It appears that there is a new policy on italki that stops me from replying to a potential student unless the two of us are following each other. So if I get a message from someone new, I can't reply like in the past, I have to first follow him/her, then invite him/her to follow me, at which point I can then finally reply to the original message! This is very irritating, especially if I want to give a simple reply to a simple question or statement.
I'm sure that italki has become enamored of the Facebook model of encouraging the most number of members as possible to follow each other, but I don't think we should have to go through this elaborate dance simply in order to answer someone's unsolicited question.
I agree with you!!
I agree !
Brad, you can handle this problem by setting your privacy, and uncheck "Allow people to send me follower requests."
I'll look into it. I forwarded this to the product team and they assured me that they fixed this issue a while back. But if we made a mistake we'll fix it. Not to worry. :)
That could be due to the user's privacy settings.