So we've currently got two factions engaged in a 2-day-deep flame war. These factions are:
- "Muting is literally Hitler" (MILH). The argument of MILH is that one person, no matter how much she may dread and fear the interactions of others, is duty-bound to accept their comments on her posts because "freedom" or something. Further arguments are that since muting only works on your own posts it's stupid and useless and should go away for that reason also.
- "People Can Walk Away At A Cocktail Party" (PCWCP). The argument of PCWCP is that since Hubski is about conversations between people who seek out conversations with each other, the ability to not suffer conversations with people they are actively avoiding is a huge plus. Further arguments are that douches should really be driven out of the pool and in an environment in which there's no real good way to show disapproval, "mute" is the only way to send a message.
MILH is wrong and PCWCP is right. Let's get that out of the way right now. However, the reasons MILH has come to erroneous conclusions are social and comprehension-based. It might be worthwhile to re-think the syntax of muting. And, since Hubski is a social site that leverages the connections between users, it might be beneficial to provide a little social lubrication towards resolving the MILH-PCWCP wars.
Currently, a user who has been muted sees 'muted here'. A terse statement, to be sure. It also provides no insight as to how or why or what to do about the fact. My guess is it's this way because nobody is really enthusiastic about 'mute' functionality, even its most ardent users. We 'mute' people like flushing the toilet. Nobody really wants to get into the plumbing.
It's not the most positive experience for those staring up from the cesspool. 'Mute' definitely has punitive aspects to it that, for the greater good of the site, could be mitigated a little.
One thing that I hear regularly in these battles is that the process of getting yourself 'unmuted' is unclear. After all, you can't message someone who has muted you (not a bug, a feature). Another thing I hear, reading between the lines, is 'muting' rustles jimmies, hurts feelings and belies the 'social' aspect of the site.
SO HOW BOUT WE FIX IT LIKE THIS
Instead of the terse 'muted here' we currently have, how 'bout
You are muted here. Have you tried apologizing?
Let's turn that "Have you tried apologizing?" sentence into a hyperlink. And when the user clicks on it, they see a list of 'follows' that the muter and mutee have in common - 'mutual friends' if you will that could intercede on your behalf.
I've unmuted maybe 6 people because they've apologized. It's a great feeling. We're friends again, and the process has increased the affinity we have for each other. We've recognized that we're all human, that we all have bad days, and that we often take it out on the wrong people.
Let's streamline that process.