Four-hour waits between posts

Why four hours? It basically becomes impossible to respond to more than one person. If I write a post in response to person A, and to person B also a bit later, it means I will have to effectively wait 8 hours before I can respond to A again.

And this is not even considering editing. If I got back and edit a previous post to fix broken links or correct typos, I add another 4 hours wait-time.

I can understand a time-limit to slow down spam or giving people a chance to respond to multiple people, but four hours? How about 30 minutes, 45 at most?


A wait between posts is a very good idea to quiet down the vacuous personal snipping, but I agree four hours is too long.

Especially the lockout on editing works against quality of posts. I do proof read, but I am inept at it and at times still need that editing window after posting.


Was there any discussion around it? It just seems to have been implemented out of the blue.

I agree it’s a good idea to have some kind of delay of this nature – it does help to put the brakes on “someone is wrong on the Internet” syndrome – but I think we’d all have appreciated a heads-up first.


Yeah the idea behind it is fine, it’s the length of it that seems waay off on the far end.

I wasn’t the one who chose 4 hours nor implemented the delay on that specific thread. However, I did suggest that the moderators use this feature to make certain discussions (not all) less chatty, on-topic, and featuring a higher quality of posts, instead of a bunch of single or double-liners. (My preference for such threads is actually a longer delay, something like 12 hours.)

I was not aware, however, that you would not be able to edit old posts quickly. It seems that some other people have asked Discourse for this feature, but haven’t yet gotten a reply:

Maybe we should make the delays shorter until they fix this.

However, my thinking was that in a topic with slow mode, you will only choose to respond to people with the most substantial arguments, instead of trying to chase every sub-thread and answer every question. You would also combine your response to multiple people in a single post.

One problem I see with this forum right now is that it’s not very user-friendly to new visitors and lurkers who just want to get an overview of the good arguments about an issue or article they found and which we happened to have discussed. A thread with more than 100 posts (some of which are short, some of which are digressions which lead to nowhere) is frustrating because you will have to go through all of it from the beginning to understand the context of the arguments. You may end up wasting a lot of time wading through lower-quality responses to get what you need. Yet, that is the case for the majority of the threads here. Instead, if we had a thread with no more than about 50 posts, each of which are substantial (e.g. at least 300 words and containing coherent arguments), then that could be a real resource. This Office Hours thread is a good example.

I can take a quick skim through that thread and notice that each post seems to be written pretty thoughtfully. I’d happily spend an hour of my time reading through the whole thing, since I know there’s a good probability I’ll learn something about Francis Bacon.

Now compare that with this thread, which is the one currently with the 4-hours slow mode:

Can you honestly say that if someone wanted to know about whether The Design of Life is worth reading, or what are the book’s strong and weak points, they should go to this thread? In my honest opinion, no. The thread went downhill pretty quickly, with many posts just consisting of Eddie and others challenging each other to say something good about the book, without actually saying much of substance. Even as a moderator I’ve given up reading that thread.

The above is what I hope slow mode could remedy. Imagine if in the Design of Life thread you could only post once every 12 hours…now I think it’s more likely one wouldn’t waste that on personal accusations, challenges, or digressions.

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we can try a lowerlimit.

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Am I right in saying that the limit is implemented only on specific threads rather than whole sections of the site?

If so, a better approach would be for a moderator to make an announcement on the threads concerned when putting them into “slow mode.” I’m fine with a four hour limit, but having some indication of when it’s being implemented and why would be helpful.

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There is a post indicating the same in the thread when it is put in slow mode.

Given that editing-of-posts has come up, can I ask if it would be possible to make editing possible for posts awaiting moderation? As it stands, the only option you have is “delete” – meaning that if you want to change something, the only option you have is to delete-and-resubmit (which becomes cumbersome). [Clarification: I was talking about non-side-conversation posts in general, not just those on 4/0.25 hr delay.]


Amen to that - I just messed up the quoting in a post and can’t correct it for four hours - by which time I’ll be doing something else.

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“And others”? It was all Eddie, and the responsibility for that thread’s problems lies with him, period. He claimed that he wanted to discuss the book, but then set increasingly severe conditions for whom he was willing to discuss it with, settling eventually on requiring that the discussant have published a favorable review. And he refused to say anything himself. How often does anything that weird come up? Bad cases make bad law.


Actually, I’m finding I cannot edit the time delayed posts ever, even after four hours.

No possible currently.

That is encouraged. It won’t delay approval.

Even if this were true, other people should not have humored his requests and filled up that thread with noise. A single person shouldn’t set the terms of the book discussion thread. I think this just shows threads here are too easily derailed by one or two people.

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Hey I actually agree with that. Some people just aren’t worth responding to in general because they’re not intereste in real conversation, only in doing a sort of apologetics and political spin and talking-points.


Just for reference, 4 hours is the one-way light time from the Sun to Pluto.


Yes, but it does mean that you lose any proof-reading and spell-checking you pick up on in the submission window (even assuming people are like me, and write & edit their longer posts offline in a text editor).