What do very popular non-Top Writers think they’d need to change in order to become Top Writers?

Well, Kyle, you did A2A me. I think you must have had some idea what you were going to get in response.

Seems like most of these writers don’t actually care much about getting the designation.

Eeyup. And let me not launch into another jeremiad about The Quill. Let me instead link to someone else’s very good jeremiad about The Quill: Lance LaSalle’s answer to Are you disappointed in the March 2017 Top Writer announcements?

I know my worth, and so do the users I interact with. I don’t need a jacket or a buffet to tell me so. Especially a jacket or a buffet from as unresponsive and capricious an organisation as Quora has shown itself to be.

But if they were to engage in a bit of self-evaluation,

Oooh, them’s fighting words, Kyle. 🙂

what do they think they’d have to do differently in order for the selection team to include them?

I’ve heard a rumour that people who don’t get The Quill actually contact Quora staff to ask them that.

It’ll be a frosty day on the Acheron before I do so. (Assuming there even is a selection team, as opposed to an algorithm.) I don’t have to, mercifully; I have positive feedback from flesh and blood users, like Jennifer Edeburn, who has in fact helped me improve my writing through two suggestions: (a) provide more context and explanation; (b) tone down the venom.

Why yes, I have toned down the venom. You should have seen what I was writing a year ago.

What others have speculated about in this thread, which is already making me inch to use my block button?

  • Run-ins with Moderation. No. Two BNBRs in two years, both of them nonsensical tone-policing. There are in fact TWs who have been outright banned and unbanned before making The Quill. So it ain’t that.
    • I’d be violating BNBR if I named the respondent in this thread I’m now blocking, for his answer about it being all about moderation. Manifestly not the case.
  • Niche. Oh, I got niche, and an academic niche at at that. It doesn’t get more niche than Greek linguistics.
  • Community mindedness. Third parties have said how I go out of my way to make people feel welcome here. I topic gnome now and then; I even hit the Report button on occasion.
  • Write less on the humanities, and more IT. No. If Quora don’t value humanities stuff, that’s their problem. See also Sean Kernan’s answer.
  • Stop being critical of Quora, where such criticism is deserved. Is this a deal-breaker for The Quill? Apparently not: John Gragson has found himself with one. Will I stop being critical of Quora? No. John hasn’t, after all.

I don’t see what I need to change to get The Quill. Or at least, what I need to change, that I’d be prepared to change.

I’m not a fan of Feifei Wang’s writing, but there are times I find she truly hits the nail on the head; she did so with her answer here. (And even more so with her retort in comments. Seriously. Read it, and savour it.)

So did Jeremy Markeith Thompson. So did Jordan Yates. So did Gigi J Wolf. So did Michael Masiello.

So did Lance LaSalle:

I thought to myself, I thought: damn, if I have to change my writing style, (include less humor, for example, or make it a bit drier and more direct, and include some footnotes) than I really don’t want it. I got people to meet. Decisions to make. Cakes to bake, etc.

Quill-bearers, I’m happy for you. And I’ve congratulated all my friends who got a quill this year.

But I feel no envy towards you. I don’t feel that I’m missing out on anything. If it comes to self-evaluation, I’ll take Jennifer’s advice on how to write better, over a black box’s. And if it comes to having a drink with friends (with better quality nibbles than Quora appears to fork out for), just let me know when any of you come to Melbourne.

Any of you I haven’t blocked, that is… 🙂

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