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In the context of a social networking service, community or forum, what's the best to tell a user that he/she has been blocked by another person? If a message is displayed that says X has blocked you then people would be discouraged to block others. And if a User not found warning was displayed (which I think is what Facebook used to do), it would lead to confusion I guess. What's the best way to deal with this? Thanks!

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The question is do you want to ? –  Mervin Johnsingh Mar 11 '12 at 4:47
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I wouldn't want someone to know I blocked him. He would just try to get revenge if he found out. –  JoJo Mar 11 '12 at 6:49
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The notion of blocking users is inherently thorny, and is often resolved in the way that presents the least potential for social friction possible. Consider the use case in which one individual is being pestered by another, and wishes they could continue using the service as though the offending party didn't exist. They don't want a confrontation, they just don't want to be bothered.

Not informing the blocked user that they were blocked and simply declining to show their activity is often the ideal way of handling this: it doesn't set a confrontational tone, and it provides the user enacting the block with the level of privacy they require to continue using the service, while allowing them to deal with any social consequences on their own terms.

It also provides a form of deniability if the blocker is found out by the block-ee. "Huh, I don't know why it wasn't showing for you. You know how technology is sometimes." While it is true that this may generate confusion, it is not entirely without reason.

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