Is your Friends list more "the journals you read" or "the people who can see your Friends-only entries"? How do you use your Friends list?
It's mostly the journals I read, though I do use it for both. I have relatively few locked entries, though I do lock down stuff with sensitive content, things I don't necessarily want my employer or potential employer to read, and things that J. Random Troll does not need to see or comment on.
I do use custom friends groups somewhat regularly to post content that I'm not comfortable with my entire reading list seeing: for example, people who have reason to see the latest random thing I have written. I mark entries with custom security both in the title and in the tag, with the string "# = " and a description of the group, for example, "Latest NaNo snippet (# = beta)". The convention of marking entries like this comes from UML, where the symbol # indicates a protected class.
I've been plotting to make a filter based off of Mutual Friends. I wouldn't know if I'd want it to be automatic or manual with an automatically generated list of possibilities. What would probably suit me best would be semi-automatic: I'd like a list to be suggested for the filter automatically, with the ability to remove people from the filter who are mutual friends, and add to the filter people who are not mutually added, but if someone drops you from their friendslist, to remove that person automatically, but if they re-add you, to not put them back in. Auto-drop, semi-automatic add. It would make friendslist-based security that much easier, without having to totally manually build a custom filter.
How do you find the people you add to your Friends list -- interest searches, recommendation, community memberships, something else? How do you decide who to add to your Friends list?
Since the list is at, near, or over my current daily reading capacity, I do not go out of my way to find new people to add to the list. That would just not be fair to anyone. Granted, I could take some communities or something off, but I don't want to do that. So I don't seek people out. I meet most of my new LJ friends these days face-to-face, and add in LJ after the initial meeting. People I meet online are usually via communities or friends, either LJ or otherwise. (Some of my latest LJ-based friendships have been after IRC interaction.)
I will gleefully add the RSS feeds of new comics that I've found to my reading list, on the argument that keeping up with them that way is easy, and going back and reading the whole archive is a timesink.
I make a point of reading pretty much everything on the friendslist, daily. This means that if I can't keep up with it, something has to go somewhere/somehow. I can skim news and comics; I'm not comfortable skimming people so much. I am not particularly All About the Default View. I have used it regularly like once, when I was apprehensive about defriending drama and didn't want to read the thoughts of someone who irked me, but as that situation resolved itself in public drama both on and off LJ, there is no real need for my Default View anymore.
What sort of "friending policies" do you have in place (even if you don't specifically call them that)? What factors do you take into account before friending or defriending someone?
Before adding someone (or adding them back), I have to believe that there is going to be a trend of general positive interaction, or they have to be really nifty to read. If I meet someone random and we really hit it off as face-to-face friends, they're so very added. It's rare that I can have a face-to-face friendship (active friendship, not just acquaintanceship) with someone, but not be willing to read their LJ and/or let them have access to the plain locked stuff in mine. LJ is an extension of that friendship, not a separate matter.
If I'm reading someone famous or quasi-famous, someone who I'm reading for their content rather than mutual friendship (or at least mutual goodwill/harmony) I have to believe that they are someone who would be OK to read my locked entries if they should surf back through my journal and poke around. If they're not, I don't add them. I'll go to their journal and read them, but not add them. This attitude somewhat extends to famous-person blogs I read via RSS feeds, even though the authors of feeds don't have the ability to poke around my LJ. There are some layers of personal defense I don't want to get accustomed to losing. It would take really stellar content to make up for abrasive attitude of the author.
I could delete someone from my reading list and still be willing to hang around in their company face-to-face and interact. But if I am unwilling to spend a red hot second in someone's company face-to-face, I am not going to want to spend time reading what they're thinking and doing either. (Exceptions might be made for the artistic content of people, but I'd prefer reading a feed for that vs. having them as a friend.
If I find that I am skimming or skipping most of a person's entries, I usually wind up removing them unless there's an overwhelming reason to leave them on the friendslist. (For example, if my baby sister's roommate wrote long tedious entries that were mostly song lyrics of bands I couldn't stand, I'd probably not read her. However, if my baby sister made those same long entries, even if I skimmed them, I'd still keep her on the friends list and keep an eye out for any decent content. Fortunately, my baby sister doesn't make that kind of post. Unfortunately, she doesn't post much at all.) Reasons to skim include: utterly boring, badly spelled, your HTML license should be revoked, always puts me in a bad mood, all canned quizzes and no original content, and probably a few others.
If someone annoys me, I make a mental note that I might remove them. If someone repeatedly annoys me, I probably won't try to change them unless our relationship is close. Better to just stop reading and find something else to do that doesn't involve them. I allow the "I might remove them" notifications to build up until they post something that inconveniences me, at which point I quietly remove them, without fanfare of any kind. I may make a private post indicating who I have removed and why, for documentation, but I'd rather just go off quietly if we're acquaintances but not friends.
If someone does something that sets off my trustworthiness filters in the bad way, they're off my friendslist. If they're someone who I'd consider an actual friend, of course, we'd do some discussion. But since my actual friends are unlikely to trip my trustworthiness filters the same way, this doesn't happen that way too often.
If someone and I have very little interaction and we're not too close, if they go silent, I'll probably remove them if I'm in a housecleaning mood and I realize that they haven't posted for like a couple months. If someone's deleted and I'm fairly sure they're not coming back, I'll remove them. If someone with whom I have very little interaction and we're not close goes silent, then pops up again, I might remove them if I suddenly realize that I'm skimming their stuff anyway.