now by Spanish and Chinese and Japanese, but they remain entrenched, particularly in elite schools. The French lecturers I use to hang out with would surreptitiously roll their eyes about the sense of entitlement of their students.

The languages moving up, Spanish and Chinese and Japanese and Indonesian, are not prestigious in the same way: they are seen I think as utilitarian rather than cultured choices. Then again, I’m biased. But I’m pretty sure no one would be looked down on for choosing one of those languages. They are regarded as eminently practical.

The languages that will be taken less seriously, as with other answers here, are community languages, spoken by large migrant communities. Greek, Arabic, Vietnamese. They are usually learnt by Heritage speakers, and are regarded as easy marks to add to your high school exams. If you’re not from the ethnic group, people will be genuinely puzzled about why you are learning it. And because the Heritage speakers all around you in the classroom already know at least bits and pieces, you are going to find the class quite frustrating.

Interestingly, Italian is both a cultural Prestige language and a community language, which has worked in its favour.

How well is the “new anonymity” policy on Quora working at filtering out bad content, as of March 20, 2017?

How about: [DELETED]

Why do my Quora posts always get criticized by people?

I tell the truth about QM and GR. But why do my posts always get criticized by retards like <name1 redacted> & <name2 redacted> , brainwashed fucktards like <name3 redacted> & <name4 redacted> , bitches like <name5 redacted> and the grand cunt Jackass <name6 redacted> (good riddance). Why?

This of course being an anonymous question by “Mike Cavedon”, who has successfully stalked Jack Fraser off of Quora: In the words of the Terminator…I’ll Be Back! by Jack Fraser on Jack’s Miscellany. With questions such as these about “QM” and “GR”.

So. None of us can follow or comment on our anonymous questions any more. But people who send blackmail threats and hound users off Quora can continue to pose questions like this anonymously.

How well is the “new anonymity” policy on Quora working at filtering out bad content, as of April 6, 2017?

And I’m compelled to point out that Riley Patterson put his name against this statement:

Upcoming Changes to Anonymity on Quora by Riley Patterson on Quora Product Updates

All anonymous content will be reviewed for spam and harassment before receiving distribution.

He put his name against this statement.

How does the linguistic concept of “time depth” compare to the intuition of “language age”?

Not very well.

Linguists have an understanding of some languages being more conservative in certain aspects than others. Informed by history, they also have a notion of how far back two languages branched apart.

Linguists are quite reluctant to make the further claim that one language is overall more archaic than another, compared to their common source. Often however this is demonstrably true. I have edited a paper, for example, which used state automata to derive Cantonese and Mandarin phonology from Middle Chinese, and computed a quite reasonable metric showing that Cantonese is more archaic than Mandarin.

So much for linguists’ notion of time depth. Lay notions of “old languages” are not derived from meticulous comparison of state automata, of course. Much of the time, they are not derived from linguistic information at all, but from cultural narratives (myths) and ethnic prejudices.

In the best case, laypeople have been exposed to an older language or stage of the same language, through religion or education. If they are paying attention and are multilingual, they can form an impression of which language (or dialect) that they are familiar with sounds more like the archaic language. And their intuitions will be reasonable.

Not infallible though.

In the 1560s, the German scholar Martin Crusius decided he’d learn modern Greek, and corresponded with a large number of scholars in Greece to do so. Theodosios Zygomalas was his main source of information. When Zygomalas outlined the dialects of modern Greek to Crusius, he wrote that the most tragically corrupt dialect of all was Athenian. A lamentable Falling Away from what had been.

The Athenian dialect of Modern Greek was an enclave surrounded by Albanian speakers since the Black Death. Phonetically, it was in fact more archaic than “standard” Greek, particularily in its pronunciation of upsilon. But of course, Zygomalas did not know that. All he knew was, Athenian dialect sounded funny, and historically it was not supposed to. Ergo, it was more corrupt.

Answered 2017-04-06 · Upvoted by

Logan R. Kearsley, MA in Linguistics from BYU, 8 years working in research for language pedagogy.

Do words have intrinsic meaning? Does it make sense to argue over the definition of a word?

Do words have intrinsic meaning? No.

The meaning of words is negotiated constantly (and mostly unconsciously) within a community. That’s why meanings change. Meaning inheres not in the word but in the community, because language as a code inheres in the community. Where by code, I mean a mapping of forms to meanings, which enables you to be understood by other members of the community. And the community, over time, can and does change its collective mind about those mappings.

But language is also individual. Individuals learn the code that is out there in the community, and build their own internal representation of it. In fact, the community version of language is an abstraction, an aggregation over individual languages (idiolects), the real languages inside people’s skulls.

That abstraction is still important, though. If you start using words like Humpty Dumpty, to mean whatever you want, you go against the community norms of the language. Which means concretely that you go against the norms that most if not all members of the community have internalised.

Does it make sense to argue over the definition of a word? Yes.

The change of meaning in words is most of the time unconscious and gradual. But especially in literate and specialised societies, people become aware of meaning change. And people have a stake in defending the stability of a word’s meaning in a particular domain. If that domain has gatekeepers, is reasonably small and well codified (as is the case with jargons and specialist vocabularies), they’re likely to succeed.

And even if they don’t, meaning change is realised at an individual level, from one person to the next. Sometimes (particularly when you haven’t been paying attention), you will be ambushed by a meaning change. Like contemporary teen lit. (Sophia de Tricht: my surprisingly non-teen source of teen slang here.) Sometimes confusion will result, and a negotiation will happen.

And of course codified literate language is subject to prescriptive forces. In general usage, those forces have less power over word meaning than they do in specialist contexts. But people still do care what the dictionary definitions of words are, and they still argue over them. That’s now part of how the community negotiates the community understanding of words.

Are there any examples of a successful ethnic cleansing such that the race is extinct?

As others have said, this is a matter of definition. There are many older claims of such mass exterminations, but without the modern day efficiency of a Heydrich, it was hard to be as thorough as people would have liked, especially if you allow for intermarriage.

This is a particularly sensitive issue in Australia, as you would well imagine. The last full blooded Tasmanian Aboriginal died in 1876. But there are a lot of people of part-Aboriginal descent in Tasmania, who claim that heritage, and who do not want to be told that they don’t exist.

There are plenty of people on Quora who will tell you there is no such thing as race, biologically. I guess. But there is such a thing as race, culturally, and there is such a thing as culture. And there has certainly been no shortage of cultures exterminated from the face of the earth.

Answered 2017-04-06 · Upvoted by

Lyonel Perabo, B.A. in History. M.A in related field (Folkloristics)