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Monday, November 16, 2009


This is posted with permission from the author of The Sandbox, a blog based in Riyadh,Saudi Arabia.
The Sandbox, managed by an OFW computer programmer won in the 2008 Top 10 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards and is the 2008 No. 1 in the Middle East and Africa Region.

Judging Others

Some of you may be aware that PEBA honored me by choosing yours truly as one of the judges in this year’s search for the Top 10 Outstanding Expatriates/OFW Blogs. At first I thought it was going to be easy but then I realize it’s not only difficult mentally but emotionally as well.

There are 37 candidates to choose from. I knew most of them and some I considered as friends. In fairness and for transparency’s sake, I devised a method of calculating the result to avoid being accused of partisanship or later might hear discriminatory allegation (like what happened last year). Hopefully these will do justice to my selection.

There are 5 categories in which blogs are to be judge, PEBA entry post, blog contents,blog entries, popularity and blog traffic. Judges are to handle the first 3 categories and pick what they considered their top ten choices. As for me, I rate each category between 1 thru 10, where 1 is the lowest grade given for an entry and 10 the highest. But since I don’t believe in anything perfect outside the physical world, the highest I could give is 9. Believe me; even if you got an excellent blog, how ever good a writer you are, there will always be a better blog or a superior writer out there.

PEBA entry post is somewhat easier to evaluate compared to the other two categories. I judge an entry by its relevance to the contest’s theme and the way the essay’s message makes an impact on me. 15% of the rating will be taken from this category.

Blog content is somewhat within my territory of familiarity. I sub-categorize it into three;
Refresh rate, presentation and blog information.

Refresh rate is the time it takes for a blog to “download”. I consider this necessary because it is somehow discomforting for a reader to “pick” a blog that somewhat takes forever to appear on screen. A refresh rate between 5 and 10 seconds is good enough for me (at low traffic, my own blog has a refresh rate of 3 seconds).

Presentation, in my opinion, is important to a reader. It’s composed of a blog’s appearance; in its uniqueness, symmetry, readability and color coordination. Bloggers who takes pain in making their site pleasing to the eye gets extra points than those who just use available templates or those who over-do their “make-up”.

Blog information is useful to readers or visitors. It includes post categories and history, personal information and links to other useful sites.

I grade each sub-category from 1 to 9 using the formula - summation of grades of all sub-categories divided by 3. Fifteen percent will be taken from its result to be added to the over-all ranking.

Blog entries is the most tasking of the three. Since some blogs are more than a year old and contains more than 50 posts, I made a point to set January to October of this year the cut-off time of entries I’m going to read. I did this in order to meet the date of submission of my results on December 15. Grading each entry depends on how it impresses me. Is it inspirational, informative or thought-provoking? Is it entertaining or just plain boring? Take note that since the contest organizers specifically stated that each blog nominee contains at least one entry post per month; it would be disadvantageous for a nominee if they have no entry for any month inside my cut-off. You are excuse from this provision if your blog is younger than January as long as it has an entry starting from the month of its conception. 30% of the overall result will be taken using the same formula I used above - summation of grades of all read posts divided by the total number of posts read, adding a point penalty to the divisor for each month without an entry.

Using this method, a meaningful entry posted once or twice a month, gains more points compared to posting insignificant entries trice a week. At least a nominee have an idea what’s their ranking if they wrote something like “what I ate for breakfast this morning”.
I’m explaining the mechanics of my computation in order for candidates to know where they stand in my evaluation. But it doesn’t mean that what I’ve explained is “the basis” in choosing the finalist or my final evaluation makes “the difference”. Remember, there are nine other judges to consider. Each has their own method in selecting the most commendable blogs. Beside that, popular vote and blog traffic are still two categories where a nominee may edge other contenders.

So, to each of the nominees, I say GOODLUCK!

©2009 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards

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