What should be done with the Philippine Blog Awards?

We had seen two Philippine Blog Awards, and both of them did not lack some controversies. The last one was – to say it mild – caused much stir that the next one is almost in doubt. I’m exaggerating, of course, but the point is that the credibility of the Awards was in doubt.

Now this thought-in-post is no way officially sanctioned by PBA. I am just putting some ideas out there for people to ponder on, maybe get a consensus on what PBA can do this year. I am sure the people behind PBA will appreciate inputs for a better run this year.

Also, this might be an opportunity for every one out there to share their own thoughts – by comment on this post or through their own blog posts – about what should be done about this year’s PBA.

1. The nomination process

One bone of contention last year was the way the nominations were handled. The process was indeed tedious – imagine filling up more than 5 form fields, and imagine doing that for several nominees (imagine nominating 10 blogs).

Then there’s the categorization thing. For example, blog A can be categorized by nominator in category B. The owner of blog A had no way of having it changed, especially when his blog is placed in the wrong category. I know one nominee who had to decline the nomination just because of this issue.

(To be fair, the last year’s nomination process was more transparent as compared to the 2007 version.)

The nomination can be streamlined. For example, instead of asking for so many information, the organizers can ask for the blog URL, category, and email address of the one who’s making the nomination. Also, sending a text file (containing all the blog URLs with corresponding categories) should be allowed to expedite the process; this can be done by HTTP upload or via email.

Nominees should be allowed to change the category where their blog is nominated. They should also be allowed to decline the nomination.

2. Publication of list of nominees, finalists, volunteers, and judges

In the 2008 edition, the lists of finalists were disclosed near the date of the awarding ceremonies. As to avoid unnecessary speculation, the lists of finalists should be disclosed at least a month before the awarding ceremonies.

It was not clear how the organizers came up with the list of finalists last year. I think that it will be for the best interest of the PBA to at least give a glimpse on how the selection process works. Who chooses the finalists? How do they come up with the list of finalists?

Upon looking, I found out that the list of nominees were never disclosed. Again, I think it will be for the best interest of the PBA to have the list of nominees disclosed, at least a week after the nomination is declared closed.

The list of judges and volunteers should be disclosed before the finalists are declared. The list of volunteers should be disclosed after the nomination process, so that volunteers who are nominated can either decline the nomination or dissociate themselves from the volunteers group. This is necessary to protect the integrity of the awards.

3. Criteria

The criteria for judging should be made clear. This is most important for sponsored awards – it’s clear to me that most of the issues raised last year concentrated on the sponsored awards.

While the rules were clear, I guess the timing of the release of the rules was not. I suggest that all rules/criteria be disclosed beforehand – like even before nominations are sent in.

4. A different Blog Awards altogether

This idea was first thought of immediately after the 2008 awarding ceremonies, when issues left and right, legitimate or not, were being raised. Why not 2009 PBA, Oscars-style?

Basically, the idea calls for the PBA adopting the way the AMPAS handles the nomination and awarding. But this is a bit more complicated because the AMPAS rules call for an organization of sorts.

Read the AMPAS Rules, specially the rules for balloting and nominations. It calls for members of certain guilds voting from a set of nominees. Imagine a Philippine Blogging Academy.

Unfortunately, the specter of a blogging elite or a blogging mafia appears when calls for such an organization are raised. Even if you say that membership to the proposed academy is simple (just have a blog), such ideas can not be dismissed that easily. Hence, the unattractiveness of this idea.

Also, like our national/local elections, this can lead to a simple popularity contest.

I find this idea meritorious. I also find it more democratic. I’ll explore this idea more when I have the time. Most of the issues that can be raised against the AMPAS style can be solved by tweaking it a little. After all, most of these issues boil down to the issue of trustworthiness.

Ideas? Comments?