Forem Creators and Builders 🌱

Christina Gorton for Forem Core Team

Posted on

Forem Following System

We had an open issue I thought would make a good discussion here and get the Forem team and Forem users thoughts on this system.


The contributor pointed out that they were unsure what the point of the "following system" on the DEV instance of Forem is used for. They mentioned people who are following rarely interact with posts.

I would love to hear any thoughts on this feature and areas we might be able to improve it.

Is the following system broken? #9783

Describe the bug

The following system on seems to be pointless (sorry if it sounds harsh, that's not the intention for sure). People following you rarely interact with your posts, or anything.

Could anyone have a look at it, please? Or is there any plan for it?

Thank you!

Top comments (9)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I think we've had a hard time improving this because we use the notifications area to show when someone you follow published a new post... Which I think makes us not want to use the main feed to over-emphasize who you follow and I think that is causing problems.

@lisasy ... This strikes me as exactly what you mean by jobs to be done in terms of "what is the job of the home feed"....

I think if we straightened out what the job of notifications is and that it is not generally for posts from who you follow, we could improve the home feed to weigh more heavily and smartly towards who you follow and what you might have missed from them.

ildi profile image
Ildi • Edited

I wish Instagram would provide an option to change between algorithmic and chronologically ordered feed. The main reason I like Twitter more is because they still offer an option to set your feed to show the latest tweets from accounts you follow as they happen. I also think Twitter lists are really useful and a great solution for filtering/discovering/organizing platforms with many users that offer a following system.

I really love algorithms but I feel that every social platform that has a following system should offer a dedicated chronological feed of the content created by the users one follows. This might be just my own personal preference. Interested in hearing what others think.

coffeecraftcode profile image
Christina Gorton

I agree. I like the idea of having a feed that showcases the people I follow but I also really like having the "chronological feeds". They help me discover new articles that I might be interested in.
I know CodePen recently updated the way they showcase people you follow because that was also a complaint they had a lot from users who didn't see the purpose of following.
They know have a "following" feed and a "trending" feed you can switch between.

akhil profile image
Akhil Naidu

The following system has a point in it; it should stay in its place and be upgraded as time proceeds. For example, I could join this discussion just because I was following the Forem Core Team.

Secondly, if a user wants to stay tuned with a particular author's series, following the author is the best option. This makes it less hassle to search for the next blog post.

Presently, Forem is not providing an opportunity to look at the total followers, but adding such a feature will improve that user's authenticity/credibility.

Finally, it is how the author will actively engage with his followers; Afterall, it is the success sutra of many social media giants.

coffeecraftcode profile image
Christina Gorton

These are great points! I definitely agree that following helps get visibility on new posts from an author. It is the reason I usually follow someone.

I know why Forem doesn't show total followers but I think that is still a good point you bring up and something we could consider moving forward. I think Ben Halpern could probably speak more to why we choose not to show total followers.

Thanks for your thoughts here!

lee profile image

Following is also required to chat, which is essential

coffeecraftcode profile image
Christina Gorton

Ohh good point! Didn't even think of that.

ildi profile image

My experience with the following system is that it is very useful and I find myself interacting with posts made by those who I am following quite often. I also really like that I can follow organizations like Forem Core Team.

One suggestion is to create a specific content feed featuring only posts by authors one follows. Currently serves as the main feed I go to for that.

thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt

Agreed with this affirmation.

Even I'm people who publish posts from time to time, I see them in my notifications but I don't click because the title doesn't make me want to.

However the idea of removing the following system is not a good thing to do. I made a post on this subject with inactive accounts from the other point of view. It's more about statistics, but let's just say it could potentially open up other conversations on this post.

Improving statistics and reducing ghosts #6608

Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe.

I've got a lot of followers, but when I post a new article, I get little interaction and few views. This is really too bad and I'm not the only one who might be frustrated...

Describe the solution you'd like

I would like two things :

  • A upgrade of Dashboard

    • Add a graph for statistics
    • Triage by weeks/months
    • Graph with colors for distinct news followers, unsubscribings and inactives accounts.
  • Implement a system for clear inactives followers :

    • It would be displayed in the graph with a distinct color to see that they were inactive lost accounts.

Describe alternatives you've considered

No alternatives for me, if you have a idea in concert with mine, share it ! πŸ‘‹

Additional context

I did a post to get some stats. I didn't get much feedback, but I'm happy to read it.

➑️ Followers are you here? β€”