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Thoughts On The 2005 Weblog Awards

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Voting for The 2005 Weblog Awards clocked in at nearly 445,000 votes in 37 different categories., a total which simply amazes me. I want to start by thanking those who've sent well wishes and provided occasionally needed moral support.

There's been lots of comments about The Weblog Awards, most positive, some negative. I want to address a couple of the meta issues from my perch as the host. First it's worth restating the guiding principles of of The Weblog Awards, since it's inception in 2003:

1) Open and public nominations
2) Categories that allow blogs of similar readership levels to compete
3) Real time vote totals
4) Quick turnaround of the results
5) Fun

Lots of people had fun with the process and the prospect of expanding their horizons by participating in The Weblog Awards. There's a great big blogosphere out there and The Weblog Awards helped many people see more of it. I've been somewhat surprised and very pleased by the support and participation of blogs from the left side of the political blogosphere like Crooks & Liars, Jesus General, Pandagon, Talk Left, etc. promoting their participation and providing support to me personally. I'd also like to thank the countless number of finalists who've sent messages thanking me for doing a thankless job. Most finalists can look at the hoopla and can only imagine the headaches that go with running a contest like this. I'm sure all of them are glad it's me instead of them taking the slings and arrows.

On the subject of participation, The Weblog Awards are (and have always been) open to all. Everyone is welcome to participate and everyone is invited to vote. If you were late to the process this year, we'll be firing up things in late October 2006 at weblogawards.org with a call for new categories. Nomination start in early November and voting starts around December 1, 2006.

Regarding participation, there was a minor controversy over the source of votes for one of the finalists in the lowest Ecosystem category. The blog was new (and hence low rated in the Ecosystem), but the blogger was an established online guy. He ended up getting a personal recommendation and link from a the owner of a prominent online forum. I received several request to "do something" about it. I declined to do anything about it. It's a big interweb and everyone is welcome at The Weblog Awards. Maybe other awards are closed to the general public or open only to specific communities, but that is not and never will be The Weblog Awards model.

One question that often comes up is why the voting period is so long. It's always been a 10 day contest because that seemed to work as a playing field leveler. It gave the little guy (or gal) a chance vs. the big guy (or gal) in the categories where blogs of dissimilar traffic stats compete. The reasoning was (and is) that a committed little guy (or gal) has a shot against a disinterested or marginally interested big guy (or gal). Maybe that will change in 2006, but so far in three editions of The Weblog Awards the model hasn't proved to be broken.

That leads me to a complaint I've seen floating around that needs to be addressed. It's no secret that Wizbang is a conservative blog, nor is it a secret that it's highly ranked in Technorati and the TTLB Ecosystem. Over the past three years I've tried to keep that label well removed from The Weblog Awards. The Weblog Awards were never intended to be, nor have I ever purported them to be a "conservative" event. Call me an idealists, but I do believe that it's possible to engage in such competitions in a spirit of openness to all political leanings. I think the 2005 edition of The Weblog Awards proves that. Conservative bloggers who may have grown accustomed to a dearth of liberal nominees and finalists in The Weblog Awards should probably divorce themselves of the notion that liberal blogs will (or should) stay away because they have their "own" awards (The Koufax Awards). Again back to the bit about everyone being invited...

Denigrating the apparent victories of several liberal blogs in major categories, is in my opinion, childish. I didn't hear any teeth gnashing in 2004 when Powerline won the Best Blog category, nor should there be a hue and cry when (it appears) that DailyKos will win that award this year. Maybe there's not a lot of audience overlap between those two blogs, but the fact that each won the top award is testament to their reach and influence. The same goes for winners in other categories. Their votes are no different that anyone else's vote, it's just that they have more of them. As a Survivor fan I'm reminded of a familiar refrain in the final tribal councils, "that was the game I was playing." The Internet is a big place and there's lots of places to pick up support. I saw it all this year: forums, mailing lists, community sites, grassroots organizations, etc. Collectively this kind of exposure is a good thing for the blogosphere, and at the end of the day "exposure" is what The Weblog Awards is really about.

Next year, to eliminate confusion, I'm going to ask everyone at Wizbang to just stay away from the topic of The Weblog Awards completely - which both Jay Tea and Paul already tend to do without asking. Neither Jay Tea nor Paul are involved in any way in The Weblog Awards - they're as much spectators as anyone else. Each made one post regarding the awards, which I hindsight I wish were not made. Since The Weblog Awards site is hosted separately, sometimes I forget that what is said here (even if it not by me) is often regarded by others as part of The Weblog Awards. I don't think of it that way, but in the blogosphere such perceptions can quickly take on a life of their own. Every year is a learning experience; that's one lesson I learned this year.

Which brings me to my last point.

I'm under no illusion that (even with unlimited time) I could prune the nominations for each category to a list of the 15 blogs that everyone would agree were the absolute best 15 blogs that category has to offer. Under incredibly tight deadlines, I (and the awesome people who help me) do what we can to pick the best slate possible. In the process I'm sure many excellent blogs are overlooked. The fact that you might not like some (or all) of the finalists in a category does not equate to their worthiness to compete and/or win.

Again I refer back to the "open to all" commitment. If you can't get behind the openness concept I encourage you to find (or create) your own closed or limited participation awards, because that's not the direction The Weblog Awards is going...


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Thoughts On The 2005 Weblog Awards:

» The Club for Growth Blog linked with The Club's Blog Win 'Best Business Blog' Award

» The Florida Masochist linked with Awards, Knuckleheads, and a few blogging notes

» The Politburo Diktat linked with Thoughts On The 2005 Weblog Awards

» In Search Of Utopia linked with Final Thoughts on the Weblog Awards

» The Glittering Eye linked with 2005 Weblog Awards winners

» MacStansbury.org linked with My Humble Thoughts On The 2005 Weblog Awards

» Joust The Facts linked with Sigh. Always A Bridesmaid ...

» Right Wing Nut House linked with THANKS FOR THE VOTES

» Lord Boomboom's Castle Thoughts linked with Weblog Awards Review

Comments (10)

People comment about them i... (Below threshold)
-S-:

People comment about them in/on Wizbang when/if Wizbang hosts a thread about them. Otherwise, I know I'd have never uttered a word.

Unfortunately, offering comments this year has not been a good experience. I tried last year to help and I mean, really, really help, enthusiastically and generously with all possible resources but the criticism and lack of gratitude left me with a bad experience overall.

Best wishes to everyone who finds the Awards fun and worthwhile. I find new and quite interesting blogs every year (last and this) from the lists of nominees and finalists but my voting, she is over. However, I've never found any problem with any range of the political spectrum in the Awards (last year, this year, my only familiarity however slight or not), other than, after the fact's last year voting manipulation attempts that appeared to originate with one very large and quite liberal blog and community. Although I have no idea if other blogs of any political perspective have attempted that sort of thing -- it makes a very bad impression of the Awards overall because people then question the credibility of them when they ought not to otherwise.

Thanks for running the awar... (Below threshold)

Thanks for running the awards, Kevin. I enjoyed being a nominee this year, and, though I didn't win, it was quite a bit of fun. The open-to-all concept is fine to have it open, though it's apparent that some took the contest very seriously. It is, after all, the naming of the king and queen of the prom.

It may work better to have real-time vote updating for the first five days, to establish the "leaders of the pack", then to leave the voting blank thereafter, so the winners in each category will be more of a surprise.

I don't know, just an idea.

Thank you. I was exposed to... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

Thank you. I was exposed to over a dozen new blogs. some of which I like and will visit now and then. I appreciate your hard work.
I also like to see what others think are good blogs, I am amazed at the votes in some groups.
thank you

I do want to say Thank You.... (Below threshold)

I do want to say Thank You. Although there were a few categories, I disagreed with and I didn't get to be a finalist, I learned a lot from the awards.

I decided to do endorsements for most categories (skipped LGBT, Podcast, and Best Liberal Blog) on my blog. In the process I ran into a lot of cool blogs and got quite a few links from sites I endorsed or even mentioned.

I also found something that was so interesting in the blog awards that I ended up getting a link from the Wizbang Blog itself after first showing on Cox and Fulcrom.

My one suggestion for the awards would be to make the "Best Liberal Blog" and "Best Conservative Blog" categories bigger than 15 to accomodate cross-nominations with the "Best Blog Award." The way the nomination worked this year, no offense but it felt like I was voting "Best Conservative Blog Not Good Enough To be Nominated for Best Blog."

I appreciate that you go th... (Below threshold)

I appreciate that you go through the time and effort, and the headache of the countless thankless people who are all too happy to let you know it.

But there are things I struggle to understand, mostly of the mathematical kind.

Like how a certain blog got more votes in one category than the total number of votes cast in other big categories combined. A push by a fellow high-traffic blogger just doesn't seem to explain it.

I also struggle with seeing that competing blogs have the same level of traffic.

For example, JG's technorati stats: Technorati Rank: 193 (5,255 links from 1,587 sites)
Six Meat Buffet: Technorati Rank: 940 (4,994 links from 721 sites)
Iowahawk: no ranking, 792 sites linking.

Maybe it's just my limited understanding of such things. I'm not a tech person. You may even have explained these things, and I've overlooked it.

Nonetheless, while I am confused and nonplussed, I still think this is one of the biggest blog get-togethers constructed. I don't think the questions and dissappointment of some people takes away from that. People are still by and large appreciative that you do this, and I hope that none of the rest of the discourse minimizes that for you.

It's a helluva feat.

You rock, kevin! You did a... (Below threshold)

You rock, kevin! You did an awesome job, and poo on anyone who didn't look at this contest in the spirit of fun. I personally got a good traffic boost, and had a blast engaging in a little light-hearted competition with some bloggers that I know and love.
Anyone who gets pissed about the results, needs to find something better to do with their time.
Thanks for letting me take part, and thanks for packing and carrying all the luggage.

Thanks you Kevin for the op... (Below threshold)

Thanks you Kevin for the opportunity to participate. I really enjoyed discovering many new (to me) blogs.

Thanks for a very well run ... (Below threshold)

Thanks for a very well run contest Kevin. Your point about the Lefties success this year was well-taken.

Many thanks for the fun rid... (Below threshold)

Many thanks for the fun ride; Decision '08 was up for Best New Blog, a fact that delighted me, and though I came in 7th, I was still honored to be included and really pleased with the recognition. Happy Holidays!

Kevin, We thought the weblo... (Below threshold)

Kevin, We thought the weblogs were a complete success and compliment you on your investment in such a project. Though we lost (it was a very close, exciting, and intense race over there all week long), we had a blast for those ten days, met a lot of new people, found several new blogs, and watchted the traffic to our blog go up from an average of 300 hits a day to 900-1000 hits a day. It's a great way to be discovered, to gain new readers, and to find the most interesting blogs. Thanks a lot for all you put into it, it is much appreciated! Keep up the great work.




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