I'm introducing a few social networking features to Piperka. Never fear, none of this will affect you unless you choose to use them. I've found myself checking out the comics' lists of readers, to see if can spot familiar names, and I thought that there's a case for making that kind of information more prominently available.
You can now follow other users. That means that comics that they read get hilited (currently, with a small "F" letter) in the listings, and there's a new profile privacy setting, protected, which lets other users see your comic picks once you give them the permission.
When you follow another user, they (and only they) can see a link back to you on their followers page, unless your profile is set as private. This means that with the private setting, you can only follow public profiles. Following is an asymmetrical relation, so being followed doesn't mean that you need to reciprocate. Permissions to view a profile are separate from the followee status. Having a permission but no followee status just means that the profile is visible but it won't be hilited.
Private profiles are as hidden as ever. Trying to see them makes Piperka neither confirm or deny that the user exists. Viewing a protected profile without a permission lets you ask to see their profile. I've made all the existing profiles either private or public and new users will get protected as their default setting.
I'm still going to work on how Piperka lets you access this information and on the presentation, but the basic ideas should be in place already. I'll see first whether anyone else cares to use this feature besides me.
I may do some data mining on the relationship data and show the results publicly. Nothing that would identify any single user. Basically the same thing I do with the comic subscription data, or would do if that part still wasn't pretty underdeveloped. I won't be giving anything sensitive to any third parties and I hope that you already expected that of me.
As an aside, singular they is weird.