It would be good if there was some way for people to indicate that they are a “fan” of someone, by clicking a button on their profile. Unlike “friends”, this would be a one-way relationship although, if two people fan each other, their relationship should automatically upgrade to friends.
An example of where this would be useful: in a community based around an Open Source effort, many users might wish to give props to a particularly prolific developer. The developer’s list of fans would appear on his profile page but separately from his list of friends. Sending that developer a friend request would be inappropriate, especially if the developer is trying to maintain a rational list of actual friends. The developer is likely to reject or ignore the friendship request, which no-one feels good about.
A much better solution would be if the user could simply express his admiration and gratitude for that developer’s contributions, without needing any actual interaction from the developer, by becoming a fan. Apart from generating good vibes, this form of recognition and reputation building could be an important motivator within projects that operate on a non-cash basis.
It would also enable people to establish, very quickly, who the most respected members of a community are, without diluting the usefulness of the friendship concept.
How hard would this be to implement? Is it something that would be useful as a standard feature or should it be a plugin?
I’d be very grateful for input on this suggestion.
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