Post Rate Limit Trigger for a topic that's heating up


(Speck Of The Cosmos) #1

Generally, our users are well behaved, but when we get into certain topics, little flame wars crop up on very sensitive issues that do actually need to be worked out. We can moderate them and flag them and work through the behavior, but by the time that’s happened, we’ve lost the positive momentum that was in the topic to begin with.

The issues at hand are also very complex and hard to tell if someone is giving legitimate critique or is being unfair. What the moderators need is more time to react to the situation. Right now their only option is to close the topic which again can derail the productive portion of the conversation.

Being able to rate limit a conversation so that people who’ve already posted can’t be tempted to jump in and defend themselves, constantly clarify their remarks, demand explanations, etc. would be a great way to slow down the conversation and let new voices in.

We already have about 125 active users a day in this private forum and we expect it to grow to thousands as the rollout continues to this community of people that work together both online and in person. Also if an issue is contentious and newsworthy, we can end up with a flood of thousands of users interested in the topic. To even allow space for people to chime in, limiting the number of posts per person would be useful.

The basic ask is for there to be a setting that’s visible to mods and trust_level_4’s on the topic controls to limit the conversation to X posts per X hours (adjustable in the settings). This would then show up as a banner to the users: Posts in this topic have been limited to x posts per x hours.

This would put everyone on notice that the topic is being watched carefully and they need to choose their words more carefully here, as opposed to the more free areas of the forum.

Once implemented, the feature could be useful in other ways. Like a category where posts are automatically limited for debates or deliberations on policy.

It also has the advantage of not requiring a global setting. Like the posting too often setting. We could set it to 15 minutes but then people wouldn’t be able to have useful conversations in DMs since the software doesn’t distinguish them.

This does seem to be possible on a per user level now by dropping them to trust_level_0.

Previous Requests:




Rate-limit first-responders in specific categories
(Simon) #2

Oh man this would be excellent.


(Sam Saffron) #3

I really like this suggestion!

I tend to close hot topics and set them to reopen when stuff has calmed down but a “choose your words carefully” mode would be super handy in quite a few cases. I would have certainly used it on the GDPR topic.

@codinghorror should we slot something along these lines of a future release? (in topic wrench)

Limit Replies…

[Drop down in modal]

One post per user per hour
One post per user per day
One post per user per week

We would also need to add some sort of visual indicator on the topic that the topic is rate limited and avoid allowing user to type in an opus just to be denied a reply by the system on save


(Jeff Atwood) #4

But wait… we already have this feature.

However, it only applies to new / low trust users as I recall. They are limited to a max of 3 replies in a topic, but if any TL2+ user replies to them, that limitation is immediately lifted.


(Sam Saffron) #5

I think the suggestion here is for a “long term” limit that applies to everyone talking. Eg. this topic is about politics so quick back-and-forths are disallowed, you need to compose yourself and only post once a day here forever.


(Jeff Atwood) #6

It’s not a bad idea and has definitely been discussed, see


(Speck Of The Cosmos) #7

Wouldn’t mind that for any sort of rate limiting. Sometimes I’ll post a reply to a topic then go to compose a DM and press send only to find oh I have to wait 48 seconds. It would be nice to see a rate limit timer when I open a new text box.


(Sam Saffron) #8

I do not think this is a major issue for 1 minute rate limits, but it does become pretty big when you have to wait a whole day. On the upside, drafts works awesomely… so nothing is lost.


(Speck Of The Cosmos) #9

Yea fair enough, we’d upped our global limit in an effort to deter the back and forths but found it to be an inelegant solution. Particularly since it also limits DMs.


(Ryan Erwin) #10

@mbcahyono and I worked through something similar…
Set different rate limits per category per user group.
For example, maybe TL4 folks have no limit while TL1 folks are limited to 1 post per day per category.

Haven’t moved it into production yet, but I’ve been testing it on staging for a few months now. Might be a good solution to your problem.