Occasionally this forum experiences discussions which
- contribute little to the development or understanding of Julia (or any other programming language or meaningful human endavor for that matter),
- yet at the same time engage a lot of frequent contributors to this site.
Of course people are free to allocate their own time, and one can always stay away or disengage from these discussions. On the other hand, this is difficult, especially if the discussion is about the merits of Julia, a project many of us hold on high regard and contribute to.
I am proposing that we come up with a systematic way of dealing with this phenomenon. Below is a sketch of a proposal, suggestions are most welcome.
Like all things under the sun, Julia is not perfect. Talking about its imperfections and remedying them is fine, as long as the discussion is concrete and technical. Flamebait frequently involves broad statements (“Julia stinks”), often made indirectly (“let’s discuss someone’s blog post about how Julia stinks”), or in the form of a question (“should I learn Julia, or does it just stink?”).
IMO key is the ratio of concrete content and claims (code, benchmarks, examples) to the generality of the claims, the tone, and the likelihood it will generate a heated and eventually meaningless discussion.
Flamebait should be reported to the moderators immediately, who can mark it accordingly with a polite message explaining why this happened. The original poster should have the opportunity to remedy their post if they want to (we all make mistakes), at which point it should be unmarked.
At the same time, moderators
should turn on slow mode for the topic and leave it on as long as it is marked.
add a highlighted post explaining that it is identified as flamebait, and urge users not to post. Users agreeing with this assessment can just add a to this post.
Posting should still be possible though.
If, despite the above measures, the discussion degenerates, moderators should just close it. Preferably much sooner than the current practice.