A wireframe of how a slowdown intervention would, with a timer, show users how long they must wait to post again.

Slowdown Modes

Slow users down so their followup comments are more thoughtful

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What It Is

After a user posts or comments, they are only allowed to post again after a "cooldown period" has elapsed.

This can be tweaked to fit the specific user base and format. Originally bulletin boards implemented a lenient version of this—no more than one post every thirty seconds—to cut down server load and prevent spam from bots. However the limit can be extended within specific contexts.

For example, if a user on a social media comment thread tries to reply ten seconds after their initial comment, they can get a popup saying that they need to wait five minutes before posting something.

Users might, optionally, be offered the chance to draft something they can save, which they could then add to and post later.

This can also be triggered when specific, fraught keywords are detected in a conversation, or when a mod sees that a conversation is getting out of control as a way to slow down users and lower the temperature a bit when discussing controversial subjects.

Civic Signal Being Amplified

Promote thoughtful conversation

When To Use It


What Is Its Intended Impact

  • Makes users consider their words more carefully and forces them to take more time, and think, before replying to a discussion.
  • De-escalates conflicts in progress by cutting down on immediate, knee-jerk responses that would elicit immediate, knee-jerk replies.

Evidence That It Works

Evidence That It Works

This is currently in use on Discord, several messaging boards, and as a manually triggered option for moderators in Facebook groups.

While use in the wild is often indicative of success in internal testing, we cannot assign a higher grade of confidence until such data is made public.

Why It Matters

Special Considerations


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Further reading

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