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Posted: 01.25.2003
Hey! Wait. I've got a new complaint.
I debated and debated all afternoon about whether or not to even blog this. The whole deal has just snowballed into an ugly, sometimes factless free-for-all lead by someone who originally set the burner on high, then yanked the skillet off the burner when the heat got too much to take (removing their original post), only to come back a few days later when everything was beginning to die-down on its own and toss grease on the stovetop once again. Whoa. Lookee there. You've got flames. Some people live for the firestorms I guess.

Because of the personal attacks on my friend, I will not give this blogger further credibility by linking to her site again. I'll only link to Michele's bite-back.

Do you let it go? Do you move on? Well I for one can tell you that I'm one of the people who have complained about good, deserving sites getting overlooked amidst all this Bloggies mess. Sites that would -- and should -- have been there regardless. But after an e-mail from Nikolai last night, and the additional things I've learned today -- added to the things I've learned all week -- I'm here to say that even though several of my friends deserve to be there where they are, this years awards are a farce and a sham. And I, for one, don't want my friends mired down there in that mess. They, and their blogs, deserve more than that.

If it were as simple as yanking back the prizes I have already donated, I would at this point. Wouldn't make much of a statement, but I don't want to be tied to this year's awards ceremony in any shape or form as they currently stand. And I've told Nikolai as such. How do you now play god and say "this site deserved to be there on its merits but this one did not"? You can't. If one loses in that final nominees list, everyone loses. It's the nature of the pot being spoiled.

Beyond the previously-mentioned-everywhere Texas voting blocks* (which by the way made up 17% of the total panel because even though the contest website states that there would be 50 judges this year, not everyone replied to Nikolai's invite and rather than extending additional invites until he reached 50 total, Nikolai decided to go merely with the 23 judges that did write him back) -- we now have real evidence cited in several blogs of impropriety of one judge going far beyond "let's make sure our friends get there" -- the thing that initially had us all so shocked. I should mention that this judge is also nominated in "best kept secret" and "best new weblog" himself. Hard to believe, isn't it? A firsthand account at the site that shall not be linked here again states:

"he first told me it was only him and the dallas judges. he then said he had a friend in california that was 'helping' him to understand some categories. he then mentioned calling canada and he's mentioned calling houston too. you figure it out."
If you look at the nominees, it doesn't take a PhD to figure it out folks. This person not only decided which blogs they thought were "too popular" (and therefore would be in direct competition with their personal favorites, and as such said popular sites were eliminated out of the starting gate) -- they admitted two categories ("best kept secret" and "best new weblog") were almost entirely hand-picked (with their name in the final list, of course). This individual was even able to lobby Nikolai himself to get several of his selections included in the final nominees list outside of those two categories that individual is now a part of -- one key one being the GLBT category. How on earth Nikolai can continue on as if nothing has occurred now is completely beyond me.

*In case you haven't seen mention of the Texas voting-block scandal, a handful (at least five) judges from the DFW Blogging group made it into the 23 total judges. Several of these individuals found their names in the finalists list as well -- and had a public list (entire blog/list since removed from the web) of voting guidelines to go by. The owner of the now-deleted site was a finalist in two categories this year herself.

Yes, these are silly awards. Yes, they are run by a "teenage kid". (Although I find that a somewhat flimsy label, because at 19, I was very much on my way to being the "adult" I am today.) But these awards were also enough of a boost to my own site when I was nominated last year, that I was discovered by an entirely new audience. I want that -- with a feeling of legitimacy -- attached to my friends (who were deservedly nominated) this year. I don't want their nominations tainted -- and I'm sorry, but they are. Even though Wil was a fiasco of epic proportions last year, I felt like I was beaten by a celebrity. Not a system. And I didn't feel like my friends were left off the finalists list last year because they could -- and would -- have been in direct competition with so-and-so's friends down in Texas, and their Blogroll faves.

Last night Nikolai asked me point-blank if I had any suggestions on how to change things next year. (Please note, next year. I fully believe he intends to hold this sham of a ceremony at SxSW with no one officially questioning just exactly what has come to light in the last week.) I pointed out some of the suggestions here to him. In addition, I also suggest the following:

  1. The panel of judges be set up in advance of the nominations. Not after the fact. They would be publicly named and linked.
  2. Judges would be appointed by category. It would not be a "one judge voting on it all" kind of deal. The judges have already stated they don't have enough time to read the massive nominees lists anyway. And this way you would have tech-minded judges analyzing tech-oriented blogs, etc. If one category went down in flames over a judging scandal, you wouldn't have every single nomination and finalist in the competition questioned beyond that one particular category, because the judges would be entirely different people for each one.
  3. No judge could be appointed to more than three categories. Period.
  4. Judges and voters would both have to register beforehand. It wouldn't prevent multiple-identities from beating the system, but at least it's one more hoop they'd have to jump through first.
  5. I think judges should automatically be excluded from the category they judge in. I would never allow a Dress Contest judge in the contestant pool.
Those are just a few off the top of my head. I'm sure several of you out there have even more, and better, suggestions. If so, list 'em here and I'll make sure Nikolai sees them. Although I don't blame him for the actions of others, I certainly think an official response is warranted -- and the fact all of these improprieties have occurred needs to be publicly acknowledged by the Bloggies themselves. They have yet to be, and as mentioned, I seriously doubt they will be now.

I, for one, think there is a place for an awards ceremony of this nature. If you don't...if you think they're all BS popularity contests...well that's certainly your right. I happen to think a little peer-to-peer recognition for months worth of hard work isn't such a bad thing in the scheme of things. I know that rush of being a finalist, and I want everyone who works hard at what they do to have that chance at least once.

I just think on their current course, people have picked the wrong awards to latch onto this year. For me, Anti-Bloggies it is! At least those are purposely designed not to be fair...

UPDATE: Although I quoted someone who has obviously been making false statements about my friend throughout this whole mess, the quote by them that I included in this entry is based upon material found at several other sites -- and I feel their statements I included here are very much with merit. East West is a good source for more on all this hoopla.

Hey boy take a look at me...let me dirty up your mind...

I'm all about the anti-bloggies. Of course, you should get one for "blogger most likely to wear a tiara to bed."

¤ ¤ credit: michele | 01.25.03 at 07:17 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Hmm, I guess for once it's an honor NOT to be nominated. :)

¤ ¤ credit: jay | 01.25.03 at 07:30 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Btw, I just made an "update" to this post...so please re-read the very end.

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.25.03 at 07:37 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

great, there goes my evening... there just isn't enough time in the day. :)

¤ ¤ credit: jay | 01.25.03 at 07:39 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I can't believe they even give out awards to mentally insane people.*such as my ex bf*

¤ ¤ credit: Tammie | 01.25.03 at 07:44 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Well said and very enlightening, Robyn. You've got some terrific ideas to improve things, too. :)

¤ ¤ credit: skits | 01.25.03 at 10:01 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

It's funny how personal websites which show all the mindless unneeded drama that happens in life have an awards system set up that's full of .. more mindless unneeded drama.

¤ ¤ credit: mike | 01.25.03 at 10:02 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Poor Nikolai.
That's all I can say at this point.
I hope at least he's getting chicks for this or something.

Are you serious Tammie?
I didn't even see him there.

¤ ¤ credit: -e- | 01.25.03 at 10:23 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Dividing the list among judges so that each just only has a few categories is definitely a good idea. When we checked the box at the bottom of the page volunteering to judge, it would have been handy to name which categories we felt most qualified to judge.

I wonder if some folks might feel better to see the very first humungous list of initial nominees. I know that some people have posted the huge judges' list, but since some of my nominees weren't on that, I am certain there was an even longer list to start with. It would be cool to see the one big collective blogroll where everyone is a winner.

¤ ¤ credit: Will | 01.25.03 at 10:37 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

That judge called Houston ... the day the finalists were announced, after they were live. He did not discuss ANY voting with the person in Houston (me) because the voting was over. Oh, that and I wasn't a judge anyways, so it wouldn't have mattered...

I'm still happy to be up for a Bloggie. These days, being unemployed, being a Mom ... I have to make the most of the little things. That and Mike made me cute cookie photos.

¤ ¤ credit: Christine | 01.25.03 at 10:40 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

My suggestion that I made to Nikolai - because I don't mind the "random" judges (and I don't think they should be publically announced because people will suck up to them, or attack them afterwards) but I think it should be 200 random ones, or 100 random for each category, or something.

However, your idea of having judges for categories is a good one too. I really like that.

¤ ¤ credit: Christine | 01.25.03 at 10:44 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I don't know about sucking up and such. With the Dress Contests my judges have been public every single year and to my knowledge have never been contacted. I think people see right through that type of behavior anyway.

I've said before and I'll say it again -- people assume something sinister with things that are "elite" and secretive. It's just human nature. The more you put out there for them to trust, the more they will. Especially if you have an "expert" judging panel in each field. Other contests don't keep their judges a big secret. Why should the Bloggies be any different? Just my opinion of course...

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.25.03 at 10:49 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

i don't know how feasible this could be... but how about having judges who have no ties to blogging whatsoever? that would prevent any bias and favoring. if the judge is uninfluenced whatsoever, then we could get all sorts of blogs in the nomination bin.

OR we could get judges who are bloggers but have not been blogging or reading blogs for a certain amount of time... let's say three months.

¤ ¤ credit: Kathy | 01.25.03 at 11:21 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

The only thing I'd worry about there is, if they aren't blogging and haven't been reading blogs -- how do you find them? :-)

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.25.03 at 11:26 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Rock the fuck on girl!!!

Go Raiders!!!!!!!!

that's my wisdom for the day sorry it's the best I could do under my current state of hungness ;)


¤ ¤ credit: gnome-girl | 01.25.03 at 11:57 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

hmmm, you got a point... ;) so, i was right in saying it wasn't feasible. hmmm... and part 2 of my idea... about 3-month-old bloggers... they probably wouldn't know about the Bloggies. i do like your idea about limiting the number of judges per category.

¤ ¤ credit: Kathy | 01.26.03 at 12:01 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Hmmmm. I've kept quiet through most of this. But I thought that I'd point out that every year, I've checked the little box on the nomination form about "would you be willing to help judge" and I've never been contacted. I know I'd be a fair judge, and I'd probably find a bunch of new reads.

Ya know what's kinda sad? Even after all of this came out, I found myself looking longingly at the full nomination list -- my name was on their multiple times, and it would have been cool to actually be on the real nomination list. I'm a dork, I guess.

I wish that someone would make an honest version of the Bloggies and really care about the results, but of course, it is a lot of work (even more than a non-honest one!), and of all people, you know that, Robyn!!!

Ya know, I'm not sure what I'm trying to say in this comment. I support what you are saying, and maybe that's what I needed to say :) Cuz I love ya, babe!!! ;)

¤ ¤ credit: kristine | 01.26.03 at 12:14 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Y'know, I have recently discussed with others even trying to do it. But beyond the obvious timeframe aspects involved (which I have way too little of these days as it is) -- I've been perceived elsewhere as cliquish, and I guess too loyal to my friends. I think anyone that's been behind the scenes of the Dress Contest knows I go to great lengths to keep things fair and equal above all else, but I definitely think in light of other things I've read about me and my site in the past, I'd be the last one that could pull something like that off with legitimacy and credibility, unfortunately. Even if those who know me know that I'd do it honestly, fairly and well -- and utilize a lot of outside input, management and help. But that's just the way it is... And hey, at least I can admit that. :-)

Thanks Kristine!

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.26.03 at 12:20 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Yep. Well said. Oh yeah, and the Anti-bloggies rock.

*crystal scampers off to dream of a 'biggest cam whore' award*

¤ ¤ credit: chicky | 01.26.03 at 12:31 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

what if we did away with the whole "judges panel" part & bottom line...the people with the most votes are the nominations for each category?

On the other side of it....I think we all should still vote for the Blogger Awards just so the cheater people DON'T WIN! Give them a taste of medicine and purely vote against them!

¤ ¤ credit: tenika | 01.26.03 at 02:54 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

The problem with the Bloggies is that the very nature of a blog is quite subjective. I'd be willing to bet that even an author of a blog has changed interests, writing style, content presentation or even lifestyles since they began writing. I have only had my blog up for a couple of months, and I know I have changed in some ways in that short time. There is not objective way to categorize/classify/rate ANY blog. No blog stays on one single topic and no blog is a static work. What comes into play is opinion. As a wag once said "Opinions are like assholes - everybody's got one."

¤ ¤ credit: BillH | 01.26.03 at 04:16 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Tenika, I think the only disadvantage of "the most votes moves on" is that if I had actively campaigned in my own blog for nominations vs. someone who didn't but deserved the awards instead of me a million times over (and there are obviously tons of those out there) -- it would put them at a disadvantage solely based upon their stats counter. It's just like the Oscars -- how many times has a film been nominated that you've never even heard of? At least they were given equal consideration, even if they movie was only shown in 2 theaters in NY and 4 in LA...

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.26.03 at 02:55 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

There's a fine line between whoring yourself out for votes (perfectly acceptable, in my opinion), and the out-right rigging of the whole shebang (which was certainly the case here). The dfwblogs message boards have been going crazy with this one, and as someone relatively new to the wonderful world of blogging, it took me a while to figure it all out. Now I wish I hadn't. It makes me sad.

¤ ¤ credit: merrin | 01.26.03 at 05:15 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I don't think the problem here was in the awards being easy to game or mess around with, I think the problem is the people who unashamedly decided to do so. I hate the idea of having celebrity judges coming in from outside this extended community of ours - I think that would cheapen stuff and prejudice results towards what 'real people' like to read rather than what we like to read. Frankly, I think the block voters should be ashamed of themselves, should declare themselves and be excused from the running. Their votes should no longer count.

¤ ¤ credit: Tom Coates | 01.27.03 at 04:05 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

There was a right houha over here in L'il Ol Britain when the illustrious newspaper the Guardian organised a "Best of British" Blog award, with a panel of judges including a couple of blog experts eg Ev Williams, but mainly people not known for blogging. Contrary to predictions, the eventual (untipped) winner proved to be a popular choice but I for one was surprised at the list of those omitted from the Top 25 and quite a few of tose on the Top 25 expressed surprise at omissins. And personally, I didn't rate quite a few of them!

No election can be entirely witout taint, but a properly regulated election with clear rules can minimise the impact of taint. Otherwise, people have to take it with a bit pinch of salt. Personally, not havingmade any lists about anything, I just enjoy having an elite band of readers. And a cheap hosting package with small bandwidth.

¤ ¤ credit: Gert | 01.27.03 at 05:07 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

One of the best entries about this whole debacle, period.

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.29.03 at 04:18 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

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