To have a conversation requires not to shut it down

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The point is that you are expected to more than just drop a link into this forum. Provide some commentary, context, or your reaction.


@PetrKryslUCSD: to have a conversation requires input from the discussion starter. Just dropping a link with an adversarial title is not a good start.


The moderation seems a little heavy handed to me. I might not have discovered the article otherwise and that provided real value to me as a forum participant. Maybe, given the facts on the ground, the best option might be to repost the link with a little commentary/context/reaction as they demand.


False, my friend. All that is required is to provide a starter topic. When I run discussion forums with my students, I make it a point not to offer my opinion at all. It might shut down or at least bias the conversation.

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I’m not censoring the article or a conversation about it. If someone wants to start a discussion around that article, by all means go for it. I closed that thread for two reasons:

  1. No input beyond the title. Why should I bother reading that article? What sort of discussion do you want to have here?
  2. The title is adversarial and inflammatory. Fanboys — beyond being an unnecessarily gendered noun — has a negative connotation and immediately sets up the conversation to be adversarial. I edited the title, but even with that change, I decided that we needed more direction to the topic for a conversation to have any hope of not becoming a flame war.

Matt, a conversation does not necessarily need to start by me telling everybody what I think.

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what sort of conversation were you hoping to start beyond a rehash of the “AI is impressive” vs “actually I think it sucks” flame war?

I think the article is interesting (and important) precisely because it is not a rehash of that flame war, nor a philosophical critique a la Chomsky. It is not about the technology itself, but the context in which it exists, and that context is easy to miss for those of us who focus/work on the tech.

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Just wanted to thank @PetrKryslUCSD for the nice article!

This paragraph was particularly good:

" There is a world in which generative AI, as a powerful predictive research tool and a performer of tedious tasks, could indeed be marshalled to benefit humanity, other species and our shared home. But for that to happen, these technologies would need to be deployed inside a vastly different economic and social order than our own, one that had as its purpose the meeting of human needs and the protection of the planetary systems that support all life."

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I also think the article is interesting, and of interest to the community.

However, I think an important point is that it is expected that the OP takes a bit of responsibility in directing the discussion away from flame wars, offensive slander, etc. This is usually a job moderators like @mbauman undertake, as a service to the community, but it’s a large amount of work.

A way to help is, usually, to have an opening paragraph giving some guidance of the kind of replies expected, so that the discussion is not too open-ended that it can derail. That’s why moderators might close a question if this initial effort is not visible.

That’s my 2 cents, anyway.


A problem with the empty original post is that I could come into the conversation trying to figure out how to respond to the subject headline rather than the linked article.


Why does there seem to be a double standard in this case compared to: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, …, infinity?


I understand this point of view as it pertains to the classroom setting and the Socratic method of teaching. But Discourse is not a classroom and we are not students, so what is the point of starting a conversation in which you do not want to have an opinion?

Though I would say, a very simple Hey, I found this article interesting, I thought I would share it. in the original post would be an easy way to share something without “biasing” anyone.

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There’s not a standard. There is no guidance on link-only posts. But: there is guidance about this being the forum for the Julia programming language community (and thus we have closed other off-topic posts that are part of larger non-Julia specific hot-button topics, even in #offtopic). And there is guidance on being a positive influence on the discussion. All of that together is why the above post was closed.

Should there be such guidance against link-only topic starters? There haven’t been infinity of these — as you were gathering those links I did the comprehensive search of the DB: there are 43. Many of them are announcements and links to Julia packages, meetups, tutorials, or videos — quite relevant and productive. Others are more immediately obvious in their relevancy to the Julia community, like “could we do this in Julia” with a link to some paper or technique.

There are plenty of other places to have flame-wars about hot topics on the internets.


I just looked at the first few of those, and some read like announcments (like the linux one), others have a clear question in the title (i.e. the purpose of the topic). I looked back at the thread that spawned this one, and it seems a bit hostile to “fans” of AI (including the original title). I haven’t read the article in question, but the title of it implies that AI enthusiasts are “hallucinating”. That needs more context before posting I think.

I could go find a link to any “Python is better than Julia because…” article and post it here without comment, but what’s the point?

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Actually it had a double meaning.

I went through all of your links. Not sure what point you want to make, exactly, but…

1,3, 6, 7, 8 : Not a lot of framing, not a lot of engagement
4: Shut down by a Steward (even if not closed)
5: By OP! Actually a bit flamebaity and no engagement
9: Engagement, and a clear effort by the OP to frame the discussion

The exception would be 2. Probably because the announcement of Mojo itself is kind of flamebaity (the website has a lot of…ah, marketing words).

Personally, I was put off reading the article because of the inflammatory title.

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I don’t spend as much time around here as I used to, so perhaps I’m a bit out of touch. Is there anything besides the lack of context that makes that post inherently bad for this site (I skimmed the article and didn’t find it offensive)? Whether you can start a conversation with a link vs should do so is besides the point if the content was fine. People make bad posts all the time and we make suggestions instead of closing them.


In this case, I think the issue is that without any guiding principles/topic from the OP, then the thread was likely to devolve into a heated, unproductive discussion. As opposed to other posts that actually have a goal in mind (help me with X…).

edit: just skimmed the article, as an opinion piece, it is a heavily biased article and immediately paints people who work on AI into a corner of having to defend themselves. This isn’t really any different than people coming to the forums to complain about Julia and why X language is better, and I think we all know how those discussions turn out…