There's been some discussion about adding an option to hide public follower/following pages. I wanna gauge if that's worth spending time on:

@gargron If you do, you should have the option also make the follower/following endpoints return 401 Unauthorized for anyone but the logged-in user

@cwebber you mean in ActivityPub? Yes, of course. And REST API too.

@Gargron I feel confident that anything you do that increases use privacy would be advisable in the foreseeable future.

@gargron wait so does this mean people can be secretly followed or something? or does it just mean my following/er tab just is hidden?

@mirzaba talking about these pages:

the person you follow would always know they're being followed.

@Gargron My instinct is "yes give more controls" on general, but I haven't seen any of the arguments either way on this one...?

@Gargron Voted, though "yes or no" wasn't really enough in the way of choice. Yes, I would like this feature, but I wouldn't prioritize it over other features, depending on what's coming of course.

@gargron as a related feature, I'd really love to have the option witches town had - the follower count on people's profiles were hidden, but you could still access the page to see who was following them

@c8rz @Gargron That's definitely a good idea to humanize social relations, and not feel forced to play a popularity contest based on numbers.

It should even be the default behaviour, imho.


If this going to be one more thing Instance admins and mods can see, this seems to me just like a 'it's hidden, but it's not hidden really' thing that non-technical users won't understand.

If a setting isn't wholly 'what you see is what you get', it's going to lead to sudden distrust.

@Barcode @Gargron I also worry that such a setting could create a system where perceived privacy != real (lack of) privacy.

(Federation requires the follower graph to be public, doesn't it?)

@Gargron Already voted, but to add my reasoning - I would personally not use it because I'm fine with the information being public, but I absolutely would also support that people have the ability to disallow me seeing theirs.

@Gargron on one hand I like the option of more control. On the other, everyone I have followed is someone that has a similar interests or we had a meaningful interaction. When I first started, I went through a lot of people's connections to find more people with similar interests. So hiding followers/following might hinder that process which enriched my early experience on Mastodon.

@Gargron ^one of my fave things about tumblr is that you cant see anyones follower counts

@Gargron Allowing anybody on the web to access your follows list is a way that they can create a profile on you passively without you knowing about it.

If someone selects this, no one except the person can see their follows/followers, or see the count. That way it is simple.

1) why not?
2) twitter does this with private accounts, and it's not a bad idea
3) that said, it should be an option a la "hide me from search engines" and "ask me to approve all followers" instead of merging all 3 options into one

@Gargron being able to see follows is a pretty good way to expand your network. Discovering new people to follow is already super difficult as it is but that’s my .02

@Gargron I would hesitate.

Please be *very* careful about creating a sense of privacy that anyone using the right API features could circumvent.

"If it can be done, some Cambridge Analytica will do it."

A decentralised network makes it very difficult, especially if it is open, to hide basic elements of the communication taking place, especially who talks to whom.

@Gargron This would be awesome. I wish Twitter would have this feature. It is such a big attack point for various "analysis". But here is the problem: they are wrong.

»Follow unequals endorsement.

I follow controversial people. I follow hackers. I even follow scammers.

Why? - More information for you. But on paper it looks like i am such a big risk. This is dangerous. This shouldn't be possible.

»Show me yoir following list, and I say you, who you are.

For most of the normal users is this really dangerous. Everyone could run a variety of analysis.

»"Bad followers“
You can't controll, who is following you. Is the new follower a scammer, a nazi or so on?
If you get followed by a bunch of right wing people, how does it look on paper? On paper you are kind of linked with them and you maybe don't even know about it.

Maybe it is just me.

@Gargron It seems like there's some underlying instinct that, since they're numbers, one must get them as high as possible as if they're RPG stats. I often feel weird because I don't chase that, and my follower:following ratio is less than 4:1, and makes me feel kinda weird about it.

Having it hidden would make me feel more like the people I'm following is my own curated list, and not a social meteor high score that I'm slacking on.

@Gargron Oh wait I misunderstood it. I like being able to see who someone is following (and don't mind others knowing who I'm following).

I thought this was just meaning hiding the number on the profile page.

I could do without the big list of people who are following User X though. Unless that's a private account, it's not something User X has much control over.

Providing an option doesn't force people to use it but does give them greater control over their footprint.

@Gargron little late but *absolutely*. People have often used these lists as reasons to label and harass people, for being associated with individuals they don't agree with

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