Why Facebook Is Retarded (Opt-Out Commenting)

It’s amazing to me how sites and apps seem to be created, conceptualized and programmed by people that don’t actually use them.

Here’s how commenting works..

  • There are people that want to read the comments but not say anything themselves.
  • There are people that want to say things but not read anyone else’s comments.
  • There are people that want to do both.
  • There are people that want to do neither.
  • There are people that change their minds.. They wanted to follow comments before and now they don’t, or they didn’t want to follow comments before and now they do.

Proper Implementation

I handle this on my blog, billcammack.com very simply, by enabling all those options.

  • People can read my blog posts without commenting.
  • They can comment without subscribing to comments (which would send them an email every time someone commented on the post they contributed to.
  • They can subscribe to comments without writing anything (they don’t have to contribute in order to follow the conversation)
  • If they comment without subscribing, they can subscribe later. If they subscribed and want to end their subscription, there’s a link for that in each email that they receive.

Essentially, this are two tiers of options. Your desire to speak on a subject does not obligate you to receive correspondence on that topic. Your lack of desire to speak doesn’t exclude you from following the conversation by subscribing.

One Choice Is No Choice At All

OTOH.. Facebook has been retardedly programmed so that if you click “like” on a status or link, you automatically receive every single comment anyone ever makes from then on if your account is set up to email you when there’s activity on a thread you were active on. These are the options you have on Facebook:

  • “Like” or comment on something and receive updates forever.
  • Don’t chime in and relieve yourself of a flood of Facebook bacn emails.
  • Block the flood of emails by telling Facebook not to send you emails about that type of activity on your account.. and never receive ANY indications when ANY of the threads you commented on or “like”d are updated.

Why It Matters

Bill CammackWhy does this matter to me? ๐Ÿ™‚ Because I’m missing out on a lot of comments my 2,235 Facebook Friends WOULD make if they didn’t have to be subjected to the flood of comments that came behind them.

*MY* conversations are being stifled on Facebook because people that would LIKE to give their opinions are avoiding getting spammed for the rest of the day until one of my threads goes out of style.

While they’re doing all the stupid updates they do, like changing the photos section so there’s no tab where you can see ONLY the new pictures that your friends were tagged in, all they have to do is implement a way to OPT THE **** OUT of comment streams and they’d see a lot more activity on Facebook and serve a lot more ads.

This is why I’m amazed at some of the “updates” Facebook does. It’s as if the people programming it don’t have any friends and don’t have any conversations and never have it happen to them that they just WISH they could opt out of something so they could comment on a hot topic and then be completely done with it.

I’m only approximately halfway to the maximum of 5,000 FB friends and I’ve had this problem for more than a year already. There are lots of people that hit the max limit ages ago and must have been pinging FB about this forever already. I don’t see why implementing OPT-OUT COMMENTING isn’t seen as an OBVIOUS WIN by the Facebook strategists.

EDIT: August 09, 2010 (10 days after I wrote this article)

Thanks to Dock Drumming for pointing out this article that was posted on 08/09/2010
“Tired of getting updates every time someone comments on your popular friendโ€™s status update because you were the first to comment? Worry no longer! Facebook has begun testing a feature which lets users opt-out of those notifications. By clicking a simple โ€œUnsubscribeโ€ link (as pictured below), you can turn off notifications from stories that you comment or like. Itโ€™s a useful feature that can help you instantly reduce the noise.”
Facebook unsubscribe option
Looks like Facebook might be getting on the case! ๐Ÿ˜‰

billcammack.comBill Cammack email subscriptionBill Cammack RSS feedfacebook.com/BillCammacktwitter.com/BillCammackyoutube.com/reelsolidtvflickr.com/photos/BillCammackmyspace.com/reelsolidtvwww.linkedin.com/in/billcammackvimeo.com/billcammackstumbleupon.com/stumbler/billcammack

Join the Conversation


  1. Maybe this is really only a significant problem for the small percentage of Bill Cammack’s that have…2,235 Facebook Friends?!? WTH!! Geez

    1. hahaha That’s why I attempted to qualify my statements by mentioning that I’m only halfway to max capacity. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Twitter, for instance, has most people in the double-digits of contacts, I believe. I don’t know what the averages are for Facebook members, but most of the time, I see people with between 80 and 200 friends as a low range.

      Even if you only have 80 friends.. If someone comments on your post and then 10 of your friends chime in, that’s 10 emails that the commenter’s going to receive if they have that feature enabled on Facebook. If anyone elects to respond to the responses, you can easily get to 20 or 30 emails JUST because you put in your two cents on a topic.

      I know that I’ve personally learned MY lesson about stuff like that. Let’s say someone from a television show that I follow on FB posts a link about their accomplishments. I’m not typing “Congratulations! :D” to them so that 100 of their fans can flood my inbox with comments I don’t care about.

      If I could type it and then opt-out of comments, I would. Same thing with a homegirl of mine that likes to post pictures of herself to FB. I’m not going to write “Looking Good! :D” on it so I get a ton of emails about her fanbois sweating her. ๐Ÿ˜€

      It’s just not good business policy across the board to force people to accept ALL feedback or receive NO feedback from threads they’re involved in. I don’t know why this isn’t obvious to people whose job it is to figure these things out. \o/

  2. this is just another example of how Facebook, lauded as some sort of social/web advancement, has forced us backward in the messaging space.

    i present: facebook’s shitty handling of email.

    our choices for handling facebook emails

    1) keep a message forever
    2) delete a message forever

    There are NO organizing options, no flagging, no folders, no labels. Just a binary keep vs. kill.

    I asked Mark Zuckerberg about this at SXSW during his Sarah Lacy interview, saying something like, “when are you going to fix your broken email system? We’ve had email working fine for going on 30 years,” and his response was basically, “no one cares about email.”

    The problem is Facebook is training millions (or UNtraining) on how to use email in the shittiest way possible.

    When I get an important message for facebook, I often write the person back and tell them to use REAL email. I’ve even had to copy and past messages out of facebook into REAL email because this company is dumbing down the messaging conversation.

    I’m not asking for them to innovate. I’m asking that they not break shit that works fine already. Makes no sense to me that they have things like FB Connect and image tagging and events, calendars, apps but can’t add FOLDERS to their messaging product.

    It’s the little things like this that infuriate me about the service.

    Good point on the comment options. I never thought it through as clearly as you depicted it, but it’s basically the same situation, and I subconsciously avoid liking or commenting on people with a ton of friends cause my notifications will get blown up with nonsense.

    The other point you’ve raised probably deserves another rant: the emails users get based on their facebook activity. Folks don’t explicitly realize that facebook messages, event invites, notifications, etc show up (i think by default) in their real, non-FB inboxes, essentially creating an echo chamber of spam: FB notifications AND email notifications of those FB notifications.

    I wonder what other perfectly fine web standards, behaviors and services facebook can screw up. God don’t let them get into banking.

    1. Good points, man. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hadn’t thought about the email system at all because I avoid it as much as I can. I’ve done the same cut/paste operation to move FB email correspondence to REAL email.

      You’re right that Facebook is UNtraining people. It’s also creating Lurkers. There are so many threads that I lurk on because I refuse to accept the barrage of notifications that I can only imagine how often that happens to me.

      Since I have 10x as many FB Friends as most people I’m connected to (and I have only 1/2 as many as you have, haha) I’m sure that some of my contacts have sworn off commenting in my threads because it’s a totally different experience, in a bad way, than commenting on people’s threads that don’t get a lot of attention on a regular basis.

      It’s annoying to me that something so simple could either go unnoticed or be deliberately not dealt with by the FB team. I hadn’t even considered the ramifications of the fact that there are so many Facebook users learning poor technique because of this. :/

      And, Yes… It’s also wack that they’re trying all this “Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before” innovation to extend ‘like’ to external pages and whatnot, yet they refuse to deal with simple issues that would help not only their users but help Facebook as a company in the process.

  3. “Itโ€™s as if the people programming it donโ€™t have any friends and donโ€™t have any conversations…”

    Does the below sound as if Mark Zuckerberg had many friends back in the day?

    “Controversy has followed Zuckerberg since his 2003 launch of Facesmash, a “hot or not” site featuring photos of Harvard students after Zuckerberg was rejected by a young woman.
    Zuckerberg was almost kicked out of Harvard for raiding the university’s network and downloading private ID pictures for his Facesmash website.”


    Is that how DG would have handled rejection?
    I doubt it.
    That is one of the reasons why I am not on facebook. Why should I give my data to someone who is clearly socially incompetent?

    1. wow! ๐Ÿ˜€ Didn’t know about that. Thanks for the info, Fishingrod. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Actually, that statement makes it pretty clear why Facebook does some of the stupid things they do as far as changing directions mid-stream on how our information’s going to be utilized and telling us after-the-fact.

      Imagine if it were legal to pull in pictures of someone from other sites and automatically post and tag them to Facebook. There would be like 3,000 pictures of me instead of 1,000. Meanwwhile, it would serve the purpose of people going to FB to search for pictures and they’d get more pageviews and sell more ads.

      It makes perfect sense why FB’s so ****** up in their understanding of (or implementation of) the importance of the difference between OPT-OUT and OPT-IN.

    1. Sup My Mellow? ๐Ÿ˜€

      I don’t feel the need to contact Facebook on something so ******* OBVIOUS that their developers should have figured out and worked on ages ago.

      On top of that, I’ve mentioned it on my Facebook account lots of times, so if they can parse my feed and decide which ads they want to serve on my page, they can extract this information as well and improve their product. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. I just joined Facebook & I can’t believe how retarded it is. For instance every time one of your friends clicks like on some stranger’s page/comment etc & etc, you get told about it. I don’t care about somebody I don’t know.

    According to Facebook help, you’re supposed to teach it not to send those messages by hitting spam on each message, but they just keep coming. And I only have two active friends listed that’s not blocked; I can’t imagine how anybody could cope with 30 friends, yet alone 400.

    So you’re effectively forced to block your friends so that you don’t get spammed. It’s retarded Facebook.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.