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Old 10-10-2012, 11:54 AM   #1
sothis
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Seattle, Washington
Age: 33
Posts: 16,638
Default Thinking of removing blog functionality

I'm thinking of removing the personal blog functionality on the site - while I realize there may be pushback on this (especially from the few people who use them), I have some reasons for thinking about this, and wanted to open it up for a discussion before making any decisions.

I added blogs a few years ago, thinking they'd be a highly used, popular feature. The feature was very expensive to create (as it's custom code with tagging, etc) and very expensive to maintain as well - if there's a tagging issue, a text formatting issue, etc, it's difficult to upgrade due to the current state of the code (and developer availability).

I delete 75% of the blogs posted every day - maybe 4-5 blog posts are real, the rest are from spambots. They show up constantly now, posting 6 blog posts at a time, and will not be possible to block automatically. Different types of throwaway emails are used and the IPs are all over the place. This literally happens daily.

To see what I mean, check out the recent blogs list: Recent Blogs | Anime-Planet

^^I haven't deleted any spammers in 3 days - notice the percentage of blogs on Oct 8,9,10 that are spam, vs not spam.

The remaining handful of blog posts that I see are usually one of the following:

-Blogs from the same 1 or 2 people, sometimes multiple times a day, as a laundry list of things they did that day (played [x] game for [y] hours, watched episode 1 of [series], etc). Nothing that would interest any other person except for that person.

-Some sort of 'hello' or first blog post, usually with almost no content and just to get a badge

-Or, follow up / (and one could argue) pointless additional posts just to get the next level of badge [note: this is why I never added badges for things like recommendations, since I was worried that exact thing would happen with recs, which is content that really matters]

-An episode summary. This was one of the reasons I put blogs up, but few people use it

There are really good blog posts sometimes - but they are rare. Some are helpful to users (any of Chii's posts with youtube links), some are just good blog posts for that user.

But, there's rarely ever a reply to blogs. It's possible that if blogs were showcased more, there might be more interactions - at least for me, I wouldn't see much reason to reply to them, and I think most other users would say the same.

People generally use the site for tracking anime, getting opinions on stuff (reviews, recs, and sometimes the rare blog post about episode highlights), not so much for hearing about someone's doctor appt went or how much of a game someone played. In addition, people tend to use the tags inappropriately, tagging an anime or manga on if they mention something like 'I want to watch [anime name]', which means on that anime page, that person's blog shows up, and it adds no value to someone clicking it.

Not to mention, most people who want to blog about anime, have an actual external blog somewhere.

It won't be an option to spend time/effort making the blogs more visible, because I'm the only developer on AP anymore, and frankly there are a lot of far more important things I'd like to work on in the rare expanses of time I have. For example, the redesign so it's easier to find stuff, moderator features to get more things out of my hands and into theirs, continuing to add more synops/high quality content, etc.

So I'm left with basically two options:

1. Leave stuff as-is - having to support a little-used, high time cost to fix feature, also spending time daily removing many spam blogs (time that i rarely have per day and could be spent on other site tasks)

2. Remove the feature

Again, there isn't really an option at this point for upgrading blogs, making them more visible/trying to encourage participation, etc. So the above are the only two options I can think of.

The floor is yours - let me know what you think.
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