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Posted by on Sep 6, 2010 in Blogging, Current Events, Featured | 12 comments

2010 SA Blog Awards Trigger Random Acts of Bitchiness. Again.

Yes, this is one of those Vote for this blog in the 2010 SA Blog Awards links. Go on, you know you want to!It was bound to happen. Again. It seems that each year the SA Blog Awards (SABAs) are held, there are those amongst the blogging fraternity that take time out of their busy schedules to poke holes and shoot jibes into the process.

I do understand (to some degree) the resistance to the SABAs.

One Man, Many Votes

The nomination process was a little confusing. The finalist voting process is not much clearer either. Much seems to return to one common issue – that the awards are made along popularity lines more than against a regiment and structured set of technical criteria. And that is, for the most part, true enough.
The blogs that are able to rally their readers, their friends, their families and everyone in between, are the ones that are going to get the most votes in the final tally. Most perturbing to many commentators is the fact that your fans can vote for your blog once every 24 hours.

And those public votes are to count 70% towards the final decision. The other 30% will come from the opinion of as yet unannounced judges – “leaders from the blogging and media fraternity’”. Of concern to people seems to be the total lack of consideration for any statistical data in the judging of the blogs.

No mention of Alexa ranking, no checking of stats from Afrigator (which we incidentally seem to be struggling to connect to as I type this), MyScoop, Amatomu (which keels over so often as to be almost pointless) or weighting from Google Page Ranking or Technorati authority (registering for which would need to be done months in advance, and which needs a thorough understanding of do-follow vs. do-not-follow links to be useful).

TMTI (Too Much Tech Information)

Fact of the matter is that if you don’t know about these options you won’t have them on your blog. The reality is that many good bloggers are just that – very good bloggers. They are not all entirely technically inclined and indeed many of the blogging sites which host their blogs (WordPress.com, Blogger, Blogs on News24, etc.) have concerns over allowing users to add script-driven elements to their pages.

Should a dependence on external stats be implemented it would automatically disqualify a large number of bloggers from even being considered for an award. And that would be a crying shame.

Many incredibly talented bloggers rely on others to support the technical side of their blogging efforts. If the only sites that could be eligible for a SABA were those that had all of the counters and aggregators possible installed and were running on their own domains, we’d have a very small pool of choice made up predominantly of male tech industry types.

Little Miss Popular!

So it is a bit of popularity contest. So what? Like many competitions, public opinion and popularity are reasonable barometers of value, in my opinion. Sure, it doesn’t always end in a result that is totally acceptable to everyone. Witness the semi-fiasco of the recent “SA Idols” singing contest – we had two joint winners of that for goodness sake! Sometimes ‘the best’ doesn’t win – anyone remember the name of the winner the year that Susan Boyle came second in the “Britain’s Got Talent” competition? Thought not.

In both those cases, it is public votes that count, and not necessarily the best performer. In fact, the judges’ opinion at the final stages of those competitions don’t count for anything, never mind 30%.

Shaun Oakes & Stacey Hutton over at Quirk eMarketing posted the following brilliant Hitler parody
video over on their GottaQuirk blog with the note that “…some bloggers who didn’t manage to crack the
nod have been understandably bitter.” It sums things up perfectly!

Everyone Has Their Own Issues To Deal With

There are people who are taking issue with the selection of the finalists as well, with some admittedly valid concerns being raised. One or two of the finalist sites have not had posts on them in ages, some are clearly in poorly selected categories, and some are even being challenged as “not really being blogs at all”.

Organisers have addressed some of these issues already, and are at pains to point out that odd category assignments are due to nominators not selecting the correct category in the first place. Also, it is worth noting that the entire SABA programme is driven and managed by volunteers. These are not people who have all the time in the world to manually sift through 1000’s of entries to ensure their eligibility and correct category allocation.

Another issue that seems to be bugging some bloggers out there is exactly how some sites landed up in the Top Ten lists in the first place, especially when their respective owners express total surprise at being in the finals without them even knowing about it themselves. Again, this is simply the combined effect of public nominations and the anonymous voting system. I didn’t know anything about the Blog Awards until Voted! took it upon himself to nominate the site. For all we know though, someone completely randomly could have done so and not told us.

If that had happened, we would never have had a chance to set up the “Nominate Us” banner and would subsequently would never have made the finals. Without the public promotion how anyone would get into the Top Ten is beyond me. As it was, I subsequently nominated one of our posts into the Best Single Post category, but simply never promoted it at all. As a result, it wasn’t even considered as one of the finalist posts. I’m not suggesting the post is so fantastic that it would have undoubtedly made the final list, but it is a pretty good piece of writing. Just saying, is all.

(To be honest, now that I have had a chance to read the finalist posts in that category, I’m quietly glad that it didn’t make it through – there are some damn talented writers out in SA Blogland. You be the judge: Here’s the post that I nominated. And here’s the post that I am voting for myself. No competition really.)

And The Answer Is…?!

So, what’s the solution? I hear you mutter under your breath. To be frank, I don’t really have the answer to that.

What I am more certain of is that I am sure the SABA organisers would far prefer a more supportive environment in which to run the Awards. Each year things are learned and adapted to improve them. Each year some complain and moan. The reality is that the system will never suit everyone, will never make everyone happy, and will always trigger a little controversy.

And I’m thinking that that is not necessarily a bad thing. It fosters a spirit of evolution and improvement.

If I could be so bold as to volunteer one suggestion to the organising committee for next years’ competition though …? I think blogs and their owners should be made to enter their own sites to be considered.

In doing so they should be asked to accept the terms and conditions of the contest, its’ nomination and voting processes, and the final allocation of the awards. That way, if you didn’t want to be associated with the SABA’s for whatever reason you wouldn’t have to be. And you wouldn’t be able to act like a “bitchy bunch of little girls”! (with apologies to Sam in Burn Notice) if you weren’t listed as a finalist, or allocated a Best in Category prize.

Far be it for relative unknown newbies such as ourselves to raise an eyebrow with sardonic and somewhat cynical scepticism, but much of that bitchiness seems to be coming from folk outside of the chosen few. Just saying.

No this is not another Vote for BlaBla link. But if you do want to vote for us, hit the sidebar badge! You may as well seeing as you took all the time to read this far anyway...

12 Comments

  1. Whatever, I’m off to vote 🙂

  2. I have a site in the finals as well so prefer to stay anonymous at this stage.

    I just wanted to say that I think you're spot on with your comments and ideas. More support and less moaning will help make the awards better every year. I especially like the idea of having the bloggers commit to T&C's before they get to pimp their blogs.

    Also the video is funny hell! Great work by the Quirk guys who did it – "Must I blog about the weather every day like imod does?" He doesn't do it everyday 🙂

  3. Whatever, I'm off to vote 🙂

  4. Oh okay then, I guess I could toss a vote your way.

    • Nice one mate! G'day and all that… 😉

  5. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  6. What a lovely post! Definitely sending a vote this way.

    • Good of you to say, and kind of you to vote msprint.

      Yourself and the Paddle Sweep crew deserve your Top Ten rankings as well – votes are on the way!

      • "Crew" just two of us there 🙂

        Anyway…I really like the points you've made about Afrigator because I've had HUGE issues with them. Since I've registered the blog it's telling me that I've had nobody view it…errr?

        This will obviously count quite heavily against me if the judges are going to be relying on stats to decide who wins and who doesn't. Their site is almost always down, I get an internal server error when I try to check FAQ….sent a mail asking what's going on, now hoping for the best.

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