Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote in suggestions,
Azure Jane Lunatic

Switch to Mutual Relationships Only

For the record, I don't personally endorse a change to mutual friends only, but it is suggested (and later deleted by the original poster) often enough that the debate should be archived in the suggestions community.

Switch to Mutual Relationships Only

Short, concise description of the idea
Since LiveJournal uses the terminology "friends", shouldn't all friend relationships be by mutual consent?

Full description of the idea
As seen on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, any "friend" relationship between two users has to be by mutual consent of both parties, as it is really hard to be friends with somebody when the other party hates you or doesn't know you exist. LiveJournal uses the terminology "friends" for its relationships. Shouldn't, then, LiveJournal users be able to control who lists them as a friend?

If implemented, instead of adding someone as a friend take immediate effect, a message would be sent to the other party, who could approve or decline the relationship. Only after the friendship was approved would the requesting user be able to see the other user's entries on their friends page. The other user would be able to see the requesting user's locked entries immediately (to determine whether they knew them), but would no longer be able to see this after rejecting the request.

Alternately, LiveJournal could switch to the Watch/Trust model of relationship management such as Dreamwidth has done, removing the loaded term "friend" from its implementation.

An ordered list of benefits
  • People would stop requesting this feature.
  • People would stop feeling insecure when someone added them as a friend, even though they are still posting sensitive information in public.
  • People will complain about Google caching said sensitive posts instead.
  • People will start using the Subscription feature more, to silently read the journals of others without their knowledge.
  • Serial adders would be a thing of the past.
  • The ban system would get a rest, because people wouldn't have to ban spammerbots from their profiles anymore.
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • People will feel secure in posting sensitive information in public that they would not have posted if they'd realized that someone was watching because of that person adding them to their friends list. Public is still public.
  • Spammerbots would still be a problem, just not a publicly visible problem.
  • If mutual-only friendships were enforced, there would have to be exceptions made for pre-existing unequal relationships, or those would need to be removed, which would tick off a whole lot of people, particularly public figures who enjoy having a large readership but a small number of people they read and trust.
  • The term "friend" is too deeply embedded in LJ's code to remove easily from the active site, although it's remarkably easy to tear out of a new code fork.
Tags: friends, friends management, watch-trust-friend, § no status
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