The integrity of the Nigerian Blog Awards

The blogging community (bloggers and their fans) are making their views known following the July 15, 2011 revelation of the results of the 2011 Nigerian Blog Awards (NBAs) on twitter, and the subsequent posting of the results on this site. Some have posted reviews of the awards process on their blog; others have asked questions on their blogs or on twitter. Some are ecstatic with the results, while others are furious. We appreciate the conversations that are taking place because it’s important to hear what people think of the awards so that we can develop something that meets the needs of those it has been created for.

For me, the most important aspect of the awards is its integrity. Last year was the first year the Nigerian Blog Awards ran under that name, and I worked hard to reach out to everyone who had a comment about how the NBAs operated. In my attempts to address everyone’s concerns, which I naively thought was possible, I quickly realized (and was reminded) that it is impossible to make everyone happy with every aspect of the awards: either the process for the Awards, or those who emerged winners, or the quality of the blogs, the bloggers themselves, or the organizers would be critiqued. For every person who is happy with the results but disgusted with the process, there will be someone whose views are the exact opposite.

I was (and remain) baffled that some think the organizer of the Awards would commit time and money into something that in the end is “rigged” or “fixed” to give a particular outcome. I struggle to determine what the point of that would be. After all:

  • There is currently no tangible prize associated with the NBAs: no trophy or plaque to take home, no cash prize that is dispensed. Does that mean these awards are worthless? Absolutely not! The goal of the Awards is to bring bloggers in the Nigerian community together and facilitate connections. The awards strive to highlight bloggers who are creating content that deserves to be seen by the wider community and bring traffic to the blogs that might otherwise remain undiscovered. Following last year’s Awards, some proudly used the fact that they were the winner of the Nigerian Blog Awards to add more credibility to their work. We love this and appreciate it! It is my hope that in addition to the lovely badges that some winners are already displaying on their blogs, we are able to offer a more tangible prize in the future. My point is at this time, the winner does not receive a physical prize.
  • If I wanted to declare a blog the best blog in a particular category, nothing prevents me from doing so. Nothing prevents you from doing so. There is no obligation on my part to set up an impartial process and directly seek the opinion of Seye Kuyinu, who worked on the voting processes of the Future Nigeria Awards, in addition to the professional judgement of those who are familiar with computer programming and databases and work in that area for a living, to develop the process that was used in the 2011 Nigerian Blog Awards.
  • The process for the awards is clearly detailed on this website. It is my hope that anyone critiquing the Awards read it, but I understand that many visitors to this site came to fill out the nomination form and later to vote, and support the blogs they thought were meritorious. If you did not read the details of the process you participated in, and did not ask questions if there were any parts that did not make sense to you, it is unfair to expect the 2011 Awards at this stage to be modified to address those concerns. I strongly encourage anyone with questions to read the 2011 schedule of the awards.

    Both the nomination and voting process were determined by those who took the time to register their email and weigh in on what was happening. All along it was clear that the blog(s) with the most nominations/votes would win. To discover people are surprised or disappointed that the winners were those who mobilized the most fans is baffling. It’s disappointing to hear critiques of a process that was laid out clearly and not criticized until after the fact. However, as always, the comments received will be used to improve on next year’s awards.

In the end, you have to make a decision regarding what you think about the integrity of the Awards: if you think the Nigerian Blog Awards are “rigged” or “fixed”, or feel the process was not transparent, no explanations or show of votes will satisfy you. After all, if I was rigging the awards, wouldn’t it follow that I’d make sure any numerical results that are released support the results?

Thank you for reading, and feel free to leave your comments. The next blog entry will answer the question Will the numerical results of the Nigerian Blog Awards be revealed?

Comments

  1. Thank you for that lovely piece. For the records, not all bloggers are desperate for any attention and although I am one of those that feel that a physical prize is due after the rigour of galvanizing folk to vote for a blog, its not about the money.

    And yes before I forget, that was the most arrogant response to public criticism I have ever seen. You need to realize that as bloggers, we have the inane ability to express ourselves and if we thought the NBA was a joke we wouldn't give a rats arse who won. What your piece fails to acknowledge is that the NBA didn't give credibility to my blog (and countless premium blogs), I gave credibility to the NBA. When a lawyer working with a multinational company begins to ask colleagues far and wide to participate in something, that thing immediately assumes an importance it otherwise lacked. And so your whole "blame yourself if you didn't read the fine lines" is, although apt, rather unfortunate.

    Finally, forgive us for expecting that something that touts itself as representative of a people (by the 'nigerian' appellation) would truly recognize the absolute best blog that the country has to offer…instead of extended twitter posts with no substance.

    http://www.simplyoroquesview.blogspot.com

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      I'm sorry that you found the post arrogant because that was not its intent. The goal was to explain the Awards from my perspective as organizer. The critiques you shared will be useful for future Awards.

      As mentioned in the response to Madame Sting's post, as early as January of this year we had showed interest in other ways of picking the winners, but they were not implemented for 2011. The information provided on the website concerning the schedule was accurate, and it was not "fine print", but readily available.

      Regarding prizes, we'd love to give prizes eventually, but the Awards are still evolving. As the main organizer who, like you, has a career and has other interests, I am happy with the progress so far, as things have improved with each Awards. I also think there is plenty of room in the "blogosphere" for anyone wishing to set up an Awards site as they see fit to do so. If I can do it, I know without a doubt that anyone can.

      Bottom line is we're evolving and we're getting better with each iteration. If you're part of the 2012 process that would be great; if not, I personally wish you all the best in the future.

    • Thats good

  2. Nice writing but if what u wrote above is supposed to be an explanation to aggrieved pple den u actually need a good customer care person and also a public relation personnel more than "people" working on the voting process cos u just insulted ur readers and critics via subs and ur arrogant words.

    Anyway, ur award don come and e don go! Next year improve! That's what we want to hear not all dis.

  3. @Orok & @Eyevee – I do not believe your comments are fair. I stumbled upon the discontent with the awards from Oroks blog and I was a bit puzzled with the antagony.

    I think understanding the history of the awards will help as I believe it started out as a 'fun' way to unite Nigerian bloggers.

    My take (and I've never been involved with the awards, I think I voted only once last year or the year before) is that the awards have come a long way. You are right to critique it but criticism with a superior air does nothing constructive.

    Getting more people to participate and nominate blogs might help in increasing diversity and give a richer experience.

    I would like to see comments on the things that were done right such as:

    – The badges – Well done to Sugabelly.

    – I imagine all the work that has gone on behind the scenes and to the organisers, I say well done. Eku ise na!

    If Orok and EyeVee and many others weigh in and perhaps agree to help out with the next award process, we should see a better 2012 award.

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      Thank you. I can promise that all the comments that are received are going to be carefully considered when setting up the 2012 Awards.

  4. @Orok and co… this is what happens when you fail to find out what something is about before you delve in.. I read your blog post, Orok.. you said, for all your work, you were not given any recognition?? Like Buhari should have been given Vice President abi??

    I simply have no words…

    GNG, God bless you for all your hard work… I won one category out of 7 and I totally understood what it was about.. The ability to canvass for votes!!

    If anybody was not happy with that criteria, they should have voiced criticisms before and not participated at all!!

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      Your comment is what I wish more people would understand (or at least show that they understand). There's nothing wrong with criticizing the process but the Awards ran exactly as we said they would. Any criticisms shared can only be applied to future Awards, but will not change these Awards.

      And yes…why weren't these criticisms voiced earlier if those who are displeased wanted change for the 2011 Awards?

      Anyway, I'm looking forward to next year already! Congratulations on your win.

  5. I think the awards has greatly evolved from when it first started. So while winning based solely on popularity and being able to mobilize votes might have worked in 2009, it certainly did not work in 2011.

    For example, if i was inclined, i could have gotten all my friends and family to nominate and vote for me for best sports blog and won, (depending on how many votes i can mobilize, of course). Since i don't write about sports, winning for best sports blog takes away from the credibility of the awards. It makes it seem like a joke.

    Maybe that's something that can be addressed for next year

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      To clarify: you would not have been nominated for Best Sports Blog because the nominated blogs had to fit the category they were nominated for. In the case of the "Most" categories, there was more latitude since they are by definition more subjective, but in all cases we compared the nominated blog to the description of the category. For example in the category you won in, we made sure that each nominee made mention of being a student. In the case where we didn't see mention of this, the nominee was asked (without being told why).

  6. I don't get the point of the antagonisms. People voted and I believe those with the highest votes won. I can understand the request for the statistics of the voting but what I don't get is people posing as demi gods who know it all and must be seen to be right. The voting process did not just help the winners win, it actually helped in making the NBA very popular. That is what we all want win or not. Imagine if some 12 wise men sat somewhere and decided the winners… I wouldn't even be interested.

    Plus GNG should look to use the right pronoun. I hate the idea of I and I and I. This will make the whole thing look overly personal which I believe is not the case. You guys have come a long way and the fact you are getting knocks from respectable quarters means you are doing certain things right. Next year will be bigger and bigger and my optimism comes from the air of annoyance some have displayed. Winning is not the end, it's a path to an end an end that could be reached without winning. These are my opinions and even if I get knocked for them they are what I hold to be true so I don't care really. Cheers.

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      Well what do you think about a hybrid solution where both a panel and popular vote were used to determine winners? There's an upcoming entry on that so please look out for it!

      Regarding the pronoun used in the entry, the use of "I" wasn't to take it personally but to let people to know that as the organizer, any complaints come directly to me.

      Thanks for your comment!

  7. @Orok, I read that you blogpost too and I must say, I was not happy you wrote that. Its not good of you to discredit the hardwork that has gone into the awards. I read some other reviews, they gave suggestions as to what they think should be improved on – you only ended up lambasting the organizers and for me, that's not a good thing. U need to apologise to GnG and the entire team, sincerely… Ur words were to harsh!

    GnG… God bless you. We look forward to a post where we can leave suggestions and comments as to how to improve on the awards in forthcoming years.

    Thank you.

    – LDP

  8. @Le Dynamique Professeur and @Toyin: I appreciate your comments and see your point of view. the very concept of blogging is to say exactly how you feel, not what is generally acceptable. if you read my post clearly, i have NEVER insulted GNG or her team, and I DID NOT cast aspersions on the integrity or hard work that went into the award. i am unhappy with the process presently used to guage something "nigerian" and i will say it over and over until something changes.

    I HOWEVER TAKE YOUR HINT AND APOLOGIZE TO GNG AND TEAM FOR ANY SLIGHT THAT MY WORDS MAY HAVE CAUSED. I AM SORRY AND THE PAIN IS DULY REGRETTED.

    This ends here, now.

  9. and i forgot to add, @Berry Fiesty Pen i have one word for you: FUCK YOU. thats two actually, but you can read it as one if it makes you feel better.

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      I decided to start editing swear words now, rather than waiting for the 2012 awards hence the asterisks in the above.

  10. the awards are more like "fun".

    And for everyone nominated it did increase traffic to your blog innit?

    It isn't that serious. Lets live and let live.

    Someone just took it upon herself to put this together, i doubt it was even sponsored. It might evolve one day to a prestigious award like one of those literacy stuff chinamanda won. but not yet.

    Let us inhale and exhale.

    I personally did not vote, even though i was part of the nomination process, cuz i did not a good number of the blogs that were nominated, I remember thinking to myself @kai this new bloggers have gotten their friends to vote for them, who are these people" but when i read BBB's blog about Twitter bloggers, it made sense, decided i was being closed minded to newer bloggers.

    However, i did not vote, because i did not have time to read through the new blogs and hey! you cant vote for what you don't know right?

    Anyways it is a fun thingy. Lets not dampen the fun! blogging is fun, you want to be so serious go write a book or an article for the Guardian

  11. @ Orok, it is a good thing you have apologized. i know you personally and i know you aint to controversial.

    Cheers

  12. @Orok.. fuck me?? Indeed, you should have been Nigerian Blogger of the year!

  13. Monique says:

    Wow, such many voices. Well I agree and disagree with the process of the NBA.

    I love the fact that it brings a lot of familiarity and exposure the bloggers being nominated.

    Also the fact that someone can come up with this idea of bringing Nigerians together all over the world. I think is great.

    The cons of the votes is that you really have to work ass off for your votes. Asking people, creating dummy emails etc, just to win is not suppose to be the right way.

    I think we can decide on laying out options on what to be done or how to improve the ways of voting.

    Alexa ranks is one way of deciding how popular your blog site is.

    I voted for my sister mystylebybike.com and I realized that her website on the second category she was nominated for had the wrong link to it.

    When I told her, she said Oh no, she has lost that category. And she emailed NBA right away. This error might be a reason why she didn't win.

    But anyways, I like the idea, and I'm very sure as time goes on, people can contribute to sponsor the award so prices could be awarded to the winners.

    This is just the beginning, we should all try and work together and find ways or give ideas of what need to be done to make it better in 2012

  14. This is paraphrased from my comment on Sting's blog.

    I think it's left for you guys if you want to tweak the voting processes. Where I would want to see changes is in qualification. For instance 90% of the posts on a blog have to be of the category to qualify, the blogger must post at least once a month or something like that.

    That said, I like that this year's awards promo was def more twitter/BB/FB (social media) centric rather than just blogs in the sense that it promotes all blogs by bringing in new bloggers and readers.

    Una well done, and yes o, I'm still rocking my badge from winning blog of the year 2010. :)

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      Thanks for your suggestions; we're definitely thinking along the lines of making the criteria more stringent, especially since the focus of the Awards is evolving. We appreciate your support and you're in history as the first winner of that particular category so kudos!

  15. First of all I'm new to this site and only got to know about it fairly recently so unsure of the process and organisers. But I hope I can give a balanced view on what has happened with the nomination and voting process and the grievances that followed.

    I would like to first of all thank the organisers for coming up with the idea and all the effort that has gone in to make it work.

    My feedback for the orgainers would be…
    Nigerians are unforgiving when it comes to criticisms. You may disagree with it but then you have to understand they are within their rights to do so regardless and you should be big enough to take it on the chin. I'm sure some of the criticims may be helpful, use them to inform changes which would only make you stronger and better in subsequent years.

    My feedback for fellow bloggers would be…….
    As much as you feel hard done by or you have reservations about the process, please keep your criticisms very civil without resorting to use of innuendo or language that may end up rubbing up people the wrong way. Also do remember that criticisms without any valid suggestion for improvement is unhelpful.

  16. Going forward, my suggestions are…..
    The nomination process needs to be tightened to ensure only good quality Blogs in terms of content and design are chosen for each category. If possible, it should be done by an independent panel of professional bloggers.

    The window for the voting process should be open for only a limited period of time to minimise or even discourage 'mass mobilisation'. This may not eliminate the chances of cheating but would certainly help.

    Internet voting is very difficult to control but I guess we just have to trust the nominees to do right thing. I'm not sure if attaching monetary value to the prizes should be encouraged at this stage as it would only lead to more desperation to win.

    Let's all work for the common good, in the end if this award lead to increased activities and innovation in the Nigerian blogsphere then we all will be the winners.

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      Thanks so much for making the time to share your comments…they will definitely come in handy as we look forward to 2012

  17. About voting,

    You can consider Facebook voting next time as well.

    Of course, the same thing as last time can occur where people win categories that people feel they don’t deserve but I do feel it would reduce the issues of fake votes even if it won’t totally eliminate it.

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      Thanks for that suggestion. This is great…so many options to look into.

  18. All I to say is kudos to GnG! For making this happen, I know I was nominated but didnt win, yet it doesnt eat me up. GnG is doing all thiz by herself, if you want her to put up some physical prize, then help her look for sponsorship. Anyways, I hope that next years awards be better!

    • nigerianblogawards says:

      Thank you for your comment and for your participation in the Awards. I think some think there's a large group behind the organization and background work of the Awards but so far there isn't. There are pros and cons to this.

  19. Mizchif says:

    Dear GNG, i think you are a saint for taking time out to plan and execute these awards with no compensation and still have people come here talking smack. I know i wouldn't be one to take it.

    I agree that there are flaws in the process and i didn't agree with most of the nominations or winners even, but i do not at all question the intergrity of the contest, for all the reasons you mentioned above.
    And i don't see how anybody with good comprehension of the english language can view the post as arrogant. Te fact that you were even thoughtful enough to write this post is enough.

    To the people asking for a prize, i'm completely baffled. Do you really expect someone that is not getting paid for this to take out their money and buy you a prize? I don't understand people.

    These awards started out as a fun way to bring the Nigerian blogging community together and to highlight good blogs that may otherwise have stayed under the radar. With time and the right support i'm sure this platform will grow and evolve into something even bigger.
    I'm sad that some bloggers are trying to make this a big messy affair.

  20. Hi, i just came across this for the first time while trying to find cool Nigerian bloggers to follow. I'm pleasantly surprised to see how much bloggers there are out there and some are really quite interesting. I definitely intend to be a part of the awards in the future.

  21. Hi, i just came across this for the first time while trying to find cool Nigerian bloggers to follow. I'm pleasantly surprised to see how much bloggers there are out there and some are really quite interesting. I definitely intend to be a part of the awards in the future.