People who think it’s a dating service. Related to sexual harassment, oftentimes everyone is having an intellectually stimulating conversation about the topic at hand, and some confused person posts: “Hey girl how r you_?” Sometimes, that person gets a response from another commenter, and they two start carrying on a public flirtation.
These people should get a life or get a room. Show them the door.
People who write in code. Everybody uses abbreviations like “LOL,” “IMHO” and so on. There’s nothing wrong with that. But others write their entire comments in code.
For example: “doez evry photo i post have2be mean...lol nd yes they r_.” I’ve noticed a trend recently where some posters are writing code that’s perfectly indecipherable. I don’t try to understand. I just block.
Blocking doesn’t prevent the blockee from using the social network, and connecting theoretically with hundreds of millions of other users. Blocking isn’t banishment. It’s not censorship. It’s not insulting. It’s not rude. It’s just a good practice for cultivating good conversations.
On Google+, it doesn’t even prevent them from seeing your profile or public posts, or even commenting on them. The difference is that they have to explicitly go to your profile in order to see it -- after blocking, your posts aren’t delivered to them even if they’ve circled you.
And if they want to comment on your posts, they’ll have to do so on their own stream and to their circle friends, not yours.
Look, the typical user interacts with less than 1% of any given social network. You can afford to be choosy about who you invite into your online home. And the people you block will find others to interact with.
If you’ll forgive my bragging, I think my stream on Google+ has the best conversations anywhere on the Internet, thanks to active blocking: Google.me/+MikeElgan
It’s not the individual troll or abuser who degrades your conversations. It’s the collective effect of many different kinds of conversation killers that ruins a good social stream.
In the early days of blogging, a lot of free-speech loving bloggers declared their comment streams free of “moderation.” Nearly all of them have since changed their tune. If you have any significant traffic at all, you have moderate. And on social networks, that means you have to block.
So please do yourself a favor and shed any hesitation you have to block people. Blocking is the secret to hosting great online conversations.