The thing about AOTY is that following someone or not following them barely makes a difference. No one really checks their feed for new reviews, if I see someone on an album or something I can just pull their page up and look at it. If I were to follow them it’d barely make a difference.
When you are a part of a relatively small yet open community with everything including messaging left non-privatized, you can’t shut the gates on someone, hence the site doesn’t allow you to close off your page to selected site members, because there shouldn’t be much personal info on your page anyway, all of these reviews are public domain and can be pulled up with a search.
As for the damaging economy of likes: well a lot of reviewers get more likes because they’ve done something important with their review, or something very entertaining, or they’ve been doing the same for a long time, and hence they deserve the attention. The reviews will have to be ordered in some way, so if you abolish likes then the reviews will just hang around in a random order. I’ve barely seen slander or biases directed to newer/smaller uses here so I don’t really see the point. I feel like there could be an individual toggle that could be implemmented to disable likes on your particular page, and maybe even a way to make reviews unlisted, ie: they can only be accessed by a link you send select people.
The only real politics that goes on with this site is either a. people using age and behavior is a factor to discriminate other users and relegate them to the status of basement dwellers, or people using their taste in music to assert dominance over a less versed induvidual