Usage of "Slow down" mode

I’m commenting this in a new thread in order to avoid noise in Julia from the perspective of a pythonista, which is the origin of my comment. (EDIT: Oh, I see that the original thread has been closed, but anyway I hope that this commentary on the side topic is still pertinent.)

I support the reasonable use of the “Slow down mode” of Discourse, which in my opinion can contribute to healthier and less biased discussions. In response to @dariush-bahrami’s objection in the other discussion, I would say that it is not a matter of distrust in the participants’ maturity, but of favoring the diversity of voices in hot topics, before they degenerate into long dialogues with a very narrow scope between a few persons.

I don’t feel like looking for examples, but I recall several threads that started with very polite, judicious and constructive commentaries like the first post of the cited conversation, and eventually became an exchange of one-to-one accusations in the shape of “You are a troll!” vs. “This is such a narrow-minded, self-satisfied community!”. I believe that in most cases that was a rude misrepresentation of the intent and manners of both sides, although it’s easy to see how the later development of the discussion might lead to such perception.

Enforced pauses do not censor anyone’s point, but give others the opportunity to share their vision on the topic – or also mediate if they catch others’ commentaries that can distort the conversation; and that may help to represent the thoughts of the community in a fairer way. So thank you for trying that tool; I do think it can be useful if it is used judiciously.


Unfortunately, the situation is not as good as you describe. I was accused of hiring a colleague on that topic by @mbauman. I do not see the talk in the topic as a war to recruit anyone. But it seems that any criticism here is like a war. Thank you for your warm welcome.

I tried to edit my post in the mentioned thread to make it less exaggerate. It seems the formulation

There has been discussion here which just went wrong. There are people which are banned.

has triggered something, despite that I wanted to have it just as it is, a simple fact, no numbers, nothing inbetween the lines, short and clear fact, apparently I achieved the opposite :frowning_face:

I wanted to add


after each statement, but I wasn’t allowed.

So perhaps slowing down makes only sense, if you are allowed to overview and edit the posts. Slowing down and forbid editing is perhaps contraproductive. As missunderstandings and bad formulations can’t be improved to achieve better understanding.


It’s not about disallowing criticism. It’s not about treating it like a war. It’s about trying to keep the conversation productive, civil, and on-topic.

I’m sorry you saw it as being hostile, @dariush-bahrami.


If enforced pauses are considered censoring so is waiting for your turn to speak, or by analogy, waiting at a semaphore is a violation to your right of free passage (or right to come and go).

Also, I am dead tired of people using words like censor/censoring/censorship. Suppressing expression is only censorship if it done by the state, if it is done by platform, then it is de-platforming, and is completely legitimate. Businesses/organizations/communities have all the authority to decide what kind of communication they will allow in their platforms, users have accepted terms of service that give moderators that power.


Huh? Where?

It is a bit tiresome that any sort of pushback or disagreement on criticisms is so often taken as a “declaration of war”.



That link doesn’t work for me, it leads to a page I don’t have access to, apparently.

This was in response to your recent post.


Perhaps because it is a private chat, if @mbauman are agree i can share the content.

I know, that word does not came out of nowhere; unfortunately i has been accused of recruiting my colleague.

it actually stops a conversation. if there are a lot of people out there doing sth that’s not forbidden by law, and their action is ruining the comfort of participants of the society, it’s time to think again about the law.
let’s dive into what anyone faces after signing up in Julia’s forum.
here are two agreements that I agreed to obey after signing up:
and there’s another link which is captiones as “Community Guidelines” but it is actually “FAQ”! should I agree to FAQ?

This is the quote from the “Terms of Services” link:

The Website is offered subject to your acceptance without modification of all of the terms and conditions contained herein and all other operating rules, policies (including, without limitation,’s Privacy Policy and Community Guidelines) and procedures that may be published from time to time on this Site by JuliaLang (collectively, the “Agreement”).

Anyway. Another point is that there’s nothing as rule for slowing down or closing any threads in any of these agreements. So if there isn’t, what gives any of the administrators the power to slow down or close a thread?
If a thread is ok with all “to be considered civilized” rules and besides contains nothing worth answering, no one will answer and it won’t be seen, what’s the point of closing? what’s the problem with having offtopic conversations on a topic labeled “offtopic”?

most of my questions are from you @mbauman, Mr.Bauman. I will be so glad to know your opinion.

moderators and community stewards have the authorities to impose “suitable” moderations. This is true almost everywhere (subreddits, big discord server, other discourse/BBS-like forum). It’s impossible to list each and every possible violation ahead of the time and come up with a quantitative countermeasure.


One issue is this: The problem between Twitter and Trump showed that what you have said is not true for all conditions. There are still problems for Twitter for what it did and it’s is under judgement.

The other issue is about what I agree on in Julia forum which so vague. There are actions like “slowing a thread down”, or “closing a thread”, or even deleting, renaming the topic, editing users comment or anything which is not described in the agreement but it may be done by moderators.
You say they have the authority to impose suitable moderation. How can we know a moderation is suitable or not when there is no explanation about it?

My understanding is that (like it or not) the moderation of this forum is rather informal, rather than bound to precise rules - except for the resolution of complaints as explained in the page about stewardship linked by @jling. That is my interpretation of the sentence in the FAQ: “With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.”.

But for your specific question, I think the answer is yes: as you cited, the Terms of Service say:

So the TOS include accepting all the terms of the Community Guidelines as well, in spite of their page being called “FAQ”.


This is actually common for policies, as well as for laws. Community Guidelines, much like many proper laws, describe the Big Picture, without specifying the minutiae of how it is implemented.

For proper laws, you will find more details in regulations, and then are instructions and there is praxis below that (I’m not sure how to translate these from my native language.)

You can never expect a Community Guideline (nor a law) to include all the details about its interpretation and enforcement, otherwise it would be unreadable and subject to constant revision.


All these links you posted are from Discourse itself and not Julia-specific content. I believe the reason community guidelines are under the FAQ page is because Discourse calls it that, for example. I also believe that Discourse doesn’t allow you to force reading through custom link on user sign-up, whereas if you sign up for the Slack you will have to read through Julia Community - Standards. Which, I should point out, is the first link under the Community section in the site footer and brought up all the time on Discourse.

Now that the factual stuff is out of the way, let’s talk about laws and norms. As you note, there is no legal principle by which someone can ban a user or slow down the conversation on a public forum. However, I think we can all agree that laws are a coarse framework meant to handle egregious cases rather than dictate normal activity. To fill this void, we have norms and common practices.

To use a somewhat tired analogy, imagine someone has a sign on their wall by their front door saying “please take off your shoes”. Legally, there is nothing stopping me from waltzing in with a pair of mud-caked boots and ruining their carpet. However, as a matter of common courtesy and their own set of norms/expectations, I don’t think anyone would think them in the wrong for kicking me out of their house.

Now, that is a contrived scenario and not what happened here, but I think it provides a good basis for why these moderation tools exist and why admin action is not predicated on some binary threshold of “is this legal or not”. In fact, I would highly recommend reading through the original discussion around slow mode to see how much thought was put into the trade-offs and potential implications of adding such a feature.

In short, it’s fine to be ideologically opposed to this kind of measure. It’s also well within one’s right (in a strict legal sense) to voice that opposition on the platform. However, if we toss out norms and only allow for that strict, reductive interpretation, anything is on the table (including unfair and retaliatory moderation action) and the community quickly ceases to be.


With all due respect, this is just not true. AFAICS, you seem to have joined this forum a few days ago. I invite you to form an opinion over a longer period of time and not just based on one datapoint (which I also didn’t perceive as “war”, the latter being a very strong word that shouldn’t be used casually.).


I met Julia a few months ago and joined the community about a month ago. At first I was very passionate about Julia. In Community, I once asked a question about language syntax, which was well answered. But the bad feeling I got from different people in the community in the last one or two days has been very discouraging. Worst of all was being accused from a moderator to having bad intentions. It is very unfortunate.

Well, you can’t expect everyone to agree with you all the time. If you say things that people disagree with, you will get some pushback, if you say critical things people disagree with, you must expect sharper pushback. I think the discussion has been mild, I don’t understand why this is so sensitive.

It’s not possible to respond to this, except to say that it seems very out of character.


That you don’t see a problem in:

and you’re ok with it, made my mind hang for a minute! The agreement is for statements, not for questions and answers! Even an organization made this mistake and included “Frequently Asked Questions (!)” in their agreement and people are ok with it doesn’t make it acceptable.
I suggest you make another Gmail or even Facebook account and before clicking “I Agree”, read thoroughly the agreement you are going to accept. Even Twitch is a good example of TOS and Privacy Policy. There you will see the correct way of mentioning “all” that may happen and what you will exactly agree on.
If Julia had a small community and it didn’t have the reputation for being a great tool for scientific computation, it wasn’t important for me to talk about its forum deficiencies and also about my right as a member (even signed up for a minute) to talk about whatever rules allow me (for example talking offtopic in an offtopic thread!)

For the record, I do think our “pit of success” was not good enough and your frustration was warranted. I also write Python DS/ML code day-to-day and experience(d) many of the same issues you listed (still writing Python, after all).

This “dogpiling” on certain topics (i.e. a bunch of replies that individually are difficult to flag but in aggregate the poster feel unwelcome) is a real problem and one we’ve talked about in meta discussions. Ironically, this is something I think would actually be helped by having a semaphore limiting the number of posters on a topic. Correct me if you disagree, but it seems like the first few replies you received were relatively more constructive and empathetic, and the thread only started degrading after that.

Worst of all was being accused from a moderator to having bad intentions. It is very unfortunate.

I am wary of passing judgement on this until they’ve weighed in as well (which I see happening now), but I hope it’s more a matter of differing interpretations. Text is a terrible medium for conveying subtle intent or tone, and personally I’ve had hour-long arguments with people about ML-related stuff online (even about Julia ML libs once) where only afterwards did we realize we were on the same page the whole time!