From Social Patterns
Relationships online are more ephemeral than in real life and the desire to add and delete, friend and unfriend, follow and unfollow people is as fluid as people are complex.
A user has a collection of friends and then decides they want to remove a person from their friends or connections list.
- Use this pattern to allow users to remove connections.
- Use this pattern to manage unwanted relationships.
Provide an easy way to remove connections without embarrassing the user.
Clearly indicate the consequences of each action.
Allow the option for users to block other users.
Clearly indicate the consequences of blocking a user.
When the block option on Twitter is selected they present a screen that clearly defines the ramifications of this action and then allows a graceful way to back out or continue with the block action.
Linked In offers a “I don’t know XX” button to ignore a connection request. The rollover tip alerts you to the consequences of this action.
Wiktionary defines Ostracize as: To exclude someone from society or from a community, by not communicating with or even noticing them, similar to shunning.
Danah Boyd [Friends, Friendsters and Top 8: Writing community into being on social network sites, 2006 - http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1418/1336] talks about the social norms of the Top 8 culture in MySpace and the dynamics in real life high schools when someone isn’t added into this special class of friends. Age plays a role in the ensuing drama so consider your target demographic when thinking about these types of tools or lack thereof.
Users inevitably will ostracize others. The ability to ignore and block are overt ways to accomplish ostracizing as is simply ignoring the requests for connecting. Human behavior indicates this is a part of group dynamics and the systems we build need to be flexible to accommodate this.
A bozo filter is a filter that allows a user to block email or messages from specific individuals. Provide the ability for users to filter out specific posts or messages based on the poster or sender. This is especially helpful for blocking trolls and spammers in forums and groups.