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Mutual friends, multi-pms and multi-invites

Travel Forums System Talk Mutual friends, multi-pms and multi-invites

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11. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 8y

Quoting Sam I Am

We were thinking of you Sander, but in the end I don't think this is too bad is it?

No, it isn't. (If it was, I'd be much more vocal on this subject.)

We did decide against notifying you every time someone adds you as their friend though Although we were just discussing yesterday that this might be useful, hehehe

I'd quite strongly recommend against doing this, as I can totally see a smart spammer abusing it - put the spam message in the profile, and start befriending everyone at travellerspoint; nearly everyone would go and look at who this person is upon getting the notification, which means success for the spammer.

Your opt out is interesting; what would you want to opt out of? Allowing others to add you as a 'friend'?

Ideally...? Yes.
Not, of course, because I have anything against people thinking of me as a friend (or frequent contact for private message, or person whose activity they want to follow), but because in essence my main complaint about social networking sites is that they aim to capture information about relationships between identifiable people in central databases. I see a huge distinction between decentral storage (everyone knowing who they personally are friends of, but no one knowing who everyone is a friend of), and central storage where everyone (or with more walled-garden approaches: those who are above the system) knows this for everyone else. The former is fine, but the latter scares me to no end.

I've been thinking of a more realistic "opt-out" than that, though, which continues to preserve functionality for everyone else, and come up with the following: When you opt-out, your personal friends page is no longer (publicly?) visible. Your name no longer shows up in the "is a fan of" lists of other members, except for this member him-/herself. (So, if you ("Sam I Am") have added me ("Sander") as a friend, and I have enabled the opt-out, then you alone can see me in your "You are a fan of" list (because you have that knowledge already anyway), while everyone else sees a "Sam I Am is a fan of" list which excludes me.)
I think the same should also go for mutual friends and the "has fans" lists, but don't feel strongly about that, as I would only show up in there after a conscious act by myself to list someone as a friend, and I'm happy enough to not add people to my friends list and just work a bit harder to follow their activities.

This approach basically makes opting-out the same as moving into a walled garden, which isn't an ideal solution (the incoming relationships would still be available to those who're above the system (have database access)) - but as long as you're not having tens of millions of users and aren't being bought by anyone who does, it's good enough for me.

(As an aside, it's been really encouraging to me to see Mozilla Messaging (the new company for promoting Thunderbird and related future activities) thinking about becoming a hub for managing and keeping track of your personal relationships to people across websites. That will be decentral storage, unthreatened by oversight. Add some kind of cryptographic relationship signing infrastructure which websites could rely on (you'd no longer need to painstakingly build friends list, as you could tell the website that you have an existing relationship with these people), and the future might actually look bright.)

btw, there's a bug with the message parsing, probably to do with either blockquotes or single linebreaks. Pull up the dom inspector, and compare the "Not, of course, ..." text block with the "I've been thinking of a more realistic ..." text block.
The former is a #text node which is a direct child of div.entry (and so has a line-height of 13.2px), while the latter is the child of a p element, which is a child of that .entry div, and so has a line-height of 16px.

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 27, 2008, at 2:41 PM by Sander ]

12. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Quoting Sander

Not, of course, because I have anything against people thinking of me as a friend (or frequent contact for private message, or person whose activity they want to follow), but because in essence my main complaint about social networking sites is that they aim to capture information about relationships between identifiable people in central databases. I see a huge distinction between decentral storage (everyone knowing who they personally are friends of, but no one knowing who everyone is a friend of), and central storage where everyone (or with more walled-garden approaches: those who are above the system) knows this for everyone else. The former is fine, but the latter scares me to no end.

Just to clarify one thing which is probably clear to you, but which I wanted to put out there anyway for others. In terms of data that Travellerspoint is storing, absolutely nothing has changed from our very very first implementation of the 'contacts' list. It's just how we're reading that data that's changed (looking at back and forth adds etc.). Also, unlike most other network sites, when you inactivate your profile here this data is gone forever and can't be recovered (although incoming friend links might still be there-will have to check that).

Quoting Sander

I've been thinking of a more realistic "opt-out" than that, though, which continues to preserve functionality for everyone else, and come up with the following: When you opt-out, your personal friends page is no longer (publicly?) visible. Your name no longer shows up in the "is a fan of" lists of other members, except for this member him-/herself. (So, if you ("Sam I Am") have added me ("Sander") as a friend, and I have enabled the opt-out, then you alone can see me in your "You are a fan of" list (because you have that knowledge already anyway), while everyone else sees a "Sam I Am is a fan of" list which excludes me.)
I think the same should also go for mutual friends and the "has fans" lists, but don't feel strongly about that, as I would only show up in there after a conscious act by myself to list someone as a friend, and I'm happy enough to not add people to my friends list and just work a bit harder to follow their activities.

This approach basically makes opting-out the same as moving into a walled garden, which isn't an ideal solution (the incoming relationships would still be available to those who're above the system (have database access)) - but as long as you're not having tens of millions of users and aren't being bought by anyone who does, it's good enough for me.

That's an interesting approach and certainly something that is doable and makes sense!

Quoting Sander

(As an aside, it's been really encouraging to me to see Mozilla Messaging (the new company for promoting Thunderbird and related future activities) thinking about becoming a hub for managing and keeping track of your personal relationships to people across websites. That will be decentral storage, unthreatened by oversight. Add some kind of cryptographic relationship signing infrastructure which websites could rely on (you'd no longer need to painstakingly build friends list, as you could tell the website that you have an existing relationship with these people), and the future might actually look bright.)

Well, with Mozilla basically relying on Google for existence, you could also be quite worried about what that means... didn't they make something like 75 million dollars off of firefox searches through Google last year? That's a lot of weight that Google can throw around if sites like microsoft/yahoo don't come up with a competing product of similar quality. What do you think about http://www.dataportability.org/? Everyone seems to be jumping on that train right now...

Quoting Sander

btw, there's a bug with the message parsing, probably to do with either blockquotes or single linebreaks. Pull up the dom inspector, and compare the "Not, of course, ..." text block with the "I've been thinking of a more realistic ..." text block.
The former is a #text node which is a direct child of div.entry (and so has a line-height of 13.2px), while the latter is the child of a p element, which is a child of that .entry div, and so has a line-height of 16px.

Hmm, will have a look!

13. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 8y

Quoting Sam I Am

Just to clarify one thing which is probably clear to you, but which I wanted to put out there anyway for others. In terms of data that Travellerspoint is storing, absolutely nothing has changed from our very very first implementation of the 'contacts' list.

Yeah. Unfortunately what has changed is the "meaning" of the data. People add different relations to a contact list (basically only the people they frequently send private messages to, which is information you could also extract from the table of private messages) than to a friends list (which by its very name will make people be more thorough, and by its implementation (being able to follow the activities of these people) will make people be more "honest" in the list, only adding those people they're really interested in).

Well, with Mozilla basically relying on Google for existence, you could also be quite worried about what that means... didn't they make something like 75 million dollars off of firefox searches through Google last year?

The Mozilla Corporation (MoCo) has pretty strong ties with Google, yeah, and a significant part of its income is directly derived from Google. However, in the end the Mozilla Corporation is beholden to the Mozilla Foundation (MoFo), which as the sole owner of MoCo shares can tell them that they should forego profit if that furthers the Mozilla Manifesto (which is about promoting choice and openness on the internet). And MoFo is not afraid to wield that power, especially now that Firefox has such a significant market share that furthering Firefox usage is no longer always the best way to promoting choice and openness.
Meanwhile, Mozilla Messaging (MoMe, pronounce "mommy" ;)) is another subsidiary of MoFo, and thus two steps removed from MoCo's reliance on Google. Relations with google for them are of course good, since it's the same community - but there's just no good way for Google to negatively affect MoMe. And even if there was... as long as MoMe creates a solution where data is stored locally (e.g. on your harddisk, rather than on Google's servers), I'd call such a situation a win over what we have now.

What do you think about http://www.dataportability.org/? Everyone seems to be jumping on that train right now...

I think it's trying to solve the wrong problems - though of course it's good for consumers to be able to easily carry over their own data, and this is definitely something which is needed. (I have never looked very in depth at what they're doing, though, so take that opinion with a grain of salt.)

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 29, 2008, at 5:41 AM by Sander ]

14. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Definitely something messed up with the blockquotes! MoFo; I was always under the impression that that had a totally different meaning Good bit of background info there!

15. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

I'm mostly with Sander here about out not going the networking way, and being able to have a kind of opt out (maybe, for example, you could add whoever you want, BUT it only becomes visable/open when both parties have agreed to it). Whilst it may be perfectly innocent, i'm not overly excited to have a long list of people as my fans who i've either never heard of, or possibly helped once. I can possibly see benefits, but i can also see downsides.

Having said that, I do like being able to send multiple PMs (admittedly i rarely send to more than 2 or 3, and even that is rare, so i can easily c+p) sometimes.

One thing i'm curious about . Why the word "fan"? I had 8 contacts on my old address book, 4 of whom are now friends and 4 i'm a fan of. I assume that means that 4 people i had in my address book did not have me in theirs. That's fine, but doesn't mean i am a fan of them. Think it possibly conveys the wrong thing

16. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 8y

Quoting Gelli

One thing i'm curious about . Why the word "fan"?

I suspect it's terminology copied from slashdot, where you have friends, fans, foes, and freaks.
Perhaps the twitter terminology ("follower") would be more appropriate?

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 1, 2008, at 8:16 AM by Sander ]

17. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Quoting Sander

Quoting Gelli

One thing i'm curious about . Why the word "fan"?

I suspect it's terminology copied from slashdot, where you have friends, fans, foes, and freaks.
Perhaps the twitter terminology ("follower") would be more appropriate?

Follower sounds more 'stalker' to me than fan but I'm not particularly married to the fan term either. It just seems rather common so less likely to confuse people who are active on stumbleupon, mahalo etc. I can't think of an English word that comes close in meaning to what it really means though open to ideas....

18. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

Follower and fan both have slightly iffy connotations or possibilities - Mark Chapman, for example, was a fan, whilst David Koresh and Osama Bin Laden had/have lots of followers) .

Perhaps you should simply call them stalkers, as that brings it straight into the open (i'm actually being serious - you are a stalker or being stalked until it's mutual). In an odd way as well, it's possibly more relaxing a word to use as well.

If you don't like that, I'll have a ponder for a slightly more PC word!

19. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Stalker is surprisingly tempting.... I think active users would appreciate the humour in it, but new users might not see it the same way. I can just imagine the emails pouring in about how someone is stalking them I've been trying to think of something more travel related ie. 'trailing' or 'tracking', but you run into the issue of people not understanding it quickly again.

On the opt out; I've been thinking more and more along the lines of removing the 'people who are a fan of xxx' from public view. This is pretty close to Sander's suggestion, but would be default for everyone. I don't really see (m)any downsides to it. The only real difference with Sander's suggestion is that if you were on say my friend list and I had Sander added as a friend that you'd be able to see it there. I think this would be a pretty good compromise though considering the manual effort involved figuring that kind of thing out...

20. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

I figured that it was severe enough that the humour would come out and it wouldn't cause offense, though i can accept that for newbies it could cause problems. Something like Travel Buddies probably gives the wrong impression as well.