I have always catered blogs who take care of there layout, those who optimize over time instead of a new layout every 1/2 years. It is really not that hard to tweak, it just requires experimentation and testing.
I can see why you are looking for different point of views, but I think you're not controversial enough. Many of the ideas you throw out are good and are to far from beign discussed where they are conciderd realistic. Maybe getting closer to the realistic state is when discussion can happen – adding this realistic touch to your ideas is really in the details of how you write them down in your blog posts.]]>
It took me some dozens of hours to complete and tweak the design of my site (a process that like you might not end), but you're correct – the content is more important than the design. As designers we need to get the look perfect, but we seem to forget that the majority of our readers are probably using RSS readers anyway!]]>
This used to be a reason for forums and messageboards and while those are still around I think in the design and web design community these conversations have evolved to take place around blogs. Probably because you never really got to play with the whole forum layout to suit your agenda 🙂]]>