I've just posted some updates to Family Tree Circles, that I hope will start us on the road to making this a better place for everybody. Here's what I've done...
The Family Tree Circles points system has been removed. I believe it has been broken for a long time, but in any case, the feedback that I've been getting is that it is encouraging a quantity over quality approach for some. I originally put that in place to recognize the top contributors, and I think it did serve a purpose for many years. It seems it is time to move on from that model. Instead, I do plan on doing some sort of user scoring/reputation system going forward. More on that in a bit.
Block/Unblock Users: A a sort of pressure relief valve, I've implemented a "block user" feature. This will hide journals for any blocked user in the places where journals are listed. You can still view individual journals or the profile of a blocked user. And you can always unblock a user from your own profile.
To block a user, click the "block this user" link in the bio section of a journal or that user's profile.
To unblock a user, you can click that link again (it'll change to "unblock"). Or you can view all the blocked users in your profile and unblock them from there:
Yes, you can block yourself. :-)
I don't love having to add this last feature, but it'll be interesting to see if it gets used.
I know that neither of these solutions solve the difficult problem of someone flooding the active journal page with many posts, or lots of comments on their own posts. You can clean up the view for yourself with blocking, but most people won't do that and the flooding can continue. This is a difficult one to solve because some people who post great stuff may also post a several journals in a row. So, simply putting basic flood control in (ilke to limit posts to a certain number per hour) would hurt users who don't deserve it.
As I indicated above, I plan to implement an algorithmic scoring/reputation system that will take peer feedback into consideration when deciding which journals will be displayed in the journals lists.
Many of you have surely noticed back in the spring that I introduced "Thank" and "flag" links on journals. To those of you who have been using those, thanks. I'll be using that information in a future update.
In the meantime, I hope these two short-term changes help some.