Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

JIB Awards: Key Learnings

At my company, after we complete and ship a software release, we conduct what we call a "key learnings" session to discuss how the release went and brainstorm suggestions for future improvements. Now that the 2005 Jewish/Israeli Blog Awards are all over but the final counting, I'd like to open this discussion with regard to the JIBs.

I will start by expressing a personal and sincere hakaras hatov [gratitude] to the Jerusalem Post and IsraellyCool for their tremendous efforts and phenomenal results in developing and conducting this year's awards! Any requested changes for 2006 must be built upon a foundation of appreciation for their towering accomplishment with the current JIBs. I know there has been quite a lot of griping by nominees and others (including me yesterday, I confess), so I feel this preamble is necessary.

With that, here are a few suggestions for next year's JIB awards. My overriding goal is to help level the playing field for nominees, and to retain the JIBs' main value as an opportunity for bloggers to expand both their readership and blogroll diversity, while disincenting some of the negative side-effects that the occurred this year.

1) One User, One Vote: My biggest issue with the current awards was the fact that an individual could vote more than once. This hugely exacerbated the endless and shameless pandering for votes by some nominees, and skewed the results triple-fold in favor of bloggers that stooped to such behaviors. Conversely, I don't see any advantage to the multi-vote model.

2) Stronger Ballot-Stuffing Controls: As a related point, it was embarrassingly easy for people to vote even more often than the three-day limit allowed. With all the e-voting and anti-hacking software available now, it shouldn't be difficult to ensure that a given user (defined by an email ID) votes once and only once. E.g., implement what many e-businesses require for web signup; require the voter to specify an email address, which is then sent a message to which the voter must reply before the vote is registered.

3) Sharpen the Categories: There are a good number of blogs that don't cleanly fall into any of the specified categories. I would go as far as to admit that my own blog was kind of borderline for qualifying as a "Personal Blog". I would suggest a category or two specifically for such blogs - e.g., "Best Eclectic Blog", "Best Politics and Religion Blog". This would replace the "Best of the Rest" category, which was so misunderstood and initially ignored that it didn't even exist in the first round! As a caveat, each blog should be allowed into one and only one "Best xxx Blog" category (with the possible exception of "Best New Blog"). If a blog is nominated and qualified for multiple categories, the blogger would be given the choice as to which one to be listed under.

4) Special Treatment for Group Blogs: Similarly, the handful of group blogs rightfully had a category of their own, but also had a significant, and often insurmountable, advantage over the individual blogs in nearly every other category for which they were nominated. For next year, I think the other categories should be for individual blogs only. The group blogs already have a category of their own; if necessary, this could be expanded to a condensed set of categories replicating the individual ones - e.g., "Best Overall Group Blog", "Best Post/Series in a Group Blog", etc.

These are my suggestions. I'm sure loopholes can be found with each of these, but I think they will go a long way towards producing a more even-handed vote next time around.

I now open the floor to comments. Please be as expressive as you want, but keep it positive and constructive.


At 2/3/06, 4:18 PM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Expressive, positive and constructive.

Those are lofty goals for our group. ;)

At 2/5/06, 5:26 AM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

One of the major constraints is that each category compounds the complication of the process tremendously.
If I remember correctly from the beginning of the process there were suggestions to increase the number of categories. And Israelly Cool! demurred because of the complication involved.
The major change I would want to see is perhaps in the best overall blog and do a ranking by size there.

At 2/5/06, 9:39 AM, Blogger Datingmaster, Jerusalem said...

by my question is why did peopel take it so seriously?
why did you and everyone else care so much
anyway come over for coffee and a greek salad

At 2/5/06, 10:28 PM, Blogger Elie said...


Point taken about overcomplicating the categories, but I think that would be addressed by not letting the same blog run in more than one category. Thus if a blog was borderline "politics" and "religion", either it would run in one or the other, of if there was a new "politics/religion" category added, it would run in that category, but it wouldn't run in more than one category.

I like the ranking by size idea - it's objective and it levels the playing field.


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