How to reduce Bikeshedding

In the last months I see more articles that draw a lot of attention on topics that are - from my point of view - not very important. On the FreeBSD mailing list they call this bikeshedding, see bikeshedding - Wiktionary

Is there a way to reduce that?

We could use a tag “bikeshedding” and try to encourage people to ignore posts with this tag, but I am not sure if that would be a practical solution.

What do you think?

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IMHO: a minimal “bikeshedding” is a sign of a strong and vibrant community.

“One way diversity increases creativity & innovation is by causing productive conflict over tasks at the risk of interpersonal conflict. This paper says that teams innovate best when they are not just culturally diverse but also “deeply diverse” in values, attitudes & personality.

IMHO it is not ~ compatible with the Diversity ~ "welcomes and encourages participation in our community by people of all backgrounds and identities."

IMHO:

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Honestly just ignore it or understand it as play time. It’s like how I tell PhD students that reading papers is fun time writing code and papers is what counts as work. Just don’t lie to yourself, bike shedding is as much about “work” as reading Reddit. If you put it in its place, then it naturally has it’s time but also never takes too much focus.

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Good names for things is an important part of designing good interfaces. Unfortunately, deciding on the names for things has been labelled “bikeshedding”.

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I was busy with important work. Then I saw this post and thought I could make some valuable points… heh … But seriously folks. I think the big problem with bike shedding is when you are in a meeting. In discourse, you have the choice to waste your time bikeshedding, or ignore it and get back to work.

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Thanks for all the input! :slight_smile:

My conclusion so far:

  • we should not do much about it because the opions what is bikeshedding and what not are too diverse and diversity is good
  • perhaps add some notes to the FAQ; the question is, what to suggest there; Perhaps something like this:

a. Try to avoid posting to long threads, unless you really have to contribute something that is new and important.
b. If you see long discussions on topics that are not important for you, you can mute the thread using the dropdown list Watching/Tracking/Normal/Muted at the end of each thread.

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I haven’t noticed this problem, but this platform has an excellent way for me to pick what topics I might read, and that’s helping.

I usually look at https://discourse.julialang.org/new view. If some topic has many replies and views, I read its title and might read the topic itself. If those are close to zero, I don’t even read the title.

If someone on the Internet has said something ‘bad’ about Julia, or someone claims Python is faster, the replies and views will grow fast, and I’ll check what it’s about. :smile:

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