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Delete Follower: "Unfollow" needs to be two-way on WordPress

  1. As bloggers on WordPress, we have the luxury to "unfollow" any blog that we have subscribed to (and to decide on the frequency of email reminders that we want to get), but we do not have this option when it comes to people subscribing to our blog. We are held hostage to stalkers who can freely enter our space and sabotage our work, because we can only be grateful that we have more followers (regardless of their quality or intention!).

    Deleting a follower needs to be an option that "public" bloggers can enjoy. The option of deleting followers is available around other social media outlets, like Tumblr & Facebook. Tumblr is public, but I can still delete myself from other people's blogs, as well as delete them from mine. Why not on WordPress?
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    Why delete followers?
    My experience with this is that a fellow crafter, who actually bought my jewelry at discounted prices and now is re-selling them in craft shows under the false pretense that she is my agent, is now following my blog - through email subscription. I am a victim of severe manipulation, and it would take me time to build my case, but meanwhile I would like to at least stop this person from stalking my every move by receiving email notifications every time I posted something on my WordPress blog. Because my readers include others who are genuinly interested in what I do, whereas she is there to come up with sneaky ideas to create lies and more lies. I just don't want to make it easy for her!
    Someone suggested that she can subscribe through RSS. Well, as a matter of fact around my town, a few highly educated people know what RSS means, since the majority of people around here are not quite internet savvy. Internet only started a few years back, and only those who have lived abroad are quite knowledgeable of RSS and the likes (and I can remove the RSS sign on my blog and keep subscription via email to better monitor the situation).

    I am positive WordPress is always on the lookout for new scenarios and experiences with users from different parts of the world to improve the WordPress Experience, so my hope is they will pick up on this issue and surprise us with a 2012 new "unfollow" button to delete un-wated followers.

    If you agree, come on in and share, but if your nickname contain the word "time," then plz don't bother :) just kiddin!

    The blog I need help with is karboojeh.wordpress.com.

  2. What is to keep them from just following it again, or signing up for email updates, or subscribing to your RSS feed? You can't block by username since they can easily sign up for another account, or in the case of email updates, just type in a different username and/or email address. New email addresses are easy to get.

    Block by IP address? Nope. IP addresses are no longer unique as ISPs now assign hundreds of users to a single IP address, and at most ISPs if you reboot your modem you get a new IP address. They can also go to a wifi hot spot. There are 10 within 6 miles of my house - that I know of - on 4 different service providers and I pass all of them two or three times a week.

    There is no effective way to block people so it would be fruitless to give us the ability to manually "unfollow" or "unsubscribe" theme.

    Make sure comment moderation is turned on (settings > discussion) so that all comments have to be approved. That way nothing will get through to the public side of your site without your approval.

    You can also set your site to private (settings > privacy) and then invite only those that you desire to view your site.

  3. You're totally right, especially when it comes to the more developed part of the world.
    In my case, however, and in the country I'm in, internet users account for 1.3 million users only (the population is well over 20 million), a thin layer of which are knowledgeable of things like RSS, IP address, etc (and the who 'know' are mostly hackers, and I am not exaggerating). A thinner layer are people who have internet at home. ADSL is not widespread because the internet company has really weak infrastructure and cannot cater for more lines.
    I guess you can say my case is the case of a WordPress user based in a not-so-developed part of the world, internet-wise... and who would really make use of manually deleting unwanted followers.
    I know I do not represent the majority of the Worpdress user-base, but this might be a good new case to at least consider.
    On Tumblr, people can always find a way to check my blog daily, but I still can delete unwanted followers, and if they can change their name and start a new blog, or come up with genius ideas to follow me, then, fine, at least I had a simple means to offset the simple, not too sophisticated stalker, who can get out of my life with a simple "delete follower" button.
    Not all internet users are sophisticated, why not have an option that works at least on some level for some?

  4. I'd like to see a way for non-Wordpress users to unfollow. Several of my readers refuse to follow the blog by email because there appears to be no way for them to unfollow later if they change their minds.

    The Support article on following http://en.support.wordpress.com/following/ lists two ways to unfollow a blog, but neither one works for email followers; both ways are only for WordPress users.

  5. I too believe that WordPress should allow for the ability to unfollow subcribers to my blog. I am involved in a legal battle where the other party is looking for anything they can twist, distort or misrepresent to damage my name and give them advantage in the case. There is no level too low to stoop. It has caused me to go underground from the social internetwork so as to avoid their radar. How much easier if they could just be blocked from my communications that they intend to comb for damage to me. I have not said or done anything to implicate this person but that has not prevented them from lies and deceptions in their quest to harm me. Please help protect your bloggers from malicious trollers.

  6. OK, I've done some research, and it appears many WordPress.com users have been asking the question: Can I delete an email subscriber?

    The problem is, their voices are scattered, so I am hoping to put them all here in this post, since it's still active :P

    Subscribers: Can I block them?
    This Link actually suggests that we, as WP users, used to be able to delete followers!

    Able to block a user/email address?

    Block email subscriber

    Deleting followers

    blocking follower e-mail notification

    How do I stop a subscriber from being subscribed as he insulted me first thing?

    Delete follower

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    Deleting followers gives you sense of security

    Deleting followers means if you don't like the way an email address sounds, you can always delete it, and no matter how many times stalkers re-subscribe under fake names, you can still delete them over and over and over again

    Most of the volunteer answers on these forums center around the "many ways" a stalker can get to change their IP, or username, or email address, etc, and get a subscription.

    Not all people live in metropolitan cities, there are many bloggers, like me, who come from limited, confined societies where you can actually know if this email address is authentic or not. I happen to know every single email user on my blog (who are not many), and I am sure that in case we suspect an email address is a bit fishy, we, as WP bloggers, still can have the option of deleting them.

    By deleting an email follower we can make sure that only emails we trust can follow us, and I have no problem with deleting a few innocent emails in the process, because I am sure that if they are keen on following, they will drop me a line on my email, or call me, and I will ask them to kindly re-subscribe.

  7. Deleting followers gives you sense of security

    A false feeling of security, that is. I won't repeat what experienced users have been saying all the while, you already know it but you don't want to accept it, and that's fine.

    By deleting an email follower we can make sure that only emails we trust can follow us.

    I beg to differ. Anyone can follow your blog by email through your RSS feed.

    The only reason I'd support an "Unfollow" feature on the WP.com dashboard is simply so that people stop asking about it.

  8. More forum posts about the same topic:

    How i can delete a follower

    How to remove a new follower?

    No one seems to be doing anything about it :(

  9. @airodyssey
    I guarantee you that my stalker won't even know how to follow my blog through RSS - half the population where I am at don't know what RSS is, and probably it is the same thing with the surrounding countries.

    There are about 20 million people over here, 3 million are internet users, 1.3 million only have internet connection at offices and homes. My guess is about a couple thousand fresh grads know what RSS is!

    And... Not all people are on the same level of internet savvy-ness,

    Anyhow, it's all a matter of argument, and my point is that you need to take into account "everybody," every scenario, not only the high-tech, internet-savvy scenario, because it is definitely not the rule. Not all bloggers (or stalkers) have a degree in hacking, nor all people know how to change their IP addresses at a whim.

    If my stalkers are this savvy and I really needed to protect myself from all the possibilities presented, I would simply choose a better blogging environment to protect myself and I wouldn't leave myself to be open to manipulation at all these levels... so, again, it's a matter of who argues better!

  10. By experimenting I've learned that email followers _can_ unfollow, though it isn't obvious ahead of time.

    The Support page http://en.support.wordpress.com/following/ gives the impression that to unfollow a blog you have to be logged in to wordpress.com, but that is not the case; each email a follower gets has a link to their personal Read Blogs page, which can't be accessed except through that link. From there on the process appears to be as described on the Support page.

    But in order to find out that the emails have the link, you have to take a leap of faith and follow the blog, not knowing if you'll get emails forever.

    I added a post to my blog explaining this to my dozen or so readers; maybe now some will become followers.

    --

    On the issue everyone else on this page is talking about: as a longtime software developer and researcher, I think WordPress would provide a better service by letting blog owners delete specific followers. (1) Clearly some blog owners want this. (2) Just because it won't stop absolutely every "evil follower" doesn't mean it won't stop some of them, or some of them for a while, as a few of these replies point out convincingly. (3) Whose interests are damaged by letting owners delete followers?

  11. Having an Unfollow feature will not stop this person (or any person) from being able to read the content on your blog - unless ... unless you have complete utter control over the entire Internet. Your blog is open to the public. Deal with it.

  12. Yes, but... while it is reasonable for you to say 'the blog is public, so anyone can view it and the addition of an unfollow option wouldn't stop them',
    subscriptions are in effect a mailing list alerting people to blog updates. We should be able to control who we email. End of. If the blog owner doesn't want someone notified of updates, make them go the extra mile of figuring out RSS. You're not shutting the reader out entirely, but you're no longer rubbing it in the owner's face.

    Apart from anything else, a 'follow' option without a corresponding 'block' is an open invitation to spammers. I don't even want to imagine what Twitter or Tumblr would be like without the option of deleting followers.

  13. I have a full restraining order from one of my email followers that I would like to delete. Once I delete him, if he resubscribes, then I have a court order in which I can take legal action. I have the restraining order because my life is in danger of this person. I should be able to delete someone that I do not want to follow me.

    I have read all of the posts, and I do not agree with any of the replies re: why deletion would not solve the problem. For me, after I delete him, if he resubscribes, I can call the police. He would be arrested and would then have a criminal record. The police instructed me to do this because this is the only way they can protect me. My restraining order was modified to specifically cover the Internet, social media, and all online activity. Restraining orders are not just handed out. I had to supply evidence to a judge and stand up to my abuser to get this restraining order. I should be able to delete this follower to at least TRY to move forward with my life. Writing was my outlet and he took that away from me.

    I emailed Word Press a week ago to the email account that deals specifically with life threats, and they have not responded or addressed my email.

  14. @survivingseptember11th

    I have a full restraining order from one of my email followers that I would like to delete. Once I delete him, if he resubscribes, then I have a court order in which I can take legal action.

    What's falling between the cracks here is how the software operates and how business decisions are made. The expectation that any Staff time ought to l be spent removing subscribers from free hosted public blogs that have built-in RSS feeds, when anyone can resubscribe in seconds flat is unrealistic and IMO it's not going to happen. As a business person I would not pay Staff to do that and I strongly believe any person in the same business wouldn't deveote anty Staff time to such activity either.

    We all either choose to make a . blog public ie. available to everyone on the interebt or we choose to make it private ie. available only to those we choose to make it available. http://en.support.wordpress.com/settings/privacy-settings/

    Please do not post any more personal details to this public forum where every thread is instantly indexed by Google and made available to everyone on the internet. Staff have a very heavy workload so please wait for them to get back to you.
    Disputes: Defamation, Court Orders, Subpoenas, Privacy
    http://en.wordpress.com/freedom-of-speech/
    http://en.wordpress.com/abuse/
    http://en.wordpress.com/complaints/

  15. My apologies for the typos above.

  16. @survivingseptember11th, if you have a restraining order, do contact staff and that is different from just wanting to delete a follower. Staff will need a copy of it I'm sure, but with the legal restraining order that is a different thing.

  17. Oops, I forgot the link. Use the contact form here:

    http://en.wordpress.com/abuse/

  18. @thesacredpath
    Hello there,
    lol :D You didn't notice that I already posted the relevant links for survivingseptember11th above.

  19. ya3aleemyaallah has explained my thoughts very well on his/her post made on Jan 8, 2012, 1:22 AM. I have someone I know prying on me. Human relationships are complex. I can't take it to court because it is close to impossible to prove what they are doing. I don't feel free in my own blog. I think twice before posting or commenting and sometimes refrain from posting just because of this person. And yes, I am aware that they can still come and read my blog even if I am able to unsubscribe them but I would still like to be able to say who is automatically notified about my posts and who is not. Getting constant feed on my posts has made it easier for the person to do their dirty work.

    I searched on ideas to see if anyone has requested this before - couldn't find any. Unless someone here has a better idea I'd like to add this as a feature request and get people voting on it.

  20. It's reasonable to hope that WordPress provides the software technical ability for wp.com subscribers to unsuscribe to a wordpress.com blog.

    And for a blogger to disable the Follow button completely for every public posting in their blog.

    Stupid question on my part: but is there a way for a blogger to know who/how many people have used the "follow" button?

  21. @ ya3aleemyaallah not every strange-sounding email is dodgy, some just sound strange :)

  22. I just moved my blog content from one blog url to another; but, unfortunately, I can't find a way to move followers or simply delete them altogether. Are either of these options possible? Thanks! :-)

    P.S. For what it's worth, I think that the issues of "blog follower deletion" and "stalker prevention" should be seen as two separate and valid topics. I find it shocking that there is even an attempt to defend the apparent omission of the ability to delete blog followers. But that's just me.

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