I recently realized1 that some users, when linking to an Area 51 proposal in their profiles, link directly to the "follow" link. This means that simply clicking on the profile link will automatically make you follow the proposal!
So, for example, a user would have something like this in their profile:
Check out my cool proposal!
Where the link, instead of just linking to
https://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/123/foo, would link to
That seems to me like a very sneaky, underhanded way to artificially inflate interest in your proposal. Don't do that! Proposals should survive, or not, on their own merit and not by using this sort of dirty trick to force people to follow.
Yes, you can indeed click on "unfollow" and remove yourself but:
- It is easy to miss that you followed in the first place since you didn't actually click on any "follow" link.
- Refreshing the page will immediately make you follow again since the URL is pointing to the
- It's cheating, dammit!
So, when advertising proposals you are interested in, don't cheat. Link to the proposal page and don't try to trick others into following it. Let them make their own choice.
1 "Recently realized" as in I found a link to a proposal on a user's profile, couldn't believe anyone had actually seriously made a proposal about that, clicked on it and was suddenly following something I have no wish to be associated with in any way. The user who had done this (with whom I have no issue since they were quite willing to fix the link when I asked them to) told me that "many people do this". Hence this post.