Who to Follow?

Who to Follow?

You may have noticed a new feature has just appeared on the right hand side of the Newsfeed page. Joel from HU explains:

"If you head over to your newsfeed you’ll see a column on the right called ‘Who to follow.’ This is the first step towards a personalised recommendation system. The current version considers communities and topics of interests to suggest other users that have a certain level of similarity to you. Users often come to HealthUnlocked, not to bring friends with them, like on other social networks, but to find a network of people that can help them in their health journey. We’re hoping to facilitate that process through this feature. The matching is something, of course, we’ll fine-tune over time."

When this feature first appeared, amusingly it suggested members follow themselves! It also wasn't clear what to control you had over the list of 3 recommendations. Joel explained that you can

"If you hover your mouse over the box (One of the 3 boxes under 'Who to follow' - Neil) you'll see an 'x' appear. You can click that to dismiss that user. If you dismiss the user and there are more users to display then another user will appear. You will, of course, eventually exhaust that list by either dismissing or following those users. In that instance the boxes won't be displayed. If, say, a new user joins and is determined to be similar to you then that user will be added to the list"


Photo: Ducks following the leader, trying to find out where the water went...

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19 Replies

  • Hover a mouse? I haven't used a mouse in 4 years... but it does work in iStuff, if you select the users name or sometimes tap the box, an 'X' will appear and turns red then you can tap the 'X' again to dismiss the box...

    Quite inconsistant in its function... so you may have to try a few times...

    It would be nice also to simply globally turn off the 'who to follow' feature... it is very disrupting to scrolling on an iPad in landscape... you keep hitting the box...

    in portrait the boxes are on the left of the newsfeed... which is better...

  • I can't think why the 3 people on my list of "Who to follow" were chosen by HU as being similar to me. No offence to them, but I can't see anything particular that we have in common (apart from having CLL - which is just about everyone). If HU had cleverly found everyone else who is on Idelalisib, it might have been interesting...

    Also, people don't have to be "similar" to us, for us to appreciate each other's comments and friendship.

    I'll be interested to see if other people find this new feature helpful.

    Best wishes to all,


  • I agree Paula. I actually had no idea why 3 random people appeared if I'm honest and again absolutely no disrespect to those lovely individuals, but is it just a random selection or is there some clever calculation at work? I'd be surprised at the latter because they're chosen a couple of people who have not posted for me to follow on occasion. That's difficult when I couldn't possibly have any idea of those member's profiles or interests.


  • Ditto Paula and Newdawn's comments, this new feature in its present form seems rather vacuous - sorry. Surely people will 'follow' those they think appropriate and of interest to them, at the moment it seems a totally random selection.

  • This question of how follow recommendations are made certainly has many of us puzzled. Given the performance to date, it looks like HU will need to do more than a bit of fine tuning! Nick and other admins have asked for more information on the mechanics of the follow suggestions and Joel replied as follows:

    "Re: the mechanics: in simple terms, based membership and what users have written, we use a lot of math to determine a level of similarity between users (if you want a more technical explanation simply Google 'approximate nearest neighbour algorithms'). We can tweak the threshold of similarity to make it higher or lower depending on how it's performing."

    Perhaps they are using the same algorithm that is used for automatic tagging of posts to identify common interests - and regular posters know how well that works!!

    It will be interesting to see if we see some obvious improvements in the recommendations and how useful members find it.


  • whatever HU are using it does not seem to work for me. What will this do to improve user experience and group dynamics? Just a waste of time and a hindrance at the moment, a shame we have not been properly consulted..

    I still do not understand why it is selecting and recommending I follow members who are not active, those who have only contributed with one introduction reply two years ago and not posted since?? Seems to suggest something other than recommending people of similar interest is happening? (reminds me of the Big brother TV show experimenting on the household)

    We can decide who to follow ourselves

    We should be able to switch it off as Chris requests.

    It will be interesting to see how this develops and if it does select people of similar interest and if members find it helpful??

    We are in this group because we have an interest in CLL, there are so many comments/content we each create regarding other aspects of holistic health and CLL impact i wonder what the algorithm is going to be able to select for?

    Maybe i am cynical but is this a precursor laying the ground work for future health interest recommendations in side bar spaces ??

    Proper consultation and involvement of members before just springing these things on us would reduce my own suspicions and perhaps help HU determine the needs of our members.


    Improve archiving, search and information retrieval

  • Sorry HU if you are trying to get people to interact with each other, I suggest you leave it to us to decide with whom we would like to open dialogue.

    Sorry to be rude but this facility in my oh so humble opinion is 'Rubbish'


  • Who sits up at night coming up with this garbage. HU can't fix the problems that already exist. Wanting to tell me who my neighbors are is intrusive. This goes beyond intrusive. I don't want HU analyzing my posts and then creating math algorithms to decide who I should "follow"!!!!! With every HU "improvement" I use the site less and am very much less inclined to recommend it. I guess any future recommendations will be qualified with a "Use at your own risk!" warning.

  • Pat, I agree that HU should be fixing the problems that already exist (and have existed for a long time), rather than creating useless new gimmicks which no one wanted.

    But please don't leave... I still recommend the site to others, because it's the individual people here, that make it so precious. The quality and value of our input and interactions far outweigh the limitations (and dare I say stupidities) of the HU system.

    This was the first CLL group I found, and it filled a great need in my life - and still does... I know there are other excellent CLL groups around, but this one feels more like my "family" ...

    I hope you'll stay with us, Pat.

    Best wishes,


  • Hmm. Odd! To me, rather pointless. For myself, obviously, I am very interested in people who, like me, are newly diagnosed BUT I love reading about all sorts of situations that people are finding themselves in, their treatments, their worries, their triumphs etc..... because these people and their stories may be mine a little down the line. Also I feel I 'know' some of these folks and am interested to follow their progress and see how they're doing.I looked up some of the people on my list and some of them haven't posted for about two years. I understand that of course many people are only able to dip in and out of this site, particularly if they are lucky enough to not be needing treatment and obviously some of us like me have full time jobs and families so are unable to keep up with everyone but all we have to do is put our query into the search button and a wealth of information will come up. It may be useful, we'll see. Peggy.

  • I have yet to find the "who to follow" box on the right side of my HU page. But I can also say that , if I could actually locate it, it is unlikely to be of interest to me. I think I am able to select those I wish to follow/contact on my own.

  • I have noticed in the past hour that the Who to Follow boxes don't appear on the right margin... hopefully the system is broken... ;-)

  • I'm glad you've managed to get rid of your Who to Follow boxes, Chris. :-) They still appear on my computer though. Still on the right margin of Newsfeed. They don't go when I "refresh". And when I click on the grey cross in the top right hand corner, that one disappears but another appears a few seconds later, at the bottom of the list! :-(


  • Yes... I have been clicking all day long... there may be a finite number each day...not sure, but I probably deleted 40 or so...

    As you mentioned...time to fix the frustrating bugs...there are a few on the iPad...

  • After I'd deleted about 10 suggestions of "Who to Follow", I was amazed to see my OWN name appear on the list! :-) What a good idea (not) to follow myself!

    In theory, my name should have come up top of the list, if there was some reliable maths calculations about it... I must have a lot in common with myself. :-)

  • Recommended members to follow have disappeared from my Newsfeed too. Along with Chris, I too would like more effort focused on fixing long standing bugs. One I find particularly annoying is having to re-upload the image accompanying a post if I edit it. It's bad enough when I edit mine, but if I need to edit someone else's post, which I need to do occasionally to set them private to this community, I have to remember to first save their accompanying photo if they have one, or I permanently lose part of someone else's post :(

  • I agree, Neil, re the annoyance of having to re-upload the photos, every time we edit text in our posts. It's put me off doing minor edits, even when the edits might clarify something. It's a lot of effort to find the photo and upload it again. Well I have done it, several times, but with grumblings at HU in my mind... :-(

    I can see that for admins like you, Neil, it is even more frustrating, when you risk losing someone else's photo...

  • Still have to hit return five times to get below the stupid green line so I can see what I'm typing, and every time I come to the site it throws off my keypad, not just on the site, but on anything else I do, for a couple of hours. I have wasted hours sending screenshots, etc. to the caring people at HU. What a joke that is!

    I'm not leaving, but I spend a lot less time here. The CLL family at CLL Forum is wonderful, and I don't have to worry about needing to set a community only setting to keep my posts from being made public. I only recommend the group to those outside of the U.S. and Canada who might find information about how to negotiate other systems, especially in this case those in the UK, important. With every new change HU makes the real intent of their involvement with the business more obvious, and it isn't about helping patients! I don't want them minding my business, which they do, more and more.

  • I'm glad you're not leaving, Pat, but I do understand your frustrations. I don't have a "green line" problem, but I can imagine how horribly annoying it must be - as well as the thing of throwing off your keyboard. And even worse when the organisers at HU don't listen to us when we go to a lot of trouble to explain our problems. I've had some very inadequate responses from them too, when I've tried to explain problems I've had in the past. So I'm afraid I don't bother any more.

    If I'd found CLL Forum before I found HU, I expect they would have become my "CLL family" rather than HU. But there's something about the first group that responds to us, that is very special. Well it was for me... But maybe I'll have a look at CLL forum a bit more often now...


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