Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality
The forum is great and all, but a blog on a personal profile makes your own personal discussion space. You make a post in a forum and within two weeks it is buried, and we can only view 500 post history at a time through our personal user cp. Posting on a forum has no longevity. A post I could write here may be viewed 8 times in one day and then be lost, but a blog I post linked to anime through the 'blog' tab for good could be viewed 8 times each week/month for indeterminable amount of time. Very few people are going to read through an entire 25+ page thread and additionally manage not to skim past my post. This is why I have planned for a while to take some of my longer, more in depth posts, and 'reblog' them so that they stick around. I have to work pretty hard to find them though. It is not good enough to assume that blog discussions can simply move to the forum. People like blogs because of the more individual/personal aspect to it. That's why you get the 'diary' type blogs from people who probably just have not much else to say - and I certainly don't see how all those type of people coming here to spam up the "what have you just eaten" thread will help. I do agree that the term 'blog' does invite that kind of inanity though.
It is true that blogs are not used enough but that also may suggest a wider problem of somehow not attracting the types who would use them. A-P is possibly still seen as mainly a database and nothing else to people who do not come here regularly. The eventual merger of site and forum might be key to people even realising a-p is also a great place to DISCUSS anime, and these might be the people who will want to use blogs. Blogs seem to have been neglected as much as they are unused. They are definitely a stale function in a site that has so much other stuff to offer, but I don't see why they would have to be done away with completely. The badge system can be abused in multiple ways too - skewed average ratings to get the 5-star rating badge, mass adding people to get the 100 friends badge, etc..
As far as spam blogs go I do believe as a site wide issue that just removing blogs is not going to solve the spam problem. The new rec system ("agree" recs) make lots of spam too. If the spam is the problem there would surely be a trustworthy reliable volunteer to take that extra pressure away from you. To think of someone maliciously removing blogs is a worst case scenario and probably unlikely, and imo an irrational reason not to displace the responsibility and free up more of your time.
My profile on this site feels like a truly personal space of my own. Blogs add to that - even though I probably only have written about 4 or so. Me getting back into writing is not an anime specific thing - but a lifestyle thing - and will still happen so me saying "I do plan to use them" isn't just bullshit. To know they are there to use if I have something to discuss. Yes, beforehand I would take that discussion to these forums but in all honesty - I don't post here much anymore nor partake in many active discussions. And actually the reason for that is way back when the number of 'review' type lengthy posts started to increase wildly and coming here felt like trawling through far too much tl;dr shit. I got complacent with the forums and haven't really got back into the swing of things since. All types of discussion have their place, and you must agree with this if you are disappointed that blogs are not used for more indepth things like essays and articles. I like that blogs can be linked straight to anime pages on the 'blogs' tab - improves discoverability. In fact, I would say promoting this tab is probably KEY to promoting blogs. If you go to 'blogs' tab on new anime you get a lot of results. Whereas on older anime, less so, usually none, which might make some people think that not many people are linking their blogs therefore the 'blog' tab is not worth looking at so a large percentage of users may have already written off the tab in their mind.
As for external blogs - honestly, I don't use ANY other anime websites except obvious stuff for my modding duties. Why? Because A-P has everything. I already have an ideal platform to voice my opinions without having to sign up elsewhere and painstakingly personalise that space. If I needed an audience for a blog - it's already here, if people aren't on A-P I wouldn't come across them anyway.
The main issue here though, seem to be the spam. Without the spam you could simply leave blogs as they are, right? I do think it would be worth first implementing better ways to reduce spam or finding a spam moderator.
I'm sorry this was a bit long, and definitely ranty although I only used a ranty tone to hopefully emphasize the less popular perspective of this debate.