+Jaana Nystrom

Welcome to my Circleverse!

Google+ is my passion: I want to help others to get the most out of it.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

To block or not to block - that is the question

Update to blocking feature!

- When User A blocks User B, User B will be removed from User A's circles and User A will be removed from User B's circles.

- User B will be unable to add User A to circles until the block is removed. User B will receive the following message when trying to add User A: "You can't add [Name] to circles."

The Help Center article

Back in the day...

Before, even if User A blocked User B, User A could still exist in User B's circles and that circle relationship could be potentially visible to others. Additionally, since an easy link to the profile existed, User B could easily log out and monitor User A's publicly shared content, which hasn't been the ideal user experience and problematic for harassment and other sensitive issues.

Great update: Thanks for listening again, Google.

Why block someone?

Newcomers to Google+ have been blocking strangers who add them to circles just because they don't understand the principle of Circles.  Blocking in this case is quite unnecessary:

On Google+ anyone can add anyone in their circles and start following the posts.

Those who follow you on the Plus don't see anything you post to your circles, only your Public posts or the posts to Extended circles in some cases. Same goes for business pages.

Blocking someone is quite extreme: 

This means the person won't see any of your posts unless reshared, cannot comment on your threads or participate in a Hangout if you are there.
Or, if they are in a Hangout and you'd like to join, you cannot...

Blocking should only be used on spammers, stalkers, trolls and those losers who suggest sex on the Interwebz.

Block if you feel that someone is a real jerk and you don't want to have anything to do with them. 
If a person just disagrees with you or your views in a comment thread, that is not a reason to block but to discuss and perhaps agree to disagree in a mature way.

You can always unblock someone later.

Does Google consider a blocked profile as a contact still?  NO!

People have been wondering if the amount of profiles you have blocked, are added to the amount of profiles / pages you have in Circles thus affecting the 5000 maximum limit or if the fact that you have blocked someone creates a circle-like bond.  I just received confirmation from Googler +Justine Rivero:  blocked list does not add to your total circled.

Long ago the number of profiles you had blocked was visible on Google+ and I think it may have had some effect when getting closer the 5000 limit.
As Google removed the number, I believe the system was also tweaked so that the blocked profiles play no part in the circled numbers:
Gmail's "Other Contacts" used to house the blocked profiles, but they're not placed there anymore, I just checked.   
- Do check yours, if the profiles were already in Other contacts, since before the change that may have an impact.
I have regularly cleaned mine every few months and after checking didn't see any of the muted / blocked profiles there anymore, not even those added lately. 
I do know G+ celebs who have used the block quite efficiently: Someone has blocked over 3000 and still has over 3000 in their circles...

Just removing someone from circles is much better if you have no reason for blocking:

When you hover your mouse over a person's name you see the hovercard: From there you can untick all the circle boxes in one go. Or you can visit their profile page and uncircle from the top.

One way to uncircle is to go to your Circles page and remove the profile from all the circles they are in. Just removing them from one circle leaves the profile on possible other circles.

Blocking should never be done lightly!

I don't want to block +Vic Gundotra but I'm just using his profile as an example! :-)

To block someone:

Go to their profile.
Under the drop down arrow click Report / Block [person's name].
Confirm that you want to block that person or just to remove them from your circles.
This is serious business, so don't just block lightheartedly!

Keep in mind that the limits placed upon the person you've blocked are only enforced when they're logged in that profile you have blocked.

For instance, if someone you've blocked is signed in, they won't be able to see your public posts, but if they aren't signed in, they may be able to see those posts.
If they manage a business Page, they can see your posts and also interact when managing the Page.  Or they can see your public posts by using the Chrome Incognito mode.

When you block someone:

- You won't see their content in your stream (even though you'll remain in their circles).

- They'll be removed from any circles of yours that they appear in.

- They'll be removed from your extended circles, even if you have mutual connections.

- They won't be able to add new comments to your content. However, comments they made before you blocked them will be hidden from view but you can reopen the comment to see it and delete it.

- They won't be able to see your comments on other people's posts.

- They won't be able to view any of your posts that you share after blocking them.

- They won't be able to +mention you in posts or comments.

If you block someone as a business Page, it works in the same way.

After you block someone, the content you've previously shared with them will still be visible in their Home page and in the search. However, they can't engage with the post (comment, etc.)

When you block someone, Google won't proactively notify them (unless you block them from within a hangout). But since blocking someone limits the interactions that person can have with you, they may figure out that they've been blocked.

You cannot join a Hangout if someone already there has blocked you and no-one you have blocked may join a Hangout where you already are.

Paul Stickland

Blocking and communities

Communities in Google+ are shared spaces for users to gather and have conversations around common interests. Communities have owners and moderators: users who are responsible for managing these shared spaces so that everyone has a positive experience.

If you join a community that is managed by someone you've blocked, you will not see content that they share. However, the person you've blocked, as a moderator, will be able to view the content that you share in that community and moderate it as necessary--they will not be able to +1 your comments or posts nor will they be able to comment or reshare your posts or photos. As always, people you've blocked will not be able to see or interact with Google+ content you share outside of the community.

If you own or moderate a community and someone you've blocked is a member of that community, the content they share in that community will be hidden with the option to view the content for moderation purposes. You will not be able to +1 their comments or posts, nor will you be able to reshare or comment on their posts or photos.

When you report and ban someone from a community, they will not be blocked to your profile or Page, they just can't rejoin the community but will see the posts in a public community without being able to comment on the posts.

You have blocked these people

To see the list of people you've blocked, go to People tab then choose Your circles and click the 'Actions' menu, then select View blocked.

Many times blocking is a bit too extreme:  You can mute people in or out of your circles who notify you of their posts or share spammy posts and click on the "Send also email to" box when they are sharing a post.

A muted circle is a good place to keep profiles you don't want to uncircle (family? :-) but whose posts you don't want to see in your home stream.
Unchecking the "Show posts in Home stream" mutes the circle - no posts shown. Read more about Circle management.

The Mute (Ignore) feature works on those who spam harmless content and are not in your circles. By muting them you won't see their +mentions again in +Mr. Jingles window or your All notifications stream.  Read more about ignoring / muting.

You can see the ones you have muted or ignored under the same drop down on Your circles page:

Let’s get polite

The Google+ community is very special and we welcome all newcomers with open arms. As long as you behave! :-)

The best way to get circled is NOT by commenting “Just saying Hi” or Hiiiii but writing your opinion or thoughts on the original post. 

People have started blocking users because of the silly comments. Not to mention asking nice-looking girls to have sex or something... Big NO and really stupid idea. When did someone ever get laid because they asked a stranger over the Internet? 

When you comment on someone’s post, please consider what you are writing before hitting enter, the ‘post’ or' share' key.   Stay on topic!

As numerous people are trying to create acute conversations on the various post threads, please don’t go and spam them by trying to sell your wares or ideas, if they are not accordant to that post. 
You’ll get blocked very fast and reported to the bargain.


Google+ Support on blocking
Learn more about Circles

Another take from +Mike Elgan about blocking:

In the real world, nobody tolerates people who selfishly ruin conversations in a social setting. The reason society ejects conversation-killers is that allowing one person to ruin things for many people is unfair.
Blocking on social networks is just as important as removing conversation-wreckers in the real world. In fact, it’s more important. The reason is that people online are either “anonymous” in some way (if they use a pseudonym or fake profile information, you don’t have any idea who they are), or feel “safe” to ruin conversations because they’re not physically present.
Anonymity and physical distance emboldens some people to behave in ways they would never do in person.
And when one person selfishly hijacks a conversation, they can wreck that conversation for ten people, or a hundred, or a thousand. Block the one for the sake of the many.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you block a lot? Why?


  1. i do block people, and i am not ashamed. when someone is belligerent, and clearly takes pleasure is upsetting me, or drags me into a pointless exchange of barbs, that is not a debate: that is harassment, and i don't have to put up with it. that was a problem for me in facebook.

    if a person's political views are so extreme that they simply cannot even allow for the possibility that they are wrong, i block them, because my life is too short to spend hours wading through hate speech to discover a nugget of rationality.

    i do not need for everyone to like everyone, and i do not need for everyone to agree about everything, but i will not suffer abuse from anyone, and just because they say they are not being abusive, it does not mean they are not being abusive. intent is not a factor in law, and it is not a factor in social media.

    i am grateful for the "block" feature... i only wish it were available from the roll-over window that pops up for adding people; having to go to their profile is annoying, but i imagine i can guess why we are forced to do it.

    (only once has seeing more of someone's profile stopped me from blocking, and later that same day, they crossed the line again, forcing me to block them, anyway.)

    1. Well, like I said, we all decide when we block: No-one needs to suffer from the onslaught of jerks or trolls.

  2. Nice post Jaana. When I get around to posting the next "help" post, or someone asks a question, I'll link to this!

    It covers everything in one place.

    I haven't blocked many at all, probably just 2 or 3. I do use mute for spammy stuff though.

    1. Glad you liked it!
      Mute I use every day, too...


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.