An organizer’s thoughts on the aniblog tourney

Despite being one of the admins for the aniblog tourney I’ve been pretty hands off. Most of the credit for the work goes to Scamp, Mefloraine and Renn. But as someone who also helped kick off the first aniblog tourney, I’ll give you a little insight into the thinking behind the tourney.

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The goals of the aniblog tourney:

  1. It’s intended to be fun. I think most people are pretty level-headed about this. Winning the tourney doesn’t get you anything. And “best” is subjective anyway.  There’s “winners” and “losers” because you need some level of competition to keep it interesting. But the competition is in a friendly sense. The tourney was meant to be fun not srs biz. And I think for the most part, people have embraced the spirit of it.
  2. It’s meant to introduce people to new blogs. The first tourney was rather successful in this regards. Anecdotally, visits and subscribes went up for many blogs. Were they sustained increases? In some cases yes, in some cases no. But the tourney can only do so much. To take a metaphor, the tourney merely leads the readers to the water, it’s up to the individual blogs to get their readers to continue to drink.
  3. It’s meant to build a stronger tie within the aniblog community. One of the main criticisms of the tourney was that it’s a “circle jerk” and to some degree it is. But in essence, it’s necessary to engage the community. But the hope was that through the “inside crowd”, the casual reader would stumble onto the tourney and find new blogs. A casual aniblog reader isn’t going to find the aniblog tourney on his own. The jerk must be initiated by one of the participating jerkers. Did we succeed with this? It’s hard to tell for sure. Sadly, WordPress stats are limited and we have no idea how many percent of visitors are new visitors. One of my thoughts for the next tourney is to give it its own URL and host so we can use GA to track those stats better. But roughly, we do know that if the tourney receives 2,500 visits a day, it’ll drive 700-900 links to participating blogs. Based on the typical new/repeat visitor rate, logically, a substantial percentage of these clicks should be from non-circle-jerking, regular readers and not from other participating bloggers.

Admittedly, the tourney isn’t perfect.

  • We debated various voting methods. Shorter matches. Longer matches. 4 blog faceoffs with 2 winners. Etc. Ultimately, we went with the method we did because we thought it was the best balance between speed (the tourney is probably already too large and too long-running) and not making people feel bad about losing (although, you can debate whether or not the 4 separate vs. matches are better in that regard vs. doing a 4-blog match with 2 winners and 2 losers.
  • We debated qualifications, again trying to find the right balance between being inclusive (and we wanted to include as many new blogs as possible) and not running too long.
  • Seeding is always a conundrum. How much should longetivity play in it? Activity? Traffic? Comment counts? Prior performance? I mean, except for the handful of superblogs like Random C, Psgels or Sea Slugs, you could move blogs all over the bracket and be fine with it. However, the concept of playing up seniority and past performance was the idea that if you’ve been around, if you’ve been in the tourney before, then you’re probably fairly well known. The first couple rounds were intended to give smaller, newer blogs their chance in the sun.
  • Poll gaming is always a difficult issue. If we make the aniblog tourney self-hosted in the future, we’ll look at non-PollDaddy options. But even IP tracking isn’t foolproof as it’s pretty easy to game via proxy. Honestly though, our best defense is to rely on the voters to play fair. Our options from a technical standpoint are limited.

There are probably other areas where we’ve been deficient and can improve upon. But I think we’ve tried to take what we’ve learned in the first tourney and improved upon it for this version. And based on the feedback we hear and the things we observe, we’ll try to improve upon it in v3.

With all that said, let’s talk about the match up. I’m matched up with Avvesione’s Anime blog, which was a new blog to me. You should vote for Avvesione, because at this stage of our blogging life, he/she is a much more harder-working blogger than I am. Plus, he/she puts a nice spin on the typical episodic style. Basically Avv has taken what I’ve wanted to do with episodics and actually done it consistently and effectively.

12 Replies to “An organizer’s thoughts on the aniblog tourney”

  1. “But even IP tracking isn’t foolproof as it’s pretty easy to game via proxy”

    Are you even serious? I’m a developer and I can write you a code to detect proxies (by port scan) and TOR exit nodes in terms of a couple of days. And I’m pretty sure there are tons of other similar systems available without bothering to write a new one. Cheating could be extremely limited instead of giving cheaters free reign… 😉

    “However, the concept of playing up seniority and past performance was the idea that if you’ve been around, if you’ve been in the tourney before, then you’re probably fairly well known.”

    Yes, of course, Omari’s sister (just one random example) is more popular than Metanorn or Whiners. Great thinking. 😀

    1. “Are you even serious? I’m a developer and I can write you a code to detect proxies (by port scan) and TOR exit nodes in terms of a couple of days. And I’m pretty sure there are tons of other similar systems available without bothering to write a new one. Cheating could be extremely limited instead of giving cheaters free reign…”

      well, none of us are developers, and the options we saw that were compatible with a wordpress.com account were limited. If you’re actually offering to help with a better solution by all means contact aniblogtourney@hotmail.com

      Metanorn admittedly yeah, we probably should’ve had them higher. That became obvious after the fact, but by then it was too late. No big deal though. They probably would’ve started in round 2 anyway. Whiners was an odd duck, because we originally weren’t considering them and they asked to be included after most of the seeds had been established. Again, like I said, you can pick at the individual seeds all day long and remix to your heart’s content.

      1. Of course I am free to help the organizers for the future tourneys (there’s no point changing everything now that the tourney is half finished) in two years time.
        Obviously we would need to host at least the polls (even leaving the posts on the tourney wordpress website) on a separate server in order to have special code to detect cheaters. If you have none, mine can suffice (the one where I host my blog).

        Same thought here, I can probably write a simple application to make seeds automatically using various parameters available like rss subscribers/twitter popularity/facebook popularity/comments/views. Its all about preparation in order to make a good and fair tourney. 🙂

  2. I’m gonna have to go with Avv on this match-up. I was originally inspired to start my own blog by reading RP and a few others, but I have learned a lot recently by reading Avv’s blog, and people should know how good it is.

    On the tourney in general: it is always easy to find a bunch of things to criticize about almost anything. In the end you have to pick something, even if the result isn’t everything you wanted. I think you guys did a good job. I’m sure the whole thing could have turned out worse. If nothing else, I’m learning about a lot of new blogs.

  3. Thank you, I appreciate your supportive thoughts on my blog and the kind gesture regarding our match-up. I feel fortunate to be paired up with such an established and respected blog in this round, especially with your team of adept authors whose works I’ve been reading more frequently (and been talking to SabishiiMiruku on Twitter more often, too). I wish your blog the very best of luck in this tournament.

    It’s nice to hear some of your thoughts on the tournament since you are one of the administrators. I’ve found this whole tournament to be enriching and rewarding; I’ve found numerous new blogs to follow and have seen an increase in traffic and comments, too. It certainly has brought the community closer together with almost everyone’s eyes turning to watch the tourney unfold and it sounds like most are having fun. And there have been additional consequences, too, such as the number of feedback and observations others have been able to provide to blogs that would otherwise been awkward at any other time. Not everyone may be pleased with the tournament but it’s been a fantastic experience for me and I’m glad to hear that these were your intentions for the tournament, too. So thank you for running the tournament and providing your thoughts and goals on it here in this post. We appreciate your efforts and dedication to the anime blogging community.

  4. When thing that confuses me is how do I know if my vote is counted. I would think if my vote counted I would not be able to vote again. But there are times where I vote and it shows the votes but the next second you can vote again.

    I am not trying to cheat by voting again but it makes me question whether my first vote was even counted.

    I am guessing this is a limitation of the system housing the polls. But it is a bit confusing.

  5. Hoh, thanks for your opinion RP. By the way, I discovered RP a long time ago. I just haven’t been coming here very often because I am lazy~ Keep it up, mate!

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