Currently the reworking of the friends feature has friends divided into two groups, "people I trust" and "people I read." I'm a bit hazy on the specifics, so if I have anything wrong let me know. I'm proposing adding an additional section that would function as a bookmarked group. I'm currently calling the third group the "secret love" group after semagic's secret love function because I can't think of a name right now.
The friends listed in this third group, like the friends in the "people I trust" group, would not appear on the users friends page. Nor will they be able to read the users FO entries. This will allow users to keep track of more friends, while having less on their friends page.
For example, a lot of people from my school have journals. I've friended 15 of them. But, I only read 5 of them, and those 5 are the only ones I want reading my FO entries. So why did I friend them instead of just bookmarking them or adding them to secret love? Because I want to be able to read all of their entries on one page, the way I currently do when going to read my school filter (http://www.livejournal.com/users/lovewithnoface/friends/uni). That way, if something happens at school or I want to know what happened, I can read all of their journals and see what they said. But I not only don't want to read them on my friends page, I don't want others to, as they are not journals I read.
I also have a few friends who consistently break my friends page. I keep them in a separate view through the use of filters, but if I could put them in the third view, people who read my friends page wouldn't have their browsers go kaflooy.
Or for example, all the support journals. Because most of them colour code things, I can't read them on my friends page. They'd also go in this third category. This way these journals don't show up on my friends page, and I can post with a basic FO instead of using a million filters.
Or for example ratings communities or other voting communities. I don't read those journals with my friends page, I only read them when I have time to vote. They generally have long entries with lots of pictures and take forever to load. I could put these comms in the "secret love" category of my friends list.
This is completely doable with filtering. But, filtering is not always so dependable, and I not only want a friends page with the journals I read for my sake, but for my friends. When I first got a journal, many of my friends would read my friends page. They didn't want to friend all of the people on there, but they found my friends page an interesting read. With support comms, ratings comms and journals I don't read on there, loading my friends page takes a long time and I and anyone else who wants to read it has to skip through several pages on a regular basis.
This is not only a feature that benefits the user, but also LiveJournal. It would take a significant load off of the friends page.
Filtering would still be easy. You would be able to put anyone from all three groups into the filters, so it would be easy to read and post to friends from all three groups.
less of a need to depend on filters which can change (various bugs)
less of a server load when people view my friends page
people who view my friends page know what I'm actually reading
ability to view "bookmarked" journals all on one page (or some of them on one page with the use of filters)<
However, in the long run, I think this will lessen the confusion and support. Support gets a lot of requests where someone's filters have broken, and more and more frequently, users are depending on several filters, because they use their friends list as a bookmarking device. Often users don't read or trust everyone on their friends list, and when filters break, its disastrous for them. Also, Support gets a lot of requests where users are trying to use many filters, and create a default view, and set their journal up where others are also taken to the default view. With this feature well documented in the FAQs, I don't think that this feature will cause much trouble in Support.
The one thing I don't know in all this, is how difficult this feature will be to program, and how it will interact with the other things planned for the rehaul of the friends feature.