If I don’t follow a particular tag, I am exercising my disinterest in a topic or category of topics. If, on the other hand, I choose to “ignore” an individual I am effectively deciding that I don’t want to hear what that person has to say on any topic whatsoever. This isn't so. It simply means that their posts will not make it in to your feed. They can still comment on your posts and you can still seek out their content, should you so desire but it will no longer be in your feed etc.
Recently b_b mentioned to the rest of the Hubski team that he thought the term "ignore" wasn't appropriate because of the negative connotation. I tend to agree, it should be called something else, because it isn't a negative thing at all. I would be SHOCKED if I wasn't ignored by at least several people given the amount of music (original and otherwise) that I post to Hubski. I take absolutely no offense to this.
All this said, I am pretty frugal in my ignoring ways. I tend to keep the ignoring for tags/domains and obvious spammers. I have muted maybe 2 people that weren't obvious spammer, they were just obvious assholes.
FWIW, I really enjoyed your observations, thank you for taking the time to write this.
The danger of letting people build protective walls around themselves is that they will be tempted to do just that. Every time I hear the phrase “Hubski community” I mentally shake my head. To me, a community is a group of people with tangible interdependencies. Whether they like each other or not, they have to get along. I have seen a certain level of emotional support offered up on Hubski from time to time, but if my car dies on the interstate I will probably not be logging in and begging members for immediate help. -I feel a sense of community on Hubski that I have rarely felt IRL or online. While I cannot call lil to come help me if I have a flat tire, it's due to proximity and not digitality(I made up a word). Same goes for ButterflyEffect, b_b, flagamuffin, _refugee_, steve, theadvancedapes, humanodon, insomniasexx and others that I have befriended on the site but otherwise would have never met. I'd gladly help them in a bind and I'd like to think they'd reciprocate should I need help when my car dies on the interstate.
I don't expect that everyone that visits/uses Hubski will develop the same types of relationships, but many will. I also think that with time and expansion of our user base, we will see a number of different communities. There will definitely be bubbles of different communities throughout Hubski, just as there are IRL.
We have some interesting ideas in the works right now. I'm excited for the future and I'm glad that you are a part of our "community" emcadwaladr! -We are better for it imo.