Sunday, November 04, 2007

UUpdates stalled

So, my company is bought and it's the big move weekend. This means disconnecting all the servers trucking them to another city, setting everything up and spending a lot of time fixing anything that's broke. Long weekend with 14+ hour days at work.

None of this had anything to do with why UUpdates wasn't available, that I could have planned for, but wouldn't you know it the hosting provider chooses to perform and upgrade that knocks it offline the same weekend I am super busy. Nice timing.

The provider is having bigger issues, they say they will hopefully resolve things soon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Smile Bright Tonight

Time for another seasonal plug for a UU musician:

John's Garden by Peter Mayer

Farmer John wandered back
And when he reached the pumpkin patch, began to speak
He said “the weather’s getting colder
Summer’s over and it’s almost Halloween
That’s the day, the reason you were raised
When everything about your life will change

You will have eyes to see, and for that night, you’ll be
A bright lamp burning in the darkness
But remember that candle shines for only the briefest time
In a jack-o-lantern’s heart”

The pumpkins held a meeting then
Some were very apprehensive and afraid
“Could this really happen to us?
What could be the meaning?” is what they were saying
“This is home, it’s all we’ve ever known”
Then one bold, outspoken pumpkin spoke

He said
“I don’t need eyes to see , it sounds like a lie to me
I like it just fine here in John’s garden
And remember that candle shines for only the briefest time
In a jack-o-lantern’s heart”

There is much to ask and to ponder in the pumpkin patch
When imposing old October shows up at last

Then a pumpkin from the farther end
Who had been silent up till then
Over the commotion, said
“What would you rather have my friends
A chance to shine, or die here on the vine?
The better way seems very plain to me

You will have eyes to see, and for that night, you’ll be
A bright lamp burning in the darkness
And maybe that candle shines for only the briefest time
In a jack-o-lantern’s heart
Oh, but one goblin’s smile should make it all well worth while
You know you might even see the starlight
And knowing that time is brief, makes it that much more sweet
When you have a jack-o-lantern’s heart”

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Server Upgrade

The ISP let me know that my site, and most of it's settings had been migrated. I have managed to mostly get things running, but you may notice some odd behavior. If you do please let me know, like strange characters, sites not updating, etc. I have been working through a list of errors I have noticed.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Kids in Church

As a follow up to Church with an Infant I'd like to share some thoughts about bringing older kids to Sunday services.

I'll start with my experience growing up. I was raised a Catholic, and attended Catholic school. So five days of religious education was deemed plenty and I did not have to attend Sunday school. Of course for the Catholic church attending Sunday school did not mean missing the service, Sunday school was usually before or after the service so the whole family could attend mass. Mass serves the following purposes:
  • To receive communion
  • To gather as a community
  • To lift our voices in songs of praise
  • To hear the good news
As a child the only thing that was not immediately available to me in the mass was communion. One had to go through special preparation before receiving their first communion. From the earliest age I can recall I was a member of this community. All I had to do was hear the good news, I didn't even have to understand or even agree with it. The only part I really liked though was the singing. Mostly I would see what permutations of equations could be made from the hymn numbers. I had never heard the term "Intergenerational Worship" and it had not occurred to me that there were places that assumed "Worship" should be exclusive of children.

When I became a UU my understanding didn't really change with the exception of communion. There are still times where I don't get much out of the service beyond gathering in community. If I am preoccupied because of job stress, or other problems I may not be focused enough to process the sermon, but I do listen. As they told me when I was a kid maybe it will sink in later. Singing is still usually a highlight of the service.

I could not imagine being told as a child anything along the lines of "you're smart , you should get something out of church" which seems more like a trap. It's a trap that is often set in UU churches in other contexts as well "You're a compassionate human being, of course you support [insert political agenda item here]". I am making a mental note to myself to never say anything along those lines to my daughters.

My opinions regarding youth in services became solidified when I was a YRUU advisor. I had learned that about 90% of youth raised as UU do not grow up to become active members of UU congregations when they grow up. In discussing this with youth I found that many of them had very little familiarity with "adult" worship services. Youth in religious education classes would get to know other religions by going on trips to visit other local services. the teachers were astonished when the youth said they had no experience to compare the "other" services to. Eventually they decided a "visit" to the home congregation was in order. When i discussed this with young adult UUs they expressed feelings of discomfort going into their home congregations. Would they be accepted now? Were they grown up enough? Was it ok to stay beyond the first fifteen minutes? The way we as UUs currently raise our youth it has a very poor rate of growing our UU community.

My solid opinion got mushy after a while. There were two things that helped me think about it differently. First was an e-mail from a thoughtful young woman who was born and raised a UU. She was not a member of a UU community, but she still would claim the identity UU, held fast to the values she was taught when growing up, and had a spiritual practice involving close friends which was similar to her experience as a youth in Sunday school. As much as I would have liked her to be an active part of a UU community I would have a hard time defining her current choices as a failure on the part of the UU community. A wonderful young woman was raised, where's the issue?

In fact after reading the thoughts of this woman it led me to deeper questions regarding my own participation in UU congregations. UU services filled a void in my life for Sunday morning worship, do I feel the need to instill a void? Am I really gung ho about being a UU, or is this just the least offensive option to fill the void that I have found? Do UUs really have a message of salvation that is important for the world to hear? All really good questions to ponder.

The second thing that made my opinion get mushier was having kids. At their current ages sitting through a Sunday service would be a constant struggle, and they are happy with the alternatives. I do think it makes sense that someday they actually join the community in worship, I'm just not sure that day is today. For now the first fifteen minutes or so seems good enough.

I do think that UU youth who have gone through a Coming of Age Program and signed the membership registry should be treated as members of the community (minus of course an expectation to pay dues). It seems very odd to me to celebrate their joining the community only to send them away on Sunday mornings.

At this point my opinion would be that youth (not infants) would probably be better off going to RE, until they are older. But I do think any youth who is interested in joining the service should be welcome. If they are interested by all means encourage it. In fact I wish it were easier in most congregations for parents to both bring the kids into service and have religious education as an option. About the only way I know of that would allow this to work would be to attend multiple services on a Sunday morning, one for the RE and one for the worship.

As a final note. Unlike my thoughts regarding infants in worship services my thoughts regarding youth are much more guided by principle. It would seem that the answer to the question about where youth belong should be answered by fundamental question about our community. What is the purpose of our worship service? Is it a lecture and a concert intended only for those who can fully appreciate both? Do we wish to grow the UU community? Is it important to raise a generation of UUs that not only identify as UU but want to join our congregations? And of course all of this would be with the understanding that individual needs and desires of the youth should be respected.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Church with an Infant

My wife has been on the path to UU ministry for about a decade now, she says she is on the turtle track. During this time we have traveled to many congregations where my wife preached. We also had two daughters and that gave me the opportunity to care for my young daughters at several different congregations and see how different congregations handle things.

Did I stick the kids in the nursery? Did I keep the infant with me in the service? Did I go to an area where they piped the service to listen with my daughter? Yes, all of the above. The option I chose mainly boiled down to how my daughter and I were doing that morning as well as what options and obligations I had that morning. The decision was never decided on general principle alone. As the parent of an infant there was one thing I appreciated more than anything else - options. And helpful greeters to let me know the options were always appreciated. If your church has greeters make sure they know the options for parents.

Generally I hang back and wait when conversations go on in the UU blogosphere, with good reason. Usually someone steps forward and says pretty much what I was thinking more eloquently than I would. This time I have not seen that happen and in fact have found myself in the odd position of taking umbrage at things both "sides" of the argument have put forth. If you are not a reader of the UU blogosphere and you are not sure what I am talking about then you can get the gist of the general conversation which started with a comment at "It was like one big discussion", and then to "'Welcoming Congregation' ... for parents of young children???", and then to Those evil people who do not want children in church services, and then to Babes in Church, not Toyland and other responses I may have missed.

The comment that bugs me more than anything else was in regards to church nurseries: "Not enough staff. Or the staff isn't qualified. As in, 'Oh, I'm going to feed your two month old some animal crackers, okay? Spread with honey?'". Now I suppose I should take some offense at this having been a volunteer in a church nursery, but no that's not it. Sometimes as I traveled with infant and wife I was responsible for some technical aspect of the church service. I needed to rely on the church nursery, the idea that someone would know that a church was unsafe for my younglings and not immediately go full tilt at making it a safe and sanitary environment is a tad disturbing. Trust me as a new parent I learned quickly to ignore rude suggestions, but there is no way in heck that I would go to a church that didn't have the common decency to offer my infant a safe environment. I just might need, or simply want, to take advantage of the nursery. At a minimum to be welcoming to parents of young ones we had better make them feel the family is safe.

I do agree with the understaffed part. Sometimes we had 2 adults to anywhere from 6 to 8 infants/toddlers and if this ratio sounds OK to you then volunteer in the nursery. When you have that many little ones and they are happy it is a joy to behold, but things can rapidly degenerate when one kid goes into bouts of crying. Kids at that age are empathetic, and one inconsolable child can demand nearly the full attention of an adult and make pretty much everyone else miserable.

Frequently it lined up that the church service was right when my daughter would need her nap. This sounds like it would be perfect timing for the nursery, but if she didn't fall asleep in the car on the way to church then it wasn't. She would either scream for 30-45 minutes when placed in a crib and make everyone in the nursery miserable, or 15-20 minutes with a dedicated nursery member attending to her, or she would quietly drift off to sleep in my arms during the church service. I know this cause we tried all the options. When I brought her into the church service I knew that it was doing the folks in the nursery a huge favor to not have to deal with her, and I could keep any disturbance to acceptable levels within the service.

Of course leading up to church service my daughter was usually noticeably fidgety. This made some adults around me uncomfortable, but what I was counting on was keeping her fidgeting until the service began to maximize the amount of time she slept in the service. The folks who offered information were always appreciated, but the ones who were more obviously telling me what they thought I should do were not. "By the way, children belong in the nursery" is not the polite way to tell me what my options are. I'm making what I consider to be the best choice, and most parents would, and I do not need to hear anyone else's preferences. If a parent has a fussy baby to contend with then they don't need the stress of fussy adults adding to their stress.

Sometimes it had been a long week at work, and I didn't want to be forced to decide between time with my daughter and church. As long as she was willing to oblige and the fussing would be within acceptable levels it should be ok. I would have to have a member of the community try and force me to choose.

I did try cry rooms as well. Often times in the "cry rooms" the decorum was allowed to deteriorate to the point where there seemed little point in attending. It doesn't seem appropriate to ask someone to quiet down their child in a cry room. If you do want to actually pay attention to the church service then you just might have to leave the cry room and hope for the best in the church service. It all depends.

Reflecting on my experiences I never really appreciated encouragement or discouragement either way. Support was always appreciated, but far to often it seemed that peoples encouragement was more about validating their own or their friends life choices. If one week I decide that my teething daughter should really be in the nursery, and you tell me how it's the best thing to do "because the kids are so used to it from daycare" then how will you feel next week when my daughter is with me? If I keep my daughter with me, and you tell me how wonderful that is "because I am such an attached and loving parent" then what will you think of me next week when she is in the nursery?

Children older than infants are an entirely different issue. Talking about older kids at the same time only confuses the subject. Perhaps I will post some reflections on older kids in church services later, but this post seems long enough already.

Bottom line for me is that I don't see promoting any particular choice as the right choice to be healthy for our congregations. It would be nice if we could offer as many choices and options as possible. I have been to congregations that had a nursery where the service was piped to, as well as a separate room with the service comes in over the speakers. In addition to that I think parents, particularly new parents, often have enough stress that they don't need other people's judgment placed on them.

My favorite memory of bringing my daughter into a church service was when Nick Page was leading a music worship service at the congregation. It was one of those times when my daughter's nap was lining up to be during the church service, and by golly I was going to be singing in the choir. Some people's nerves were palpable leading up to the service, but I didn't have time or inclination to worry about their issues. By the time the service rolled around she was asleep in my arms, and with a group of about 60 of us singing loudly on stage she quietly slept through the service. Afterwards I got multiple comments that in addition to the wonderful music my gentle swaying of my daughter on stage was another highlight of the church service for some.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

New Website

So, for the folks who have been long time visitors to UUpdates and formerly "What's New With UU?" you may recall that I had done some minor April fools jokes. This year I decided to take it one step further and actually invite someone who knows how to write an actual article. The basic gist of the idea being "What would happen if the folks at the Onion took over UU World?"

I think I managed to fool a few folks in the process, or at least my guess it that Scott Wells may not have realized that Chris Walton was not in fact responsible for actually getting Francis Stokes to publish the article.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Site Redesign

A three column format seemed inappropriate when most folks simply are there to click through to the latest updates. All the menu options (and a bunch more) are still there. If you notice any "buggy" behavior with the new software let me know. I'll highlight individual features in new blog posts.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I am almost ready to release the new UUpdates. Two changes have been made to the current site and will carry over into the new one:

First is a set of optimizations to the database. I did some things to make results faster, and some of you may have noticed the total page count was lowered. By looking at the web traffic I noticed that people are far more interested in the latest information than they are in digging in deep, at least not routinely. So, I lowered the number of "feed items" stored to 10 items per site. Some sites had up to 30 items of monthly updates, which were unlikely to ever get read. The filter is just that -- not an extensive search -- as it is limited to pulling from only the excerpt and the title, so it's best used to track hot topics which are likely to appear in the title or first part of the post like filtering on "Second Life" which is getting a lot of press. But the more limited number of posts means searching back is less productive.

The second enhancement is really to offset the first. When it comes to searching I can't compete with a service like Google, so why bother trying? Thanks to Paul Wilczynski I don't have to compete, I can use Google. If a filter on UUpdates fails to find any results, the user will be directed to a page that contains the search results for the same term on Google Search of UU Blogs. Try an obscure reference like "equus" and UUpdates will return no results (at least it didn't when I tried it, Harry Potter's (Daniel Radcliffe) photos could change that). But will return results.

Monday, February 19, 2007

[insert blank] for Ministers

As many of you already know The Rev. Victoria Weinstein has been generating publicity with her PeaceBang's Beauty Tips For Ministers.

So, is there the potential for starting a series of blogs here? Similar to how there is a series of "[insert blank] for Dummies" (no correlation intended). As others have noted it is good publicity to have the "The Rvda. Weinstein victory" which I assume to be a fitting translation error of Victoria.

So will we get "Public Speaking Tips for Ministers" from Dan Harper? Or how about keeping the focus on personal appearance with "Fitness Tips for Ministers" from W. Frederick Wooden? "Computer Tips for Ministers" by The Rev. Scott Wells (UCC with an eye on UUA)?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

New Chalice coming soon

Like Ms. Kitty I am thrilled to be mentioned in the latest UU World. more specifically and not my blog. After the UU Blog Awards I got a bit of a bug to work on a redesign and finally kicking out some new functionality. It's not there yet, but in anticipation I wanted to share one thing I have finally settled on, a new logo/chalice.

The chalice idea is basically an inversion of an RSS button, with with orange radiating out instead of white. Unlike the new UUA chalice I wanted to keep the chalice off center, as the old Universalists did the off center with symbolic purpose. It's the same idea as the current chalice, but I like the new chalice a whole lot more. It looks less "Atari 2600".

Giving credit where credit is due the actual chalice above was done by Scott Abbotts I merely changed the "circles" around it.

I am sort of bummed I didn't finish the work before the publicity. The new release is coming.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Third Annual UU Blog Awards Feedback

Just a basic post to get feedback on the blog award process. What can be done better next year? It's an evolving process.

Should we have nominations, and then a run off to determine the five (at most) for voting? Or do folks like the long lists of potential vote getters?

Would it be easier for people to submit specific posts to an e-mail address? It might help by giving me a way to respond to any questions, and having a reply address.

More time to nominate, more time to vote, too long?

Would a time line announced further ahead of time help, or does that not really matter?

Third Annual UU Blog Award Winners

There is a reason that t-shirts declaring "World's Best Mom/Dad" can be mass produced. There is no absolute criteria by which something like that can be judged. We all have our own opinions of what is important in determining what is best. What makes an anecdote great? That it touches your heart? Gives a new perspective? Moves your soul?

However the lack of an absolute criteria does not make the gift of declaring someone "the best" insignificant. It is still a sincere gesture of appreciation. To those who have won, congratulations. Your efforts are appreciated.

To our runner ups please bear in mind that of the 200+ blogs tracked by UUpdates and others eligible for nomination only a dozen or so nominations per award came in. Each nomination, each vote was someone's sincere thanks for the thoughts and energy you spend on blogging. Thanks.

And to all those who helped spread the word, read the nominations, and in general participated thanks to you as well.

The Third Annual UU Blog Award winners have been posted and all vote totals are now viewable again.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Third Annual Blog Award Vote Totals

As others have noted, the blog award voting has opened and the votes are rolling in. The threshold has been broken and the vote totals are now being revealed.

Good luck to all our nominees!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Third Annual Blog Award Countdown

The countdown to the opening of the voting for the Third Annual UU Blog Awards has begun. Last year opening and closing the voting period was a manual process making it hard to communicate a time (had an issue with nominations for this year as well). I wasn't sure when I would be sitting there ready to go. So this year the timing is all automated. Oh, and some folks liked watching the vote totals rise, others wanted mystery. This year we will have a little of both. Votes will remain hidden until at least 5 people have submitted their votes, then they will be displayed until a few hours before voting closes. They will remain hidden until the winners are revealed.

I will probably still put an announcement out on Monday, but the voting will open automatically.

So, one weekend and then a week left to read the nominations. Good luck to all our nominees!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Third Annual Blog Award Nominations Closed

Nominations are closed so we have the final list of nominees for the Third Annual UU Blog Awards. Congratulations to all who have been nominated, and thanks to those who participated. In particular a personal thanks for those who had the time and inclination to make things easier for me to compile the results. It helped. If you don't see a nomination you submitted let me know.

First I would like to run through some of the comments I received:
I'm confused, but I hope you understand what I am nominating. It was an important sermon.
I got confused on some of these as well. I hope people take a look at the above list and help me to figure out what some of these nominations reference. Hopefully with some more eyes looking it over we will figure it out.
It would be nice to have the option to choose more than one in the drop down menus - nominations need to be a broader net than voting for one site in each category, and it's a pain to submit this form more than once.
I feel your pain. I actually set it up that way last year, but people seemed confused (maybe this years didn't help) and wrote in nominations more often than not. The process is evolving, it's my second shot at it, and next year I think I will switch back to the multi selects. Thanks for the constructive criticism and dealing with the pain!
Maybe next year there could be a social justice category of some sort? Meanwhile, I nominate you ( for the best aggregator or blog network award.
That does sound like a good category. I will note it for next year. I appreciate the comment on UUpdates, and constructive criticism for that is welcome as well. Also, many thanks to those who have helped keep UUpdates up to date by letting me know about new blogs or sites of interest. Without the people letting me know about all the great new resources they may not have been added. And of course thanks for the great content. It's aggregation, it would be nothing without the content it's aggregating.
Gosh, this seems like a lot of work! Thank you for doing this!
Your welcome, I learn a lot from doing this and I think it means a lot to some folks. So that makes it worthwhile to me. Also, there is some manual process involved and it is entirely possible something got missed between the raw data and the formatted results I posted. If something is missing let me know.
Do the blogs with the most number of nominations (like the top five) make it to the voting round, or do all blogs with nominations move on? It seems like that could get crowded if all blogs that are nominated move on.... Just a thought.
It's a great thought! I agree that voting might be difficult with to many nominees on the ballot. For some categories it might be pretty easy to trim down to five, for others the question would be what to do when we didn't get multiple nominations, but rather a bunch of single nominations. So, please leave your thoughts and comments! What do we do here folks? Keep only the top five, more for ties? Not many single posts got multiple nominations.

I may not respond right away, I have a little trip this weekend. Please keep the conversation rolling. What to do with the nominees? Can you figure out the posts? Perhaps a link to the comments?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Third Annual Blog Award Nominations

I received the following comment through the blog award comment box:
Do the blogs with the most number of nominations (like the top five) make it to the voting round, or do all blogs with nominations move on? It seems like that could get crowded if all blogs that are nominated move on.... Just a thought.
In brief, my plan is to post the list of nominations then ask for feedback regarding which nominations should actually get carried into the voting. I expect we will have some blogs nominated in the inappropriate category, etc. A lot under some categories, etc. Based on previous years input a run-off to get the nominations down to the top 5 does make sense. I will be keeping track of the number of times a blog is nominated, and I can report that.

So, hopefully I will be capturing enough information, if not maybe we can do some sort of run off. And, as far as the process to be followed, I will not be deciding myself. i will be posing the questions here and looking for feedback.

Nominations Open for Third Annual blog Awards

Nominations are open for the Third Annual blog Awards. If you have any questions about thepage, process, etc. feel free to comment here or send an e-mail.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Third Annual Blog Award Categories

The more categories the more chances for people to feel appreciated, and the more to promote. So, I am planning on opening nominations for the following categories next Monday based on comments and recommendations. Hopefully the list did not get to overwhelmingly large. And if we don't get any nominations in a category, well I suppose we can drop it. Oh, I also tried to group the categories. So here they are.

Nominations for single entries (posts) or series of posts:
  • Best Religious Writing or Theological Commentary - Single entry
  • Best Review or Cultural Commentary - Single entry
  • Best Anecdote or Narrative - Single entry
  • Best Political Commentary - Single entry
Nominations for a blog's elements aside from posts:
  • Best Design or Use of Visuals - Blog
  • Best Links - Blog
Nominations for a blog's collective writings for the year:
  • Best Religious Writing or Theological Commentary - Best of class
  • Best Anecdote or Narrative - Best of class
  • Best Political Commentary - Best of class
  • Best New blog - Blog
  • Best Online Community or Group Blog - Blog
  • Best Non-UU-Themed Blog - Blog
  • Best UU-Themed Blog - Blog
  • Best Minister blog - Blog
  • Best Seminarian blog - Blog
  • Best Lay blog - Blog
  • Best Writing - Blog
The Second Annual included 11 Awards, so we are up to 17 this year. Please comment or suggest, these need to be final by the time nominations begin.

Third Annual Blog Award Schedule

The Schedule for the Third Annual UU Blog Awards will be as follows:
  • January 10th Announce Categories
  • Nominations from January 15th through the 19th
  • Post Nominations and finalize nominees
  • Voting from January 29th through February 2nd
  • Winners finalized and posted
So, today (in a little while) I will post the categories based on prior suggestions. These will be the final categories heading into nominations on the 15th.

Nominations - last year I was thinking the 5 most nominated would be good for the vote off, but then we had only a few with multiple nominations and a lot with one so it didn't seem a good way to try and determine the final nominations. So my plan for this year is to post the nominations and ask for input on finalizing the nominees. So, for example if a particular blogger gets a bunch of nominations in a single category it can be reduced to one entry (no splitting your own votes), or ones can be removed, since they are not actually appropriate to the category they were nominated in.

Voting - once the nominees have been finalized everyone following the process should have also had a full week to read up on entries they missed. The vote tallies roll in and soon we have our winners.

Winners - last year I think I took down the voting tally display right at the end. i took some time at the last minute to validate that no "fishy" activity occurred then posted the final results.

So folks, that the plan. Shout outs from folks interested/excited that this is happening would be appreciated (in other words comment with a "Woot!").

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Blog Awards

So, I am assuming, and hoping there is interest in running the UU blog awards this year? I took a quick look at some other blog awards and found that different groups had very different ways of running their awards. So, I couldn't really figure out a "best of practice" for running the awards.

One thing I did like is the idea of having a panel of judges. Last year I made some decisions and basically said things like "So... since an individual blog was nominated for best 'Group Blog' anyone mind if I simply throw out the nomination?". Having gotten no objections I proceeded with my best guess. A group of people deciding seems more appropriate.

One thing I would like to get some feedback on prior to any nominations is what people think of various categories.

Last years Awards:
  • Best Religious Writing or Theological Commentary - Single entry
  • Best Religious Writing or Theological Commentary - Best of class
  • Best Review or Cultural Commentary
  • Best Anecdote or Narrative - Single entry
  • Best Anecdote or Narrative - Best of class
  • Best Design or Use of Visuals
  • Best Links
  • Best Writing
  • Best Online Community or Group Blog
  • Best Non-UU-Themed Blog
  • Best UU-Themed Blog
Other suggested categories include:
  • Foreign language (though it would be hard to judge).
  • Best new blog?
  • Best political commentary?
  • Best minister blog?
  • Best lay blog?
One of the reasons I was thinking a panel of judges might be useful is to help with some suggested changes. For example CC suggested that it might be nice for a blogger to not have 5 different choices in a category for best post. So perhaps the blogger, or the panel, etc. could pick one nomination. Someone also suggested the number of nominations per category to limit the amount of material to read. We could do this based on number of nominations, but that would almost seem to be a "pre vote" making the final votes a run off. But maybe that's the idea.

Suggestions? Volunteers? Comments? Opinions?

Anyone care to right up a description of the Blog Categories?