We have decided to release a new feature to all of our Gold Members today!
This is a feature we presented on February 12, 2009 as an upcoming new feature of ChristianBlog.Com!
The feature is "Blacklisting", which as defined by Wikipedia as:
wikipediaA blacklist (or black list) is a list or register of persons who, for one reason or another, are being denied a particular privilege, service, mobility, access or recognition.
Here at ChristianBlog.Com the blacklist will make it so that people that you choose to blacklist will have not any of their published content displayed on the ChristianBlog.Com home page.
In other words: When you add somebody to your blacklist any blog, prayer request, praise report, gallery entry, etcetera will never show up (for you) on the home page ChristianBlog.Com - once you have logged into ChristianBlog.Com.
Let us say for example: I had gotten to a place where I so loathed the member greybear that I just had no desire to every see anything he had to say.
(personal note: greybear happens to be my longest and closest friend here at ChristianBlog.Com, so please do not think I loath him... I just needed somebody to use as an example and knew he would understand)
(personal note #2: in three years of running/owning ChristianBlog.Com I have never once loathed somebody nor had a desire to place anybody in a blacklist... and hopefully none of you do either, but I do realize the situation might arise and thus I created this feature for that exact situation.)
So, what I would do is go into my Blacklist Management page, and add greybear to my blacklist.
From then on anytime I visit my home page of ChristianBlog.Com NOTHING posted by Greybear would ever be displayed to me.
Everybody else would continue to see everything greybear posted (unless they too - gasp - added greybear to their blacklist).
Blacklists are 100-percent private!
Anybody that you might add to your blacklist will have NO IDEA that you have added them to your blacklist.
Here is a basic screenshot of what the interface looks like:
As you can see it is about as simple and as basic as is necessary.
At this time the Blacklist feature is available only to Gold Members.
As is typical of new features ChristianBlog.Com releases new features to the community in this order: Gold Members -> Premier Members - Free Members
We do so for two reasons: (1) To provide those who support ChristianBlog.Com the most to have "first chance" to try out new features! Our way of saying 'thank you' to them. (2) Because our group of Gold Members is rather small - and when rolling out new features it is better to just have a few people try it out and make sure it is working, rather than tens of thousand of people trying it out and discovering something major is wrong/bad.
After we hear back from our Gold Members that it is working as expected (does not have any major bugs and such) we will roll it out for our Premier Members.
At this time I have no plans to roll this feature out to those who are not Gold or Premier Members. I very much consider this one of the "exclusive" features of ChristianBlog.Com that justifies being a supporting members of ChristianBlog.Com in order to have access too.
For those who are Gold Members you can now access the new Blacklist feature within your "Friends/Contacts" section of the website (top navigation).
Therein will be a new link/option entitled "Blacklist". Simply click that link to manage your blacklist!
Once we get this featured rolled out to the Premier Members and we hear back from them that it is working without problems, I will begin to put into place the blacklist throughout the rest of the website.
Right now the blacklist works only on the (logged in) "home page" of ChristianBlog.Com, but in the future it will be in place throughout most of the website.
The only thing I have not 100% decided upon yet is whether to blacklist "Blog Comments".
The thing that makes me hemhaw about not blacklisting Blog Comments is that it could ('probably will' more than 'theoretically will') cause a disruption in the "flow" of how a blog and it's comments read.
It could make it rather difficult to read through a long blog if half a dozen or more of the blog comments are not being displayed because you choose to blacklist a bunch of people who were writing in the given blog. (make sense?)
So, I'm still unsure of whether to do that or not, so for those of you with access to it, and who give it a try, please share your thoughts. The feedback I get from all of you who comment on this will probably play a significant role in whether it does get implemented or not.
A couple years ago greybear and I were talking about the future of ChristianBlog.Com and I mentioned a few things to him about features that I would never add to ChristianBlog.Com - including things such as: the ability to customize the design, audio/videos that automatically started, blogs ratings, and so on. One of the things I mentioned did happen to be a 'blacklist' - and the reason I included the blacklist in the feature was because I thought the day would never come when two people would get so totally upset at each other that they would be so.... well... mad... that they would just refuse to work things out. Of course I was naive and I tend to see things with rose colored glasses, so it was just one of those things I could never see me adding to ChristianBlog.Com.
That said, I am now publicly apologizing to greybear for going back on my word about never adding a blacklist here at ChristianBlog.Com. As you well know GreyBear, times have changed, laws have changed, and ChristianBlog.Com is not immune for the types of things we hear all to often happen at websites like myspace, facebook and so forth. Thankfully it has never happened, and by the grace of God it never will. But I think we both knew the day would come when ChristianBlog.Com would begin to have to put features into place to protect people from other people - or people from themselves lol. So, I do apologize brother for me going back on my word about this.
To the global ChristianBlog.Com Community... it would be my sincere hope that none of you would ever find the need to use a blacklist. That said, I do understand that people do not always see eye-to-eye. I do understand that somebody within the family of Christ have such totally opposite beliefs that something like a blacklist is necessary to help you from being at odds with each other. It is in these situations that I would hope this blacklist would be used. Not out of spite or anger, but out of a need to guard yourself from feeling or having anger or hated towards a fellow brother or sister in Christ.
John B. Abela
I doubt if I would ever need to uses this, but it sounds fair to me.
I just have one question; If I become a Gold Member, can I black list myself? Just kidding.
I have receintly met one man from India, and a lady from South Africa.
God bless you guys, for Christian Blog, it has become an important part of my life.
In all honesty, and with a degree of grief, I must admit that in my time here there have been two occasions when this feature would have been gladly used by myself. In both cases the person involved would not and could not get the message to change and tried in their own way to commandeer the site to promote new age propaganda in one case and divide and conquer tactics in another.
In both cases the individual in due time crossed actual lines and were removed from being members, but the lead up to such a time made things very tense and at times unbearable. These types of situations, although extremely rare, are the only times I would consider using this option. Thank God there is nothing remotely resembling this going on here now, or has for many months. But, one never knows when the next wolf in sheep's clothing might appear. For that reason I see no problem in having the option available even if only used on the rarest of occasions.
Wow John this is something for me to think about and pray about.
In the nearly 2 1/2 yrs I've been here I have come across a couple people who's blogs I have chosen not to read: 1- because what they teach simply does not line up with the Word of God and 2- because they are simply argumentative/heckling in their comments -unless of course you are 100% in agreement with them.
Initially my thought would be -oh ya I'd "blacklist" so&so - but what if somewhere down the line say through the chatroom we came to an understanding and maybe even became friends but I have "blacklisted" them and now can't read or comment on their blogs. Could they be taken off my "blacklist ?
Concerning Blog Comments:
Would allowing "blacklisting" said person(s) blog comments mean they can not comment on your blogs only and if so shouldn't it also work the other way as well. Although If you had "blacklisted" this person(s) blogs I guess you wouldn't be seeing their blogs therefore would not be commenting on them. (sorry thinking out loud here).
This is definitely something that should not be taken lightly or used just because one is angry or upset with someone at the moment.
Truly I can't see the value in this. This format is much like a television show. If you don't want to see it than don't click the button. All that shows on the main page is titles of blogs . . . how is there harm in this even if it is from someone who rubs you wrong. It remains each individual's choice to read or not to read.
When wolves sneak in it is not the mature who are damaged, it is those who have not grown in the Word. Why would a watchman want to blind himself to the enemy who is leading his brothers and sisters astray?
Maybe it is just me but it really seems pointless.
[quote=disciplevance]can I black list myself? Just kidding.[/quote]
LOL, No... I made sure to add a check into the software that wouldn't allow you to add yourself.
But that brings up something I forgot to mention above.
I made the (executive) decision to also make it so a few other people cannot be "blacklisted" including:
The reason for this is because all of those people/account are people/accounts that have direct control of ChristianBlog.Com and when/if they instruct somebody to do something [i](i.e.: to behave or get their act together)[/i] it is something that should not be not seen [i](because somebody they are trying to correct had them blacklisted - doh!)[/i] and it is something that should be done ASAP -- and because those six people/accounts have the ability to do things to force people to behave :wink:
[quote=blessings2you]In all honesty, and with a degree of grief, I must admit that in my time here there have been two occasions when this feature would have been gladly used by myself.[/quote]
I very very much agree. Those are two very good examples of WHY this feature was created.
Another one, which I did not mention above would be if you feel somebody is stalking you. Of course if we ever were to receive a report of potential stalking I would go to great lengths to ensure that was not the case - and if it was deal with it harshly - but lets say, down the road, I leave and somebody else is overseeing the website, or the website gets sooo huge that it becomes very hard to handle those issues... well, with a "blacklist" you could add that person to your blacklist and bam, problem solved [i](once we get the rest of the site setup to use the blacklist that is.)[/i]
There are a whole lot of reasons I can think of, but none I hope ever become a reality here at ChristianBlog.Com!
[quote=poodlelady]Concerning Blog Comments:Would allowing "blacklisting" said person(s) blog comments mean they can not comment on your blogs only and if so shouldn't it also work the other way as well. Although If you had "blacklisted" this person(s) blogs I guess you wouldn't be seeing their blogs therefore would not be commenting on them. (sorry thinking out loud here).[/quote]
Yes this is one of the sticky issues I'm not sure how we should approach.
I think we could either:
(1) Just let anybody that is a member post in any blog and "hide" the comments from those that blacklist people. This of course could cause "blog comment flow" issues. It would also protect you by others knowing you have blacklisted them.
(2) Totally deny access to your profile, blogs, discussions, prayers/praise, etc, from anybody that is on your blacklist. This would be a "total denial" of access by the person you have blacklisted. Of course by going this route people would know that you have blacklisted them.
So, those are the issues I see at both ends/options.
[quote=literalword]Maybe it is just me but it really seems pointless.[/quote]
Well, I can only say: Count yourself lucky you have always been in a situation where you would not find this feature you need! I think it is perfectly clear that a number of other folks do/have though.
John B. Abela
ouch! That was probably a painful decision for you to make, John. We all have our moments when we haven't spent enough time with The Father, and behave poorly.
And unfortunately, some of us aren't mature enough to, as literalword says, just not click the button, or even pray for the person that's working your nerves!(the first thing I do lately when someone works mine!)
Thanks John for helping us live better together on-line.....
This is a formal announcement that the "Blacklist" feature is available for all [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/membership/]Gold[/internallink] and NOW for all [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/membership/]Premier Members[/internallink]!
As indicated above this feature was initially released to just [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/membership/]Gold Members[/internallink] so they could have an opertunity to test the feature and to give them the opertunity to have an exclusive 'first-look' at this feature.
We have now finished our initial testing and have made the feature available to all [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/membership/]Premier Members[/internallink].
Please be aware that ChristianBlog.Com has no plans to release this to those members with [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/membership/]Free Accounts[/internallink]. As indicated in the initial post, "[i]At this time I have no plans to roll this feature out to those who are not Gold or Premier Members. I very much consider this one of the "exclusive" features of ChristianBlog.Com that justifies being a supporting members of ChristianBlog.Com in order to have access too.[/i]".
Thank you and I welcome feedback from our [internallink=http://www.christianblog.com/membership/]Premier Members[/internallink] as they try out this new feature!
For Christ's Ministry,
John B. Abela
Hopefully I will not have to use this feature anytime soon.
Like B2Y there have only been a couple persons that I would have blacklisted.
I prefer to simply not read or respond to those persons.
I agree with blackrose, John this must have been a difficult decision for you to make.
[quote=kraftykatz]John this must have been a difficult decision for you to make.[/quote]
Well, I think as the website begins to grow bigger and bigger, faster and faster, this is going to be one of those features that is really important to a lot of people.
If anybody encounters any issues with it, please, drop a response in this thread and I'll look into it!
I did try this earler to see how it works...
The individual does show up in my blacklist contacts list but I still see their blogs and can click on them to read. I logged out and logged back in to see if that would make a difference. It didn't. Another member told me they tried it also but had the same experience as me.
K Reynolds (@kreynolds),
No idea what your doing wrong... it seems to be working for me.
Here's my proof:
Before adding "alight" to my blacklist (nothing personal alight... just needed to use somebody to test this)
After adding "alight" to my blacklist:
and, proof that "alight" was in my list:
So, again, it is working for me... not sure what the issue might be on your end.
Can you provide screenshots supporting it is not working for you please. Perhaps from there we can look into a possible "why" it might not be working for you.
[quote=alight]Alight is going to get a complex! I tried it just to see if it would work and I am having the same problem as K. The individual does show up in my blacklist contacts list but I still see their blogs and can click on them to read.I am wondering if it works with other Premier Members accounts or just for Gold?alight[/quote]
wow, I cannot believe I am that stupid.... sigh. big-sigh
Ok, alight gets the cookies for this one!
When I first setup this feature I added a single check on the home page for GoldMembers... and TOTALLY FORGOT to change that setting a couple days ago when I activated the link to the blacklist for Premier Members. - sigh.
So, in essence I only activated 1/2 of the feature... D'Oh!
Anyway, got that changed.... please let me know if this fixes it.
Yes, it appears to have fixed it.
Uh...do I get a cookie too as I pointed out this problem or does a cookie only go to the problem-solver? I did wonder about this but at the time I thought...nah...that couldn't be it.
Okay, I take that back. When I logged back on later...with someone on the blacklist, it appears that everyone got blacklisted because my homepage other than news subjects and intros was blank other than headings and ads.
I deleted the blacklist and logged back in. Everything was back to normal.
I tried the blacklist again. The person's blog was removed.
I logged out and came back in again. Then everyone was gone again. No, I did not accidently blacklist everyone...lol, I really did only have one person on my contact list. I double-checked that each time.
I removed the name. Everything was still blank. I logged out, then logged back in. Everyone was back...again.
I know, I know...it must be my Mac
Yeah, it seems to be working right now. I run Firefox but was going to try Safari if it didn't work. It seems to be doing fine on Firefox now.
Thanks for "fixing" my Mac, John :wink:
I've had a rather surprising amount of folks send me private messages about this whole "blacklist" feature over the last week or so.
Except for the few people who were saying it shouldn't be allowed at a "community website", the large majority of the private messages I have received have really revealed to me just how important a lot of you feel this feature is.
While I often do not like it when folks send me private messages concerning features of the website - I have come to understand that this particular feature is one of those features that (to a degree) should be discussed in private to one degree or another - or for one reason or another.
Because of the overwhelming requests I have received, I have decided to extend the features of the "Blacklist" a great deal.
While I realize that most of you are not going to comment publicly on these changes, I did want to make public the changes I am going to change to the website... mostly so that I do not have to keep sending everybody the same response ;)
So, based on the feedback I have received about the blacklist feature, I will be -- unless there is major outcry from the general membership of ChristianBlog.Com -- making to the blacklist feature:
People within your blacklist will [u]not be able to[/u]:
[*] View Your Profile [i](and thus will not be able to send an friend invitation - or have any direct contact with you)[/i] [u](completed: 4/15/2009 10:30pm PST)[/u]
[*] View Your Gallery [i](any photographs you have uploaded)[/i] [u](completed: 4/15/2009 10:45pm PST)[/u]
[*] View Blogs You have Published [i](yes, we are going to make the big-plunge and put this into place -- this means blacklisted people will not be able to comment on your blogs!)[/i] [u](completed: 4/15/2009 10:40pm PST)[/u]
[*] View Your Open Discussions [i](and thus not be able to comment on them)[/i] [u](completed: 4/15/2009 10:50pm PST)[/u]
[*] View Your Prayer Requests [i](and thus not be able to comment on them)[/i] [u](completed: 4/15/2009 11:05pm PST)[/u]
[*] View Your Praise Reports [i](and thus not be able to comment on them)[/i] [u](completed: 4/15/2009 11:10pm PST)[/u]
[*] View Your Content on the (logged in) Home Page. [i](and thus not be able to see or comment on anything)[/i] [u](completed: 4/15/2009 11:00pm PST)[/u]
One thing to be aware of is that if the person/people in your blacklist is not logged into the website, they will still be able to view your content. I'm not sure how to solve this... any thoughts??
Here is one thing I do not plan on doing...
If somebody posts a blog (somebody that is not within your blacklist) and than somebody within your blacklist posts a comment within that blog, that persons comment WILL be displayed within the natural order of the blog comments.
The reason for this is because I really do not want to begin messing around with the "flow" of comments by not displaying them.
Of course, public feedback could change if I get enough requests to do so. I am (obviously) will to listen to our community and their desires.
I realize this is a departure away from some of what I have said in previous statements above, but I believe the amount of comments and requests I have received (from both new members and some of our oldest members) can justify and warrant me making changes to previous statements I have made. [i](plus I do remember me saying somewhere this blacklist feature would expand beyond just profile viewing)[/i]
Ok, I hope this addresses [strike]all[/strike] some of the many messages I have received from many of you. I continue to invite the community to share your thoughts, suggestions and loathing towards this feature. As I have almost always done... I do listen to what all of you have to say and place a high value upon it for the future directions of where ChristianBlog.Com should be - or should not be - going!
p.s.: the message that people will see if they attempt to view any content of yours - if you have blacklisted them and if they are logged into the website - is:
[quote]Sorry but the content you are attempting to view has either been removed or you do not have the necessary permissions to be able to view it.[/quote]
It is also worth noting that this is the same message that is displayed if you attempt to view Content that has been suspended/terminated/removed.
(updated: 4/15/2009 11:00pm PST) Oh, I also made a change to the (logged in) "Home Page" and the "Open Discussions" pages... the change is that I have now made it a "two way street". That means that if you blacklist somebody (a) you will not see their stuff, and (b) they will not see yours! This is how it should ideally work, I just didn't have the logic worked out to make that happen until tonight.
John B. Abela
Kudos, John, for running a top-notch web site, and doing so much to keep it what it was intended to be. I cannot imagine having to make these decisions.
For me, personally, I don't usually get upset enough with anyone's views to feel a need to blacklist them, but I realize that someone who continually blows up every conversation with a discordant attitude can be distracting. As they say, "one bad apple."
(Hmmm....I wonder if anyone sees ME as the "bad apple?!")
Thanks, John, for everything you do
You have put a lot of work into this feature. Your love for this web site and us is clearly shown in the care you take and the time you spend just listening to everyone. And some of us are not that pleasant to listen too! Not me of course
It is good to know this is here IF I were in need of it.
A special blessing for you today from above.
one concern, if the blacklist is a 2 way blackout, then the person blacking the nuisance one can not report on that nuisance's content either.
I say that this is a concern because if all regulars blackout a nuisance member, then they won't see what the nuisance's is postings and therefore will not report on it.
Which leaves the non-regulars to report any "escalations" that may occur from that nuisance's postings or comments or whatever...did that make any sense at all???
Interesting point greybear, I am glad you formulated what I was thinking and couldn't put into words.
This whole issue is like discussing the elephant in the closet. Everyone knows it is there but no one wants to talk about it. With current state of affairs in this world, I think this whole concept is much more a preemptive strike to protect this site down the road than a reaction to much going on now. Thanks again John and others for thinking this stuff through BEFORE it becomes a crisis instead of after. As you have done with countless other improvements and policies here--THANK YOU for being proactive instead of retroactive.
Not much I can add here, John, but I just want to say that unfortunately I believe it is a necessary step. Doing God's work in such a public way, as you have, is a sure red cape invitation to the enemy for his interference.
And you know, if someone is feeling threatened by another, or simply has the heebie-jeebies -- who better than the one threatened to simply nip it in the bud?
Good work, John, as always.
We love you and the work you do for us.
Oh, shoot. Hope that last remark won't give you the heebie jeebies and I find myself blacklisted, LOL
[quote=greybear]one concern, if the blacklist is a 2 way blackout, then the person blacking the nuisance one can not report on that nuisance's content either. I say that this is a concern because if all regulars blackout a nuisance member, then they won't see what the nuisance's is postings and therefore will not report on it. Which leaves the non-regulars to report any "escalations" that may occur from that nuisance's postings or comments or whatever...did that make any sense at all???PapaBear[/quote]
wow, somebody pull out the stinky fish and beat me with it... .
Well, I've got to say, GreyBear, I obviously didn't think of [u]that[/u] issue.
See, this is why I'm glad I have a group of folks that care about CB in the way they do. Because I just cannot think of everything.
So, I guess we should probably open up a bit of discussion about this rather very interesting situation that you have brought up.
John B. Abela
Is there a way for Tech Support to flag a particular member if and when he/she is blacklisted, or perhaps an email notification to Tech Support much like we are notified of blog comments, that someone has been blacklisted. Then if that same member is blacklisted by more than a couple of members, there is obviously a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
I might blacklist someone who I felt was getting completely too personal with me. If that is the case, I can't see that John or PapaBear would have the same issue.
Or I might blacklist someone because their views were so obnoxious to me I couldn't bear to hear about them anymore. Again, not something that would be an issue to everyone else.
I guess that's a long way of saying surely all the "regulars", the gold/premier members couldn't blacklist someone without it being noticed?
Or maybe before blacklisting someone, we would have to first notify Tech Support that we were fixin' to blacklist them.
But if someone is offensive enough to warrant blacklisting by a number of different people, then they probably don't belong on CB.
Stinky fish aside; I would have to voice my opinion that as good as the 2 way street sounds, it may not be practical in light of this situation. Without being a tech person, I don't have a clue how to avoid someone duly blacklisted from operating outside the realm of self enforcement. That means it would all fall back on you guys and I know that is what is not desirable.
Personally I would not object to "seeing the stuff" someone on my list posted. If not interested in it or what is going on in it, I would just not go there. Honestly, I don't know how you could overcome this potential problem with the 2 way street.
John, I have faith in your decisions here at CB. This is your baby and I am just thankful to have found it. I have no complaints, just a HUGE THANK YOU! I praise God every day for this site. It has brought great growth in my Chirstian walk. All I have to say is, Keep Up The Good Work John. I applaud everything you do for us here at CB. Love you brother.