the rise and decline of the blender

So, for a while now I've been noting how far fewer submissions the Blender of Love receives on a monthly basis. And being a geek, I decided to make a chart, time on the horizontal, number of works sent in on the vertical...

So, 2002 and 2003 were kind of nuts here on the Blender! Having to read 500-600 works was a serious endeavor! On the other hand, these days sometimes we get like a tenth of that.

I think the overall quality has remained fairly decent, but I admit some months go by where there aren't many works that I find really grabbing. Then again, I've always been a bit suspect of my "editor" abilities, because at my heart I'm really not a person who makes judgments easily.

I used to be more concerned about judging "blind", barely looking at the author listed, but now I'm more inclined to "spread the wealth", sometimes picking out one work by a person I think could use the front page love... either because they're a new voice who could use the feedback, or a veteran who have kind of earned their place. It's not entirely merit-based in that regard, at least not on a per-month basis.

And you might see a similar decline in messages on the talk page... sometimes it feels like the Blender is down to a handful of stalwarts.

I'm not sure what I should do about this... in the early days (like, the 90s) I was more of a Blender promoter, but I have no idea if what I did led to the explosion of the early 2000s... probably not! But should I... I dunno, try to advertise? Or just plug the site in appropriate venues? Or add features to the site to try to make it more compelling?

I dunno. I welcome people to give me their feedback on the talk page! I'm willing to keep Blender-Mastering as long as there are people here to share their works, but I wish we could find a happy medium like we had a few years ago...

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