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Okay I expect this might be a bit controversial so allow me to explain: yes, I know about tags. They’re neat and certainly useful. But I actually think it’s a horrible way of negatively filtering content. For instance, I might want to filter some posts tagged “news” but not all of them. It might just be a few posts that are spammy or simply not aligned with my interests and it would be a shame to block out an entire set of tags because of a few bad apples. Tags don’t really scale as a filter, in other words.

What I’m noticing is that with a fair amount of consistency the posts I don’t want to see are not of a consistent set of tags but rather of a consistent set of users. So one proposal might be to allow filtering of content based on users as though they were tags. Conversely maybe a positive relationship, users I follow, could populate a view.

What does lobsters think?


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    I’m kind of on the fence about this; while I can agree (and might even make use of it), I’m always reticent of the possibility of censoring people. Although, in this case, I’m not sure it is censorship; it seems it would function more like a kill file (which is how I’ve made a few mail lists readable).

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      My sentiments exactly.

      I dare say, perhaps this would be another good fit for a browser addon? Something that may compromise the site’s goal, but could still be useful for some users. (Obviously, the result would be greyed-out or striked-out entries, rather than big blank gaps)

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        I would prefer this to be server side since I read this site on a plethora of devices.

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          I agree as I would not be able to easily use plugins on my phone or other other devices I may not be the owner of.

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        It’s absolutely not censorship in any case. It’d be pretty silly to say that I’m censoring someone by ignoring them.

        The user controls who they wouldn’t like to see, not an organisation.

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          I’m always reticent of the possibility of censoring people.

          A user is still submitting content to the site which is displaying it by default to everyone. For those that want to opt out, i.e. filter a user, it’s no different than filtering a tag. If it’s censorship, then so too is tag filtering. I don’t see it as any worse in that regard. And it’s potentially much more effective, without forcing me to filter tags I don’t want to filter. (I will do this if I have to or possibly just cull my reading of lobsters, whichever is easiest.)

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          I think features like this are detrimental to a community. My goal on Lobsters is to build a compassionate community around technology where we can still get honest feedback on submitted content. I think that for such a community to function, everyone must be on the same page.

          Features that let people hide users weaken that community by creating an uneven playing field where you can’t be sure if people can actually see your comment. If a poster is so out of line that you want to hide their content, we should address that head on instead of sweeping it under the rug.

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            like your own personal hellban

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              Pretty much every social network ever has a feature to “block” abusive users. So yes, usually you have access to your own personal hellban, if you want to think of it that way.

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                Pretty much every social network ever has a feature to “block” abusive users.

                I think this is a defining point of your proposal. Are you trying to solve the problem of user abuse? Or do you just not want to read comments from people you tend to disagree with?

                If it’s the former, I think there are other measures of fighting it that we should give a chance to work. (The user tree, invitation model, explaining down votes, etc…)

                But if it’s the latter, I’m not sure I agree with it on principle. Dissenting opinions make for more interesting conversation.

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                  The system could be somewhat smart, and if a comment by someone you’ve blocked breaks a threshold of votes it’s shown regardless of your personal settings. Also if they reply to something you’ve written.

                  Using a threshold individuals would still be able to say “hide things by these users” but with an added “unless the community thinks they’re good”.