*sigh* Another drooler added this journal (and probably some 743 others) to their friends list. A look at their journal shows that they don't have any interests of note and don't seem to have anything to say that could be of interest to anyone who doesn't know them or isn't desperate for any simulation of human contact. Though at least this one's interest list is "meeting new peoples" and not "rape" or "adolf hitler" or something.
(A free clue: if you don't know me personally, or we haven't significantly interacted, then I'm not one of your friends. Adding me to your friends list won't get make it so. There just aren't enough hours in the day to be a very special friend to all the world's outcasts, social retards, neurotics, psychotics, trolls, creeps, hangers-on, psychic vampires and emotional basketcases who are too fucking inept to actually meet people they have any chance of having any common ground with. If you're one of those people, turn your computer off and go meet some people. Or at least develop an interest someone else might share; like, say, trainspotting or fursuit sex or something.)
I think the ability to remove oneself from people's friends lists is long overdue. IMHO, the recent epidemic of trolls and idiots is an excellent case for making adding someone to one's friends list require their approval, as it does on services like ICQ and tribe.net.
Currently LJ only has a "friend of" relation in its database. There has been discussion for a while about splitting it into "reads" and a "trusts/friend of" relations, which can be independent. Hopefully this will happen one of these months.
When the two relations diverge, their semantics can evolve separately; for example, it may make sense to read a journal/feed anonymously (some would decry this as allowing stalking/dishonesty, though one can already read public feeds anonymously without using one's aggregator, so this changes nothing), whilst friending people anonymously makes less sense. Also, whilst one should be able to add anything to one's reading list unilaterally, it would be good if friending someone either (a) required their authorisation, (b) could be set up to require authorisation (much as ICQ contact list adding can), or at least (c) could be revoked (perhaps using the ban mechanism).
Well, as we know, the LJ folks have been contemplating that for a while, the latest state seems to be a little closer to epiphany. The debate seems to be over the actual mechanics of making it work to most people's satisfaction. This bit is interesting:
The future relationship system will include a real "reading" edge type, so we don't want to pollute the meaning of that word yet, when we're going to be introducing it in the future with real meaning.
,,, and that's elaborated a bit towards the end.
My criteria for "friending" someone is much the same as yours. (I think there's one or two who make it because they're interesting friends of friends) I'd like to, say, have jwz's latest post queued up on the aggregation (i.e. "friends") page, but I don't particularly want to "friend" him to do it.
The splitting of the Friends relation into two isn't a fait accompli yet; it has to get popular support, and there are some people who oppose it on the grounds that somehow reading someone without friending them is dishonest and/or violates the LJ community spirit.
You've been added by a "serial adder" - I noticed you posted to news, and that'll be why. Posting to news seems to be the LJ equivalent of putting up yr email addy somewhere and asking to be spammed. I keep my profile low and dont post to any communities and I dont seem to get any hassle.
Having said that, actually being able to remove someone from a friends-of list (or a read by list, were it worded so) is a bit pointless. A) who are we to tell someone else what they can and cannot view, and B) if you remove someone, they can just re-add you anyway (its their FL after all). Hiding or banning makes slightly more sense but seeing as one can hide friends-of list already Im really not sure what the issue or point is, even after reading thru news and lj_biz etc.
People add me and I dont add them back, even people I actually know, and I dont give a rats if they get offended, geez its only the internet. If I dont want to read someones LJ, I wont stick 'em on my FL, simple. This goes especially for suicidal whiners, quiz whores and cam whores (and lordy, some of my friends much as I love em are all 3).
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I don't believe I posted to news; I posted some comments to lj_biz, actually about this very issue of dealing with trolls. (Though another serial adder apparently added me along with everybody else in the outsider_music community.)
And being able to remove yourself from friends lists is pointless only if you regard the friends list as merely a "reading" list. On LJ, it has other social implications. The rather nifty TouchGraph LJ Browser, for example, would draw you as connected to whoever friended you; if it was working now, the networks it would draw would be densely entangled by kudzu-like growths of serial adders, like a prion-infested brain.
Hiding people is not the best solution, as it involves acknowledging them, and doesn't actually remove the relationship they've asserted to having with you; just makes it a dirty little secret. In the end, we all end up with closets full of trolls.
Though I agree with you on the not adding people back thing; I generally don't reciprocally friend people unless I find them interesting.