I see this year a committee of three has taken over administration of the JIBS, our community popularity contest. I've seen the proposed categories and rules, and though, it looks like they're doing some things right, they are still doing some things wrong. My scoring:
-- Letting a committee run it. So long as the committee doesn't exclusively represent one segment of the blogosphere to the exclusion of others, the interplay between committee members will only improve the program.
-- Part of it is about POSTS not blogs. They will have awards for (a) best humor POST, (b) best news POST (c) best religion POST and so on. This offers more avenues for inclusion by allowing someone who blogs very irregularly to get in on the strength of one good POST
-- Cats and dogs will not be allowed to stand against each other in the same category. By this I mean, RW blogs and LW blogs will be kept in separate categories and so will skeptical blogs and Torah blogs. This cuts down on the entertainment value of the contest, but also on the petty sniping and the bickering. A good trade-off.
-- There's still no prize for quality. If the JIB committee wants their program to be taken seriously, they have to stop recognizing popularity alone. I propose letting a committee (made up of last year's medalists) vote for SOME of the awards.
-- Big blogs are still competing against smaller blogs. This is ridiculous, and destroys the contest's credibility. I think the Jblogosphere has about four size categories (For argument's sake let's call them: Mega, Large, Big, and Small) Every award should be offered to every size category. That means four awards for best blog, four awards for best post, and so on.
-- They are still making a distinction between Israel blogs and Diaspora blogs. All this does is give the Israeli blogs extra opportunities to win. There is no good reason to split the blogosphere in two, and no good reason to offer awards to Israeli bloggers (ie: Best Israel Slice of Life) without offering a corresponding award to the Diaspora (ie: Best Diaspora Slice of Life)
-- They are still giving and award for "Israel advocacy", while remaining oblivious to the reality that those of us who may criticize Israel from time-to-time are, in fact advocating for policies we believe the Jewish state should embrace for its own good. This whole category is divisive. It rests on the faulty assumption that friends must never disagree and should, therefore, be scrapped.
My choices for categories (with each offered to all four size categories)
- Best Blog
- Best Diarist
- Best Writing
- Best Post
- Best Series
- Best Single Issue Blog
- Best Torah blog
- Best Torah post
- Best Skeptical blog
- Best Skeptical post
- Best Current Events blog
- Best Current events post
- Most Humorous Blog
- Most Humorous Post
- Best Commenter