Friends Suggestion

I thought of this a few days ago but feel kind of meek suggesting it...

I wondered if the public display of people's friends could be removed, so that only the owner of the profile can see it.  While I like the system of friending people, I've quickly learned that just as with other communities I belong to, there are some members who are very popular with lots of friends, and some people who are virtually unknown.  While that might not bother some people, it can intimidate others who see how few friends they have, or are reluctant to approach/friend somebody who already has a lot of friends.  I know that in my case at least, I daren't even try getting to know people with lots of friends because my experience on other sites has been that they don't have time to be bothered.

The result is that some possible friendships could be missed out of the fear of overburdening someone, just because you see they have a lot of friends listed, when in fact they might have a lot in common with you and would otherwise love to know you better.

The public listing of friends just seems to enforce a sort of "popularity contest" which I've seen have unfortunate consequences on other community sites where the most popular members get most of the notice and the least popular members are virtually invisible.

I think our activities on the site, such as frequent commenting on others' stories and sharing of our own, should be more of the focus than letting other people see how many friends we have.  I realize most of the people who have many friends do so because they're very active here--so that should be the emphasis, their activities, and who they are, not who they know.  That's the site's motto after all.  (Or something like that.    )  After a person browses around the site they can quickly learn who is most active anyway.

The public gifts display should probably be made invisible to all but the owner of the gifts as well (I hesitate gifting someone with a lot of them, thinking, "They don't need my piddling gift"), though I'm more concerned about the public friends feature.

I don't know though, maybe everyone else likes it this way, but I thought I'd suggest it from a different viewpoint.  To some of us who are not so well known (and I'm not talking about just EP but lots of places on the Web), approaching popular members is too intimidating when we see how many friends they have.  I'd be more open to approaching someone based on their interests and posts/comments.

Hope I haven't been too annoying.  

Edit:  I just noticed the "Most Famous Members" section and that, too, seems to perpetuate the idea that it IS important "who you know."  I haven't a problem with "Most Active Members," as that's a good idea of who really puts work into this site, but "Most Famous Members" bothers me.  

 

tehuti88 tehuti88
31-35, F
5 Responses Aug 20, 2007

I understand your concern. I am fairly new here myself and I consider myself very lucky to have those who actually want to hear what I have to say or care how I am doing. You worry to much on whether or not you are bothering someone. You have a really valid point and I personally applaud that. I myself have shared my comments on many stories and I find it interesting o;n how people react. I must say that I have not had any adverse reactions to my views and for that I am truely grateful. I hope to hear more of your views.

TTDD thank you for the correction, I looked back at the page and realized that after posting it. I'm not entirely sure how we determine "most famous" I will ask and get back to you.<br />
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Leodav thank you for your comments, I will see if we can add the "view thread" back into the PM system.

There already *is* a "most active members" group, though.<br />
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If it *is* determined by profile views...<br />
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"Most peeked at" ?<br />
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"Most eye-catching" ?<br />
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"Most profile views" ?

TeHuti thank you for your comments and TDD thank you for your long well thought out response. <br />
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First off I think your comment about the phrasing of "most famous" members to "most active" members is a great suggestion and totally in line with the goals of the site. I will suggest this to the team and we can probably swap that out ASAP. <br />
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As for the friends option, I think you made some very great points that we are listening to. However there are some benefits to having the friends visible (as TDD mentioned) in terms of encouraging people to get to know one another, comment on stories, build relationships, and then become friends. Having this public (while possibly intimidating) is may also be encouraging in terms of trying to meet new people and learning the ways of the site. I hope those comments help, and thank you for your thoughts!

I think you make some good points, but I do prefer the system the way it is, as I think the benefits to all members outweigh the downsides.<br />
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The EP does feel *different* to other sites; people are willing to engage and generally be positive. The popularity contest aspect is pretty much non-existent, EP popularity is a meaningless concept, socially speaking. The nature and the quantity of my interaction with people on this site has not changed since I went from 10 people to 130 people in my circle, certainly not in the quality or quantity of people approaching me.<br />
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For me, being able to see how many public friends people have is a very useful feature. When I encounter an active member that I relate to who does not have (m)any EP friends, I will make a specific effort to engage with that person, whereas I will not make any such attempts with people who already have a friend base here. If My Circle was hidden, I would simply ignore all the friendless people because I would not know if they needed engaging with.<br />
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I think it's also quite a positive thing that people are discouraged from friending those with a lot of friends. Firstly, it encourages everyone to reach out to other people, people who do not have many friends, and thus benefit much more from the contact. Secondly, as someone who has a lot of people in my circle, I simply can not handle, nor would I want, an influx of additional people who would then feel hurt because I could not return the attention. It would result in a bad EP experience for them. Better for them to see that I am likely to be busy and understand that the reason for any non-engagement by me rather than have think that the EP is an unfriendly place.<br />
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I also like the gift feature the way it is, and not for any reasons of personal self-promotion. I get a thrill seeing that other people appreciate the people in my circle by gifting them; I feel reassured to see that other people are responding in sympathy when someone is going through hard times. I like reading the public reasons that people write; they are sometimes clever, witty and thoughtful, but always demonstrate a measure of care behind them. <br />
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If the whole thing was just blank, I think the system would suffer quite a bit for it. I suspect people would feel discouraged from gift giving.<br />
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I have no real opinion either way about the Most Famous members listing. I only discovered it recently myself (hey look, there I am! o_O). I do believe it's the people with the most profile views, which gives people a way of tracking whose profile everyone else is looking at. Theoretically useful for people who are new to the site perhaps, although from what I can tell, very few people ever notice it and I imagine of that even fewer people give it a second thought. (Although I did find some very interesting stories after wondering *why* some of those people were famous).<br />
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I didn't mean to be argumentative :) I just feel that the current set-up is part of the reason *why* the site works so well at the moment, and thought I should explain why that is so. You might point out that I have benefited a lot out under the current system. This is true, but I truly think it is the less "popular' (a fairly meaningless concept on the EP) who stand to lose the most from making friends and gifts private.