I'm building a web application which allows a user (the first user) to follow another user (the second user.) That second user is sent a notification when they are followed by the first user.

If that first user then unfollows the second user, should the notification to the second user stating that the first user followed them be automatically deleted? Why or why not?

  • so they normally don't get a notification when someone 'unfollows' them, correct?
    – Mike M
    Aug 26, 2017 at 0:26
  • @MikeM: No, they don't. Aug 26, 2017 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Users need to trust your application is consistent and robust.

If there's a notification list that I can rely to to see a 'history' of events, deleting an event that actually happened means that the UI is making decisions that are governed by rules that are invisible to me.

If I go to a list and items are being deleted without my notice, I will start to lose trust in the consistency of the application.

It doesn't seem necessary to add another notification if someone 'unfollows' me (similar to facebook; I don't get messages that someone unfriended me), but linking events seem crucial to keep accurate records of.

  • I suppose so. At the same time though, wouldn't it be confusing to see a notification that the first user has followed you, go to their profile and see that they don't? You could argue that the application's state is then incorrect at this moment in time. Aug 26, 2017 at 0:50
  • I understand your concern. But if you're keeping notifications in a list, time sorted it becomes in some sense an activity log, a historical item. We ran across the same scenario with an app where users could join a group, and then leave it; we kept the joining action, and allowed users to (uneventfully) leave the group.
    – Mike M
    Aug 26, 2017 at 0:54
  • Ah, the joys of edge cases. Thanks for your help, Mike — I think I'll leave the notification there. Aug 26, 2017 at 0:56

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