Why I used “block” on Google+ today for the first time…

We all know social networking is only as useful as the people you socialise with. We all know that every now and again you’ll come across someone either on the Internet or in real life whose behaviour makes you want to steer clear of them. Fortunately most social network owners also know this and so they provide facilities to stop those people becoming a serious problem to you.

And today I had the first situation where I felt it made sense to use that feature on Google+.

In light of this I thought it might be worth making available the rules I use to determine when to block people and open them up for discussion.

I’m more than happy to discuss comments I’ve made and opinions I hold. Sometimes I’m convinced my view isn’t the “best” and so I’ll change my opinion, sometimes I can convince others to change theirs, and sometimes the discussions end with neither myself or the other party changing their views. All of these types of discussions I welcome as long as they’re constructive and well thought out.

My rules around “blocking” people are mainly aimed at those who don’t believe they need to back up their views and opinions. If something is said that I don’t agree with I’ll ask for some sources of information to back their position. If they don’t provide it I’ll ask again. If, third time around, they still don’t provide anything to back up their view then I’ll draw a line under the conversation and make the assumption that there isn’t anything to back their claims. I won’t block them, I just won’t engage in the discussion any more.

If, however, they start making claims which a third party shows are wrong and the they start attacking the third party on my posts, or they start throwing personal insults at me which don’t relate the the discussion, then we’re into the territory where I consider blocking people.

If, as was the case today, they hit both situations (three failures to provide sources and unreasonable behaviour), it’s a no brainer, they get blocked.

So if you encounter people telling you I’ve blocked them unreasonably, claim they were blocked just so that I could make it look as if I was right, or say I just stopped discussing something so they must have been right, then ask to see the conversation and make your own mind up. If, as a third party, you think I was unreasonable then tell me, because at the my views about blocking someone are just that; my views, and as I’ve said I’m always happy to discuss those.

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