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The Unintended Bad Ramifications of the Broken Block Feature


The current block feature is broken.

When someone blocks someone else, this of course means the other person no longer sees posts by the blocker, and the blocker no longer sees posts from the blockee.

The systematic break happens when blocked posts interfere with system navigation links. These navigation links include notices of XP, notices of a quote, notices of a mention, the new posts link, the newsest post in a thread link, and the jump to quoted post link next to a quoted post.

If you click one of those things and blocked messages are also involved in the thread in question - whether or not the link has anything to do with a blocked person - then the link breaks and it does not take you to the intended target.

This is not that big a deal if the link takes you to one or two messages off from the intended target, as you can just scroll a bit and figure out where you were headed.

However, if the thread is very long with many pages, and there are sufficient blocked messages in that thread, then the link will have taken you to the wrong page entire in the thread. Sometimes MANY pages off.

And if you're blocked by someone who started a thread, the entire thread disappears - even if you had been posting in it actively and discussing the topic with people that are not the one who made the thread to begin with. We've often heard mods say the person who starts a thread does not "own" the thread, but this weird quirk of the blocking feature puts the lie to that claim - they really do own the thread if they block you from it, and sometimes it appears to be happening purely out of retribution.

And if you are an active poster, and/or if the person who blocked you is also an active poster, this issue gets worse across the board. And if you tend to post in the morning, go to work and work for 8-10 hours, come home and then check the board again, that delay between visits make it worse as the "new posts" links get much worse.

For a while this stuff was not that big a deal. But over time, it's getting worse as it's a cumulative issue. The more posts you have, the more opportunities for someone to block you perhaps if they're having a bad day. And over time the board increases the number of users, which also increases the number of opportunities to encounter a block for whatever reason. So over time, as you post and as others post more, the number of block issues increases.

So what was a relatively minor issue has started to become a fairly major issue for some users...particularly those who post a lot.

Also, it seems some people subvert the block feat using the cell phone app to read the board, which doesn't support the block feature. Some of the people who have admitted to subverting it in this way are also people who block others who do not use the app - so they're making the system navigation functionality much worse for those users, but are not themselves often impacted by that action.

The discussion about this issue broke out in the No Magic Shops! thread. I'd link you to the post in question, but as people who are most impacted by this issue wouldn't even be brought to the proper link in question because of this very issue, it doesn't seem all that helpful. For me it starts around post #608 and it gets discussed frequently throughout the thread thereafter.

This is not working as intended, obviously. Almost nobody has an issue with being able to block users, or even a block resulting in that user not seeing your posts as well. However, what a WHOLE LOT of people have an issue with is how all those other board navigation links break as a result. That's not the intended result of using the block feature. And the harm it's causing looks, to me, to be far worse than the benefit of using the current block feature as it is.

So, is there any way to repair the block feature to not mess with board navigation links?

Baring that, is there any way we swap out that block feature for another one that functions better?

Baring that, can we go back to the old "ignore" feature instead, which doesn't achieve all the goals of the block feature but at least didn't break system navigation links?

And finally, is there any way for whatever block/ingore feature to apply to the app use as well, so it's not subverted?



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Well, that was fun
Staff member
The software we hope to move to is Xenforo. We’ve been doing test imports to it for a few months now. Still some issues to figure out.

Halloween Horror For 5E