Get Rid of Unwanted Followers

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  1. Alexander Mark profile image82
    Alexander Markposted 12 years ago

    Wouldn't it be great if we could de-fan a follower? If your asking, "why in the world would you want to do that?" Let me tell you.

    Recently I have been gaining quite a few followers which actually helped push my numbers over 200. That is great. However, most of these people have not only completely different values and writing styles to mine (which goes toward proving they don't know anything about me), they never bother to comment on my hubs which tells me they probably don't read anything I have written. I could be wrong, but I now have some gamer and a podiatrist following me who obviously have no interest in reading my material. On a side note, I don't like seeing the gamer's skull icon on my follower list, it is offensive.

    These folks are treating HP like a social network, which can be argued is one of HP's functions. However, we are first and foremost a writing site, not Twitter or Digg.

    The more these internet farmers fill up Hubpages and "follow" real writers (good or bad), the more Hubpages quality and reputation declines. Also, your followers do represent you - it is assumed that a follower agrees with you on some point or another, or that they like your writing. So if someone peruses your followers, they might click on one to see how they relate to you. If they find an internet farmer, they have now wasted their time and might start to question some of YOUR work.

    So how about it Hubpages, can we add an approve / deny button to our follower section?

    1. Marisa Wright profile image86
      Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      So true. In the early days of HubPages, we didn't have "followers", we had "fans", which made the meaning clearer - you signed up for someone's fan club because you were a fan of their work, not because you wanted to be friends.  Since the name change, that meaning has been all but lost and you'll even get people who get offended if you don't follow them back.

      I wouldn't worry too much about followers, though - your paying audience will probably never look at your followers list.

    2. profile image0
      Brenda Durhamposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Well...I can see how it would be aggravating to have followers who might harrass or steal content or something, but in general I'm always just plain grateful and pleased when anyone follows me!

      You have a kitty avatar!  I love cats.  And your profile mentions the Holy Bible, so I'm immediately interested.   But I dare not follow you;  I'm too paranoid now after reading this thread!  lol

      1. Alexander Mark profile image82
        Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Brenda, don't worry, I won't bite unless I get harassed. I do however express my opinions when called for, and to some, they can seem like an attack. If your intentions are good, please hit the follow button.

        1. Cardisa profile image90
          Cardisaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Well Alexander, I was too chicken to bring up the subject. I see people who have sent me fan mail that have never read my hubs, let alone leave a comment.

          There are a bunch of people on HP who I call "the followers", that's all they do because they want you to follow them back.

          1. Alexander Mark profile image82
            Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            It's a good thing you didn't start this thread, there are a lot of negative reactions to my proposition! With all the positives at Hubpages, I guess having this annoyance is a small price to pay.

    3. profile image0
      Stevennix2001posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Well to be honest, I can see where you're coming from here, and I do think you make some valid points.  In fact, I have gotten quite a few followers that often leave me fan mail saying they're only following me because of my avatar; which is really annoying because I do like to change my avatar sometimes, and it does disturb me that the only reason some people follow me is just because of a picture of a kitty holding a rifle versus being a fan of my writing.  Having said that though, it may bother and irritate me, but it never drives me to the point that I would want to bother petitioning hubpages to change their system.  Besides, the way I look at it, it's a marketing thing.  People seem to recognize me most with this avatar, so I tend to look at it the same way people often associate the infamous bunny logo with playboy, or how many people associate that weird check sign with Nike.  It's just smart advertising...or at least..that's what I tell myself. 

      Although, I wish I could get rid of the followers that only follow me for this avatar, but as someone pointed out earlier, the more followers you have, the more boost it'll give you in search engines; thus it's not really hurting anyone...unless you want to count pride, but I've always been more of a cash kind of guy anyway...

      1. Alexander Mark profile image82
        Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        If it was a mere annoyance, that would be okay, but my view was that bogey followers disrupt the, "natural order." Judging by the reactions here, there's only a small percentage that cares as much as I do. If most people think it's not a problem, maybe those internet farmers won't affect me as much as I think :-) Seems like it's only a positive?

        For the record, your avatar is great, but I wouldn't expect you to keep it the same or not keep it, but I would expect you would probably come up with something just as cool :-)

        1. Marisa Wright profile image86
          Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I think that's the case.  Don't assume, though, that lack of comments means people aren't reading. For instance, I don't comment on Hubs unless I have something of value to add to the discussion.  I would never make a comment that was just a compliment -  because that's what the voting buttons are for, IMO.

          1. Alexander Mark profile image82
            Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            You're right, and I don't assume that, I just like to look at the whole picture: I consider a follower who is a spammer after considering several factors, the first flag is no comments, but then I look a little deeper and check their hubs. If they are poorly written hubs geared to search engines written from an uninformed point of view (no facts and statistics, opinion based information that contradicts reality and so on) and also when I get an email notice that shows they are following 400 people and only have 10 followers, that tells me they are only here for the links and so on.

            However, I vow not take no-comments personally from now on - thank you for making me think. The etiquette is different than what I thought, I think I'll switch from missiles to rubber bullets.

            1. Marisa Wright profile image86
              Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              The etiquette is a minefield, actually.  I wrote a Hub about it. There are two extremes on HubPages - the extremely social and the "business" Hubbers, who are here for the search engine traffic.

              The extremely social regard it as rude if you don't thank every single person who comments on your Hubs, even if they've made some inane statement.  If they follow you, they expect you to follow back.   By contrast, the business Hubbers are not interested in spending hours fostering the HubPages community - they know that only search engine traffic pays.

              Most Hubbers fall somewhere along the continuum between the two, and therein lies lots of opportunities for misunderstanding and offence!

              1. Alexander Mark profile image82
                Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                I see you've thought this through a whole lot more than I have, I'm heading over to your hub. I definitely fall on the extremely social side as I answer every comment on my hubs, and hope for the same when I comment on others'.

    4. Don Crowson profile image61
      Don Crowsonposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      It would appear to me that if you write a variety of subjects, you will write some that appeal to one fan, but the next topic may be something that is of no interest to him or her.  If I follow someone, I do not need to read the entire hub to know that I'm not interested in the subject after reading the title.  No reflection on the writer.  It is just that the writer has written somethig that doesn't interest me.

      It is great to have followers, but I don't expect them to like or agree with everything I write.

      1. Alexander Mark profile image82
        Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Oy! I certainly don't expect anyone to follow everything I write either! I don't know how that was construed from the initial point, but I wholeheartedly agree with you Don.

  2. QuestionMaster profile image80
    QuestionMasterposted 12 years ago

    Only about 5% of your followers are likely to read your work. People follow for a huge range of reasons and reading your writing isn't necessarily one of them.

    Just look at it this way - they're not hurting anyone and each one has a link on their profile to your profile, meaning your profile will be seen more times by search engines and therefore can give your hubs a tiny boost.

    1. Alexander Mark profile image82
      Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      That's true that your account gets a boost from unwanted followers, but they are reducing the quality of your presentation too. I am here to write, and make money if that's possible. Being a part of the community is a huge bonus, but when we get more and more internet farmers on our site, we all lose. I'll take the hit not just on principle, but because I don't want any part in the degrading of a website community I love, and because I believe doing things the right way benefits us all in the end.

      1. relache profile image73
        relacheposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I've not seen any indication that the above statement is true.

        I've not found followers to be parasites, nor have I seen any evidence that they hamper or impede my writing or my participation here.  To the best of my experience, they are free to enjoy my writing or not as they wish, which as far as I know is what HubPages intended when they invented the follower feature.

        1. davenmidtown profile image67
          davenmidtownposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I whole heatedly agree with relache...

  3. Lisa HW profile image62
    Lisa HWposted 12 years ago

    I'm no farmer, but when I follow someone I know I can't read everything he writes.  I more think of following someone as making his Hubs part of potential pool of reading from which I can select if/when I have the time to read.  I aim for people whose Hubs seem like the kind of thing I like to read, and I don't follow new people all that often (especially now that I have x number of people I'm following already).  Still, I know I won't get around to (or want to read) absolutely everything the person has written.  I do know that people wouldn't be able to guess what kind of stuff I like to read just by reading what I write - because what I write on here, and any number of things I don't like to write about, but want to read about, are completely differently.

    Then, too, I often just browse for things I find interesting that have nothing to do with whoever I may follow.

    If I think someone follows me because they like what I've written, of course I take that as a compliment and appreciate it.  I know all followers aren't interested in what I write, but as long as they aren't out to steal my stuff I can't say I care if they don't read my stuff.  I don't write, for example, software or finance stuff, but I'd hope someone I follow who does wouldn't think that "I'm obviously not interested in" what s/he writes.

    I have more than a few followers who appear to be suspect as far as the likelihood of their being interested in what I write goes), but I figure "iffy" following behavior isn't something those people keep limited to just my account.  It's their overall way of operating on here, and eventually it will show up in their score or in their losing interest and leaving the site.  Then, too, new people often don't realize how following is supposed to work on this site, but they eventually figure it out.

    This may be the lazy way out, but I'd hope HP would deal with people who are wildly following everyone, or else who are up to something questionable.  I don't want to have to police followers, and I really don't want to "reject" them based on what could be my own misjudging based on guesses or assumptions.  The way I see it, if someone follows me for questionable reasons I'm not "being a part of something that degrades the site".  I'm being the target of it.  Even with that, though, I get my traffic and my money; so I don't really see my own presentation as being harmed.  The only thing (as I said before) is the thing we being followed for the purpose of stealing (but we have no way to know who's doing that or who isn't most of the time).

  4. profile image0
    Sophia Angeliqueposted 12 years ago

    Gosh, I think maybe .01% of my followers actually read me. I have absolutely no idea why anyone follows me at all. smile

    1. AEvans profile image71
      AEvansposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Because we can pop in from time to time and read wonderful work. Always followed but never forgotten. Giving a thumbs up or a tweet is a wonderful thing. smile

      1. WD Curry 111 profile image57
        WD Curry 111posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        This is an example of an experienced, mature and professional viewpoint on the subject. She has about a jillion followers and appreciates every one.

  5. Alexander Mark profile image82
    Alexander Markposted 12 years ago

    I like what Marissa said: "I wouldn't worry too much about followers, though - your paying audience will probably never look at your followers list." That seems to be the sentiment here. It's a hard one for me to grasp. But to me, not caring about someone that is using you is like allowing weeds to grow in your garden. Of course, these weeds seem to help boost your numbers :-) so I get it from that angle. I believe people will look at your follower list, I do sometimes.

    As far as reading, we know that it is impossible for a hubber to read all of the people they are following. Maybe that's the nature of this beast - we can make money or backlinks here and enjoy the opportunity to write to a wide audience at the same time.

    But the issue remains that we are allowing parasites to enjoy the fruits of our labor while writing in a manner that is not consistent with the spirit of Hubpages. I have to maintain that I am here to write and be a part of a writing community. I guess I'm a lone mouse squeaking in the basement of a mansion - no one cares ha ha!

    1. Marisa Wright profile image86
      Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      You think?  That assumes people follow mindlessly, and not everyone does. 

      I have always followed a very small number of Hubbers - I used to review and cull them regularly, so it was always a manageable number.  These days, most of them haven't published a Hub since Panda, so I haven't had to do any culling recently!

      To my mind, if you don't have the time to be a genuine follower, you shouldn't follow them.  But that's my personal way of doing things, it doesn't suit everyone.

  6. paradigmsearch profile image62
    paradigmsearchposted 12 years ago

    Follower counts are quantitative, not qualitative. That applies everywhere. No one faults anyone for who is following them. Don't worry about it.

    1. Alexander Mark profile image82
      Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you, seeing how no one else is concerned is changing my mind.

  7. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 12 years ago

    Following is a service for those who choose to follow, for whatever reason they like. Having another person control it would totally defeat the point.

  8. Richieb799 profile image74
    Richieb799posted 12 years ago

    I wouldn't assume the amount of followers you have indicates the quality of your work, traffic and social media shares are probably a better representation.

  9. WD Curry 111 profile image57
    WD Curry 111posted 12 years ago

    Let's keep this reality based. You are being petty and trifling. Your idea of what is going on is warped. You are tripping. As long as they aren't following you home with malicious intent, leave them alone. I'm going to come over to your site and follow you, right now. If your hubs are good, cool. If they aren't, I'll let you know.

    1. Jean Bakula profile image90
      Jean Bakulaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I don't follow too many people, so that keeps the ones who follow everyone away, as for many its sort of "tit for tat." I try to read the best writers, or book mark their stuff, but with the time we spend writing it's expected we can't monitor our followers. If someone is stalking you or acting in an obnoxious way, flag their profile page. Otherwise, ignore it.

    2. WD Curry 111 profile image57
      WD Curry 111posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I checked out your site. I should have known it would be in California, you cornfalkes are all about cliques out there. I read your hub on the meaning of charity. It was lame. The ugly cat theme is lame too. You would love it in the south. You can't throw a rock without hitting a King James Bible around here. Here is an excerpt from the comment I left, "Trying to say that substituting Love for Charity is Satan's subtle way of undermining the word of God is totally ridiculous. If anything, Satan has you wasting time with this rather than a meaningful study."

      Get real . . . this ain't face book. Of course, how can you get real in a flock of fake identities. What is everyone afraid of around here anyway? Look at me I'm a freaky avatar . . . a mystery . . . a Halloween costume. Nothing fake about this guy, Jackson . . . this is really a picture of me. I just don't wear the hat much anymore.

      Now, come over and follow me. We can beat Big Brother and all get paid!

    3. Alexander Mark profile image82
      Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      WD, you are calling me petty - and I think that should say enough about you that I don't have to explain it. But I would rather have you as a follower because in addition to name calling, you are interacting with people and offering an opinion, which the internet farmers don't. Yes, I am grateful for your follow, because we seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, and that represents me too. I hope we have more constructive conversations later. I look forward to reading your comments on my profile and hub, hopefully I'll get to them soon.

      1. WD Curry 111 profile image57
        WD Curry 111posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Whatever' s clever ki-ki. I wasn't calling you names, just making observations. I am embarrassed for you. You have a sophomric outlook. For real . . I can see you with your warm, wet nose in the air . . . "These peskie plebians are trying to follow me, They just don't have the proper pedigree." You ain't all that. You drive a diesel Rabbit for crying out loud!

        A cat? There must be  fifty cats running around here. The litter box is full. Dogs and dragons are are thick as fleas on a hound. It is a virtual critter costume party. Why can't you be like me and wear your work clothes?

        1. goego profile image80
          goegoposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          lmao... your supposed to painting

  10. formosangirl profile image79
    formosangirlposted 12 years ago

    I don't mind being followed or being the follower. I am not good with bookmarking on Firefox. So, if I have made a comment about a great recipes, I can go through my activities and find the recipe.

    Plus, I thought it was awefully nice that someone greeted me right away and followed me. When one does not know what one is doing, it is kind of nice to have assurances that one is doing something right. Unlike a lot of other sites, this one has the right amount of human interaction. For all of those reasons, I don't mind that my score does go down a bit.

    I have people on other sites comment on my avatar. I use the same avatar so that people remember me and my hot pink hat and the same pen name.

    Also, I love to read and am curious to see what others are writing about. It is also very interesting to see others write about topics that are totally uninteresting to me but I will read it anyways to broaden my perspective. However, I won't comment because I have nothing to say. So, maybe somebody might think that I am following and not reading. However, I know that for every 60 readers on an article, there are only a handful of commentaries. I can see why. When we read a magazine, we don't write to the author and make a comment. Maybe the article isn't good. I found that I was in that boat, and there is absolutely nothing to comment on. In fact, in one article that I saw half was not in English and I didn't understand the topic at all. In fact, I had to vote it down.

    1. Alexander Mark profile image82
      Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I like that you've trademarked your avatar, I want to do the same around the internet, but I am not sure I want this cat to be my final image. You make good points about leaving comments, but I think it's easy to divide the spammers from real hubbers. One look at your profile and hubtitles tells me you're the real thing. I don't always leave comments either, but I try to do so as much as I can to let people know I dropped in. But like you said, there are times when you have nothing good to say so it's better not to say anything and just vote the hub down.

  11. profile image0
    Giselle Maineposted 12 years ago

    I see what you are saying Alexander, but personally I don't really see it as much of a problem.

    Remember if someone leaves you inappropriate fan mail you can always deny it - I only had to do that once (it was very self-promotional as it included a link to the hubber's hub).  Ditto for spam-type comments (I've had one or two of those).  I am quite happy to have followers... I don't see my follower list as having to be above some sort of standard to belong to it.  But, it is certainly an intriguing topic you have raised here.  My overall attitude is that I'm happy to have followers - if something truly inappropriate or just plain spammy is said, then I have the ability to 'deny' that follower's comment or fan mail. I find that to be sufficient.  I quite like having followers who are quite different from one another.

    Also I don't automatically follow someone just because they follow me - I think a lot of the 'problem followers' you are referring to are likely to unfollow anyway if they are not followed back - so problem solved.  Again this is just my point of view from my experiences.  I'm keen to hear more about what you and others think.

    1. Alexander Mark profile image82
      Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Absolutely, I can and do veto comments or spammy fan messages and that is a good thing. I think the idea is that your follower list is public so it does represent you. I don't have a problem having someone follow me that I disagree with or someone whose writing is substandard, I just want to weed out the 1% that seem to be only there for completely selfish reasons AND they don't contribute much of worth. Take for example, sure he has two hubs with information in it, but it is so general, to me it is obvious there is no real message this person wants to communicate - searching for traffic. His profile is bizarre beyond belief ("I will hack your soul from your body."). Yes, I could be wrong and he may not be a spammer, and after all the responses written here, I realize no one cares who follows me and no one thinks that followers represent who we are on Hubpages. I may even drop in on his coherent hub and thank him for following me.

      Your right though that many of the spam followers just drop off when you don't reciprocate, but some don't. 

      I do have mixed feelings about it now, but I still don't see anything wrong with a "deny public follow" button for us control freaks :-D

  12. tlpoague profile image83
    tlpoagueposted 12 years ago

    At the moment, I am a horrible follower to my fans and friends here on HP. I seem to be going in spurts with commenting and replies. With our business keeping us busy moving from place to place, any activity here on HP is limited. (I am also trying to help my mother get established here at HP.)  I have to say tho, I have enjoyed your work even though I lack in comments. I have been very selective lately with people I am following because I have been overwhelming myself with trying to read what everyone I am following is writing. (Unfortunately all I have done was give myself a migrain and still didn't have time to comment due to interuptions.) I think you have an interesting idea, but not sure if it is one I would use. Keep the ideas flowing though, maybe some day it will be used. (At one time I wished we had live chat, now I am grateful we don't. I would drive a poor soul nuts with it.)

    1. Alexander Mark profile image82
      Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      tlpoague, I am in the same boat, circumstances make me a very sporadic reader, but I do try whenever I can to read a few from different people I am following. It's good that no one takes that too seriously, I am learning from this thread that I don't have to beat myself with a stick for not keeping up.

      I am so with you about live chat, that would soak up time like a sponge on steroids. I have a friend with whom emailing is difficult, but when we get on the chat, we chat for hours on end. Most people don't have that kind of time, it's often a herculean effort to read and write hubs - let's hope that a chat feature never becomes standard practice here!

  13. mel22 profile image60
    mel22posted 12 years ago

    i was always more agreeable with the word subscriber than fan or follower , since that is what its supposed to be for is reading author content... but majority rules and hp staff chose the latter (probably to mimic twittter and other poular sites).. oh well not too big 'o deal 4 me. I guess it gets profiles better rankings or what not having followers or fans even if they are not necessarily reading every article written.

    1. Alexander Mark profile image82
      Alexander Markposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Majority rules is right. I don't agree with the sentiment expressed by most people, but my initial standing was that I thought this change would better the community. Most people disagree, some even vehemently, and so, we must abide with majority rule and of course Hubpages themselves. I'll play along because democracy is a good thing and I love being here. Of course, that doesn't mean things couldn't change ;-)


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