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.