See you again in two years time?

Aaaaand it’s finally ended.

Over the course of the tourney I’ve seen more than enough evidence that it was worth holding. Whether it was discovering new anime blogs, rediscovering older blogs, generally getting a sense of what styles of anime blogs exist out there, or even some perverse enjoyment from the drama that such an event will inevitably attract, there was plenty to be gained from running the tourney. However learning from the mistakes of this tourney is pointless if they’re never put into practice. So when will the next Aniblog Tourney be held? The current plan is to hold it again in two years time.

There are two reasons for this. The first is because there’s a natural 2-year turnover rate for anime blogs. Running this again next year should conjour up largely the same results with mainly the same people following it. There’s not an awful lot to be gained from that. However 2 years should have a much bigger difference with different people following the tourney. Here’s a stat for you: When the Aniblog Tourney started back in mid-april, exactly half of the blogs competing were under 2 years old. Even with that stat, think of how much a blog will change in two-years time. It might even have entirely different authors.

The second reason is that running this tourney has been a hell of a lot of work and stress. The idea of running all this again next year fills me with dread. Maybe in two years time though I’ll have forgotten how much work it is. Or maybe I’ll be able to rope in some newbie in the sphere, filled to the top with goodwill and eagerness, to run most of the tourney himself.

Either way, we’ll see you then. If you have any suggestions, or any other parting words then do leave a comment on this post. I’ll now hand over the mic to the other tourney staff. Well just RP because Mefloraine is off training in the mountains.

RP: Three months. Three long months. Heck, the aniblog tourney outlasted the World Cup, and it would’ve outlasted the Olympics. I think originally we were skeptical about whether people would even care about it. It could’ve been a massive flop, completely buried under the radar. But Like Scamp mentioned, for the most part, it seems like it was well worth the digital bytes it took up in the Interwebz world. And obviously that’s thanks to all the bloggers and readers that visited, campaigned and supported the tourney. Hopefully, it was fun.Β  Hopefully, it was interesting to you.

Seeing it unfold firsthand, taking account the feedback we got along the way, I think we have a pretty good idea of what went well and what didn’t, and some ideas for how we can make this better the next time. If you have any additional suggestions or if you want to start placing bets on who’ll still be around in two years, feel free to leave them in the comments.

34 thoughts on “See you again in two years time?

  1. Although I stop voting when Baka-Raptor lost (as I have vowed), I want to congratulate you guys for completed the tourney.

    Hopefully you’ll do a better research (and not rely fully on animenano) for the next round!

  2. I was glad for the tourney as it opened up a lot of new blogs to me. My RSS reader is much too full! I have started following many more people on Twitter! And as a whole I feel like I know the community better.

    As an editorial blogger who basically only reads editorial blogs, the end results of the tourney didn’t surprise me.

    I think changes and problems have been discussed long before this post was made, but I’ll put in my two cents.

    I have to admit to losing interest the longer it went on. This was probably a combination of seeing all my favorites go out by or around round 4; and that the polls could have been up for just a couple of days and get the same results. Almost everything, especially early on, was decided in the first day. The times it really seemed to make a difference was when a blog just hadn’t posted about their poll being up yet. I think a shorter time frame for the entire tourney will keep the buzz up.

    I know people have been back and forth about doing a “episodic” category and an “editorial” category, and I too am kind of on the fence. My vote for breaking it up is because a lot of readers seem to lean towards one or the other. And often pick one over the other with less regard to writing.

    Some great blogs were missing all together, but you guys are already aware of that.

    It will never be perfect, but I think this was a great first try. I hope to be included when it comes along again.

    -Narutaki

    • Shorter tourney is a must and I also agree that the matches should be shorter. My reasoning behind keeping them open for longer was so people didn’t have to visit the tourney so regularly to not miss out on votes, but since nearly every match was decided by the end of the first day, it was kinda pointless and more likely just put people off voting in one-sided contests. My gut feeling would be for polls to close after 48 hours.

      I get the reasoning as to why we should split up episodic and editorial but ultimately I think doing that causes more hassle than keeping them together. Asides from the fact that the lines can be pretty blurred between the two anyway, you also fail to get fans of one type to read the other.

  3. I really don’t get the idea that “editorial” and “episodic” blogs need to be separated in a hypothetical future blog tournament to the death.

    It seems like plenty of blogs straddle the line between the two types. I know I’m just as likely to write about the latest episode of whatever as I am to write about something more broad in scope. How would such blogs be defined? Would the owner get to choose their designation? Would someone running the tourney decide? If someone else decided, what standards would be used, if any?

    And I don’t really see any significant difference between the two types of blogs. The whole distinction seems artifical at best. It seems like people are defining blogs based on whether they decide to wait for an anime to end before posting about it or whether they post when a new episode airs. Some “episodic” blogs use the latest episode as a jumping off point for other discussions, some stick to the standard “let’s talk about what happened in this episode” spiel. They say a lot of the same things that “editorial” blogs say about specific anime series. The only difference seems to be timing. I don’t buy that as a legitimate way to define a blog.

    I’d also argue against waiting two years to start the next tournament. I get what y’all are saying about blog turnover, but do we really want to wait for an entirely new “generation” to pop up before we do another survey? It’s kinda like not having a Super Bowl until you guarantee that half of the players who played in the last one have retired from the NFL. It’d be cool to have it take place a year from now, rather than two years from now, to see how this current crop has changed (if at all). Blogs that were popular now may have a downturn while less popular ones may grow in popularity over the next year. It’d be a good way to see such trends, and you may not get that if you wait so long that half the field is new to the tournament.

    I will second the idea of moving the tournament along faster. With a handful of exceptions, most matches were already determined after the first day or so. Cut everything down to one day of voting and get more matches out at a faster clip. It’ll help people from getting bored with the tourney. Gotta keep everyone entertained, especially during the later rounds when fewer blogs are in the competition.

    • The big difference between one and two years would be peoples reactions to it. One year would be ‘oh look, this thing again’. Two years is ‘hey cool, that tourney thing I missed last time around’. If people are under the impression that it’s the same thing each time, then it will have very little impact.

  4. Just my two cents:

    For me, the least interesting rounds were the first two and the last one. The first two because with 32 or however many different polls at once, it was just a blogroll overload, and I don’t think many people checked out the polls that didn’t involve their favorite blogs. As time went on, it seemed like it was more likely that people were introduced to blogs they hadn’t seen before (even if this was just because the more popular blogs were filtering up, and their readers would check out the opposition).

    The final round seemed to be more determined by which quarter-division each blog was coming from than by popular vote. No offense to any of the authors, but for example, if the semi-finals matchups had been something like Star Crossed vs X and SeaSlugs vs X, you’d have had a completely different finals matchup, but it wasn’t possible for you to predict in advance how many voters would go with each blog. When it gets down to the final four, or possibly even the final eight, it becomes more about where you were seeded. Perhaps the quarter or semi-finals could be a slightly different style slugout where all four go against each other at once (or people have to rank them and that translates to points), with the two highest scoring ones going to a runoff.

    All that aside, I also think five days is a lot of time, but I’d say lower it to two or three days instead of one. There were some close races where the second day actually had a major effect on the outcome, and that way if someone can’t get on one night they can still vote in a race.

    • All very fair points.

      Having that many blogs in the earlier rounds isn’t really something you can do without though. Staggering them further so people can read them all just serves in making the tourney even longer, which is a big no. Let’s be blunt, many of the blogs in the earlier rounds weren’t that good so a reader would obviously get disinterested. But the only real way of stopping that is by letting the poorer blogs get knocked out. Harsh but eh, there isn’t really a better way around that.

      I said it in a comment down below but I do agree with having more blogs per-match in the later rounds, to speed things up more than anything. And yes, cutting down the number of days is something we’ll also do

  5. Disappointed about the winners. My favorite blogs got disqualified pretty early on. Oh well. Congratulations to Psgels.

    As for the episodic blog distinction (in response to Landon), I believe the “stigma” we’re talking about here is associated with the blogging style that often goes hand-in-hand with so-called blogs; their fast-paced nature almost inevitably comes at the expense of more meaningful, “deeper” content. But of course there are exceptions, and those should be highly appreciated.

    • In re-reading your response I realized I was just reiterating what has been said. Heh, well, let it be, it’s 5 am for gosh’s sake.

  6. @ reversethieves & landon:

    Yeah, the length is something that we need to take a look at. Personally, I would want to try my damndest to not have the tourney stretch more than 2 months max. However, while most of the voting did happen in the first day, the longer matches allowed for campaigning and enabled some upsets to happen. Still, a week is probably too long, a day too short. There’s a better balance we need to hit.

    We’ll do some better “division aligning” but we’re definitely not splitting episodics and editorials apart. That whole “debate” is so inane. I feel similar to how Landon feels. People like to draw lines and create false strawmen like episodics only regurgitate the plot, editorials are too elitist, when in reality they’re basically the same fucking thing. No episodic (at least none that I’ve seen) only summarizes the plot. There is always some “editorial” content included whether it’s speculation, reaction or something else. Similarly, editorials aren’t living in some distant world of anime academia, they comment on shows, even refer to specific episodes and moments in their writing. Styles may be different, but to me, it’s the same thing. An interesting blog is interesting. Period.

    I also wouldn’t mind the tourney happening yearly… but I also didn’t do that much work. Especially compared to Scamp, mefloraine and raph. So I completely defer to those that carried the weight.πŸ˜›

    On a completely different note, there’s no way in hell I’ll still be around in 2 years. I think.πŸ˜›

    • I have no evidence to back this up, but I think upsets are more likely the less days the poll is open for.

      Actually, since we’re on the subject of upsets, I’d say the tourney needs the more popular blog to win about 80% of the time. If the more popular blogs aren’t winning then the tourney is a farce but if they always win then it’s boring.

      Not that there’s any way to implement that without fabricating the results (and there was more than enough people claiming that did happen when upsets occured) but it’s something to keep in mind

  7. I actually think a week works as a means of getting people kinda acquainted with the blogs. After that, cut it down to 5 or even 3 days. By then, people should be damn familiar with the contestants and there should not be a need for voting length that reaches a week. Note that I’m speaking in general terms because IIRC, Scamp did shorten the voting times for subsequent rounds after round 2 (or maybe it was after round 3).

    I’d say no, keep it general because it simplifies things and I’d favor anything that streamlines the process. Having divisions/categories is kind of lame because it mucks it all up when all we want is a generalized contest. At least, I want a generalized contest. Ya’ll can arrange your own episodic blog tourneys if you really think it’s necessary :p

    • Eh, I don’t agree with that. Why does it take a week to get acquainted with a blog? What does all those extra days allow you to do that a first time visit doesn’t allow you to? So they can write one or two new posts when there’s already 100+ on their blog already?

      • An opinion from a non-blogger: in the first round there were two matches started every day, meaning four blogs to get acquainted with. At this point I knew a few of the bigger episodic blogs only – meaning the blogs I knew didn’t appear in the vote until round 2. And I tell you, opening blogs you don’t care about, reading through them and assessing them takes some willpower you just don’t have every day.

      • In one of the rounds for this tourney we swapped from having two polls per day to only one. What happened there is people would only show up for the poll of the blog they knew and not vote on the other polls. 2 polls per day meant both polls leeched off each other so people were far more likely to vote in the other polls as well.

        If we introduced 3 polls per day then you’d get even more overloaded with information than you already are.

        I know this isn’t exactly a direct response to what you’re saying but I thought I should give you an idea how delicately balanced everything is. I can’t think of a way to improve the earlier rounds that doesn’t involve dragging out the length of the tourney even longer.

        One thing I did notice were there were a lot less votes cast later on in the rounds than the first few. Partly down to the fact the blogs on the right side of the tourney weren’t as good but I guess it was also because people just didn’t have the willpower to continue the whole way through.

        Eh, I’m babbling now~

      • Although if we do two 3-way matchups per day, it might be worth testing three 2-way matchups to see if there’s a bump in outgoing clicks in one vs. the other.

  8. I enjoyed the contest, and it was a good first effort. The bumps at the beginning with moderator dorama and blog author notification were rough, and perhaps it is better if the tourney staff were more neutral, but overall I think things went well.

    I think the only meaningful division would be by blog age. I think an Under 2 Years-old tourney and an Over 2 Years-old tourney could work, and would make for more intense match-ups.

    • … and I was just about to suggest that.

      There is a huge gap of popularity between the ones under 2 years and the ones older than 2 years. No point contesting the upstarts with the old farts if all it means they get their asses kicked.

      Also, before organizing the next one, REMEMBER TO AT LEAST INFORM THE PARTICIPANTS BEFORE GOING PUBLIC WITH IT. Or at least have some form of preliminary list beforehand so that people can agree/pull out.

      • “REMEMBER TO AT LEAST INFORM THE PARTICIPANTS BEFORE GOING PUBLIC WITH IT.”

        yeah, yeah, yeah, we heard you the first, second, and third time.

    • That kinda happens already with the seedings. The >2 year old blogs get a round to compete amongst each other. The blogs that got through that round did quite well against the older blogs as well. In round 2 it was 16 victories for the non-seeded blogs and 15 for the seeded ones (and a tie in there as well). It was only in the much later rounds did we see the big boys flex their muscles and for the old farts to start dominating.

      My idea to counter that was to have a 3-tiered seeding system with about 10 blogs as top seeds, 30-ish blogs second seed and the rest non-seeded. This should help keep younger, quality blogs from getting dumped unceremoniously out too early on.

      • The seeding helps at first, but it felt like one of the top four seeds would for sure win the tournament very quickly. So while individual matches may have been close, the overall result wasn’t really in doubt.

        I think the splitting would make it really competitive all the way through. I’m not even sure who would win in the under 2 years division.

        Also, I think after 2 days, campaigning and traffic/multi-voting accounted for all the votes.

      • Hmmm, I get the logic but I think you’re placing too much importance on the actual winning. The tourney should really be as streamlined as possible and doing this will only help deepen the divide between oldfags and newfags.

        Again, I get why it would work but that’s placing more value on the competitive nature of the tourney than the discover of blogs.

        (I should probably add here that just because a blog is old doesn’t mean it’s better known. I wonder how many of the readers of the tourney have ever heard of blogsuki, especially considering it’s not on Animenano)

  9. Right, I suppose I should chime in with my thoughts too.

    Spend longer product testing before starting. Seriously, about half of the problems wouldn’t have occured if we’d taken a week or so more to check various stuff.

    Inform participants beforehand. hurdur. Asides from being courteous, it will help with making the seedings and the bracket if we know what blogs are in. Not making the bracket until we’ve gotten feedback as to what blogs we missed and who doesn’t want to be in will definitely help.

    Shorter tourney is a must. Going on the general opinion that the later rounds were dull, have it so the matches include 3 blogs instead of 2, which would make the final few rounds go far quicker.

  10. Thank you for your hard work! It was fun, really. I am pretty confident that I’ll be here again in two years time but thinking about the friends who will not be there anymore is kind of depressing.
    p.s. as much as I want to get even with psgels, please get him far away from me in the next tourney!

  11. Congrats for being able to see things through. As I can attest, it’s hard to make sure that things like this go to completion. What makes it interesting is if it will be certain that this will still exist in two years. Good luck with that.πŸ™‚

  12. Probably the most awesome online anything I’ve ever been involved in. Huge thanks, it was not only a lot of fun, but it also pretty much doubled the amount of blogs I’m subscribed to. I did exactly as good as I could have hoped to do.

    Next time, include klux.

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