January 04, 2006

Closer to the Polls :: Meet the Indibloggies 2005 nominees

With more than 300 nominations made over 10 days and close to 25 Jurors browsing through the myriad flavors of writing and rating them, Stage one of the Indibloggies 2005 edition has come to an end. I do not have enough words of appreciation for the members of the Jury; many of them went out of the way to help me during the process. For the first time in the Indibloggies, and perhaps in the history of the internet, a social bookmarking tool was used in an award event.

For the interested, here is some trivia to savor:

  • Indibloggies used the bookmarking tool del.icio.us for the nomination and Scuttle for the juror-rating phase . We had customized bookmarklets and tag-generators for delicious. The Scuttle interface was also customized for the occasion (compare the actual interface with the customized one). Here is a screen-grab of page showing the final tally.

  • This was the first time I power-used Scuttle, some of my code such as the "Users list" and suggestions might actually make it to the next version of the tool. An interesting side effect of my using "Scuttle" was the Hindi localisation of Scuttle, that happened thanks to my Hindi blogger friends. The Hindi gettext file is available here.

  • Jurors rated blogs in several award-categories on a scale of -1 to 5. A weighted score was calculated based on all Juror ratings for a blog in a particular category and a merit list prepared. The final list, in almost all categories, that makes it to second and the final stage comprises of blogs that were 40 percentile or above in the merit list.

  • Juror Srijith prepared a flash video, a "how-to" guide for the Jurors while Saket and Pawan compiled exhaustive step-by-step guides for the nomination process.

  • Many people complained about the nomination process being too geeky (though the 5-step guide, that came up of Arnab’s suggestion, evoked a good response) and I had to put a conventional email-form but that resulted more-or-less in what we all know email forms result in, spamming and multiple nominations. One of the blogs almost suffocated my Inbox, so much so that I had to ask the blog-owner to stop his people from flooding my mail-box.

  • 63% of the nominated blogs were Blogger.com blogs. If few other blog-hosting services like live-journal may be ignored, Wordpress blogs must have been a close second.

  • In all 193 blogs were rated by the jurors with about 15 blogs ending up with a negative or zero final score.

  • Like last year, a private mailing list had all the Jurors deliberating and discussing over issues before and during the rating process.

  • The whole rating process was also audited throughout, by three of the jurors to ensure a smooth completion.

  • Juror Saket nominated the highest number of blogs, a whopping 115 blogs.

And now, without any further ado, we present the list of Stage-1 winner blogs that have qualified to participate in the final voting. To me this is the notable outcome of this event, if this list contains even one blog that you have never read before, my mission is accomplished. For your ease, we have a category wise OPML list available for you to subscribe (most of the newsreaders provide for importing an OPML list). Listing in each category is alphabetical.


अक्षरग्राम » Blog Archive » ईंडीब्लॉगीज़ पहले चरण के परिणाम said...

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फ़ुरसतिया » सूरज निकला-चिड़ियां बोलीं said...

[...] आज ही देबू की पोस्ट से पता चला कि इंडीब्लागीस के चुनाव के लिये प्राथमिक चरण के चुनाव संपन्न हो गये। इस चुनाव में मेरी रुचि कौतूहल की बनी हुई है। हम ब्लागिस्तानी के लेख हिंदी तथा अन्य भाषाओं में भी हों ऐसा मेरा मत था। लेकिन बाद में यह देखकर कुछ आश्चर्य भी हुआ कि अंग्रेजी के लेख भी नहीं छपे। शायद ये लेख ‘फिलर’ की तरह थे। बहरहाल,यह देखकर किंचित आश्चर्य हुआ कि निर्णायकों ने मेरा पन्ना को नहीं चुना उससे ज्यादा आश्चर्य यह देखकर हुआ कि रवि रतलामी को लाइफ टाईम अचीवर के लायक नहीं समझा गया। अगर टैगिंग-फैगिंग का लफड़ा हो (पंकज ने कमेंट रूप में रविरतलामी का नाम दिया था) तो नहीं कह सकता लेकिन यदि रवि रतलामी का नाम माननीय सदस्यों ने वोटिंग के बाद खारिज किया तो उनकी जानकारी के स्तर समझ पर शक करने का मन करता है। [...]

Kit Walker said...

Looking at the blogs nominated for Best Designed Indiblog, I could not fail to notice that Chronicalized Craze! is using a WordPress template called Mars Spirit designed by Minz Meyer. This template had won an Honorable Mention in the 2004 WordPress CSS Style Competition. It is being used by Chronicalized Craze! pretty much as is (the only variation I noticed was in the small blog title image).

If the judges here are willing to reward such borrowed designs, maybe I should have searched for a cool template somewhere and nominated myself as well. If the IndieBloggies and its panel of judges are to maintain any credibility at all, I really hope that they do their homework in only recognizing good original designs.

Debashish commented:Kit (if that's your real name), it is not humanly possible to verify each and every submission. Although I agree with your view that even while considering blogs using ready-made templates we should have kept the "customization" criteria in mind while rating all blogs for this category. The concerned blog-author is not to blame here, the mistake was ours. But I have rectracted the blog in question to avoid any dispute.

Suyog said...

To continue with Kit Walker's observation, even Pyschotic ramblings of mad man, aka vulturo's blog is no different - its just K2 theme found here./ with a image rotate in header. That *hardly* qualifies as originality. If that was the criteria, maybe Shivam Vij of http://www.shivamvij.com/ also deserved it no less to be in the list.

Suman said...

Oh f*** you guys. The list is not comprehensive at all! This is rigged.

Shivam Vij said...

May be you should have, Kit Walker. Choosing a good templete and theme shows how much attention you pay to design. So you deserve to get marks for that, to. Personally speaking i see no point in turning this category into one exclusively for template designers :) But may be there should be a different category for them, because they are an interesting breed too

PlanetSonal said...


Thanks for all the hard work. This is great. I have a concern though. I have a gujarati audio blog (podcast) for kids. It was part of the nominations along with other Gujarati blogs. It's sad that the juror did not rate the blogs. Do you guys have any back-up or is there anyway you can have some juror rate the blogs and give a result. This would really encourage the participants - no matter what the results and motivate them to work harder next time around. For the juror, it might be just another language, but for the nominees, it is very important.

Thanks and greatly appreciate you taking time to read my comments.



Raj said...

Who Am I?, nominated for best new indiblog, seems to have been closed down.

Rahul Vaidya said...

Suman, it's unfair to call it a rigged list.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive list of bloggers in India, try kamat.org or indianbloggers.com

+: etcetera :+ » Dark Humor said...

[...] etcetera ( Motto: “We are on the verge of greatness”) is one of the few blogs nominated for the Best Indian Blog of the Year award. Pause for laughter. Sepia Mutiny is not in there. Longer pause. [...]

Sibyl said...

A fairly painless voting process, only marred by the fact that Best New Indiblog and Best Sports Indiblog were mandatory questions. Why was that? You should make "No answer" an option for all categories.

Also, in general feedback, I suggest that, the next time around, you do away with the (IMHO frivolous) category for Indiblog With Best Tagline. Instead, you could have category for good writing.

Karmadude said...

Best designed sites have to be original works, not some touch up you do to someone elses creativity. That would be unfair, and simply wrong. I say such blogs be pulled out from the voting list.

Debashish commented:The Design category is intended to honor blogs with good design. It is not about awarding template designers. The jurors infact re-visited their decision for this category and we did not consider designs that just lifted any ready-made template. We tried our best to ensure that original work got preference over template blogs, but we also considered blog designs that had done some good amount of customization on ready-made templates/themes.

Kit Walker said...

To Debashish
on "it is not humanly possible to verify each and every submission"...
You are kidding me, right? By your own admission, you (and your jurors) have nominated blogs here without even looking at them properly!! Wow!

to Shivam Vij
on "May be you should have, Kit Walker."...
Had I known this before the deadline, I certainly would have. :) On second thoughts, what's the point? As per Debashish (if that is his real name), my chances of being among the final nominations would have been as good as winning the lottery.

on "i see no point in turning this category into one exclusively for template designers"...
Let me get this straight -- we are talking about a category called "Best Design". AFAIK, pretty much every blog in the world has its design saved in a template. Yet, you don't think this award should go to a template designer. Pray enlighten me, how else does one design a blog? (Unless you guys all like to style each of your posts individually from scratch, that is). Hey, I'd like to have what you guys are smoking, too...

Debashish replied:Kit (I am pretty sure now that's your real name), when I said that "it is not humanly possible to verify each and every submission", I was talking about the design category only and the term "verification" pertained to verifying the templates/themes. Is it always possible for you to tell just by looking at a blog as to who designed that page (unless the author has explicitly given credits to the template designer)? Did you expect us to dig into the Page source and Style sheets of all such blogs to ascertain it? You must appreciate that we all have a day-time job and I am trying to do my best with this voluntary effort, but I am sorry I cannot cope up with everybody's whims.

Suman said...

Rahul, I think the nominations are f*** all. I was not looking for a 'comprehensive list of Indian bloggers', but thanks Mr.Einstein, I have been blogging for almost four years now you know.

I thought I should let you guys know what I feel. What kind of a category is 'blog with best tagline' anyway? Huh? "For people who are yet to figure out the purpose and motive behind their actions and existence." You call that a tagline? That's a f****** short story my friend.

But hey, good show. Good luck next time. You ought to include a humour category. And chuck that shi**y tagline category. Have you any idea how easy it is to access fancy Latin terms, on the web? Freak, do you know what 'Ubu dumbo. Labu bingo' means? Search!

Samyukta said...

Errrm, lifetime achievement?! Wow! :) That is the low point I think.

Your best Indiblog is too scattered though.
- I mean Indian Writing and IndiaUncut - are both good, but not original writing.
- Tsunami help is there in Group Blog also, what is the point here as well?
- Walk in the Clouds is just one of those pointless and silly, albeit hugely popular among men Blogs. Does it deserve something as grand as being in contention of Best IndiBlog?????
I think English August and Jabberwock - should have been part of this category. As also some other original writing that has been completely sidelined.
Shouldn't the criteria have been just intelligent, good writing that lots of people will understand? As opposed to Blogs that are obsessing about page loads and technorati ranks??

And who cares for design and taglines. It's what one writes which is important!

Overall disappointing.

Debashish replied: First, Indibloggies is not any kind of literary award event. We are not simply awarding the "best" we are also awarding the popular ones. And we are all different people with varied tastes. The blog that seems silly to you might be well received by many others. The best way out: get advantage of the collective wisdom.

Second, I have had enough telling me about the "bad award categories" that we have, especially people are getting hilariously fussy about the "tagline" category for no obvious reasons. Do remember that all these categories have once been part of the grand-daddy of all blog-awards, the Bloggies. Now, the whole process of Indibloggies 2005 started from early November, where were you guys then? Why nobody suggested these new, alternate and better award-categories back then? Why now, when we are the final stages of the competition? As for setting the right criteria I would have appreciated people like you volunteering to be in the Jury, when the applications were being invited, it’s easy to criticize sitting outside the fence.

I have already commented somewhere that I appreciated comments about getting rid of some of the "Oh so 90s" categories and adding some jazzy ones, I will surely ask you people when I revamp these. Expect some changes next year.

sony pony said...

Hey, I thought you guys did a good job. I see a lot of people whining and I wanted to chime in and say, I thought your picks were good:)

peter griffin said...

Long comment warning.

First, go Kit Walker! Took the words out of my mouth. Shivam said:Choosing a good templete and theme shows how much attention you pay to designDebashish saidThe Design category is intended to honor blogs with good design. It is not about awarding template designers.

?!?! I don't get this. In an award for design it's okay to lift someone else's design and enter it as one's own? Entering a template you have merely tweaked a bit is kosher? When that kind of stuff happens in MSM or advertising (two areas in which I earn my living), no one tries to defend it on the grounds that good taste has been shown in choice of victims.

Shivam, I love your writing, dude. As indeed I admire the work of many of the other nominees here. So next year, I'm going to lift from all your posts and enter for Indiblog of the year, on the grounds that it shows how much attention I pay to the words. And Debashish. While I don't expect you "to dig into the Page source and Style sheets of all such blogs to ascertain it," (anyone lifting a design and then entering it for a design award would hopefully also the sense to remove the evidence, so to speak) I would respectfully submit that the jurors with expertise in design should have some knowledge of award-winning design. I wouldn't volunteer to judge the Indic - Telegu section if I didn't have a fine appreciation for the language. I'd expect the same discernment in a design jury.Oh yes. One more thing. I notice that one of the blogs nominated in the Best Tagline category no longer has the (unoriginal) tag-line itdid when it was nominated. Is that quite fair? (Disclosure: I see that it now sports a variation of a line I use on my blog. Darn. I should have entered.)

One more p.s.: Why nobody suggested these new, alternate and better award-categories back then? A quick glance at the relevant post will show that there were three requests and one trackback for a humour category. And I don't see a humour category here.

And (promise this is the final bit), Debashish: Of course we know you and the jurors have day jobs. We appreciate the effort you, personally, put into getting this going. You showed initiative, and put in the hard work. You got some great people into your jury. We assume that all of you have put in all this work because you love it, because you want to see the Indian blogosphere grow, and being responsible, respected bloggers, that you would only make this commitment if you were absolutely sure that you could deliver on whatever it takes to do a good job of it. It does not befit you then to label honest feedback as 'whims.'

My dear chap, every time anyone sticks their neck out, there will be malcontents like me carping from the outside. In a weird way it shows that what you're doing is appreciated, has status, is worth doing. It shows that we expect high standards from all of you. None of us yelling rudely at you would give a damn if it didn't.

Thank you, and we hope you do it again next year.

Debashish said...

(1) We did have a Jury "qualified" to judge Design blogs Divya Manian.

(2) There is no point suggesting categories when I have already declared them because at that stage I would not have been able to make changes, this is akin to requesting changing the groom when the invitation cards have been printed and distributed. Remember that the award activities started at Nov.7 and categories on 14th. There was enough time in-between for people to pitch-in. I agree that many people may not be aware of the event and things gain momentum as do people's thoughts when buzz around a site increases but this is a limitation for me too, I have to make preparations and decision on categories cannot be deferred to the last moment. Moreover, I never thought that we needed different categories. I will certainly consider these categories for next year but to expect that each of everybody's suggestions has and can be implemented is naïve IMHO.

(3) A word on Design criteria. What is a good site design, I visit a blog/site I like it and I can say it is good. I do not care who designed it, this person might have got it done from a professional designer (Om Malik), he might be a designer himself (Chugs) or he simply uses a template designed by others. In each of these cases, bloggers’s choice is a reflection on his taste. When I honour any of these blogs I actually honour the guy who has put-in efforts designing it. This has been my opinion, but I also listen to jurors and many of them suggested that we only consider original design so we re-visited our decision.

And please Peter, don’t equate using a template with “plagiarizing” content. Borrowing design and using templates have been part of the blogging phenomenon and has been the hallmark of “easy publishing” that blogs are identified with. Most of the blog-wares provide starter templates. I personally have modified templates meant for different blog-ware and modified for use with mine. I would consider this as "customization" and eligible for the category.

(4) Sites keep on changing and it would be unfair to expect me to keep a tab on these changes once they are nominated. After the nominations one of the blog nominated for the new blog category closed shops, another changed his tag line. What can I do on this? They were adjudged on the time they were nominated.

Lastly, apologies for any harsh words used. Moreover, thanks for appreciating the effort. Probably I am terrified with the enormous expectations that people have from me, I hope I could do justice.

peter griffin said...


I see that you have already decided on a repoll, and I hate to drag this on, but may I clarify a couple of points?

1. I have seen Divya's work, and admire it. I agree with you; she is indeed highly qualified. But "jury" usually means more than one person. In fact you stated that you expanded the jury considerably this year so as to get more viewpoints. Why only one qualified design juror, then? From what I've seen of Divya's work, I certainly do not question her aesthetic sensibilities. I can only assume that she simply had not come across the lift in question. Perhaps more people on the expert panels would increase the chances of catching "inspired" content?

2. Point taken. I did not know the categories were open for suggestion at that time that they were, so I apologise.

3. "When I honour any of these blogs I actually honour the guy who has put-in efforts designing it."
Precisely. And when it isn't that person who is nominated for the award, merely the blog that uses the design, it doesn't make sense to me."don’t equate using a template with “plagiarizing” content. Borrowing design and using templates have been part of the blogging phenomenon and has been the hallmark of “easy publishing” that blogs are identified with. Most of the blog-wares provide starter templates."You're mixing unrelated arguments here. I'm not saying using a template, either as is or customised, is unethical. Heck, I used, and still use, blogger templates on some of my blogs. I'm merely saying that when the category in an award show is labelled "design," I expect the designs to be original, and judged on their merits as design. Or to really, really stretch the point so you and I can agree, that it should have been customised signficantly, it should have had much more value added to the original.

When it came to the blog that Kit Walker and I objected to, you will surely agree that if the only apparent customisation is the addition of the blogger's picture, then the person being honoured should be Minz Meyer?

4. Um. Yes. If the category was humour and the blogger stopped being funny after being nominated, one wouldn't blame the jury. In the case of taglines, however, the simple solution would be to include (as per Bloggies tradition), in the post with the shortlist, the taglines that were nominated. And yes, if a blog pulls down the shutters after agreeing to be nominated, it's not your fault at all.

All the best. And once more, thank you, and all the jurors, for the hard work put in.

FG said...

"And please Peter, don’t equate using a template with “plagiarizing” content. Borrowing design and using templates have been part of the blogging phenomenon and has been the hallmark of “easy publishing” that blogs are identified with."Dude, you are so wrong. Every design is an intellectual property. Publicly available templates that are offered by template designers to bloggers still remain their intellectual property, and nobody else can claim credit for them. If "plagiarizing" designs was okay, why in the world would designers be paid for their designs?

Debashish commented:Seems we have come full circle on this debate! Talking of IPR you are talking about "original designs", and this is what the dilemma for the Jurors and me has been, whether to consider only origianl designs for the award and whether to judge the blogs as "designers" or as "readers". These awards are about blogs and perhaps 99% of the blogs would be using ready-made templates and I don't think we should only choose winners from the remaining 1%. Do read the repoll post I wrote today and you will perhaps empathise.

Vishal said...

Why is the SEA-EAT blog nominated in two categories? If it is a group blog then why is it also eligible for IndiBlog of the Year while the other group blogs are not eligible for two categories?

Payal Patel said...

Great work guys! You've done a tremendous job capturring a lot of the great blogs out there, kudos!!

I was disappointed that noone nominated two of my favourite Indian blogs, Krishnan Menon's Brutal Clarity and SumanKumar's Yakpad. I think Brutal Clarity could have also been in the design blogs.

NEway, tahnks again!!

Muthu-முத்து said...

My comment in Tamil has been removed from here. Comments in Indian languages are prohibited here ? Among Indian languages only hindi is allowed??? Very nice, hats off.

Debashish replied: Don't be childish Muthu! Would you be able to make an iota of any comment if I post it on your site in Bengali? I publish such comments/trackbacks here that I can comprehend myself because, believe it or not, this is my site. I can understand English, Hindi and Bengali so I can afford to publish them, how do you think I could verify comments in other languages? Are you interested in making yourself heard or is it just beacuse you want me to label a "Hindi-wallah"?

Word Junkie » Indibloggies said...

[...] Last month in my post The elusive Indian bloggers I complained Indian blogs can be hard to find. I mentioned the blog directory Blog Street India and Desi Pundit, which links to interesting posts from various Indian blogs. Since then I have found another Indian blog directory, Indian Bloggers.com. And now the competition is on for the best Indian blog. Actually, voting ended yesterday. Still, anyone looking for some popular Indian blogs can check the web site Indibloggies or go straight to the list of nominees. I discovered some new blogs I liked. And some of the blogs I already link to are among the nominees. They are certainly worth reading.   [...]

TV Srinivas said...

thanks for those who spotted my site and supported me. I never knew that my site was also on the race. thanks to shyam kashyap and his friends too.

Rajesh said...

When are the nominations for next round starting. I think you guys should start one more section in your awrads: best blog on Finance & Investments. I have been a blogger for a year now and I know there are quite a number of blogs on this subject.

போடுங்கய்யா ஓட்டு… « Prakash’s Chronicle 2.0 said...

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मुम्बई ब्लॉग » Indibloggies 2005: वोट फोर ‘मुम्बई ब्लॉग’ said...

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