Over the past few months Medium has been adding more and more features to attract micro-bloggers who had found a home on Tumblr or Twitter, and now the blogging platform is explicitly taking a leaf from Twitter's playbook.
Medium announced on Friday that it had added a new blocking feature:
You can find the block user control on someone’s profile next to the follow button, or on the “More” menu at the bottom of a post. When you block someone on Medium, they won’t be able to follow you or see your profile or posts when logged in. Blocking someone also has a muting effect?—?we’ll filter their content from what you see on Medium.
Blocking is nothing new for social networks or blogging platforms; all the major services offer some form of a block (even WP has comment moderation tools which can be used to this effect).
Even though Medium's block feature is one of the more extreme examples of blocking on a blog platform, in this day and age it is still probably a good idea. In fact, I would say it doesn't go far enough.
If Medium really wants to make their service "a safe place for everyone to share their stories and ideas" then they are going to have to also adopt Twitter's harassment policy along with its blocking policy.
As anyone who has followed Gamergate can tell you, blocking is just one step in dealing with trolls - one which is often ineffective against the more determined trolls. When all a troll has to do to continue trolling is to create a new account, blocking each account becomes a game of whack-a-mole.
That is why Twitter has adopted a harassment policy. That policy and its implementation still needs a lot of work, but it is a damned sight better than a blocking feature alone.
I've spent ten minutes with a search engine and not found any formal harassment policy other than the statement that harassment is not allowed on Medium.
good start, but Medium needs to do more.
And just to be clear, so do other platforms.
I don't mean to single out Medium here as the only platform with such problems, but I do feel they should have adopted the policy and the block feature at the same time.