Why would a person who has blocked you upvote your answers?


I liked Steven de Rooij’s and Mujahid I. Ally’s answers, from the blockee’s perspective, and hated everyone else’s.

So clearly I’m out of sync with the community norm.

Let me write an answer that addresses my discomfort.

In normal circumstances, questions and answers are an interaction between people, and follow the socialising norms for such interactions. That includes associating respect for a person with respect for what they say, and vice versa. And the social norm is that when someone gives you offence, and you accordingly sever ties with them, you are no longer exposed to contact with them, and you do not exchange social pleasantries with them.

This doesn’t happen here; as Joshua Engel decried in a comment, “block” here doesn’t actually mean “block” (by which I presume he means, “block + mute”).

The result is the question OP poses: blocking yet upvoting.

I’d argue that this is not normal for human interaction (“feels weird”, as Carlos Matias La Borde and Jeff Fuhrer put it). It’s not normal to refuse contact with people and then applaud people. So what’s going on?

Here’s some theories:

  • Quora discourages treating questions and answers as personal interactions: it has valiantly set itself up not to be social media. Comments are devalued in the interface, and can be turned off. Questions are depersonalised, and are not presented as interactions between two people (Should you thank those that answer your questions on Quora by upvoting and/or using the “Send Thanks” feature?) It becomes easier for people to squash readers like flies, as Steven de Rooij put it, because there’s not a premium on having to interact with others to begin with.
  • The community you end up interacting with in threads and comments is not your 10 colleagues or your 100 or 1000 Facebook followers; it’s all of Quora. So the bonds of community that reinforce civil social interaction (benefit of the doubt, not having a hair trigger) are nowhere near as compelling.
  • They are even less compelling for TWs, who are exposed to gajillions of comments, and (being more exposed) encounter many more hostile interactions to begin with.
  • Because of all of the above, users who are already overexposed to Quora find it very easy to dissociate answers from answerers. Two prominent and argumentative TWs (DS and FW) have said that they don’t even remember who they’ve been interacting with in discussions, and don’t particularly care. Very easy for them to flick the fly with no further thought. And not to think about upvoting something down the road. (It’s a big part of why I avoid them.)

I guess I can understand the reaction. I still resent it. I have the luxury of resenting it because I manage to avoid contentious topics, and am not a TW; I’ve never blocked (though I have muted two people), and I’ve been blocked only twice (Which people on Quora do you believe have blocked you unfairly and why?). So it’s still a big deal to me. (One of the latter has turned up in comments here, as an avowed trigger-happy blocker; and to him I say: do not fricking upvote me.)

But I also resent it because I find the imbalance of the interaction dehumanising. That’s not how people interact anywhere else, offline or online. No, my words are not separate from me. No, you don’t get to hate the sin and applaud the virtue from the same person. If you’re going to take offence at me, and block interaction from me to you, it offends me that you still get to interact with me at your discretion; and an upvote is not an interaction with disembodied words, it’s an interaction with me.

And if I matter so little to you that you don’t even remember blocking me, I don’t want your upvote.

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