Time limits for unfocused discourse threads?

I feel like WAT’s in particular might be better-suited for somewhere like Slack/Zulip’s #gripes, #apprecigripes, or maybe even a new #wat. They often get outdated lacking a real need for long-term preservation in Discourse, a single forum mega-thread is going to be kind of a mess, and really what you’re looking for is to be able to quickly share examples and get reactions anyways (vs creating a whole new thread for it).


Agree, the WATs are great to have but shouldn’t be a long mega thread. As someone who followed the rand(Float32) all the way to the end, I don’t think it needed to be closed. It was a deep and subtle topic and even though it got contentious at times it stayed focused and constructive. These things are going to be a bit of a judgment call, but that’s what moderation is all about.


I still use Julia, but I left this forum two weeks ago - I still check in and here it is again. I left for this one reason - the imposition of time limits on discussions here. I got in trouble for my resistance to it and mbauman moved my post to limbo. I’ll take the chance again - because I believe in this languange. I understand that these open-ended / opinion-based questions can run wild and endlessly, but I think they’re important - Julia is starting to become regarded as elitist. This OP and the one you shut down last time are from sincere users trying to further Julia to a wider community. By shutting them down, you’re creating a Stack Overflow vibe here and you know what happened to them.

I’d encourage you gatekeepers to understand that the precise minds of brilliant software developers and users as exist here on this forum, may not make the best moderators. Let some fresh air in here, let people talk and brainstorm as long as the topic is Julia.

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Maybe, having joined only recently, you have not seen as many of these posts as some of us have over the years. This is not about not letting people talk, but trying to not drain people’s energy by letting endless threads draw all the attention away from the smaller topics. An open forum like this has essentially no other structure than some moderation. It’s easy to grab all the attention by just putting a vague statement about a controversial topic out there, it works every time. Everybody has an opinion. I’ve seen too many of such unfocused threads end up with angry and frustrated people to believe that moderation is unnecessary. I hope you don’t let it discourage you to participate.


Hey, Julian, don’t make it bad~ :notes: Actually, as the OP, I think it’s reasonable when I see the administrator’s decision to add the timer. According to my shallow experience in this forum so far, I feel that almost everyone here is very sincere, friendly and helpful. I believe that you are also offering suggestions for Julia’s better development, so You and me, From one world, For a common dream, We are family! :handshake: :handshake: :handshake: :smiley:


The time limits are an improvement over the prior moderator action of just closing the threads immediately.

The long meandering threads become unmanageable and ultimately such a waste for all involved. The problem is the contents become completely unreferenceable in such a format despite so much time, effort, and thought going into them. It is impossible to go back to find that one post in 200+ post thread with that good idea.

It would be significantly better to start a new thread with a clear topic that can be easily found again.

If a subdiscussion gets broken out into a new thread, it’s not a punishment. Quite the contrary. We’re trying to 1) emphasize the discussion by elevating it to its own topic, 2) make it findable for later.

I would not take these actions negavtively in a personal sense. I would see it as someone caring enough to try to curate the information within. If they did not care, they would let your ideas sink into the bottomless black hole of a thread that will never again see the light of day because it has become too massive.

Just start a new thread. Your ideas are worth the effort.


Nice - and you’re right, it’s a good community here. I just want to see Julia thrive - it’s a brilliant programming language in the same way that Arch Linux is a brilliant operating system. Judd Vinet didn’t create an easy installation procedure for Arch - users had to figure it out for themselves. Over time, the perception developed that only highly intelligent people were able to use Arch - not true. I think Julia’s efficacy in scientific applications of the highest order creates a similar perception - that it’s way out of reach for regular people. That can obscure just how versatile it truly is as a programming language. I think mbauman, algunion and I agree that Julia is a solid contender as the ‘last language’. But everyone needs to be let in on it. That’s why I like to hear people challenge and push the limits here of what Julia is and what it might become.


People are free to criticize Julia on this forum (while staying civil) but too-general threads like “how can Julia be better/more-popular” or “what is Julia good/bad at” tend to be unproductive/unhelpful/unpleasant for the reasons explained above. (They also tend to be repetitive — people bring up the same things like load-time latency, or “not as many developers/mature packages/$$$$ as Python,” over and over.) That’s why they get time limits, to keep them from spiraling into endless time-sucks.

In contrast, if someone raised a specific criticism, ideally in a constructive way (e.g. “how can Julia get better at X” for some sufficiently narrow “X”, e.g. “embedded software” or “sparse matrices” or “database queries”), that kind of thread would probably not need a time limit (as long as it didn’t descend into a flamewar or stray far offtopic).


I’ve participated on enough forums to know what you mean and I have to say that when you put it that way, I do have to agree.


But what defines “sufficiently narrow”? For example, if Julia was just starting out, even problems like “linear algebra” could be very narrow when you’re focused on getting the language compiler working. Now, it might be too broad. When starting a new field, you might need to start with a broader question about the field to get it going. Then, there also needs to be some sort of directory to point to a more specific problem. Now, if one were to set X equal to “material science”, it might be okay. If one day, material science becomes a new frontier of human development like machine learning/etc… then maybe a more specific question needs to be asked.

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I don’t think it’s possible to come up with a definition of “sufficiently narrow”. It entirely depends on the question and where users take it, plus as you describe, “sufficiently narrow” may change over time depending on the topic.

The moderators have a wide latitude to decide when to start the timer and what length to choose, and rightly so. Sometimes it can be reasonably predicted how a thread will proceed so they are closed quickly. Sometimes even more narrow topics get heated, or go circular with no end in sight and are only closed days, weeks, or years (in the case of WATs) later when problems arise. But so far I have not seen any thread closed gratuitously or without just cause.

In the end, if there is a Julia-related topic someone would like to discuss, then they should post it. There is nothing inherently bad about having a thread time-limited; it just signals a topic that has run its course.