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Old 10-10-2012, 11:54 AM   #1
sothis
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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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Old 10-10-2012, 12:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

One thing I recommend is limiting use of blogs to a handful of privileged bloggers e.g. Chii, as you mentioned. These are people who can continue to write and maybe you can showcase their best material on the front page?

If that doesn't work, then I guess get rid of blogs.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

yeah, i think going to a limited system might just piss off the other people who use the feature, and i could understand why it might make them angry. if i removed the feature, i'd end up removing everything (probably the content would still exist, but it wouldn't show up).

for the case of youtube type links or episode blogs and such, i think a better solution might be to bulk up the forum/site integration (which i know i talk about a lot), so it's easier for forum posts in a designated series section to show up in the anime entries. it wouldnt solve the problem of having personal blog space for people who want to write about games they play and dr appts and all, but it would surface helpful anime/manga content, and encourage forum postings.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

It's a shame for some of them to go, I always enjoy Etue's Blogs though it can be argued that they are kind of removed from the reasons that you wanted the blogs there in the first place. Would it be possible to give some helpful volunteer powers to delete the spam ones for you, like Pidj currently does as a forum Admin? If not then I think VivisQueens Idea of only allowing them for a privileged few is a great idea.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

I've only made use of the feature slightly but I certainly feel like it's something I want to move to do more of in the future. Would I be qualified to be blogging under the limitation system you propose? If not, what would I need to do to get qualified?
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

I really think that is better to remove it : / i've never read any blog from anime-planet, i prefer to see what other users tweet and their feed.

Ppl with interesting blogs can always put their effort into reviews, recommendations and forum threads o:
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

its a feature that i don't use, so i for one won't be disappointed to see it go. hopefully if the time saved from maintaining the personal blogs goes into features that are more interesting and useful. (maybe some kind of facebook integration? )

(on a side note, perhaps if there are people who really like the blogs, maybe they can be disabled by default and then only enabled for users who meet certain criteria? surely if only users who have been members for a year or some other random requirement is put into effect, that should bring a serious hammer down on spam accounts)
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

So when you say that not that many people are using it, what are we talking about? In the hundreds? Or...tens? I can't say that I've really used blogs myself, but a number of people that I know on ap.com have used the blog function extensively to help flesh out their pages and make them much more interesting in one way or another, and it comforts me to know that, if I choose to, blogs are one direct way for me to become more "involved" in ap.com.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

I can say pretty much with certainty that a limited system would not be in place - because that's exactly it. What qualifies as 'your blogs are helpful'? And that will mean the rest of people who want to use blogs get frustrated or angry because they aren't allowed.

Having forum options for posts that are actually helpful solves that problem - as long as the content is discoverable in the entries themselves, that sort of good content can still exist.

I could argue that any sort of general anime thoughts/discussions would go great here too, so those sorts of blog posts could also be encouraged to be posted here, such as in general anime discussion. getting new eyes/traffic in here would also help revitalize discussions in here in general
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Thinking of removing blog functionality

I would be very sad if you removed my blog posts :/
They are not something many people read (lets say 2-3 people have read them) but it is a nice place where I can post my latest thoughts and similar.
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