Given a processing service with a limited throughput and tasks submitted by users with assigned priorities, what can be used to avoid priorities fights between users willing their tasks to be finished first?

In practice, even with verbose names (i.e. critical, high, regular, background), there are less responsible users who submit jobs with unnecessary high priorities which are causing all users to use high priorities.

Attempts to require the input of a business justification for using high priorities, or explicitly acknowledge using, or use red-warning indications for critical didn't improve the situation much.

One thing that can be used is to assign quotas to users or sub-organisation a user belongs to. The disadvantage of that is a need to implement a quota control in the system and overhead for people responsible for assigning priorities.

It's an open-ended question, and it will be interesting to hear ideas.

  • Rate limit the priorities. X critical per day, Y high per day, etc. More trusted users get bwttwr ratings.
    – bishop
    Jun 14, 2017 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


What you describe reminds me the Tragedy of the commons :

The tragedy of the commons is an economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action.

Change the culture:

Create awareness for the problems that overuse is creating. Make them understand that this is not for the best interest of the whole group. Make the sensible use of the priorities a social norm.

Regulate with panishment and reward:

Randomly check the use of the system and reward those that use it correctly and panish those that systematically overuse it.

Make the use of the priorities visible to others:

The most immediate and efficient change you can make is to create a dahsboard in the interface that shows the use of the priorities by all users. Create a ranking system and assign points accordingly.

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