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I would like to be able to follow a user on this site-- or any other Stack Exchange site for that matter. Why can't I do this?

If I could receive e-mail notification when on of the users I follow has asked or answered a question, it would bring me back to the site which I would have thought is a good thing. As long as I could unfollow just as easily, I would be able to manage this if it ended up generating too much e-mail.

What gives?

  • What do you see as the reason to follow a specific user rather a tag that you find interesting (and maybe a user is active in)? The idea of following a specific person, regardless of what they're doing sounds a little stalkerish to me. Maybe I'm missing the positive application, though. – yossarian Mar 17 '11 at 13:59
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    If I like the types of questions a user asks and the answers he/she provides, I would like to be notified when they post something. This would be easier than trying to remember their user names or following a bunch of tags which may not catch their future interesting posts. – Zippy Mar 18 '11 at 11:49
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You can follow a user's Atom feed. The user feed link is in the lower right of every user's profile page.

user feed location

0

We are topic centric not user centric.

Therefore, it's more rational from our perspective to follow a tag or set of tags.

Subscribing to a specific tag on a site:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/01/tag-favorites-and-tag-subscriptions/

Subscribing to a tag set -- which can span multiple sites:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/tag-sets-on-stack-exchange/

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    Thanks Jeff. Feels a little religious to me. I think there is value in being able to follow a user who I feel is interested in the same things as me without having to worry about RSS or Atom... You wouldn't have to publish how many followers someone has to avoid this becoming a goal for people. – Zippy Mar 18 '11 at 14:24
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    @Zippy: It's a slippery slope. Folks are already sensitive about what information is displayed in their profiles, and the big "social" sites haven't done a particularly good job of instilling confidence that privacy won't erode over time. Best to err on the side of caution... Especially when there are existing tools (feed readers) specialized for the task. – Shog9 Mar 18 '11 at 15:01
  • @zippy you can just click on their user page at any time and switch to the activity tab. Here is yours: cooking.stackexchange.com/users/5267/zippy?tab=activity I don't understand the value of having someone else's activity pushed to you in email. – Jeff Atwood Mar 18 '11 at 18:20

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