The reason why blocking is a premium feature is that it's actually very intensive on our servers. Because ours is a custom-built network, it comes with a few quirks. Every time you block another member, it's an additional query that needs to be made when you load any newsfeed or photofeed. A few blocks don't affect the servers much, but the more blocks a member has, the more strain there is on the server. The more strain there is on the server, the higher the cost of hosting. So more blocks means higher costs for us.
What we found over the last few years running several different communities was that most members used the block responsibly (say, to block someone who was harassing them), but that a small number of members would use it to block ANY person they simply didn't want to see in the newsfeed. When a member blocks hundreds or thousands of other people, that puts a huge strain on the server, which winds up costing us a lot of money. And those blocks have nothing to do with safety, but with convenience.
We also found that when we looked into serious incidences of harassment, members rarely experienced more than 30 such incidences (not including cases where a problematic member was a removed, which doesn't require a block). Our policy has always been that if anyone is truly experiencing more than 30 incidences of serious harassment or intimidation by current members, they can notify us, explain the 30 situations, and if they all check out, we'd be happy to provide them with more blocks. Thus far, that hasn't happened on any of our previous sites.
As soon as we started Feabie and Ferzu, however, we noticed one huge discrepancy—namely that while the men on Feabie have a similar experience to those on our other sites (few real needs for blocking due to harassment or intimidation), the women do not. The reality is that in these communities, there is only one woman for every five men, which is compounded by the fact that the men are often more likely to be aggressive in their private messaging (trust us, we've been dealing with user complaints, this is the reality). We've found that there is a need among women, trans or nonbinary folks on Feabie and Ferzu to get more than 30 blocks, and we’re happy to provide them with that because for them, it isn't a matter of convenience, but safety.
If we see this change over time , we're open to changing the policy. But that's why it exists in its current form. We hope that helps explain.
The Grokio Support Team