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Pontificate no more

January 14, 2021

I’ve decided to give up on Quora. Those of you who’ve been watching me for a while (you vast seething horde you) will be aware that I had fun re-posting some of the better responses I’d given there. I was immensely flattered at first by people ‘upvoting’ me and ‘following’ me. I liked the practice I got to keep my research skills excercised. I liked telling Americans they were wrong.

But enough is enough. I was falling into the pit of Quora early in the day and not crawling out until the evening. There were endless lists of questions that people thought I was (for some reason) immensely qualified to answer. There was a daily digest of questions of a sort some computer somewhere thought I might be interested in and it was depressing how often I found they were right. And then there was just troling through my ‘feed’ to see what people were going on about. A lot of my time and the majority of my limited remaining creativity was going up in smoke trying to clear out the Augean Stables of the world’s ignorance.

And some of the questions were very dumb. Leaving aside the ones about ‘which comic book character would win’, (I didn’t mind answering questions about comics that weren’t dumb) there were a mass of questions whose primary purpose was to bang the writer’s favourite drum.

There were ‘aren’t people who disagree with me dumb’ questions. There were ‘aren’t the people who don’t support my political cause evil’ questions. There were ‘how do people who support [INSERT CAUSE HERE] live with themselves’ questions. There were ‘doesn’t the Bible clearly teach’ questions. There were ‘wouldn’t the British have been more sensible to side with the Germans’ questions. (I have the horrid feeling that a fair number of those were from UK authors.) There were the ever present anonymous trolls.

There were also a lot of named trolls mostly with Chinese or Russian names who were busy pushing the party lines of their governments.

There were a lot of questions so incoherent that they were incapable of being answered. A lot of them were clearly written by people who hadn’t English as their native language. Sometimes it was clear that they had something clear in their minds but no way could you make out what it was.

Some of the questions were worse than that and caused me to form the opinion Quora was being used by secret agents to pass messages in plain sight.

There were a lot of questions which were clearly students or pupils trying to find inspiration for their homework tasks. I tried to avoid these but sometimes the sheer pleasure of being asked to ‘say what you know about’ overwhelmed me. It was being asked to ‘say what you believe’ that got me down.

So, enough. I’ll go back to and keep my on line whittering on short and to the point and just accept as part of the price of enlightening people the fact that I’ll occasionally be banned for a day or two either because I have been actually curt and offensive (and by gum I have to be aware of my tendency to grump nowaday!) or because the people monitoring the postings have failed to understand what I’m saying again. Ah young people today!

And I’ll keep posting here of course. The management hasn’t chosen to kick me out yet.

  1. If you’re talking about WWII… it’s very clear from popular literature of the 1920s and 1930s that there was an attitude in England that the real threat was going to come from Communism, anarchism, etc., and putting your children in uniform was in general a Good Thing. And if Hitler had been or employed a better diplomat he might have been able to take advantage of that. But at the very least Poland had to happen to open the way to Russia, so you need a diplomat good enough to get the UK and France to break their treaty obligations made that same year (not impossible but deeply challenging).


    I suppose I really ought to read but it’s that horrible old-style forum interface built by people who didn’t understand USENET so I’ll probably stay on my nice modern forum instead even if there are rather fewer people there.

    • You’re an interface snob, Roger. I’ve noticed this before.

      Some of them are talking about WW2 (in which case their political sympathies are clear) and some of them take the argument a step back and say “Wouldn’t everybody have been spared a lot of suffering if we hadn’t bothered about Belgium and just let the Germans win?”

      They tend to fancy themselves as worldly wise practicioners of ‘real politick’ and say that Germany was Britain’s natural ally. And there was a lot of Quora queries about how unlikely SEALION winning was (I pointed to the classic ‘it would take Alien Space Bats’ analysis a lot of times) and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have kept the Empire and similar detached from reality fantasising.

      Really, I preferred the people obsessed with whether the Hulk could defeat Darkseid.

      I won’t let my decision to step away from trying to influence the minds of nations stop me from writing on gaming sites of course. The important things come first.

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