Proposal to change Follower to Lurker

Started by Lauri Kreen on Saturday, October 16, 2010


Profiles Mentioned:

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Showing 1-30 of 59 posts
10/16/2010 at 1:55 AM

As "Following" and its translations in many languages have meaning of spying or like
"The Big Brother" does...

...we propose to use Lurker - - instead...


Private User
10/16/2010 at 4:15 AM

Support that, - and please give us back the Friends group to give people a read-only access to my tree.

Private User
10/16/2010 at 4:49 AM

And do add the possibility to reject these ... followers - right now I am informed that I am followed but I can not do anything about it.
Very uncomfortable - my privacy is violated without my permission and without possibility to do anything about it.

Private User
10/16/2010 at 6:21 AM

Great thread. I was just talking about this. It really feels like stalking. We moved from the Facebook model to the Twitter model. Personally, I really don't like Twitter.

I want the ability to watch historic profiles to see if they are changed, but for other living people, friend was better than follow.

Bjørn, hope you don't mind that I'm stalking you :)

10/16/2010 at 6:44 AM

A similar discussion is ongoing at

10/16/2010 at 7:49 AM

Private User - You can manage (reject) them

Your ones:
Following List - probably those who you are following:

Followers List - probably those who are following you:


Private User
10/16/2010 at 8:11 AM

nope - I can follow or unfollow those who are following me but I can not reject them to follow me. At least so I understand in both languages - if it is not so, it is not understandably presented.

10/16/2010 at 8:21 AM

I have also understood the feature to be operational as Märt describes.

Private User
10/16/2010 at 9:17 AM

Unfortunately there is currently no way to reject being "followed". The only method to stop somebody from following you is to (temporarily) block them. (Remember to Undo the block later by visiting you Settings.)

We are however many who want to remove this feature and have the mutual Friends (with view access to trees) back. Please post and tell Geni so if you agree. :-)

10/16/2010 at 11:00 AM

"Lurker" is not better.
The immediate connotation is a sentence like "the criminal was lurking in the shadows". It is not a very common word and unfortunately its use comes up in a negative context.

"Friend" at least has a positive feeling.
"Follow" can be negative, neutral or positive depending on where it is used. In Geni many have had a negative reaction. especially since it is not immediately clear what the word means in Geni.

10/16/2010 at 12:27 PM

Well, at least the look & feel of the various elements of the new user interface are very slick & appealing imho. The technical side of the follow-stuff in general seem to be working top notch flawlessly.

A shame it was a wee bit fast out the door & not thoroughly thought through community wise. Or perhaps it was just that - a "feeler fish" to catch some reactions from the pond? Ahwell. Considering the many negative bites: please let's have another throw at it shall we?

Private User
10/16/2010 at 1:35 PM

Lilian: at least "Lurker" would carry the meaning of what is it about - read the Wikipedia definition Lauri has quoted to and it appears it is not at all negative.

Olav: what look & feel you are talking about - I see no difference - well, yes, I can press the buttons - "follow" and "unfollow" and that seems to work (no error message appears) ... wow ...

(I think that what really has happened is that board in strategy meeting has thought that once all ancestors are entered, what next? Let's go social ... apparently they have succeeded - without that change I would not have been sitting all night here choosing the words to express my ...)

I repeat to say that I do not want people just following me without my acceptance. I do not like it. Did I mention - I don't like it.

The changes until last days - I did understand and advocate them because they were protecting one's privacy - but THE RECENT CHANGE VIOLATES MY PRIVACY.

Saying all that I must admit that as it seems to be only my problem I will now shut up and either to follow the flow or quit ... or find some other way ... but I do not like it ...

10/16/2010 at 1:47 PM

Following ... is totally different from former Friends system...
I can follow ... also non-claimed and dead persons profiles and there seems to be no relationship between Following of these profiles and Following of Managers of these profiles.

Private User
10/16/2010 at 2:01 PM

Whoa! When/why was this change made?
Are these "followers" the same as the previous "friends", so that ONLY the ones that mutually agreed to it, can do it?
Will Geni staff get in on this discussion and let us know?
I cannot imagine the purpose of this change......

10/16/2010 at 2:04 PM

Märt: Hey now, I was just trying to be nice :) Granted, it's not many kilos of UI, but there are at least a few more things than simply the buttons, "People You May Know" box @ home + page @ & such. I'm an easy featherweight to please.

Oh, and agreed on the rest, advocating the current state of affairs would not come natural for me " ... — and you know what, you can stalk people on this genealogy site too ... "

Private User
10/16/2010 at 2:11 PM

Sorry - I said I will shut up - but I can not.

Lauri: yes it is different - but it somehow did replace ... I repeat ... Friendship was replaced with Following ... 1984?

10/16/2010 at 2:27 PM

Would anyone agree to that "following" profiles that are set as "Public Profiles" & outside of the "Private Profiles" sphere might be a shift for the better? I.e: + previous friend functionality with the ability to grant view only access to trees?

10/16/2010 at 2:59 PM

What I personally would find intriguing with the possibility of profile "tracking" - and now I'm talking about historical profiles that are set as public, not private - would be something like this:

1. Ability to add a selection of my tracked profiles to a "custom profile group".

2. Name it. (The Charlemanges) :)

3. Generate a new statistics section based on this group at

4. Check out the fine custom statistics based on assorted historical data that are now made possible.

5. Option to remove the custom generated statistics module.

Private User
10/16/2010 at 3:37 PM

This is off topic, but I just looked at the statistics page and female's in my family have an average life expectancy of -3. Ouch. Men 54, which isn't good, but much better than -3...

10/16/2010 at 7:35 PM

Brendan. Ouch, indeed. It's a wonder you managed to be born.
Have to wonder about statistical truths and how Geni managed to come up with that.

Mart Aab.... 1984 and Following . So funny.
Lurking also has that hiding ... spying kind of aspect to it.. not like "Friends."

Lauri and Olav - thanks for clarifying what some of the differences are with Following.

10/17/2010 at 6:02 AM

How about:

Followers = Interested People

Following = People of Interest

Also, translations into other languages don't have to be literal; they simply have to convey the intended meaning.

Private User
10/17/2010 at 6:27 AM

I also am dismayed at the removal of the "friends" status. It was very useful in several differentt circumstances, and I do not understand why it has been removed.

10/17/2010 at 8:57 AM

Change your Profile Privacy settings to keep info private

Followers can ONLY see information that is ALREADY visible to everyone, i.e. the public version of your profile.

Private User
10/17/2010 at 10:49 AM

Not happy about it.

10/17/2010 at 11:25 AM

Yes Shmuel, though not everyone finds announcements on external blogs as accessible as forum threads with 150 shouting relatives with already made up minds :)

I guess even a forum sticky announcing an upcoming change a bit in advance would likely balance such 'transitional tensions' into any a new form. It takes time to accumulate & earn trust but it's also wasted in a flash if people regard changes as forced & negative. It's just a matter of striving for a little more quality in communication with the community as a whole, not only power users. For those who are still dropping in:

Introducing Following @

[...] "Note: Following does not affect privacy in any way. Following a user or profile does not give you any additional access to profile information. A user who follows you does not get any additional access to your profile or other information.

If you follow a user or profile that is not in your Family group, you will only receive public updates about them. You will not be able to view their photos, family discussions, or other private information and updates."

Private User
10/17/2010 at 11:43 AM

Not quite correct, and that is I protest against Following as well.

Before Following was introduced you had a three-level setting for showing your merge activity: Family, Collaborators and All. Default was Collaborators which means that only collaborators could check you profile and see your merge activity. Today everyone can, and I really dislike it, especially since there is no Approval and Removal.

Private User
10/17/2010 at 11:46 AM

What I do not like is that I do not have control over the following, whatever the information is.
I understand the feature if following historic profiles, but it should work different for real Geni users ...

Private User
10/17/2010 at 3:58 PM

I wonder ... why should I like to follow, lurke or spy etc after peopole that are not my friends nor members of my family group? Historical public persons - yes, but others?

I really do not like the fact, that all my previous friends are now following me for some reason. That's just weird. But now some strangers too - no introdutcion, no nothing. Now that's just plain creepy.

I support, that the "Friends" section should return as it was and no Following, Lurkin or Spying of living people or their Geni accounts, at least not without the option of accepting or canceling by the "victim".

10/18/2010 at 5:15 AM

Evelyn's proposal works for me. I just want to be able to see my friend's tree again.

Showing 1-30 of 59 posts

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