Micro.blog

jack
jack

I noticed that micro.blog now shows how many people each account is following. I’m following 245 people. I had no idea it was that many. Trying not to click the links to see which people are (or aren’t, what!?) following me.

sanspoint
sanspoint

@jack Oh! I’ll have to check that out. It’s hard to find people to follow on here.

In reply to
jack
jack

@jack Either no one follows me here or the following list doesn't include the user looking at the list. This has the effect of hiding whether or not someone follows me. If that's the case, it's genius.

macgenie
macgenie

@jack The Following count has been available in the iOS and Mac apps for a while. We just added the feature to the web version.

jack
jack

@macgenie Ah, I don't think I ever noticed it. I use the web UI 90% of the time so having it here is great, thanks. It's helpful for discovery!

adamprocter
adamprocter

@jack who is following you (follower count) is hidden and will always be - manton.org/2018/07/0...

jack
jack

@adamprocter Right. We've heard a lot about not showing follower counts or lists of people following me and it's the best thing ever. What I didn't realize is that it also extended to when I'm viewing the list of people other people are following. For example, you're shown as following 60 people but there's only 59 in the list. I am not on the list. If you do follow me, then my name is removed from the list of people you follow. That way I don't know whether you follow me or not. I think that's a great feature. Of course if you don't follow me, then I can't explain any of this :)

adamprocter
adamprocter

@jack 👍

macgenie
macgenie

@jack I had not realized that we don't show whether someone is following you when you look at their Following list! That makes sense. / @manton

jack
jack

@macgenie I think it's terrific. Avoids the awkwardness around any implied obligation for mutual follows :).

manton
manton

@macgenie @jack So… this is actually a bug that I introduced last night. But now I’m wondering if it’s a good thing! It’s confusing right now but maybe an opportunity to rethink this feature.

ayjay
ayjay

@manton As the theologians say, O felix insectum!

jamesgowans
jamesgowans

@manton I like it. It relieves the worry about whether someone follows you or doesn't (a useless popularity metric), and places more value in replies/conversations. It's sort of "all-in" on the no follower count philosophy.

macgenie
macgenie

@manton I like it. Let's leave it for now.

CraigsOverItAll
CraigsOverItAll

@manton I think this is a Feature not a bug ☺️

jack
jack

@manton Interesting! I will admit to being confused at first, so that might be something to consider, but I do think that not knowing if someone follows me or not and vice versa is more a feature than a bug :).

oyam
oyam

@manton I agree with the others, I think omiting the viewer from the list is great. As for confusion, it can easily explained with one or two sentences on top of the list and/or help page...

simonwoods
simonwoods

@manton agree with everybody else in that this is a good thing. People are likely confused due to years of bad conditioning from the siloed web and this is one instance in which Micro.blog ought to go the other way, at least for now.

colinwalker
colinwalker

@macgenie @manton I like it too. I agree with @jamesgowans, it's the ultimate in "no follower count" and if it's not visible you can't (or shouldn't) get stressed over whether someone is or isn't. You'll know those who likely are due to engagement but beyond that it doesn't really matter.

amit
amit

@manton @macgenie I think I may be in minority. Though I am all in favor of what it achieves, design wise, it's better not to add complexity to a simple feature in quest of hiding followers. Current principles are enough I feel to do that.

We should avoid alienating new users who aren't tech oriented by changing the behavior of features they are used to.

dcpace
dcpace

@manton At least for those of us replying to this thread there seems to be nearly full endorsement of keeping the specific user hidden from the list. In terms of the open web and IndieWeb principles, however, I wonder whether this is against the "it's your data" mantra? One might argue that an open web provides access to all the data. Sure, micro.blog doesn't need to display follower counts prominently or advertise them as an indicator of popularity, but hiding some data now seems like a slippery slope to hiding more data later. If it makes the community stronger today, then it might be worth it anyway.

manton
manton

@dcpace Good points. I think we can differentiate accessing the data and what the default UI should show. Maybe there should even be 2 variations in the API for this.

EddieHinkle
EddieHinkle
@manton Yeah, I think from the micro.blog side of things it makes sense to hide it from the UI. From the IndieWeb side of things, I think over the next year we’ll see expansion into follower lists to help readers, recommendations and the vouch system. For this reason, I think data wise keeping the full follower list is important.
isaiah
isaiah

@jack @manton i'll be the devil's advocate 😈

dislike: seeing counts and who follows whom

dislike more: there might be data about me i don't have access to. or worse… so difficult to access that only a few can get it.

jack
jack

@isaiah @manton @dcpace I hadn't considered the downside of having "hidden" data, but probably because it doesn't concern me as much, especially given the tradeoff. Others obviously feel differently. Valid. I'll bet there's a reasonable solution, but I don't have it.

hjertnes
hjertnes

@jack Who I follow is data about me, but isn't who follows me data about the people who follows me and not me?

jack
jack

@hjertnes That's a great question. Seems a reasonable argument to make, sure.

Ron
Ron

@manton I guess I don't agree with anyone's opinion on this much discussed feature or bug. I never understood why it was ever included in the IOS or Mac apps in the first place! That seemed to violate what most agreed was special about Micro.blog. I thought it was nearly uniformly agreed to not play the social media numbers game here. Why would I ever want or need to know who @jack is following? If he posts a brilliant reply on something, I'll follow him. Easy! I should follow him only if he says something brilliant & he also follows @kitt? Balderdash. Some are saying these lists are useful for discovery. I can accept that. So when someone signs up for Micro.blog ask each person to opt-in on whether they want to be included on a list of users here. ONE list. Why have hundreds of lists, with tons of overlapping data? If you want to fine tune such a list, then break it down according to what continent or part of the world each person is in. That would actually add useful information. But I have NO interest in comparing who @jack follows with who @kitt follows. That's just making extra work for the bits & bytes to line up in ever more boring duplicative ways. I suppose there are some who want to post from an unknown location, the view from nowhere. So you allow a sub-category list of people in unknown locations. But for those who don't mind letting it be known what continent or part of the world they're from, provide us with that useful data. Who @manton follows vs who @cheri or @JohnPhilpin follows is not the least bit interesting to me. Maybe I'm doing it wrong and someone can explain to me why I should want to see a list of who every person follows. Is this like junior high school and all the people that @jack follows are gonna be the Mavericks and the people who @cheri follows are gonna be the Outsiders? Nooooo, I hope not!! Mostly I just care about what each person has to say, not their membership in this or that grouping. I'm willing to have this explained to me. God knows, I'm certainly no expert on social media or a power blogger or opinion leader in the Apple community. @dave follows five people here. Now how can I use that gem of information in some useful way? Actually he follows six, because he follows himself, but that apparently doesn't get included in the count. Geeeesh, I never even thought of following myself! What is it I can now learn about blogging from @dave? Didn't I learn enough already from him?

Maybe it would benefit us all a lot more to be figuring out how to get a MUCH more diversified group of people using Micro.blog. Anyone have any clever ideas about that?

Sorry, I'm grumpy.

manton
manton

@Ron Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve been thinking about this more over the last 2 days and plan to make further changes.

Ron
Ron

@manton We rely upon you being the wise Solomon, @manton I hope you don't cut the baby down the middle.

macgenie
macgenie

@Ron The Following list is helpful for finding new people to follow. If you are following someone, you might be interested in following the people they follow. It helps people get started who are new to Micro.blog.

Ron
Ron

@macgenie I guess some could use that approach. But when I started here, I didn't look to anyone else to help me choose who to follow. I made the decision to follow or not follow by myself in each case, by observing what the varous people were doing who I had to choose among. And since we were not gonna play the numbers game, if I was in doubt about a follow, I would usually follow, so I could watch their postings for a while. If later events showed me I had made a major blunder, I would then unfollow to fix it. No one would ever know, which gave me great flexibility and freedom. It never seemed hard to me at all. I suppose my approach meant that I was more likely to follow people who were active, as how would I know they existed if they weren't replying to people who I was following, so I could see their postings. If there are brilliant people who I know by reputation that I want to follow, I would be able to pick them out of the master opt-in list of people here.

jack
jack

@Ron The original point I raised was about whether or not to show me that someone is following me (via their following list). It wasn't about the value of having following lists in the first place. I agree with you and I would be fine without following lists of any kind.

My suggestion was that if we are going to have them, I'd like to not know if I'm on them or not. They are pretty good for discovery. On the other hand, they can lend themselves to various interpretations. For example, if I know Dave only follows 5 people, what does that say? Something, I'm sure. I'd rather not know. It's a tricky thing to get right. @manton has done a great job so far balancing things. I'm confident that will continue! :)

Ron
Ron

@jack Yes, I agree! He hasn't cut any babies in half so far.

cheri
cheri

@macgenie @ron I occasionally peek at follower lists to discover new people.

bradenslen
bradenslen

@cheri @macgenie @ron My main access is via the Web. So I didn't know these lists were available. In fact I had no clue as to exact number of people I was following. I guess I was more worried about the Timeline zipping by me too fast. :) I use conversations for discovery mostly. That said, I don't need to know who follows me.

cheri
cheri

@bradenslen Agree 100% on your last point. I don’t want to know either. 🙂

amit
amit

@manton @jack I will say again, it’s ok to not have the feature at all — can be explained as a principle. But if we include it, we should not alienate new users by changing the expected behaviour. For many, fist party app will be the one they use.

jack
jack

@amit I see your point, but given what micro.blog is trying to accomplish, I’m not as concerned about surprising people by not doing the same things they’re used to. Yet another tricky balance for @manton to strike!

amit
amit

@jack Oh absolutely. But it just becomes a hurdle for non-tech users to welcome the platform if they see all the features they are used to seeing, but not working in a way they expect them to behave.

Ideally it should not matter, but it does. I know a tricky balance it is for @manton

donmacdonald
donmacdonald

@manton Well, @Ron puts it a bit more—stridently than I might have, but I agree with all his points in the main. One of the things I like best about micro.blog is the lack of anxiety-inducing social metrics…it's a compelling feature of the platform.

hjertnes
hjertnes

@jack I like not having the numbers available (even though you can generate it, if you want to), but I would like having access to the list of followers because it could be a great source of interesting people to follow.

EddieHinkle
EddieHinkle
@Ron @manton I don’t think a master list is helpful. Although one alternative middle ground could potentially be a list of all “2nd level associations”, so instead of showing me everyone that “Bob” follows and everyone “Jill” follows, if those lists were joined into the list of people that my list I follow, follows, that could essentially do what the original lists are trying to do without showing as much individual information. Good luck, @manton 🙂 I’m sure you have much to think about
JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@Ron

“Who … follows vs who … or @JohnPhilpin follows is not the least bit interesting to me.

Oh Ron ... say it ain't so !!!

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@Ron and .. ‘oh my’ - you should turn that comment into a NOVEL .... lovely thoughts

Ron
Ron

@JohnPhilpin It's your leadership that interests me, not your following! Anyone can follow, but only some can lead. ;-)

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@Ron

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill, He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push The feathered glory from her loosening thighs? And how can body, laid in that white rush, But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there The broken wall, the burning roof and tower And Agamemnon dead.

Being so caught up, So mastered by the brute blood of the air, Did she put on his knowledge with his power Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

Ron
Ron

@JohnPhilpin Is there a discover tagmoji for Sonnets? I'm counting . . . let's see, 280 divided by 14 would be 20 characters per line in a micro.sonnet.

Meanwhile I'm wondering whether the community guidelines permit (1) brilliant art being given away here for free and/or (2) raw scenes that make us avert our eyes or hide the book under the covers. Dare we push the envelope?

Ron
Ron

@JohnPhilpin @manton Did you ever notice that some comments can be buried in such long threads that the technology will not permit us to get a link to reveal the exact comment that we want to tie our own comment to? Which leads to folks scurrying around combining all possible comments with every other comment to try to understand what was being said. Politicians should have the advantage of such technology for their obfuscations.

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@sanspoint well - apparently you are following 14 people I am not - so time to put THAT to right :-)

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@Ron // @manton ... similar comments have been made and raised and discussed by others ... here and in slack ... it is what I loosely call ‘threaded comments’ - and yes would make some lives easier

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@Ron ... and did not take me long to work out what comment this tied back to ... threaded or not !!

sonnet emoji please @manton

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@Ron an envelope - unlike jello - is a whole lot easier to push - let's do it

keatch
keatch

@manton definately a feature not a bug. No matter how it was introduced!