23 Feb 2009

Irish Blog Awards, great times but how does it work?

I enjoyed myself so much this past weekend. Heading down to Cork for the weekend, staying in a decent hotel and meeting lots of fabulously interesting, opinionated, talented articulate and passionate people. I loved having some time with my beloved little sister and the banter and craic were mighty altogether. The Ladies Tea Party was delightful and the award ceremony was organised and enjoyable. Everyone I met was warm and friendly and all were impressed at how well Damian and all his helpers had managed everything. New friendships were made and old ones strengthened.

It was delightful to return to my family. Gordon met me at the airport with the boys. Thomas blew kisses every time I looked around and smiled at me like a matinee idol, Duncan grinned and held my hand as we drove to pick Lady up from her friend's house. It was a rapturous reception.

Later I had a quick look at the blog which won in my category and was shocked to see that it only started on December 2nd. Now I'll be honest, when the shortlist was announced, I had a quick read through the 4 other "Specialist Blogs" and I thought that the only one that didn't stand a chance of winning was the one that won, Irish Economy. The blog content, while incredibly topical, seemed to me, to be written in a dry textbook style. I fully admit that I only spent a few minutes reading it, whereas I read many posts by the other bloggers, and personally,I was more impressed at their content, style, wit and the level of engagement they had with readers. And what I had taken on first glance to be a blogroll on the Irish Economy blog, was in fact the list of contributors- 24 in total. Each of the other 4 blogs shortlisted are written by just one person.

Now I'm confused about something. Perhaps people will think this is just sour grapes that I didn't win. It's not though...

I was a judge for this year's blog awards. Judging each person's quota of the massive list of nominated blogs began at the beginning of February, only 2 months after the Irish Economy blog commenced. But crucially, the awards nomination rules stipulated that, "to be nominated the Blog has to have been actively blogging between July 15th and December 15th 2008." As a judge, I took this to mean that to be eligible, all blogs (except those nominated for best new blog and best blog post) had to have regular posts in the period stipulated, not that the blog must have had some posts at any point in that time. It never occurred to me to use the 2nd possible meaning. For each blog I judged, I went to the archives and read a large selection of the posts written between July and December and ignored the rest so when I came across blogs that hadn't started until later in the year, I gave them as few marks as possible and wrote my reasons for the low mark in the allotted space. It now seems that other judges interpreted the nomination rules the 2nd way and I fear I have discriminated against many good blogs.

I would appreciate it if Damien or someone who knows, could clarify this. It's too late to do anything about it this year but I hope that by next year, it will be more obvious to those nominating and judging, exactly what the rules are.

PS, I'm really delighted that 3 of the winners were those I nominated; well done, Maman Poulet, Trust Tommy and The Cedar Lounge Revolution, and well done too all the other winners...even if some of you might be glad you weren't judged by me.


Anonymous said...

By interesting, opinionated, talented articulate and passionate, you're clearly referencing me. Was a delight to meet you and spend the weekend predominantly in your (& your sisters) banterous company!

Anonymous said...

Q: "Irish Blog Awards, great times but how does it work?"
A:The word 'Irish' is a clue ;-)

Sharon McDaid said...

@Andy, I'm honoured, you actually read a blogspot blog!
And yes, obviously I'm talking about you...
Though Keith was great too, and Nick, Devin, John, Matt, Eloi, Bock, Jo, Chris and Arleen. Class times.

@D@ve, you cheeky devil!

Anonymous said...

Great post Sharon, I think you have voiced the thoughts of many others.

I too was a judge for the first time this year and took the criteria for nomination as you did.

In judging round I looked at the number of entries from July 1st to the end of Jan. I read a sprinkling from each of the inclusive months.

Round 2 had different criteria and I went along with those.

For me though the weekend was a great opportunity to meet up and renew friendships and to make new ones & gain a few new toyboys! ;)

It was great to catch up with you and I look forward to meeting you again soon.

Say Hi to your sister from me.

Sharon McDaid said...

Grannymar, obvioulsy seeing and talking with you was a massive highlight for me and eveyone else you spoke with. I also loved meeting the grogeous Steph.

It was great and that is what I focus on. I do hope that this issue wil be cleared up as well.

My sister thought you were lovely!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why some people signed up to judge in the first place. I did it to have an excuse to do some good reading, which is what I did for most of last weekend, and I enjoyed it. I thought it only fair to have a good read of the posts and read as far back to June on most of the ones I was rating. I know for a fact that four of the judges who looked at my own site didn't read a single post but just looked at the homepage. There seems to be a lot of inconsistency in the quality of the actual judging.

Sharon McDaid said...

@Grannymar, can I please apologise for all the typos in my earlier reply to you. I had a small boy hanging off my arm at the time.

@Eddie, hello! It was nice to chat with you 'till the wee small hours.
Like you I wanted to be a judge to discover good blogs and also to help out, to be part of the event and to pay back a bit for the wee boost I'd enjoyed when I won last year. I think it's hard to know how much the other judges looked at on each blog...I know I can't tell how much of mine any of them read but I trust that they all did a good job.

Anonymous said...

I'm still exhausted from that night, but it was such a laugh. Felt like the wedding of some long lost family member :-)

Manuel said...


Sharon McDaid said...

hmmmm yourself Manuel! I'm still sniffing into my hankie about the humour award.

Nick McGivney said...

That's what you get with a tw@ of bloggers.

I've no doubt that this issue will resolve itself peacefully, that the strange case of the horse's head on a pole outside the airport will be answered and the giant pills on the rug (laid on doubtless for the giant-mouthed bloggers - I'm looking at NOBODY!) will be returned to their rightful owners.

As for little ole moi, I got high exclusively on the company. And the alcohol. A little bit. But mostly the company, for it was exceedingly rare.

Sharon McDaid said...

Nick, could you be any more lovely. I don't think it's possible. Meeting you was a highlight of the weekend for sure.

As for the awards, I thought about it earlier and spouted out my thoughts as I tend to do, but it is all so very unimportant, especially compared to the people and the community.

Thanks for reminding me about tw@. We need to get that in use. (I hope your coffee break in the airport was productive.)

Bock the Robber said...

Great fun. We should have more piss-ups -- sorry, I mmeant more award ceremonies.

Sharon McDaid said...

Bock, how can you call our adroit and astute assemblage a piss-up

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

I eventually dared to add my pennyworth to the discussion last night.

Feebee said...

Great night and great to meet you!