Aside from the processes of nomination, judging, voting and all that (we could be here all week), I’ve always maintained that one should stick to the rules and enforce them diligently. The rules (or terms and conditions) are the only fallback you have when things get a bit “hot under the collar”. Even in a democracy, the rules should govern the processes. So what am I getting at?
As one of the “judges” during the 2007 SA blog awards (probably the most controversial of them all), we were confronted with the tough task of evaluating if a blog matched the set criteria for the particular category it was nominated in. One of these aspects included “Rule 3″ – “The contest is open to any blogs that existed for a period of time during the year 2006″. Due to this criterion, this meant that some great blogs just couldn’t be included in the list of finalists.
This year is no different – the rules haven’t changed.
2009 SA blog awards rules:
* A “blog” is defined as a webpage with dated entries.
* Only blogs written within the Republic of South Africa and / or blogs written by South African citizens are eligible to be considered for the awards.
* The contest is open to any blogs that existed for a period of time during the year 2008, so weblogs that were discontinued during 2008 are also eligible.
* Only one nomination form and one finalist voting form may be submitted per person.
* E-mail addresses are required to nominate and vote. You must use your own address and confirm the validation e-mail.
* If you attempt to submit a second ballot, your first one will be replaced.
* Judges and organiser’s blogs are not eligible for the awards.
* Nominees have to fit the category they are placed in.
On closer inspection, I note that there are some blogs on the shortlist of finalists that were only established in 2009, outside of the criteria for inclusion in this year’s awards. In the spirit of all things fair and equal, I feel this is wrong and believe that these blogs should be excluded from the process.
This for me also begs the question, shouldn’t there be some independent party auditing the SA blog awards? Some independent body to check that the process is free, fair and democratic. There are some nice prizes up for grabs this year and it would be a real shame if someone won a category, but didn’t conform to the rules.
Update 1 @ 11pm:
After some messages and emails going backwards and forward with the SA Blog Awards team, it seems that the rules have been amended and now state:
The contest is open to any blogs that existed for a period of time during the year 2008/2009, so weblogs that were discontinued during 2008 are also eligible.
This basically means that the rules have now been bent sufficiently to allow the finalists to remain in the competition, instead of disqualifying them from this year’s awards. Now that the period of entry has been extended, it means that the nomination and judging process should therefore also be extended. This is to allow for other blogs that started on or before March 2009 to be included in the nomination process. Even so, it means that the current list of finalists have gained an unfair advantage.
Some other issues that I picked up includes duplicate entries for the same blog in the same category, best post (also in the wrong year of eligibility), some form of reference site for blogs that were discontinued during 2008 (how can I vote for a site if it doesn’t exist at all?) and of course the favourite webpage with dated entries saga.
I must commend and thank Chris Rawlinson for mediating. I know this can’t be easy.