It’s the awards season again in the Indian blogosphere. Nominations close on Feb 5th. So go ahead and nominate your favourite blogs if you have not already done so. The indefatigable Debashish has done whatever was in his power to assuage one third of my misgivings. So, this year official policy rules out jurors from being nominees, which means that The Acorn is out of the fray.
The other two misgivings—unbounded electorate and the use of popularity for value judgement—are not particular to the IndiBloggies. But the lack of a defined electorate means that you can get your friends and relatives of the existent and the non-existent kind to vote. They might not even have read your blog. There are measures to prevent electoral malpractice. However even the genuinely popular need not necessarily be the “best”, yet this is what the contest aims to choose.
In any case, what does it mean to be the “best blog” in a certain category? The blog itself is bigger than the blogger for it includes the commenting community. It is possible that the blogger itself is average, but the comments section is alive with high-quality discussion. Jurors and certainly most voters are likely to make up their minds by just reading the posts. So the blogs with a good comments section are at a disadvantage. But also, since the award for the best blog goes to the blogger, judging the blog in a holistic manner might unduly reward a mediocre writer.
On another note, this year’s supposedly ‘international’ Weblog Awards do not even have a category for the best Indian blog. If that shows a narrowness of thinking, it is also true that the IndiBloggies are focussed on Indian blogs. That need not even be true. Indian bloggers and readers do read blogs written by non-Indians. There is no reason, when you come to think of it, that the IndiBloggies should not be as ‘international’ as the Weblog Awards.
At times like this I turn to my first reader for advice. She is likely to remark that this line of thinking is beside the point. Just go and vote.