Cooloff period for new signups?


Hey, that sounds pretty cool! I’d get behind a gamified cooldown.


Maybe they get to comment, and it’s invisible to most users until a Regular or higher likes or otherwise clears the invisible flag? That sounds like a lot of work though.

Maybe they get to make one comment on day one, and eventually as many as they like? If that one comment draws flags because it is out of line, the one comment can be looked at and then the new user approved or denied? I think this helps retain the babies while disposing carefully of the bathwater.


I got my start as one of those frothy-mouthed new commenters, diatribing on one of my pet-topics. I think it was something about “Friendzone-ing” where I came screaming in to claim I was a “nice guy” and was sure that the women taking advantage of me by employing the “friendzone” was totally a thing.

I’m pretty sure it was @marilove or someone just as passionate as her, who beat me over the head with the logic stick, pointing out that I was being an asshole and wasn’t practicing critical thinking well.

Needless to say, it really smarted, and I felt wounded for a time. But eventually, I did research, I talked with people IRL, I re-read what that commenter who eviscerated me posted, and I figured out that I was actually the one who was wrong.

So, what I’m trying to get at is: Sometimes people can come in looking just like a vile troll, but we do have the ability to change sometimes. I’m really glad I was given a chance at least to have that beat-down. I really needed it. It made me a better person.

Just my two cents.


Yeah, as much as we complain about piñatas infesting particular topics, they do serve a purpose. I’d really like to encourage more of what you experienced though. So many of them post and then flee, never to be heard from again. I’m not sure if it’s possible to force a personal investment in a community when the only motivation to sign up is to troll it, not that those were your intentions but for sure that’s the case for some people.


I’m wondering if a 1-3 hour cooloff would work better than a 24-48 hour one. It might get rid of the trolls who make one needlessly offensive post and disappear, as they will hopefully be distracted by something else. It won’t get rid of the religious people who sincerely believe that they need to save our souls, but I can’t think of a way to discourage them without scaring off other new users.

I also like the idea of playing a game for a few minutes before making a post. I don’t know if that would make a difference against trolls though.


I have the feeling that I was an edge-case of sorts. I came here as a naive high schooler with a very cosmopolitan high school experience. I had just worked out that religion is bullshit, and came in with a big chip on my shoulder.

Nobody I knew really cared about anything, and I was looking for a cause. And just as I was a baby free thinker I wasn’t very good at thinking yet. So I got caught up in the MRA thing, thinking the reason why I always had crap relationships with women was women’s fault, hadn’t figured out that the problem was actually me. It took a while to realize that I was raised in a family that teaches that men should be dependent on women, but consider women to be the lesser sex rather than equal. To have a codependent “rescuer” dynamic in my relationships.

Needless to say being a part of this community has made me a better and more thoughtful person, if you can believe that seeing how crass and abrasive I am most of the time.

I like to think I’m in a much better place as a human being these days, but I know I still have a long way to go, and that I’ll probably hold opinions and views that my children/grandchildren would be sickened by, as society and ethics progress into the future.



Occasionally authors of linked pieces or subjects of stories drop by to participate in the discussion; e.g., pixel artist Blake Reynolds, game developer Brianna Wu.

I realize that they are the rare positive exceptions of new posters, but I’d hate to think that some added friction or waiting period would get in the way of interesting people stopping in and talking about their work.

I know that other forums like the model where new commentors to have their first post moderated prior to getting unrestricted posting ability, but I don’t know how that scales with the BBS volume and staffing.


This just made my day. It is easy to be cynical about How People Never Change, but then sometimes you hear about those that do–for the better.

bear hug


No, you got the weights wrong. I’m thinking a 33 should just about do it, especially for the GG-related threads. :wink:

Sigh. Yes, that’s implying violence. WTF is kappa? No, I didn’t say anything about the holocaust! Am I cis? Well I doubt Kotaku is out to defame you… What’s gender got to do with journalism? Oh ffs.


Or maybe just a way to say, “Hey, I was mentioned in that article!” But maybe a day wait isn’t terrible for them either: the comments are open for a couple of weeks, and Discourse has good tools for notifying people of new responses even when the initial feeding (regurgitating?) frenzy has passed.


Wait, the system actually works sometimes? That’s fantastic!

Was it that ice cream misandry cartoon?


I can’t remember. It would have been around 2007-2008, before the BBS was a thing. I was talking about the community rather the BBS specifically.


Don’t ya think Ben and Jerry’s should come out with an ice cream called Misandry that is salty, unsweetened, and flavored with bitterness?



Who would buy such a thing? Talk about a limited target market. And you forgot the nuts. It would be so nutty.


Ah ha! And we have a tagline for Mysandry ice cream: It’s Nuts!!


Circuit breakers for the BBS! I’m not sure what effect it would have, but it’s a lovely image.

“The bOINGDAX closed up 30 posts today, after a volatile commenting period which saw curbs imposed and several dragon chompings. The day ended with snarky gifs down 13% and obvious trolling down 24%. Some sectors of the bOINGDAX fared better, with CWAA up 3%, acceptable target bashing up 4% and overly-complex jokes up 5%”


I can believe that. :smile:

Back when I first arrived I wasn’t entirely sure Ayn Rand was the devil, and would have assumed xkcd was a typo. Now I know.


Not really since we track actual reading time as well. That can’t be circumvented.

One thing I worry about, with “wait 10 minutes, or wait 1 day, or wait until trust level 1 (really the same thing, just more diverse) before you can post anything” is this:

↑ that is kind of a big deal. OK, fine, it doesn’t happen on every topic but when it does, it is magical, as in this is why we have a discussion community in the first place magical. So preventing that kind of synchronicity from ever possibly happening… is really severe.

I kind of agree there are two classes of topics. The controversial ones and “everything else”. I believe @beschizza will agree with me on this.

So maybe we need some way of algorithmically identifying those controversial topics so whatever change we propose (as it is, inevitably, increase in discussion strictness) applies only to those controversial topics where it is most needed, and doesn’t hinder discussion everywhere else?

How do you detect a hot button, controversial topic?

  • Total # of comments, e.g. once it gets over 50, this setting kicks in? Simple, which is good. KISS, man.

  • Total # of new commenters, e.g. once there are more than (n) new commenters, this setting kicks in?

  • I don’t really want to get into tracking velocity over time, but I guess you could do that, more than (n) comments per hour or day or whatever, and this setting kicks in. That’d prevent false positives from the topic that just barely edges into 51 posts on day 4 or whatever.

That’s the first thing to decide. How do we semi-reliably, algorithmically tell a topic is controversial?

Discourse has this now, but the approval is moderators only, and would imply a not-insignificant increase in work for @falcor et al. The more experimental thing would be for the community (say, people at trust level 3 and 2) to approve posts by new posters before others see them. It’s been discussed a little but this would be … quite experimental, not necessarily risky in my opinion, but I worry about adding work to anyone’s plate.

Ok so, if you scoped to

  • just the controversial topics
  • just new users posting in said controversial topics


  1. Could it be more easily expressed as “new user posts must get at least 1 like from a not-new user to be visible”? This would certainly cover the Brianna Wu and Blake Reynolds dropping by cases.

    We might be able to leverage the “hidden by the community” code path here so the posts would appear to the author, but only appear to the rest of the community if you clicked them to expand – until they get liked by a trusted user at least once.

  2. Maybe a basic read check is simpler. “You must have read (n) percent of the topic with a reasonable minimum wall clock time to be able to post in that topic as a new user”. This is the Bananas experiment, basically. If you want to post, fine, but read the god damn discussion first.

The scoping to new users and controversial topics part is important here. But if we do that, maybe something like the above two options, something simple and understandable, could help?

BBS Thread/Topic trigger warnings

Also just as a reminder, we already auto-close discussions that have too many outstanding flags from a number of different users. These thresholds are fairly high, though, and this community is not particularly “flaggy”, so you might not see it happen very often.

It’s mostly a safety valve so nothing too terrible can occur if no moderators are around and something heinous is happening in a topic.

Russia's troll factory