Friday, June 24, 2011When we developed the Scratch website, we decided to make friending another Scratcher non-symmetrical. That’s just a fancy way of saying you can add someone to your list of friends without them having to friend you.
For example, let’s say you want to friend a Scratcher called Gobo. You can do this by visiting Gobo’s My Stuff page and clicking Add to friends. Gobo will then show up on your list of friends. However, that won’t make your username appear on Gobo’s friend’s list. Gobo can always go to your My Stuff page and add you as a friend too. But until they do, Gobo is your friend, but you aren’t Gobo’s friend.
On Facebook and most other social networking sites, friending works a little differently. When you invite someone to be your friend, the site sends them a message asking if they’d like to be friends with you. If they don’t approve the request (for instance, if they don’t know you well enough to be friends yet), nothing happens. If they do approve the request, then they will be on your friend’s list and you will also be on theirs.
As we work on Scratch 2.0, we have the opportunity to re-visit the choices we made with the first version of the website, and decide to keep things the same or do things differently. For example, we could make friending on Scratch work more like it does on Facebook. This might avoid some confusion, since it seems like some people who are new to Scratch assume that friending on Scratch works like friending on Facebook.
If we made that change, then we might also want to make it possible for Scratchers to “follow” or “watch” other Scratchers that they think make interesting projects. Following would work the way friending works on Scratch now. You can follow anyone you like, but following someone doesn’t make them follow you. When someone you are following makes a new project, you get an update in your messages with a link. There could also be a row on the front page that shows recent projects by people you are following.
In this scenario, you could follow Scratchers that you think make interesting stuff -- but you would friend Scratchers that you know a little better, perhaps because you’ve gotten to know each other over time.
What do you think? Is it worth changing the friend system on Scratch? Or should we just keep the friends system the same? Join in the discussion on this forum thread and share your thoughts.
p.s. You can check out a related discussion and suggestion started by cheddargirl on this forum thread.