No More Checkbox

Posted by Si Dawson on 23/02/10 in Improvements

The primary complaint I've had about the site, at the rate of about one in every two hundred users is that of people not seeing the checkbox on the front page. Which one? The one that said "Tell your followers":

If it was checked, a tweet went out on your behalf, if not, no tweet.

I've had an improvement waiting for a new version of the site before I rolled it out, but yesterday I was goaded by some Brazilians into pushing it out sooner instead.

So, now the front page now looks like this:

(Well that's cleaner & simpler, isn't it?)

And when you click that, you now get a choice (rather than defaulting to on like it used to):

If there's a way to make that any clearer, I'm not sure what it is :) and more happy people? Well, that's always a good thing.

I've been keeping an eye on current best practices on Twitter (of course), & it appears Twitter is cracking down on bulk unfollow. This was an informative article, & an eye opening tweet.

Specifically, they want to avoid churning - that is, following a ton of people, then unfollowing those that don't follow back, repeat ad nauseum. I suspect part of their motivation is to limit spammy behaviour, & part is that it's a massive drain on their servers (getting hit with thousands of API requests in a short period of time).

I realise that with The Twit Cleaner, we skirting a fine line. However, my priority is to keep your accounts safe, operate within the guidelines of Twitter, while improving the quality of experience for everyone.

In short: I want to improve the Twitter experience as much as I possibly can - but without pissing Twitter off (or causing them any hassle) in the process. I've been very careful to try & ensure that the service is the least possible use to those I'm trying to rid Twitter of - those engaging in churn or other spammy practices. Ie, there's a lot of things I could have put in, but I deliberately haven't because of any possibility of abuse.

Of course if Twitter says jump, the only appropriate response is "how high", but I believe we're safe because:

  1. You only ever have the option to unfollow people that are bad Twitter citizens in the first place - typically a very small percentage of anyone's account
  2. We do the unfollowing very, very slowly (only one every few seconds) to limit drain on Twitter's servers
  3. We never unfollow more than a small percent of your account per day, no matter how many you request.

To this end, I have slowed the unfollow down even further than before. It will now not unfollow more than 20% 10% 5% (or 500, whichever is smaller) of your friend count per day, as well as spacing each unfollow out much, much more slowly.

Ergo, if you want to use The Twit Cleaner to empty your account, you're better off going somewhere else (it's not something I'd recommend anyway). If you want to use it to trim out spammers & time wasters of course, we're the guys for you.

It'll still happen, just very, VERY slowly. Don't hold your breath :)