I've been a fan of Ball since Six Feet Under and American Beauty.
Since Ball only wrote 2 episodes (each) in seasons 2, 3, and 4, I think most of the crappy writing we've been talking about isn't his.
In season 1, he was writer/director in 2 episodes, writer in 4, and director in 1. I think the less he's been involved, the worse this show has been.
My opinion is based solely on the quality of the show's writing, since I have never read (and never will read) any of the Southern Vampire Mysteries novels (a/k/a The Sookie Stackhouse Novels and, in its most recent reprinting, the True Blood Series).
I don't know if I'll watch this season. Last season was just inchoherent, bordering on chaotic.