Thursday, February 02, 2006

UU Blog Awards - Request for Feedback

Well, we have surpassed over 100 votes submitted in the UU Blog Awards. Not everyone has voted in every category thus the lower totals for each category.

I have received a request from Lo-Fi Tribe to disqualify/remove himself from the "Best Online Community or Group Blog" category. Last year the blog award process was run entirely through a blog and so their were comments and feedback throughout the process. This year with the automated the vote the tally process is a lot easier, but I wonder what we are losing without the comment aspect. So, unless I hear any objections (posted as comments to this post) I will honor the request from Shawn to remove him from the running in that category. If there are any other concerns regarding the nominations please post here.

Also, I would encourage people to throw out comments regarding what they voted for and why, just because, if you feel like it.

So I'll throw out a comment regarding why I plan to vote for a particular entry. The one entry that really stuck with me is something I think I might print out for my daughters and give it to them when they are old enough to start dating. Specifically I am referring to MANLY MEN AND THE MEANING OF MASCULINITY. I never thought I would read a blog with pink as one of the predominant colors and leave the site feeling more manly.


Shawn Anthony said...

Thanks John. Again, as I stated in my email to you, I'm not even sure why I was nominated for Community/Group Blog. I do have two guest bloggers, but they don't post regularly enough for it to be considered a group effort. If you could, scratch me from that one. Carry on good people, carry on.

Chalicechick said...

I have mixed feelings about having 5 posts in one category and 3 in another.

Of course, add up all of my votes, I'm still not winning, so I guess it doesn't matter.


Cranky Cindy said...

What's the cut off date for voting again? I am having a hard time getting through all the individual posts to vote for them intelligently.


UUpdater said...

February 10th is where I set the dealine, giving 2 weeks for the voting.

I do wonder if we should handle the "Single Entry" categories differently. Perhaps something like grouping all nominated individual posts per blog, so for exmaple all of the "Singing the Living tradition" series from Jess is one item to vote on, perhaps all of CC's individual posts should be grouped? or does that make it to close to "Best of class"?

Jess said...

But my posts are directly related, where CC's are individual topics.

I think it's okay the way it is. ;-)

Chalicechick said...

The way it appears looks fair to me. Jess' was a series and I think it is reasonable for it all to count as one. While my reviews are all me bitching about one thing or another and the narrative stuff is more emotional, neither group of mine really has a thematic connection.

I only wrote one real series this year, which was in Early October about my attempts to be mindful. It wasn't very good, certainly not as good as Jess'


Kevin McCulloch said...

I won't be voting for the blog awards this year because there are far, far too many choices. I've only been reading UU blogs regularly since about October, I think, and missed most of these posts the first time around. I knew that I wasn't familiar enough with the field to make serious nominations, so I figured I'd wait until the nominations ended and then look carefully at what I presumed would be the four or five choices in each category before casting my vote. But as far as I can tell, every blog or post that received a single nomination is on the list for an award. If you haven't been reading all of them all along, how can you judge?

With so many choices, I suspect that the only people truly engaged in the decision-making will be the bloggers themselves, which seems to defeat the point of what I understood was meant to showcase the best that the UU blog community has to offer. Like many things that happen in our congregations, I'm afraid I have to file this one under "unwelcoming to newcomers."

I also wonder how the final vote will be tallied. There's no page anywhere on the awards site that explains the steps in the process (once again, not so welcoming) so unless you're planning to hold a run-off among the top vote-takers I assume that the winner in each category will be the one who takes the most votes. If a category has 20 or more candidates, as some of them do, the winner in that category will probably win with something like 5% or 10% of the vote. How meaningful is that? Will the results really be much more than arbitrary?

I'm sorry to gripe, UUpdater -- I know you're doing this as a volunteer, and I do appreciate it -- but I thought it better that you get the feedback.

UUpdater said...

Kevin, I do appreciate the feedback. My intention in setting up the site was to help automate the process, but at no point do I want to "own" the UU Blog Awards. The ownership of the overall process really has to belong to the UU Blogosphere. So, I tried to set up the site to automate what I understodd the process to be previously. And you are absolutely correct, I focused on getting the functionality built, and not so much on the content of the pages, explanations, etc. I can program, i can throw together a decent looking site, but I am one of the last people that you would want to "MC" an award ceremony.

Initially I had also thought about just having 4 or 5 nominees per category, but later I was talked out of that decision. in retrospect I should have moved the discussion over to this blog, or perhaps at least alluded to it here. I should have done something to gather more input. I can understand it either way, either listing all the nominees to promote all those posts, or having a handful. Next year we should probably hash out the rules in November/December - i do not want to simply decide them as i have appeared to have done so this year (though I did try and gather input).

I am working on a set of things to remember for next year. And I would also put a call out to anyone who would like to help in the process to please contribute their talents. I can automate the website, voting, tallies, etc. But I am not among the dozens of entries for the blog awards because I do not have the writing skills that others do, nor am I particularly good at graphic design.

CC was wonderful and volunteered to create actual prizes for the blog award winners in the form of a graphic to post on their website.

Anyone interested in "fleshing out" the skeletal content I created on the UU blog awards site I created is more than welcome to. I will post the content, give credit, and be very pleased. The process as it ran to date was nominations, then all nominees are voted on. I suppose we could go to a run off for the top vote getters, but I think most people are under the impression the top vote getter wins, and I don't know if it will burn anyone out to keep going.

At this point I am willing to facilitate either decision (run off or simply calling the winner).

Also, as long as criticism is constructive and informative I am unlikely to take offense. Critical commentary shows you are thinking about something and that you care, and those are good things. With any of the projects I work on I will always try to be as welcoming of criticism as I can be.

Kevin McCulloch said...

Now that you mention it, I can see that you did ask for feedback, UUp'er... I just found your post where you said you'd be including all the nominees in the vote unless there were any objections. Missed it the first time around. Things whiz by fast on the web!

Unless my comments kick off a groundswell of popular support for a run-off, it's probably best to stick with the process you've outlined rather than change it mid-stream, a move that could be confusing or strike some as unfair. But I'm glad to hear that you're taking notes for next year. If the process has problems, it seems that they're "growing pains" problems, which are good problems to have, really.

Chalicechick said...

If 100 people have voted, and I know I haven't voted yet, I suspect that there are plenty of non-bloggers voting.

What I think as interesting (and what I think is interesting may be weird. I did study voting in Grad school for a bit) is the breakdowns of the votes.

I write the blog I want to read, but I still love some other people's blogs. As I recall, I nominated PB for some things, Philo for something else, Eccentric Father, etc, etc.

I think I nominated PB for two things but otherwise nominated a different blog for each category.
I mostly focused on people who post a lot, though I made an exception for one really memorable post.

I'll probably vote roughly as I nominated. I suspect a lot of people are going to vote that way. In some categories, I'm not the best. I write well and tell a story well, but the list of people who are more profound than I am is long.

But Lo-Fi Tribe and LCU both have a fuckton of straight ticket voters who really only like their blogs, or at least the patterns appear that way as Lo-fi gets about twenty votes and LCU gets fiften or so and those numbers don't vary with the amount of competition.

That both of them attract readers whom I presume don't read other UU blogs is really impressive in the outreach department, but makes for funny-looking statistics.

If we keep it to five nominations, we will be giving the blogs read by
people who who read other UU blogs a bit of an advantage as those of us disinclined to vote a straight ticket will have fewer choices for leaping around.

(e.g. 70 votes would look more like

LoFi 23
LCU 17
UU1 13
UU2 9
UU3 8

than the way they look now with a couple of high vote-getters that more quickly taper off.)

Whether this is desirable is up to y'all.


Shawn Anthony said...

CC writes: "That both of them attract readers whom I presume don't read other UU blogs is really impressive in the outreach department, but makes for funny-looking statistics."

I agree CC. I actually could probably really jack up my vote totals, but will refrain from doing so for all the reasons you mention. I think these awards have become more of a "Reader's Choice Awards" than merit based awards (not that I believe Lo-Fi or my attempts at writing rather than recycling has no merit!). In a "Reader's Choice" scenario, whoever can funnel the most readers to the booth wins. It might be fun, but I'm betting this was not the intention.

Also, you're right: Lo-Fi has a lot of dedicated but non-UU readers. I'm specifically trying to do this. I want to bring more people into the UU sphere, not simply communicate with the handful of UU bloggers that already exist. You're all beautiful folk, but I'm just trying to do something different. I still love you all. At any rate, this is the reality that is affecting our awards. You're 100% right.

I wonder what alternatives there are. Even if this whole scenario didn't unfold as it did, what would we have been left with? A UU Blog Awards voted on by the handful of already existing UU bloggers? Why even have awards if this is the case? I can already tell you who would win. The handful of you would have self-congratulated yourselves with one another's vote. That's not so fun, is it? What are the alternatives?

Perhaps it could become a denominational event? With an ad on UUWorld or That would bring in the sort of voters we need. Perhaps the time to vote could be lengthened to a month? Give those voters time to read everything.

I'm just tossing out ideas. I like the idea of UU Blog Awards, but it would have to be drastically different from the 1st and 2nd years. Peace!

Chalicechick said...

Most blogging awards are to some degree about self-congratulation within a group.

Indeed, most awards are about self-congratulation within a group.

This has been a really nice chance to get to read some blogs that I hadn't been reading. (I'd missed the "purple cow" post the first time.) I've gotten some nifty new readers.

Even if you do win all the awards, Sean, I do think we've gotten a lot out of it. (And I'm sure you, like most people, just put up a notice on your blog and people came and voted. I'm sure any of us could get more votes by pandering for them or emailing everyone we know and didn't mean to imply that you had done so.)

Yes, we could do it Academy-Awards-style with one ballot per blogger, or require that people not be nominated for more than half of the categories.

I'm just glad we do it.


Philocrites said...

Jaume de Marcos has left a comment on my site that is worth keeping in mind next year: He suggests a category for best non-English-language blog. There are now enough Spanish blogs that a real community of readers exists in that language. I have no idea how the one Danish blog would work into this scenario, but I think Jaume has a good idea.

The Happy Feminist said...

Hi UUpdater! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and plugging my entry!

And most of all thank you for running these awards. I really is a terrific way to get to know UU blogs. I had no idea until recentle that there was a UU blogosphere and I am thrilled to part of the community.