I'm building a chat application and I'd like to give the users the ability to block and delete users, but I'm not entirely certain what their differences are. What is the typical "experience" a user expects when he/she blocks/deletes someone from their friends list?

My current implementation is:

A Blocks B --> A still has B on their list, and B still has A on their list. Visually, B won't know they've been blocked, and if B sends a message, the app will say message sent, instead of saying they've been blocked. User A won't see any of the messages until he/she unblocks B.

A Deletes B --> A doesn't have B on their list anymore and B doesn't have A on their list anymore, but B won't get any notification, it will just be removed silently. The actual relationship (in the database) is essentially terminated, which means that until one sends a friend request and the other accepts that request, they won't be able to message or see each other.

Any suggestions/opinions and comparisons to other apps are welcome :)

  • Maybe helpful to you to see how other messaging apps defines block and delete. Of course, you'll need to define the two based on your own circumstances. whatsapp.com/faq/general/21242423 You can also checkout FAQ sections of Facebook, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, etc. – Chairman Meow Jul 24 '14 at 22:53
  • Facebook use 'mute' and 'block', yahoo use 'block / remove' and 'ignore / appear invisible too' – Toni Leigh Jul 25 '14 at 6:38

It would certainly vary between different applications, but in general you would assume that the block action incorporates a deleting, since you don't want to have any interactions with that particular user. But a delete means removing a relationship, which doesn't necessarily mean you can't add them again later.

I suppose you can think of it in the actual physical sense when you tell someone you don't want to be friends with them (deleting) and actually putting a restraining order on them to stay away (blocking)?

However, I agree that you can probably implement block differently depending on the reason why one user is blocking another. In the instance where someone is harassing another and making unwanted contact versus just not seeing certain feeds or messages is quite different.

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