I like this suggestion. I guess it comes down to what the purpose of mute should be. I think in its current form, it's much more akin to literal shunning, which has a long history of use in social groups as a way to modify member's behavior, and limit the influence of outsiders. I think your suggestion is similar to the Reddit system of auto-hiding downvoted posts, except here muted users would always automatically be "downvoted and hidden" so-to-speak, and only from the point of view of the muting user, which is much more forgiving to the person being shunned. I'm curious to see what the hubski veterans think about this idea.