Thursday, January 04, 2007

Food Blog Awards

Hey everyone!

So the nominations for this years food blog awards are finally out - and leave me puzzled. Ok, some may say, they're just pissed off because they aren't listed - but that's not it. And if it wasn't for the many excellent, yet overlooked (ignored?) blogs, I'd stay silent. For instance, both Heidi (101cookbooks) and Matt (mattbites) demonstrate outstanding photography skills, where are they? Jury?

What is the point in hosting an award, setting (quite) high conditions (6 posts per 6 consecutive months) and then fail to include terrific & nominated blogs meeting those marks, but present ones that do not?!

Seeing upfront the results (clicks) is another story...

No hard feelings, just curious!

Happy voting, or are you already a winner being the 999,999th visitor ;))
Nicky

58 comments:

Mimi said...

I'm already a winner! Or so the pop-ups tell me.

I am finding the whole thing very interesting, Nicky. I am delighted that rural blogs have a category. Now that I see how it works (I was not a blogger last year), I can see were there might be some improvements, maybe some additional categories.

On the other hand, I am enjoying the introduction to some blogs I've never heard of, but are apparently quite popular.

Liz said...
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mrs d said...

I agree, some of the results are rather odd, and there are some serious oversights, but at least it appears that most of the repulsive ballot-box stuffing was ignored. (The number of duplicate nominations for completely obscure and frankly mediocre blogs was way over the top compared to last year -- I have to wonder if the judges did any IP tracking to unmask sockpuppets because they were clearly rampant!)

That said, I find it a little distressing that a) judges didn't take themselves out of the running, especially since they were the ones picking categories they fit so well, and b) yes, you can simply click to see the voting results in progress. (!?!) This totally opens up the process for major abuse and does nothing more than build on the suspicion some folks may already have that this event is just another easily-rigged web popularity contest.

Anita said...
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Anita said...

oh, and you can vote multiple times over multiple days. I just did it, to see if it could be done. Same IP address as yesterday...

And yes, the judges' blogs being in the running is nasty, even if they didn't vote in their own categories. You have to imagine that the implicit pressure on the other judges was a factor.

I wish they'd limited each blog to one category, plus best overall. So many popular/well-known blogs appear in multiple categories, leaving lesser known (but quite worthy) entries shut out completely.

Mimi said...

I agree, Anita. While some of my favorites are on the short lists, I did see a bit of repetition.

I did not realize that judges' blogs were in the running. That really sort of negates the whole thing, doesn't it?

I guess I can't take this awards thing to seriously. . .

Derrick Schneider said...

mrs d,

On the ballot-stuffing front for the nominations, last year (and I presume this one as well) judges didn't see the number of nominations. We just saw that blog X had been nominated, but didn't know by how many people. So the ballot-stuffing (for nominations) simply wasted the stuffers' time.

Of course voting itself is open to ballet-stuffing, especially as Anita has shown.

Tana said...

I do not want anyone to waste a vote for me, so that's a non-issue. I have serious issues with the awards, including the fact that MattBites was left off in three categories I would have seen him in (humor, photography, and new). I posted my recs, and my rants, on my blog.

I don't think judges have any business being nominated: it's simply not done.

I also think it's lame to have the results be transparent. That's bad election policy, regardless. People always want to vote for a winner, you know, except the few contrarians who'll vote for the underdog. Those results should not be visible to voters. It will influence the outcomes.

Also, I voted, and my husband went to vote (not for me!) from his computer, but they said he'd already voted. So I guess I'll reboot and get us some new IP addresses.

: P

I would like to see a Best Activist Food Blog, instead of --big wet horking dog cough!-- anything touting Rachael Ray's Packaged EGOO (extra gross oily offerings) food.

I am so tired of being a cynical curmudgeon.

cybele said...

I wasn't able to successsfully nominate anything as there was something screwy with the comment spam blocker ... and I know I wasn't the only one. So I'll posit that stumbling block is one of the reasons for the narrow view (because the net wasn't cast widely enough).

The "best post" category is the oddest of them all, if you ask me. Some are from bloggers that I know and love and do not represent their best work, as far as I can tell.

Through this experience I have learned that many of the blogs I appreciate are probably not considered food blogs by my peers (and that would include mine).

As for the voting, all web-voting systems are flawed. Usually when there are enough votes cast legitimately to balance it all out (as in the Webbys).

I do like finding new blogs from this sort of exercise though. (I also find this blog to be a great place to discover new things!)

Liz said...

I agree with Anita and mrs d- I think the judges should stay out of the competition and settle for the "honor" of being a judge, blogs should be nominated for no more than 1 category (maybe 2) and... well, frankly you shouldn't be shocked because it is somewhat of a popularity contest. Semantics, anyone?

I'd say more, but then I'll just be the bitter, lazy bugger who didn't get nominated ;-)

Good luck to everyone!

Liz said...

And yea, funny that some of the "new" nominees aren't.

The very fact that Matt was ignored makes me take these things less seriously. How can you miss this guy? He's phenomenal.

Okay, really need to get back to work now...

Andrew said...

Right here we go -

judges were not involved at all if their blog was associated with a category. Apart from once - where I suggested an excellent photo blog that had been over looked in the nominations.

Blogs mentioned above were included in the deliberations. There were five (i think) of us spread over various time zones that deliberated and argued for 2 whole days. I was up until well gone 2am both days.

What generally occured was that from the nominations the first 4 places were easy to assign. The fifth generally casued the most arguements. In some cases where we couldnt agree we went and looked across the net to suggest others that might have been overlooked in the peoples nominations. This is why some sites were not nominated but are included in the final list.

How many food blogs are there? We cannot possibly know them all; if they were not nominated or were not known to a judge you cannot possibly expect them to appear. If you wanted someone to be considered you should have nominated them.

In some categories we had 10/12/15/20 blogs to review, digest, select, discuss and argue about.

I cannot comment on the current voting machanisum as this is nothing to do with me but I am sure, if there are concerns, they can be addressed. Also consider that this is not a money making scam but people, with a genuine love for the whole thing, putting their time and money forward with no reward.

I am not prepared to discuss each and every reason why blog a or blog b did not make the final list. Does the Motion Picture people discuss their reasons for the Oscars? Each and every nomination was looked at equally.

Categories were taken from last year I believe when the wellfed network was owned by other people.

The individual best post category was difficult and I think only had those that were nominated considered. I read each and every one. If you thought there was a post missing you should have nominated it.

Judges were given a list of the nominations we did not see how many people nominated them. Each was reviewed and looked at - in some cases multiple times - sometimes it was easy to realise the blog was not up to scratch; most times not.

It is suppose to be a fun all inclusive activity - a celebration of the very best that this wonderful community has to offer - if you want to vote multiple times then shame on you for being such an arse.

I know of one site currently open for voting on that requested removal because of receiving hostile and negative comments last year.

Alicat said...

I'm sorry but I think all the complaining is sour grapes.

What the hell is wrong with a little variety?! If the same 5 or 10 popular blogs were nominated every single year and won every time, it would get boring.

I wish people would chill out about this. It is for FUN!

Anonymous said...

Wow, didn't expect to come to FBS and see my blog (Everything Rachael Ray) bashed. That hurts a bit.

I'd like to point out that Cate has put herself out there to host the FBAs, which is an event intended to promote and foster our community. It must be easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize while someone else does all the work.

I think this infighting in our community is shameful.

Mimi said...

And it is fun — I've discovered blogs I've never heard of or never had time to hunt down. There is a lot of talent out there.

It's sad that some nominated last year received hostiel comments. How silly.

But on the other hand, I think this has been a healthy discussion. It certainly enlightened this newbie.

Alicat said...
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Anonymous said...

I have addressed many comments on the site, via e-mail and IM already. Honestly, there is not enough aspirin nor a thick skin enough for this, but I can't say I wasn't warned, repeatedly.

Andrew covered a lot of points, so I will try not to be redundant.

We painstakingly reviewed each and every site that was nominated, poring over every single word of each one. Some categories, it was easy to come up with agreed nominations, some it wasn't and we really did debate. Some of my favorites didn't make it, and likewise for other judges.

Judges received an Excel chart listing the category and all the nominations that were made in each one. Each judge came up with their own top 5 independently of each other. We then combined all our Top 5s and whittled it down from there.

The amount of times a site was nominated did NOT matter, and was not noted anywhere, as there were no security measures when sites were nominated back in December.

The poll is set to allow one vote per IP address. I wasn't aware that it started over the next day, but it does have a high level of security to guard against other ballot stuffing, which is important.

It was NOT possible to make the urls hyperlinks, and believe me, if I could, I would have. For me to tell everyone that they were nominated, I had to cut and paste every single url and then go hunt down their e-mail address. Many sites, surprsingly enough, don't have their e-mail address listed.

This is not a perfect process, nor will it likely ever be. The judges all gave an inordinate amount of their own time, particularly over the holidays, to take this on, but for the love and passion for the food blogging community. That said, I find some of the comments surprising, but have tried to respond to each one.

Obviously with any competition, there are hints of it being a popularity contest, and there's nothing I can do about it. Some of your favorites made the cut, some didn't. It happens. My favorite music doesn't always make it to Grammy night, but that's life. I'm certainly not sending a barrage of complaints to their head office.

No nominated site was "ignored." Every single one was looked at, and looked at and looked at. Some of the "popular" ones made it in, some "unpopular" ones did. Hey, maybe you'll even discover a new favorite.

As far as additional categories, if anything, there will be far less next year. There are just way too many.

As far as some sites being in more than one category - should we list who we thought was "the best," or should we take one of them off just because they were in another category, and put up a slightly "less best" in their place? We tried to avoid duplication/overlap as best as we could, especially with the Recipes/Original Recipes, but we also kept our eye on the priority, sending up the best.

All of us are here (FBS, Well Fed, our own individual sites) because we have a passion for all things food and wine; the writing of it, the photography of it, and sharing our "obsession" with others who "get it." I'm in this community just like you all, and have endeavored to take an active role in it since I began nearly two years ago. It is very easy to stand on the sidelines and nitpick about this, that or the other. Yes, there may be flaws and/or imperfections in the system. If any of you would like to volunteer to help out next year (if there is a next year), by all means, let me know. I will do what I can from my end.

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna chime in here because I think this is in danger of harming relationships here at FBS and in the food blog community in general for which I have a great deal of love and respect.

Some disclaimers: I was a judge last year - not this year. I know Cate professionally (NOT to do with food) and have a high regard for her ethics (moral and work).

First off - there is no way this is set up to be biased, make money or done in any other way than to pay respect to good food blogs. That is actually obvious from the way this is set up and any other thought is just wrong.

Yes - there are many choices in there that I would NEVER have made. Guess what - last year when I was a judge - there were several blogs in there that I would NEVER have chosen personally. That's the problem with an area where there are a wide range of tastes. In fact MANY of the most popular food blogs are my least favorite - they often seem fluffy to me. But obviously lots of other people like them. And I am not talking about publicity-seeking bloggers either.

So I am quite happy to accept that these finalists were put together in a truly good faith effort. In fact if you look at any awards setup this ALWAYS happens - it is very rare for there to be unanimity in these things.

I would have asked that judges remove themselves - we did last year I believe (not that it would have mattered in my case - I'm pretty sure I'll never be even nominated let alone chosen)- there may be no real cause for concern but it looks bad no matter what.

I also would have kept the results secret until voting closed - BUT - having said that I really don't think it makes a difference to the result. People who are truly determined to cheat will find a way.

I do think the multiple vote thing is sad - I'm sure Cate will fix it if she can.

I personally would only have blogs be in one category - just to give more choices - but I can see the other point of view.

And - finally - it is seriously HARD work sorting through the nominations - it took me a week of all my spare time last year just to visit and properly look at them all. It is seriously HARD work having these awards at all. So lighten up and enjoy it! I found some good new blogs. That already makes the whole exercise a winner as far as I am concerned.

Anita said...

I'm saddened that people feel that honest, good-faith criticism is divisive or petulant.

Nothing in my earlier comments was meant to take away from the incredible hard work that the judges put in -- I don't think anyone disputes that. And all of the sites nominated are fabulous... that's not in doubt, at least to me.

But I think there are some specific issues with regard to the *appearance* of bias, which could be improved upon. If the purpose of the awards is truly to recognize excellence, I humbly suggest that there are some issues that would be wise to address.

Anonymous said...

Anita, I have absolutely no problem with honest, constructive criticism, which is why I have responded openly and honestly in kind. I'm not going to pick apart everyone's comments to say who is being constructive and actually interested in helping the process, and opposed to isn't, because that isn't constructive. But suffice it to say, there's a nice way of going about things.

When Well Fed hosted the Food Blog Awards last year, I wasn't a part of it, so there were liable to be minor kinks here and there that needed to be worked out.

That being said, no matter how it is run, there is no way to make everyone happy, truly there isn't.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

You know, we judges spent days reviewing sites, two days deliberating, and I think we did a great job. I am proud of the sites we chose.

Now some of my favorite sites didn't make the cut - there were simply better blogs out there. And some more popular blogs didn't make the cut because there were other ones that we felt were better. (Hey, my blog wasn't nominated, considered or mentioned once...and it shouldn't have been-there are far better ones out there.) There were 5 of us doing this. It's subjective of course, but between the five of us, we came to consensus.

I think Cate and Andrew have summed everything up pretty well. We worked hard on this. Some sites made it, some didn't. You can't have everything you want . . . life just doesn't work that way. No sites were "ignored."

Frankly, it's infuriating that after spending all this time on this thankless job of judging, there are people - bloggers, finalists even - who are whining and moaning and even advising people not to waste votes on them. If you didn't want to be considered, you should have asked to be removed instead of wasting our time.

Anonymous said...

My two cents on the judges thing (like Owen, I was a judge last year)

I understand the reasoning about why it was okay for the judges to be nominated (and as I said at Well Fed, I think it's nice for the judges, though I preferred removing myself from the anxiety altogether), but as Anita points out, it's the appearance of bias that is the problem.

Melissa and I both exempted ourselves from the Menu For Hope raffle because I'm writing the software that does the draws. _I_ know my program is truly random; _Melissa_ knows; _Pim_ knows. I could assure all of _you_ that it was random. But if Melissa or I won, people might think it was rigged, particularly if we won one of the most coveted prizes.

Anonymous said...

And by the way, thanks to this year's judges for their hard work (it is HUGELY time-consuming), and congrats to all the finalists.

Kate Hopkins said...

Let me re-iterate some of the points that have been made already, but since I have a history with the Food Blog Awards, they might carry some additional weight.

The Food Blog Awards are a very difficult event to pull off, and every year there are problems that occur, mistakes that are made, and people who feel slighted.

In spite of that I feel that Cate and her crew of judges have done an exceptional job for what is essentially an almost thankless task.

I started the FBA's with the mission of giving attention to lesser known Food Blogs. My belief is that this year, the Well Fed folks adhered to that principle.

Were this years award nominations perfect? No...but neither were last years nor the year before that. It's an imperfect process because it contains the most imperfect of variables - human beings.

Cate, Andrew, et al - Thank you for your hard work and Thank you for keeping the Feeba's (my little annoying nickname for the Awards) alive and operating.

Anonymous said...

"If you didn't want to be considered, you should have asked to be removed instead of wasting our time"

Some of the finalists aren't/weren't even aware they were even nominated or that they are finalists. The vote machine went public before the finalists were informed of their inclusion. I don't think any of the finalists can therefore be accused of being time wasters. Can they?

Anonymous said...

Sam,

There was a lengthy nominations process where sites were nominated by the readers. That would have been the time to say "No, thank you." Before the judges began their work.

And unfortunately not all finalists have readily available contact info so some couldn't be notified of their finalist status.

Alanna said...

Every week, I welcome one or two new food bloggers using the same words, "Welcome to food blogging. I hope you find the same warm and welcoming community I found when I first started."

Sadly, today's the first day I've wanted to toss the whole lot of us in the rubbish bin.

And if the comments here and on some personal blogs are what they are, in public, I can only imagine what's being said on e-mail, IM and on the phone, in private.

My.

Mostly I'm troubled by the immediate assumption that the blog awards nominated the "right blogs" and the "wrong blogs" and are too rigged, too biased, too private, too public, too haute, too junk food, too late, too early, too inconvenient, too uninformed, too whatever doesn't suit our own sensibilities.

And we seem -- completely -- to be forgetting that (1) every single nomination, finalist and winner is both one of our own and represents our community as a whole and (2) must-must-must be of broad interest to the readers at large, not just to our own insular community of food bloggers.

I appreciate last year's judges, Kate especially, for joining this conversation. As one of this year's judges (not a good one, mind you, when life/work both took over at the same time, a situation which Cate handled with great graciousness, responding only, "Do what you can, I'd appreciate your starting here") I can tell you that it's a time-consuming, not all that interesting -- and now, thank you -- thankless job. What I can also tell you from the inside is that I saw nothing but sincere, big-hearted and thoughtful attempts to do the very best job possible for the good of the community.

During a time when we should be rallying around each other in excitement, instead, we're spitting on one another, both publicly and yes, privately. Warm and welcoming community, ha.

If I were Cate, I'd take a pass on the awards next year. Then BOB and the Weblog Awards (which doesn't even include food as a category) can decide on which food blogs are best (with apologies to the rightful good blogs in the BOB awards).

Anonymous said...

I have just recoded all the polls and it permanently blocks your IP address if you have already voted. I was not aware that it was allowing a daily vote, especially since I didn't attempt to vote more than once. Anyway, problem solved. And lest any quick conclusions be drawn, all votes remained intact.

Anonymous said...

So why are we fucking doing this? Pretty unhappy, it seems to me.
Can't the food blog world just, um, bloodge? Every bloodge for itself.

Anonymous said...

So why are we fucking doing this? Pretty unhappy, it seems to me.
Can't the food blog world just, um, bloodge? Every bloodge for itself.

Anonymous said...

And I don't seem to have the power to remove my duplicate comment. What a stupid hobby.
(I love it.)

Kalyn said...

There are so many things about this string of comments that upset me I don't even know where to begin. I think it's just plain sad that something that's intended to be a celebration of the skills of our fellow bloggers and the joy we get from this form of self-expression has caused so many negative feelings. Of course the awards process is not perfect. Nothing is.

I have no doubt that if you took 1,000 different food bloggers and let each one choose all the award winners, there wouldn't be even two lists that were the same. I have a number of good blogging friends that I regularly "talk" to by phone and computer, and we all have different perceptions of many things. That's how life is.

Personally I'd like to publicly thank all the judges for the incredible work they put in and let them know much I appreciate it. And if I have made any comments anywhere in this whole process that offended someone or were less kind than they could have been, I humbly apologize.

Before my mother died she called all her children together and said to us "We're a good family, but we've all got to try a little harder."

It was very good advice.

Anonymous said...

Kalyn, that is wonderful advice.

Hande said...

The awards are being handled and commented the same way as posts of the more popular blogs are commented: Everyone in the blog world has a right to think and say as he/she likes. But when you start claiming that what you say is the whole and only truth, you start getting objections.
If the judges had said "here, we have some blogs we think you should go see", there would be no problem. But the judges set some rules and broke them without explanation, like the "6 posts per month over 6 months" thing. They also broke some rules which they maybe didn't set but is commonsense, like nominating one of themselves. Or making the results see-able during voting.
On the one side they complain about so much time going in, on the other hand they omit perfect nominations while taking the time searching the internet to find new candidates (as Andrew said) because the nominations didn't fit them.
And one last thing: If anyone of us bloggers started complaining about blogging taking so much time etc., we wouldn't read that blog anymore, would we? As Kalyn said it is the "joy we get from this form of self-expression", and sorry, but someone has to say this: If the judges took on this job, then they should do it without continuously rubbing it under our noses how much work it is! See Menu for hope, it surely was/is a lot of work, no one of the involved said "oh, how much work I had to do!" but everyone thanked everyone else for putting in all the work. That is how it should work!
I think these points (as Nicky objectively wrote on them) are well worth discussing. Sad thing is, because of these mistakes the whole thing loses its authority.
PS: And please stop claiming the judges didn't see how many times a site was nominated. This is ridiculous. What did you do, block their IP addresses from the nomination pages? We see how well that works. Maybe you didn't put it on the excel sheet but I can't imagine any judge involved with the site not going through the comments/nominations from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Hande:

1. I'm not sure what the objection is to seeing the results as they're happening. Really. I can almost guarantee that if they weren't visible, there'd be complaints about the outcome, for certain. This way, everyone can see it real-time, and there is no surprise. Well, no surprise with the results at least.

2. "If the judges took on this job, then they should do it without continuously rubbing it under our noses how much work it is!" Enough already. No one is complaining about the amount of work this took. We all knew that it was going to be a long and challenging task from the get-go. The amount of work has ONLY been mentioned in terms of the comments truly making it a thankless job. We don't expect kudos, of course, but common courtesy sure would be nice.

3. "And please stop claiming the judges didn't see how many times a site was nominated." Of course they could go through the nominations on the main site. The point I was making was in response to someone saying that tallies were given on the final Excel chart, which they weren't.

Interestingly enough, I mentioned that all of you were more than welcome to assist with the process next time ... crickets. It's very easy to throw stones - how about rolling up some sleeves and digging it instead?

Anonymous said...

Hande, my point about the time wasn't complaining about it but instead using it to illustrate the care and attention we put into selecting the sites for these awards. I cannot speak for the other judges, but I took on the responsibility knowing full well that it would be a large time commitment and I am okay with that. What I am not okay with is having put all this time and effort into something and then to hear such rude and vicious comments about our process of getting to the top 5 in every category. Like Cate said, "common courtesy would be nice."

Moving on, I have a suggestion. This year's FBAs are done...The finalists have been selected, the polls are open - it's done.

Instead of continuing this negative dialogue, let's turn this into something positive. Why don't we all put our heads together and talk about rules for next year's awards now while it's fresh in our heads. There are changes for sure that need to be made to improve not only the process but the end result.

For instance, I personally think next year that previous years winners (if not finalists altogether) should be ineligable for nomination.

Hande said...

Cate,
1. Because in every democratic country, every democratic vote, works like that. On the day of the vote, till polls are closed, there is no saying how it stands. Yes, if you make a poll on your blog about, say, "which spices do you use most", it is interesting to see what others have said. But when you are really voting on something you don't do that.
2+3. I don't want to start a "chicken/egg" discussion, but there sure has been a lot of mention of both points (from various judges) here as well as on wellfed.
When you expect common courtesy from others, you should behave same. In most cultures you don't go around praising yourself and you don't start complaining when people do not abound with the praise you were expecting.
There has been a lot of objective critisism which all of you let go unanswered and prefer to pout about other points. Still none of you has answered why you broke the 6 for 6 rule, nor a judge being nominated (I have to stress I have nothing against that blog. It is just that you don't do something like that!). And I do not want to believe that 5 people from the western world all didn't know how a democratic vote goes.
As far as I can see, most of the critics here were about mistakes being made, but not throwing stones. Why don't you take these as a base to make it different next year? Just because we see a mistake and point to it doesn't mean we are willing to organize it ourselves. If I know I don't have the time and energy to do it right, I don't volunteer to help. It seems like this has been the case with some of the judges/organizers.

Hande said...

As I wrote the previous comment, I hadn't read Sarah Caron's comment yet. I agree with her about thinking how to make it better.

Andrew said...

I dont think any of the judges were expecting praise, I certainly wasn't and I dont see any of us writing so. the negativity from certain quarters, especially from those who were nominated, is my major gripe.

I dont see any mistakes either, just 'you should do it this way because i say so'.

Anonymous said...

Hande, at no time did I nor any of the other judges ask for praise. End stop. None of us are whining. End stop. And least of all, I am certainly not pouting. I am tried to respond to all the comments as best as I could - if that is pouting, then so be it. Quite frankly, I'm a little surprised by a few of the comments, but that's life.

We all signed up for this because we love being a part of the food blog community and wanted to be part of an event that recognizes the community. Simple as that. No more, no less.

If you ask me now if there will be another FBA, I'd hesitate. But ALL of us work tirelessly on our food/wine sites throughout the year and it's nice to have some form of recognition ... whether it be a nice e-mail from a reader that you helped plan a menu, a comment on a particularly thoughtful post you labored over, or the FBA.

Yes, there appears to be a few sites that slipped in that did not have the requisite 6 posts/6 consecutive months, and for that, I apologize. Mea culpa. That certainly was entirely unintentional.

The polls - I respectfully disagree. If Blogger A one Best Photo, I can hear people saying "Wow, how did they win? Nobody I know voted for them." When the presidential elections are on, for pete's sake, do they not color the country blue/red, state by state, as the candidates win?

And lastly, I'VE been less than courteous? I beg to differ. The stuff here is only the half of it, and I feel I have tried to be polite, professional and courteous throughout this entire time.

Hande said...

When one of the judges, after all these comments, can still say "I don't see any mistakes", I have nothing more to say. I am leaving this discussion. I respect the winners-to-be, I voted for some of them, but the awards have turned into a farce, and I find that a pity.
Cate, thank you for answering, although I again have to differ about the votes. They start coloring the states while they are counting and are making projections, but they only start counting after the polls are closed and everyone has voted. About everything else, you are right, everything has two sides.

Rachael said...

Here is my (unsolicited) personal opinion on the nominated sites: flawed system, but interesting, different and fun choices. Small blogs and large got notice and that rocks. I like them all. And sure some of my favorites were overlooked, but whatever...

That said, what I really feel needs to be said here is this...just to remind you all of the glaringly obvious...

The Food Blog Awards are ultimately a way for WELL FED to generate publicity for themselves.

All of you bickering over who did and didn’t get nominated or how they were chosen are missing the point.

No matter HOW flawed, or what sites are nominated, WELL FED wins. And THAT my dear friends is what "awards" are all about. (The AMPA&S wouldnt broadcast the Oscars if they werent in it for PR...right?)

So kudos to WELL FED and their (hard working) judges. They have a powerful image, the ability to generate conversation and a way to drive people to other sites. Maybe not your site, definitely not my site, but many, many sites that are enjoying their new status. ANd doesnt that seem like a good thing?

Yes, it is a popularity (ballot stuffing, whatever) contest, but we should all see who the REAL winner is. WELL FED. And bravo to them I say, they have done it with aplomb.

Anonymous said...

Hande, actually exit polls are done during elections by news organizations to show how people are voting - they aren't predictions, they are actual polls of people who've voted to see how they vote. The results are continuously reported while the polls are still open. Furthermore, the East Coast polls close before Central and West Coast and the preliminary results are reported before the other polls are closed.

As for the inclusion of a blog that didn't meet the criteria, we, as humans, did make an error. I am sorry for that. We did our very best to ensure that didn't happen (and please note that the 6posts/6months didn't apply to EVERY category - just most).

Anonymous said...

Rachael - I can't speak as to how/why the Food Blog Awards got started originally, since it was before my time at Well Fed, but, for me, it has absolutely nothing to do with garnering publicity.

If you'll look at our sites, any of them, you will see that there is NO paid advertising. None. There is just the Google ads, which is nothing different than a lot of other sites, and the Amazon recommendations.

Does the FBA bring more traffic to Well Fed? Sure it does. But only for this period, and then it goes right back to our normal stats, give or take a few.

The paltry sum that Well Fed has made from the Google ads during this FBA time is not worth it, trust me.

Anonymous said...

Because it's been such a contentious issue here, I want to point out that Best of Blogs uses a similar voting system where you can see the total immediately after you vote. People may not like it, but it is done in plenty of other similar online awards. So if people still want to hang on to something to complain about, please let go of that one.

Rachael said...

Cate,
You seem to have misunderstood me.

I was not implying anything to do with revenue. Public Relations and Advertising are two different things. I did not even mention revenue. PR is free publicity and the awards do just that for the Well Fed site.

PR generates interest. Interest raises your readership. You have a great site, and having the awards drives people to your site (and subsequently to other sites.) Thats all I was saying. Its was a COMPLIMENT. Well Fed has done a great job.

I love it and will repeat, I think its great. Well Fed is a terrific site doing a fun thing.

(And I hesitate to add this, but sweet pea...lighten up!)

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, a compliment. ;) Why, thank you.

Bonnie/Dairy Queen said...

Wow. As a newcomer to the food-blogging world this year, I gotta say that reading these comments makes me feel worse than a month of eating factory pork would. Everyone I have met via blogging has been so nice -- where is all this animosity to each other coming from? Sheesh. Come on, people -- what's really at stake here? The vast wealth our blogs are generating? Our passion for what we do? Neither is affected by this contest. I mean, it's not like we're actors and these are the Oscars -- none of us are going to strike it rich or get groupies just by being nominated. (I wish!)

Judges: You obviously put in a heroic amount of work. Don't feel bad if it doesn't seem to be appreciated. I for one am excited at all the new blogs it's helped me discover. However, if you don't feel like going through this, uh, "challenge" again next year, I wouldn't blame you in the least.

Anonymous said...

Having worked on many VisualFX Oscar-nominated movies over the years (none of them a winner yet, maybe 2007 I'll get lucky?), I can vouch for the fact that the Oscars themselves cause an awful lot of unnecessary bitchiness and infighting when the nominees/winners are announced (and these are computer geeks vying for recognition, not actors or actresses). I concur it must be human nature to feel slighted and righteous over these matters. See, even when it is the Oscars, or even the Food Blog Awards - really who cares, no one is getting harmed at the end of the day. There are many worse things in the world. Be true to yourself and your convictions and remember that it is your own opinion that matters to yourself more than anyone else's.

Everyone you love will always be a winner in your book. And - whilst you are at it, if you really want to broadcast how you feel, go and give your own favourites some link love from your own blog. That will probably mean something to the recipients, and it's a meaningful gesture.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with Bonnie more. As a newcomer to food blogging (both reading and posting), the reaction to these awards makes me think the posts and references to the vaunted "food blogger community" were really horse puckey. A pity that.

Like Cybele, whom I do consider a food blogger by the way, I saw this as an opportunity to find new blogs I'm not reading. And I did. Especially now that I have room since comments made on various sites have turned me off and I've removed them from my feedreader.

delicious:days said...

It's sad, that honest critic cannot be addressed without provoking a storm of outrage. A tightly knit and healthy community ought to be able to deal with different point of views and more importantly distinguish between impartial criticism and subjective feelings. The "You're either with us or against us" - mentality is not healthy for any democracy, so let's try to stick to the facts and put aside any possibly hurt feelings. Furthermore, an open discussion should not be interpreted as a question of loyalty.

A few points I would like to stress - they all merely represent my very personal opinion, but I'd be glad, if you thought about them for a second.

1) Your blog is worthy.

No doubt. This is neither being questioned, nor should it have to do anything with these awards. Whatever direction a blog may take, I don't know of a single blogger who didn't start blogging because of their passion for the topic. Their enthusiasm and love for what they do are omnipresent in their work and everybody reading it will recognize and highly appreciate the efforts.

2) People seem to have very dissonant perceptions about these awards' aims:

*This event should help me to discover new blogs.
*This event should be fun.
*This event should help to trigger recognition from the non-foodblogging world.
*This event should throw a spotlight on the best in each category.

These are all profound motives, they all qualify as a proper guideline. But they don't go well with each other.

If it's just the first two aims this is all about, then the following becomes obsolete.

In my - again very personal - opinion, if you want these awards (which btw call for the "Best Food Blog - ...") to have credibility and recognition, they should be given to those blogs, that are the very best in their category, everything else just doesn't make sense. It's not the job of the final voting to help you discover new blogs, and it certainly should not matter, whether you have received an award in a previous year or are nominated in other categories as well. If your blog qualifies it qualifies - do you want the best or do you want to make everybody happy? Popularity is neither a criteria nor a pitfall, but in most cases an unalterable sign that a blogger is fairly good at what he or she does. Luckily, the Internet is (still) a decent democratic tool (in most places), thus if a blog continues to present good work, readership and popularity will grow naturally.

Judges should exclude themselves completely from the nominations, reasons are obvious and already mentioned above. They also should stick to the rules /criteria for selecting the finalists or make it public that they don't and give others a chance to enter. Again, if you tighten (against well expressed concerns beforehand) the nomination requirements, you should make sure that all your finalists meet those. (Just for the record: I checked only three categories which come with the 6/6 constraints and found six finalists who don't meet this criteria). Stick with the nominations other food bloggers made, don't go out and search the net for other worthy candidates and hand out wildcards.

If you want to have a fun event, than don't expect it to have a major impact. There'd be no need to set up any sort of rules, neither quality nor quantity would matter. If you want to support new and rather unknown blogs (which I'm all for!), set up double categories, one for "the best" and one for "the newcomer" or repeat the concept of "blogday" (http://www.blogday.org/).

Barbara Fisher said...

Ye Gods, I go away from blogging for a month and come back to this conflagration.

Damn.

I have to say that I agree with all the points made in the last post by Delicious Days, especially the part about not nominating judges and adhering to the rules set out at the beginning for nomination. Changing rules midstream is bound to make people get cranky and well, judges being eligible for awards in any competition are just sort of tacky, and lead people to be mistrustful of the competition in general.

It is just that way.

Mind you, I am saying all of this kindly--as someone who used to write and edit for Well Fed, I have no ill -feelings for anyone there. In fact, I want them to prosper, and be respected in our rapidly growing food blog community, because many of them I consider to be if not close friends, at least allies.

However, some of the choices made by the judges in administering the FBA are not likely to foster much in the way of trust, respect and goodwill.

One other thing I want to say--awards bring out the competitive, contentious nature in even the best of us. They do not generally foster community feelings and happy-fuzzies. It doesn't matter that they are meant to be positive, and to bring recognition to the cream of the crop of the food blog world--remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I think that even if the mistakes that were made by the judges and the administrators of the FBA were not made and it all went according to plan, there would be complaining, hurt feelings and nastiness. It happened (mostly behind the scenes) last year, and I am not surprised, but saddened, that it happened again this year.

Personally, I am not at all sure we need awards, if this is the sort of behavior they are going to provoke. I understand why people want to have awards, I think that the impulse behind them is noble and good, but I sometimes worry that there are far too many bloggers out there who maybe go to far in taking these sorts of things personally, and in a negative fashion.

My last sentence is this, and it is meant for everyone. Let go, relax, and keep writing. Keep doing what you do best and write about food, life, the universe and everything, and have fun. Keep your passions focused on what got you started blogging in the first place, which sure was not the promise of fame, fortune and a piece of digital art to stick on your blog that says you are a winner.

Go back to the basics, and remember the love.

nika said...

This is Nika, I was one of the FBA judges.

For the record, for those who have, here and else where, assumed many things about the judges, I recused myself from any eligibility to the FBAs prior to the contest(see this link http://nikas-culinaria.blogspot.com/2006/12/judging-and-peppermint-fluff-martinis.html ). Since we are all adults here (?) I figured it was up to the other judges to make up their own ethical choices.

I participated in the EXTENSIVE back and forth in the deliberations and not ONCE did a judge, who was in the running advocate for their own blog. If we were all adults here I would not have to make that so explicit.

I welcome and celebrate all who come to visit my blog and am glad to get to know those who comment. I am so very thankful to have met the many bloggers that I do know now, from this past year and a half.

I am not at all impressed by this entire experience. I thought that the judging experience I had with DMBLGIT (a good one) was a guide for how this judging experience would.

I was profoundly mistaken.

There is very little to recommend this to any one. Who would willingly take a huge chunk of time away from their newborn to do something for no gain only to have such a useless silly bruhaha result?

No one has that kind of time to waste.

Rachael said...

Nika...

Wow. Super interesting insight/commentary. (I love it.)

While it is really too bad to hear it was such a downer for you, it was totally cool to read your honest response.

nika said...

Rachel and others: I hope that its clear that its not the judging experience that I was unhappy with.. its the drama that has occurred since.

Jeanne said...

Wow! Step away from your computer for a couple of weeks and see the carnage that ensues!!

Although I know that pretty much all awards ceremonies are fraught with complaints and criticism about the selection/process/judges/whatever, I didn't think that things could reach such a fever pitch in our community. Becuase I'm coming to this discussion late, I'll keep my thoughts brief (and point out that I agree with pretty much everything that Delicious Days has said above):

1. I appreciate the work that the judges have done and I am confident that they did what they thought was best at the time. However... I think the judges made a few fatal mistakes in terms of propriety and promoting confidence in themselves and the contest when they a) disregarded their own rules (the "6 for 6" rule) in a number of cases; b) went looking for nominees that were not publicly nominated as per the stated rules; and c) allowed judges to be finalists. Yes, I accept and believe that no judges were involved in judging categories where they were nominated, but I also believe very firmly that justice must not only be done, it must be *seen* to be done.

2. If the point of these awards was to "discover new blogs" then this should have been made clear and no previous winners should have been eligible. If they were to recognise excellence in blogging, then a special search for worthy newcomers by the judges was totally superfluous. People, you can't be everything to everyone. Pick a direction and stick with it.

3. How can we describe ourselves as a close-knit community for most of the year, and as soon as the word "award" is mentioned, we are at each other's throats?? Yes mistakes were made. Yes, it's too late to fix them this year. Why don't the most vociferous critics come up with a proposal for a system that would satisfy them for next year? Surely that would be a more productive way to spend our time?

4. Hey - nobody died, nobody was hurt and nobody lost large sums of money. At the end of the day, blogging is our *hobby* - you know, the fun stuff you do after the stresses of work?!? I think we all need to step back and gain some perspective. Even if you win an award, it's not going to change your life. If you hate the system of awards, don't click on the link next year.

All the best to everyone at the S'cool for happy blogging in 2007.

Liz said...

I'm sorry but I think all the complaining is sour grapes.

What the hell is wrong with a little variety?! If the same 5 or 10 popular blogs were nominated every single year and won every time, it would get boring.

I wish people would chill out about this. It is for FUN!


Alicat- I think the lack of variety is the source of some complaints because the same 5 or 10 ARE being nominated every time. ;-)

Whatever. I think maybe I'm not involved enough to get up in arms about this, so I'll stop here.

That said, I would like to get involved- maybe I could be "new blood" on the judging panel next year. Let some of the other judges get back to their newborns :) Hmmm...

nika said...

Liz: indeed.. each one of us has an important part to play. I am sure you would be a fantastic judge and I wish you all the luck with that. As with anything relating to such a diverse community, this award process will grow stronger with a more diverse group of people who are involved in creating/managing/ and judging it.

The newborn says hello by the way.