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Posts Tagged ‘block user’

When Does An Unfollow Need To Become A Block?

Spammers aside, I block relatively few people on Twitter.

In optimising my stream, I’ve found that the comfort network size for me is to follow somewhere between three to five hundred people. Above that number and I feel that there’s too much going on, and everything moves a little too fast, which means I end up filtering out people and following lists or groups, which means I probably shouldn’t be following the excluded people at all. That may seem harsh, but Twitter simply doesn’t work if you follow everybody.

Likewise, if you follow nobody, or very few people, it also doesn’t function properly. I’m looking for information, not solitude. (I can get that at Google Wave.)

Five Reasons Why I Might Unfollow You

My Twitter network fluctuates fairly regularly, although it takes a lot for me to unfollow somebody. I have a few main reasons:

  1. Inactivity – I don’t and never will see the point of following somebody who hasn’t updated in months. (I use Untweeps to monitor this. I should add that I don’t blindly unfollow everybody who is inactive.)
  2. Inconsistency – If I’ve followed somebody for reason X and all of a sudden all they’re tweeting about is subject Y, this often leads to an unfollow. I’m not looking for everybody to ‘stay on target’ all the time, but complete personality changes or the total abandonment of one theme over another means it’s probably time for us to part ways.
  3. Rudeness – I can’t stand it when people are unnecessarily rude. Please, feel free to disagree with me, stick to your guns and voice your opinion. In fact, I encourage it. Just don’t be an ass about it.
  4. Crazies – I’ll give you every chance, but if you’re quite clearly a good, old-fashioned weirdo, I’ll move on. (Important note: if you bombard me with tweets, I file this under ‘crazy’, too.)
  5. Arrogance – I don’t like it when somebody never replies to my tweets. If this happens, I’ll check out their timeline and see if it’s just me, or whether they’re ignoring most of their other messages, too. Either way, if there’s no relationship there, despite my best efforts, eventually I’ll likely think it’s time we started seeing other people. I’m selective here, because I know some very important people are very busy doing very important things, but there has to be a point where there is no point.

Naturally, I’d expect everybody to apply these same guidelines to me, too.

Two Reasons Why I Will Block You

It’s items three and four that are the most serious. Because an unfollow on Twitter doesn’t stop somebody contacting you via an @ reply, rudeness and craziness can still get through, even after an unfollow. Or, more damagingly, if you never even followed at all. If either of these things becomes persistent, that’s when I will block somebody.

It doesn’t help that the block function on the network doesn’t actually work properly. But while blockees can still read my timeline and rant and rave about me to their heart’s content, at least I don’t have to be privy to it.

Just to reiterate – I’m not a fly-by-night follow/unfollower and I always give others a chance to excel. I love it when people surprise me, and bump against my (often flawed) expectations and first impressions. It takes a lot for me to actually block somebody.

If you want to get my attention, please, go crazy – I would absolutely love to hear from you. I really want to know what you think.

Just don’t be crazy. Or rude. Otherwise, I’m sorry to say that we’re done.

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Twitter Ups The Fight Against Spammers, Still Isn’t Doing Enough

Over on the official Twitter blog, there’s an update of a new way that all of us can help in the mounting battle against spam on the network. Twitter has added a one-click way to report any user as a spammer – which is now visible on everybody’s profile – and once done their ‘Trust and Safety’ team will move into action, investigate the alleged nuisance and act accordingly.

Also, once a profile is reported, it’s also automatically blocked.

Twitter Ups The Fight Against Spammers, Still Isn't Doing Enough

It’s important that a team is involved and that this isn’t in any way automated as this naturally limits the impact of false accusations and, as Twitter states, cannot be used to “incite an angry mob” against an account.

Previously, the only way to alert Twitter of a spammer account was to send a message to the official @spam account. I assume this will still be an option. And while this one-click, take care of everything approach is a step forward, it’s likely to only have a marginal impact against the growing spam problem.

What the network really needs is an Akismet or Gmail-style filter system that is configurable at the user level so that it learns. Because Twitter is an open network, and anybody can contact anybody else, whether they’re following each other or not, the biggest concern on Twitter right now is reply spam. (Closely followed by abuse of trending topics.)

I also think we need a stricter sign-up process, possibly via a subscription model. Because it’s so easy to set up a disposable Twitter account using a disposable email address, blocking one user doesn’t mean the end of your problems, as another one is right around the corner. And another one. And another one. All managed by the same despicable teams. This is a proactive move by Twitter, but because it doesn’t really tackle these existing concerns, the benefits are likely to be negligible.