So the purpose of this post is to explain to 500+ people why I am no longer following them, while also talking about a bug and what we're doing to fix it, with some improvements as well.
We've known for a long time that the favorites / follow system needs an overhaul. For example, if you follow thousands of people and visit your favorite people page, it loads in so many user icons that it triggers our DDOS protection and locks you out of the site for a moment. It needs to load them in gradually as you scroll, like your feed does.
It's also unwieldy to drag & drop items in a list of thousands of people just so you can sort a top six to be featured on your Favorites summary page.
Additionally, you have to go to that massive list if you want to unfollow someone; you can't just toggle the heart button like you can on Twitter. We had been planning to address this with the ongoing redesign.
Yesterday I was moderating the account of a music thief and I accidentally clicked the heart button instead of the moderate button. I didn't want to be following this user so I went to my favorites list to unfollow them.
When my favorites list loaded, I clicked the trashcan next to this user but then realized it didn't actually work because my action had been blocked by our DDOS protection, triggered by my massive favorites list.
I waited a few minutes, clicked the "Undo" button to bring the trashcan back, then clicked the trashcan again to officially unfollow the user. In doing so I unexpectedly unearthed an issue that could impact users with large lists, where one action interrupted the other and data was lost.
As a stopgap we've added a delay before you can toggle between follow / unfollow. I would still be careful though, especially if you follow thousands of people. We aren't aware of this happening to anyone else. Going to a back-up for this would be somewhat time-intensive for the team so I'm opting to just re-follow people as I see them.
We will be overhauling this system on the back-end so this simply can't happen in the future. We also intend to ditch the ability to sort your favorites list, since that has become unwieldy for a lot of people anyway.
In its place we intend to revisit an old idea where users can pin showcase boxes to their user page, name them whatever they want and show whatever people / content they want to showcase. This might come as an update to the playlists system, adding the ability to add users in addition to content and pin the visible list to your user page.
We also plan to finally let you toggle follow / unfollow by clicking the heart, rather than finding them on your massive list.
Just wanted to keep you in the loop on this surprise development! It's getting bumped in priority ahead of some other fun updates. Also sorry if you misread the topic and came here to see my favorite bugs.