Make Friends a Plugin!

I am new here, but I am planning to use Elgg for a number of clients.  I am really impressed with the extensibility of Elgg and the plugin system.  That said, I have searched and searched for a plugin to disable the friend function --entirely.  I don't want it renamed to "followers, "contacts" or anything like that.  The reality for me is that almost none of my clients care to have the "friends" features.  It is antithetical to small corporate and educational environments who are trying to increase the sense of community.  From my clients perspective, friends are for facebook.  I am aware of the Elgg Trac ticket #3445 and that this has become a "long term discussion."  I am posting this to cast my vote that the friends function should be pulled out of core, since MANY clients have no use for it an it just adds clutter.  In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions (links to other groups/discussions) for how to quickly rip-out/hide all friends functionality without messing with core files too much, that would be greatly appreciated.  I am not a PHP guru, but I am going to start hacking, so any tips would be great!  And thank you again for the great work with Elgg!

  • The ability to remove "friends" functionality could indeed be useful, but I think it would be a large project to move it to plugins (and break sooo many others). That's not an argument for not doing it, just that it would have to be done as a plugin in the short term.

  • ' quickly rip-out/hide all friends functionality without messing with core files ' ? *quick* is not possble for this unless you are a super programmer with years of php + elgg know-how ;) a cheap trick might be workable.. but again -- even that will need the necessary tech-head-ness ;)

  • In Elgg 1.8 I think making a plugin to do this could be a straightforward process. My organization might need this very soon.

  • Here's a link to the ticket:

    The problem with removing "friends" is that it is a critical component for filtering content. Elgg provides two ways: groups and "friends". If the "friends" capability is removed, there is no way to filter user generated content that is not in groups.

    All the major content plugins bundled with Elgg assume this. I'll hazard to guess that all the major content plugins available on this site assume it.

    All that being said, it should be easier to remove the user facing "friends" functionality in Elgg 1.8 than it was in previous versions. The topbar link can be unregistered. The user hover link can be unregistered. The content layout can have its friends tab removed. The input/access view can have the friends option removed. The only part that I can think of that would be a little dirty is the notifications plugin (but that is because that plugin itself is dirty).


  • Weell aaronk .. have a read thru that trac ticket too - there's > enough in there to occupy one long tech-coffee break, different aspects, possible solutions and associated costs.. enopugh there for you to decide how straight-forward it might be for you to implement making that plugin.

  • Does anyone have any useful user feedback from an Elgg site from which "friends" has been removed? My guess is you'd definitely want to offer users a page that lists all your "groupmates", just for the sake of being able to remember someone. I don't know how you'd make a filter on that...

  • Cash, I also figured it would be much easier (relatively) to remove the user-facing functionality.  I am still aquainting myself with the core file structure (my relationship with Elgg is only three days old), then I will start working on that. 

    It is very clear why the Trac ticket has been labeled "long term discussion"  --and such a change to the core structure may be quite a lot even for the 2.x release...  Thank you all for your quick feedback.

  • In Elgg 1.8 I think making a plugin to do this could be a straightforward process. My organization might need this very soon.

    Steve,  sounds like you may have been volunteering to work on the "disable-friends" plugin.  Keep me posted!  I'll even make you a "friend" of mine ;)

  • I have removed the friends feature for clients before and essentially you have to over-ride the relevant views for all the content plugins used by the site (core and third-party). It is a huge job.

    I'm in favour of removing it from core as well but as has been pointed out, that would then require rewriting many plugins (but hey, every major Elgg point release makes you do that anyway, right?)

  • Just to add that the new Elgg 1.8 menu system definitely would make this easier (but not easy, depending upon the installed plugins).

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