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A suggested rework of followers-only posts and locked accounts: two levels of followership #5686
I'm putting both these into the same issue because they are tightly related issues.
My proposal is to have accounts have two levels of following: "subscribed" and "trusted". Subscribed users will see all public posts from the user they subscribed to, while trusted followers also will see the followers-only private posts.
Current and future followers-only posts will move to being for trusted followers only. Current
Discussion of alternate solution
The usual solution to this problem that I see mentioned in discussions of this issue is either to change "followers-only" to "mutuals-only" or to add "mutuals-only" as a new option (see issue #422). However, this has a social problem and a technical problem with it.
While this is a good idea, my gut feeling is that it introduces too much complexity into the modeling of interactions for the average user, and increases the learning curve and overhead and all of that in ways that outweigh it's benefits…
On Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 4:31 AM Cassolotl ***@***.***> wrote: I have see people say that they'd like to follow someone and see only their public posts, so I think this might work out well for many people! — You are receiving this because you are subscribed to this thread. Reply to this email directly, view it on GitHub <#5686 (comment)>, or mute the thread <https://github.com/notifications/unsubscribe-auth/AAORV9iKX5OUjBLYk6lgwN-f6F3bjH8Mks5s2V35gaJpZM4Qcy6-> .
(Edited OP to reference issue #422 and to improve some of the grammar)
@Cassolotl I just found an old relevant issue, and I'd agree that a mutuals-only privacy setting would miss the mark if you only want to see a person's public posts.
@nightpool I understand your point since the users who would best appreciate having two follower levels are also the ones who are most likely to know a good alt account strategy, whereas explaining "normal" and "private" following to a new user would create confusion (namely, I could imagine a new user thinking "close" followership was like a super-follow instead of a trusted users only option). As Cass said, sometimes you don't want to view a user's private toots. I could filter them out based on likely CW keywords instead, though.
Any news on that topic ?
Bonus: it allows to let bot follow you (for federation purpose) without letting them access your private content (who knows if the bot account does what it claims to do ?
referenced this issue
Aug 18, 2018
FWIW: there would indeed be the concern of how different software would handle the "follow requested but not approved" state. At least, in order for the remote server to actually fetch that content, it would have to be aware of it, which means that if a
For all the work that might go into this (and a good bit of confusion), honestly wouldn't it be better to just go ahead an implement a proper access control list? That would allow users to share arbitrary posts with arbitrary audiences, which is basically an abstraction of this -- "approved followers" is, after all, just one possible defined aspect. #7182 is one way of solving this.
How do them handle it right now with private accounts ?
This sounds indeed way better (but also much more complex to implement, I guess (?)) and more complete. It would also avoid some work on making both follower statuses clear in the UI, wouldn't it ?
There are two different concepts here: trust/intimacy, and topics.
Google Plus bet their platform on the idea that people would manually maintain friend and topic groups, but apparently in practice people didn't use it much for various reasons:
Overall it looks something like this:
Or like this:
Side note: In theory, if people broadcast to everyone but tagged their toots by topic, followers could self-select topics they don't want flooding their feed (don't show me #politics toots). This is also work intensive but at least puts the decision-making with the person best able to make the decision.
Trust levels are simpler to understand and maintain for the owner of the account. We categorize people by layers of intimacy IRL as well. You gut-level know how much you trust a potential follower, and know when an acquaintance has become a friend. There are things you would toot at people who are interested in your stuff but don't want to flood the fediverse with.
I think "Unlisted" is a bit of a weird concept as-is, because it translates in human terms to "stuff my friends will see and I guess I'm fine with others seeing if they happen to go looking for it", which has a use case that serves the network (please don't flood the local and federated feed) but not so much the user (doesn't make much difference in terms of who sees it). It's also not common on other media, whereas "Subscribed" and "Acquaintances" are.
Even if there's a compelling argument on Mastodon in particular for custom topic lists to toot at that I'm unfamiliar with (isn't the fediverse supposed to help you toot intensively to other enthusiasts about particular topics that may bore your other friends?), I think providing the additional option of "smart" lists like "followers and follow-requests"(subscribers) or "geographically local" would be very helpful.
@spongefile Google+ "Circles" (and what diaspora* calls "Aspects") should not be used to categorize your own posts by topic. It should be made perfectly clear that circles/aspects are for organizing your followers. The paradigm here is that they are access control lists, meant for determining which audiences can see which posts. It's a terrible idea to expect people to manage other people's interests, and an even worse one to conflate trust with topicality. In the Google+ model, topicality is expressed instead by Collections, which you can follow/unfollow separately from people. By default, following a person makes you follow all their collections, and then you can unfollow certain collections.
The fundamental problem with Google+ and diaspora* was that they reversed the sharing process; you start sharing with a circle/aspect, but there's no guarantee that the other person even wants to see your posts! This led to the misconception that circles/aspects were only for organizing your friends into topical groups, when you were really organizing your followers by access groups. The metaphor got even more confusing on Google+ because each circle had its own timeline, further encouraging the confusion.
In any case, I feel that the following schema makes the most sense, keeping in mind the Activity Vocab and how this would be treated with ActivityPub.
For Mastodon's purposes (and in my opinion), it would make sense to enforce point 5 as-is, but for a more Google+/diaspora*-like network, point 5 would changed to allow adding any
And of course, API changes necessary for those three steps.
referenced this issue
Aug 21, 2018
referenced this issue
Sep 13, 2018
So for some historic input into this I want to look at Livejournal’s model for “friends groups”.
You could have an arbitrary number of groups. Some would be stuff like “people I trust to hear about my romantic life” or “people who are pros in the same field I am”. Some would be “people who have said they are interested in my bee-keeping escapades”. People would use them for both privacy AND topic separation.
You could set a post as being visible to multiple friends groups.
And, most importantly, every user always had at least one friends group: the list of people who were shown on their Friends Page, which we would now call their “main feed”.
When a user decided to friend someone, they would be given a list of all their friends groups. It was perfectly easy to say that you want to give that one friend who posted twenty random thoughts a day access to the group for your romantic life without having to see their attempts to use a generally longform place LJ like Twitter before Twitter was a thing.
Ordinary non-technical users navigated this structure on a regular basis, for what it’s worth. Not everyone used it; some people just posted everything friends-only, some posted publicly. It had a lot of nuance for people who wanted it, and collapsed into fairly simple concepts for those who don’t.
I’d love to be able to do this sort of thing again. IMHO it’s one of the things that Livejournal really got right that’s been left by the wayside in current corporate social media models that want to compress everyone into simpler identities that are easier to sell things to.