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Good or Bad or Ugly: Musk is Xing the Block feature



Elon Musk announced on August 18 via comment to the Tesla X account that he’d be eliminating the “block” feature for X users on everything but direct messaging. He went on to say the feature made no sense.

I have been blocked by a small handful of people on X and of the ones I know of (only 3), they are all interrelated. In no case have I ever harassed, stalked, or been particularly rude or crass or personal to any of these people (or anyone) on the site formerly known as Twitter. In one case I actually couldn’t find an example of when I’d ever interacted with the account. I keep my nose pretty clean and frankly, the people who blocked me were about 10x ruder to me and every other person they interact with than I have ever been to anyone in my life let alone to them personally. 

Despite my hurt feelings and developing complex from repeated rejection, many users are concerned that eliminating the block feature will allow for a prevalence of harassment, bots, spam, stalking and general annoyances that users like to be able to eliminate in order to tailor their experience and remain safe online.

For example, even though I was absolutely not “deserving” of being blocked by anyone, if those users don’t like me: they don’t want to interact with me regardless of the reason. And many think that is how it should be.

Others have concerns about what will replace the block button. If you can’t remove people, can X just moderate content instead? 

But on the other hand, many are pointing out that “mass blocking” is starting to silo the user experience and make it less expansive. Not only does this create a less enjoyable user experience it also encourages the limitation of world view. But most crucially, it also makes it difficult to properly monetize the site.

Further, there have been reports of people using the ‘block’ tool to be aggressive or light someone up and then block them quickly so they don’t have the opportunity to respond, defend themselves, or monitor continued discussion. 

But some are pointing out that it seems unfair that Blocking might be removed but shadow banning and censored content from X seems to be perfectly acceptable with no recourse. 

Me and many others are recommending something in-between. Perhaps remove blanket blocking but allow features which prevent commenting and allow blocking in certain cases. 

Whatever Musk decides, I’ll be continuing to use X but I won’t be interacting with anyone who once blocked me (this seems like a popular idea). It’s a privilege to have thoughtful engagement, including mine. Why would I want to go hang out and exchange thoughts with people who don’t respect or like me? If folks don’t want engagement, they could always keep their thoughts to themselves, make their account private or stop monetizing their influence. If the people I’ve blocked (porn sites and vulgar abusers) come back around, I’ll have to decide if it’s worth the use of the site just like everyone else.

What do you guys think? 

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