Two typical features of chat rooms are, the ability to ignore another user (hide all of their messages) and to mark a particular message as spam.

Should marking a user's message as spam automatically ignore that user, or should ignoring the source of the spam have to be done explicitly by the user?

2 Answers 2


Scenario: Your friend's messenger has 'virus' and is sending messages to his contacts. You mark his virus's message as spam.

  • Do you want this to also block your friend?
  • Or, do you just want to mark his message as spam?

You see, there are times when you just want to mark a message as spam since it is coming from a known contact.

Ignoring an user should be an explicit command since once you do that, you have to consciously check your ignore list to see who all are in there. If your marking a message as spam also ignores the user, there should be an alert before that action is implemented.

  • 2
    A pattern I've seen is, upon marking something as spam, being asked "do you want to ignore this user?". So your system can ask, but you shouldn't take actions unilaterally on the user's behalf, for the reasons given in this answer. Apr 29, 2013 at 18:44
  • @MonicaCellio Yes that is a good UX pattern that you brought up :)
    – rk.
    Apr 29, 2013 at 18:46

Marking a message as spam and blocking a have different use cases.

Spam is generic content that is sent to many people (usually advertising). The goal of marking something as spam is to let your system intelligently remove other identical (or similar) posts so that other members don't have to be presented with this. Gmail does an excellent job of this.

Blocking a user is about not wanting content from them anymore. Think of an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who is constantly sending you messages, or a stalker. Blocking them prevents you from having to hear from them, but has no effect for the rest of the user base.

So, marking a message as spam, shouldn't automatically block a user. If someone wants to block all contact, they can block the user, but there are many cases where you may want to mark a message as spam, but still receive contact from the user.

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