I can't remember when this site was created (I think 2004 not sure) but I joined the fray back in 2006 by pure chance. I started watching "other" animes besides the typical ones you get introduced to even though Eva was my first one, I started wanting to know what others thought about it and came across FTV.
I think this is the core to all of it really, this is what FTV is, and what its true purpose is - Helping people find good animes - be it new or old.
I remember embarking on a crazy idea - I went to the old A-Z listing, and I went through the list from the top, looking at each in turn to see if i wanted to try it or not, I'd do this maybe once a year, and for everything that looked interesting i'd download the first 5 episodes.
That kept me busy for a year or so until I'd do it again next year lol.
I agree with all of that, I actually found many of the FTV Staff to be quite difficult and I didn't agree with some of the moderating. It is difficult however, I can't get it right either.
The site in my opinion started to die back in 2008 (yup a decade ago), there was a multitude of reasons for this such as the quality of anime we were getting after such a great year of it in 2006 and 2007, it went down because of the moeblob crap. Another thing was the FTV Staff Members were kinda strict or just difficult people, which rubbed people the wrong way and people left because of that. However, the biggest reason is social media, you can find recommendations for anime as well as get intrigued by a random post on twitter, insta, reddit, etc which makes the site hard to be relevant to casual anime watchers.
A through and through anime website that does well to stay relevant is MAL I think because it has a core in the sense it shows your stats as an anime watcher.
The status is a problem too, some people seem to immediately turn on someone once they get a title with power - happened to me, was amazed how many people suddenly hated on me when I became a leader, people who were a friend the day before suddenly accuse you of things and start spewing hate - before I'd even moderated a single post. Now I know why Daft had a secret identity on here to be a 'normal' person.
Anyone notice how 90% of the 'old' FTV mods left the site over night when I took over? There wasn't some fancy argument or anything, they just all silently left without a single word.
Funny, they had no idea I'd actually been running the site for months before it was announced and they were fine then.
I actually have a rather radical idea for the site, which would either transform it or kill it totally, I'm just not sure if I should do it or not - its kinda getting to the point where FTV is so dead, it can't make it any worse.
I never really warmed to MAL, it was fine as a stat / record, but I never got too into it, I'm not even sure why, maybe just because I found here first.
I have an idea but it is a bit silly and not too sure if it will work but perhaps using an incentive to get people to use FTV to watch anime, by downloading and streaming on the site (not sure if FTV still does that or not), the incentive I'm talking about is an "anime-score" like gamerscore for Xbox. Putting a value on an anime, so watching an anime that is rarely watched gives you more points per episode you watch on FTV.
I use a site called trueachievements and I'm completely hooked on it because of how the site is built on solutions as well as giving you a "Grade/Point Score" somewhat to show that you are neither a noob or a gamer that goes for achievements.
I'd really like to implement your idea, it would need some code work to do, but it could probably be made from the existing 'watch list' FTV has. We'd need some sort of rating system for animes, where the members rate each based on various criteria, and that can be used to make a score for watching it.
Maybe we could even get it to make some sort of title award each year, like 'Person who watched most obscure Anime' and even some funny ones like 'Member who watches the worst anime' or 'most ecchi' etc.
This rating system could be used to help show animes on the front page, like an auto recommendation or something.
We could even go further and add a 'quiz' at the end of the series, sort of a test to see if they really watched it or not for extra points or a different title or something.
If you become active again we can set that back to your old status. The 'retired' status is actually more to do with security, it limits ability in case the account gets compromised, and in theory makes people take note if a 'retired' person becomes active again to check its them and not spam.
P.S. Didn't know that my status had changed to Retired lol....I mean it is true though.