Archive for the 'Blog' Category

Avant Garde Bloggies Awards’ 09: Winners

And the Winners and Runner-ups for Avant Garde Bloggies Awards are:

1.1 Best short story post



Winner: A true story of love (A candle burnt on 26/11/09)
Author: Lemonytree
Runner up: Of Hands That Held and Promises Not Kept
Author: Chandni

1.2. Best off-beat post

Winner: Draupadi, Sita and Helen of Troy
Author: Indian Homemmaker
Runner up: Yuva Dares to Bring Open Closet
Author: Sam

1.3. Best Book Review post



Winner: Book Review: “Bitter Chocolate – Child Sexual Abuse in India” by Pinki Virani
Author: Kiran Rao
Runner up: The Case of Missing Servant
Author: Smita

1.4. Best Movie Review post

Winner: Wake Up Sid Movie Review
Author: Partha Pratim
Runner up: Kurbaan
Author: Sahil Rizwan

1.5. Best Music Review post

Winner: Share a Tune: Inspired Music in Indian Films
Author: Gauri
Runner up: Rahman Unseen
Author: Shruthi

1.6.Best How-to post

Winner: How to Make Girlfriend
Author: DesiNinja
Runner up: Taking control of your inbox: Inbox Zero
Author: Vaibhav Gadodia

1.7. Most interesting personal rant post

Winner: Saala Ek Machchar Aaadmi Ko
Author: Sourabh Biswas
Runner up:
5 Reason Why I am more miserable than Dilbert
Author: Prateek Gupta

1.8.  Most Humorous post

Winner: We are Indians and so is Our English
Author: Gauri
Runner up:
1 Socialite, 1 Entrepreneur and 1 Software Engineer
Author: Abhiskek Iyengar

1.9. Best Satirical post

Winner: Driving in Delhi
Author: Amreekandesi
Runner up: The Undibloggies awards – the Indibloggies for the rest of us
Author: Neo Indian

1.10. Best travel post

Winner: London Files
Author: Parul
Runner up:
When I Saw God in Valparai…
Author: Radha

1.11. Best visual post

Winner: I Love My India
Author: Swaram
Runner up:
I Am Going On A Short Break
Author: Sakshi

1.12. Best culinary post

Winner: Gulab Jamun Recipe for Indian Cooking
Author: Srivalli
Runner up:
Not so Boring Potato
Author:
Gunjaish

1.13. Best consumer rights post

Winner: Who is Ripping and Cheating?
Author: Madhurie Singh
Runner up: Net Neutrality and Indians
Author: Indyeah

1.14. Best Poetry post

Winner: Ode to My Once Slim Waist
Author: Ritu
Runner up: For Brave Lady
Author: Suranga

1.15. Best tech post


Winner: Analyzing Twitter Lists-Follower Ratio As An Indicator Of Influence
Author: Mahendra
Runner up: 8 Google Wave plugins you must try when you get an account
Author: Dinsan

1.16. Best public interest post

Winner: In Silence I Suffer Hidden Hurt
Author: Tikuli
Runner up: Sex Education Has Nothing to Do with Blue Films
Author: Indian Homemaker

1.17. Best Personal post


Winner: If I Knew What I Know Now
Author: Minal
Runner up: Slumdogs. White Tigers. Indians.
Author: Amit

1.18. Best 55er post


Winner: Caught in Her Own
Author: Shilpa Garg
Runner up: Her Fault
Author: Shail

1.19. Most Evocative Post on Parenting


Winner: Three Generations
Author: Mad Momma
Runner up: I want I want I want
Author: Kiran/Karmic Kids

Blog awards

2.1. Most Beautiful Header award

Winner: Sahil Rizwan (Designed by Ashwin Chandran)
Runner up: Monika Manchanda – Mommy Blog

2.2. Most interesting sidebar award

Winner: Indimag
Runner up: Psych Babbler
and Indian Homemaker (IHM)

2.3. Best “About me” page award

Winner:
Amreekan Desi
Runner up: Vivek

2.4. Best blog design award

Winner: MayG and UTP
Runner up: Smita and Psych Babbler

2.5. Best Professional Blogger

Winner: The HR Store
Runner up: Rupa Rajgopalan

2.6. Most Disciplined blogger

Winner: Madhurie Singh
Runner up: Vimal

2.7. Most Networking blogger

Winner: Vimal (V-Lokam)
Runner up: Dhiren

2.8. Most Responsive Blogger

Winner: Vimal and Madhurie Singh
Runner up: Swaram

Congratulations to all the winners! With this we pull down the curtain on Avant Garde Bloggies Awards 2009.

P.S: 1. All the Avant Garde badges have been designed by Chirag, Dinsan and Sakshi.

2. Avant Garde Blog is public now. You can check the voting percentages of each category there.

Avant Garde Bloggies Awards: Results and More Light

The Avant Garde Bloggies Awards have concluded finally. I am aware I tried your patience a lot. (I have a self-deprecating, wry smile on my face now.) I apologize only for that: delay and inability to update as much as possible.

The results will be published on Monday.  You will also be able to see the percentages of votes case in favour of each candidate on the Avant Garde Bloggies Blog when the blog will be made public again on Monday.

There, the main objective of this post is done. Now is the time to express more about on motivations that led to Avant Garde and the thoughts behind it.

I started Avant Garde only because there was no measurable, prestigious, fair way of awarding blog posts. Every award seemed to be out of appreciation by a friend, rather than excellence. Awards are big motivation, as I know firsthand. And I decided if I am to reciprocate or hand out awards, I have to do it fairly, ingeniously, in a way every one gets to have their say. Readers of blog have their say. And yet, only excellence is awarded.

Avant Garde Bloggies Awards had three stages and each one had a thought behind them. It is a pity that I never took out time to explain these to my readers, or if I did, it didn’t really reach all my readers. Maybe I should blame my publicist, Nikhil, for it. :P (I know you refuse to believe, but Avant Garde had a professional-blogger publicist.) But better late than never. Plagued by few unseen challenges, I think it’s time I explain my thoughts. I owe the readers and participants an explanation.

Stage 1: Nominations were made by readers who liked a particular post and also author could nominate themselves. I realised most people (Ok, I amend that to ‘several’) were hesitant to nominate themselves. But reasoning behind the ‘self-nomination’ was that this award was for a post and not a blog. Who better than the author of the blog knows about his/her best work? Who else, indeed?

Plus, in case of a popular blog, which was nominated by more than 2 readers, it was the nomination by the author of the blog that was considered as final.

Also, this time around, there were restrictions that same blog cannot be nominated in more than three categories. Multiple nominations by same author in a category were not allowed. Yet most people did not pay heed to rules (but there were some who did, thank you to them), as a result the nomination list could not be compiled simultaneously. Most volunteers on the Scrutinizing Committee later had tough time finishing the task due to this reason. Unlike the last time where a list was ready to be scrutinized by them, now they had to first compile the list, and then sort by title, category and author.

[This is why it took about a month to put up a list of final nominations after pruning the 700+ entries we received. I shudder to think what would have had these folks not divided task amongst themselves: Dhiren, Vee, Vimal, Smita, Gaurav and Jaslene. Like me, Avant Garde was not their primary or even secondary vocation in life after our gruelling full-time jobs.  I remember one night I sat in dismay and defeat about how to go ahead with final sorting and formatting. Indyeah offered to help. Though she fell sick around the same time, she managed to show me light. Once I dug in work, I finished it in two nights straight. Wish she had intervened sooner, I could have had done with some light and vigor she infused. Avant Garde weighed heavily on my shoulders those days, resulting in more of Freudian inefficiency. ]

Stage 2: Judgment. Choice of judges was made on just two things; that the judges were bloggers and experts in the categories they were judging. Expert in the sense they knew the art of the categories they were judging and they had practiced it themselves. For example, Meetu is professional movie reviewer at her blog WOGMA. Anshul is cartoonist and photographer, his work for both can be seen here and here. Nikhil himself had a funny blog to credit and has also published a book. Nita, whose blog, I consider to be an authority on anything related to India and public service-related posts.

In some cases, I had my personal friends, like Rashmi whose tastes in literature I have come to trust over the years. She is also qualified to do that with her degree in literature and the fact that she writes to earn her own living. Withering Willow is another friend who makes her living writing ‘how-to’s and has a great eye for design. She is also a trained graphic designer and I have had pleasure to appreciate her design skills and creativity while working with her.

So, back to Avant Garde process, there are two judges in each category. Judges have a free hand to decide the criteria they use to score a category. For example, one of the judges’ criteria to rate posts in movie review category was:

Story-Screenplay-Characters/Acting/Direction/Other Technicalities/Language used/Contextual Reference/Insight/Humor/Style/Spoilers

Other judge’s criteria for scoring public interest category was: Importance of Issue raised/Aspects Covered/Extra insights/Originality/Clarity and writing style/Impact

Judges were requested to rate all posts on a scale of 10. Also, they had a right not to rate or reject a post if it is too shoddy or was plagiarised, but the reasons needed to be recorded.

Now scores from two judges were added to decide the 6 best posts. If you look at it carefully, there are two outcomes of such a system:

  1. It ensures only best, 6 best in this case, posts go to next stage of the award. This was important since by experience I know how sometimes polls are NOT actual reflection of excellence; they only reflect popularity of the blog/blogger.
  2. No one person has control over who wins or loses. Let me explain this one. We have judges of two different sensibilities on a category. For example, my sense of humour will be different than Nikhil’s whacky style. So, when we both judge same category, our criteria for judgement are different. So, the posts that emerge as winners are ones that have been scored reasonably well by BOTH of us. The 6 best posts are that were highly rated individually by Nikhil or me will not make the final cut if the other judge did not like it.

Stage 3: Polls. This is where you came in, readers. After having rated posts for their excellence, this stage does leave room to gauze popularity of a blog/blogger/post. There arises another challenge. I realised, several folks were shy to ask for vote for themselves. If you scrutinise the percentages carefully when I publish them on Monday, you will realise there are bloggers who have received no votes at all. Why? Either they never realised that they made it there (maybe they didn’t care at all) and they never informed their readers that they were nominated.

On the other hand, there were participants who ‘canvassed’ a lot. A friend also revealed how she stumbled upon a mail that was sent to her colleagues by an Avant Garde participant asking all of them to vote on the given link. The person had sent a mass mailer to all colleagues, family and friends coaxing them to vote! Now in this case, if the person wins, it is not excellence but the networking that won. Not that I have anything against it or I can stop it.

But my awards become a fail, if all participants do not inform their readers of their nominations. Because then all nominees are not getting a fair chance at polls. Some absolutely brilliant bloggers were also shy about letting their readers about it. I understand their inhibitions, but though I too may not be canvass for myself, I will at the least inform my readers.

Some categories had bare minimum voting initially, and it hurt. Unless good number of votes came in, there would be no weight in the verdict. That would have amounted to the failure of the mammoth effort undertaken. I pushed bloggers I knew to inform their reader about their nominations. In most cases, a single tweet or a Facebook update or a blogpost worked wonders.

Overall I received about 250 responses in a week. Except five categories (Best Music review, Best Sidebar, Best Header, Best Personal, Best Off-beat) all categories had 100 plus votes. Not bad, considering I am not big one on publicity, except one almost daily tweet by me. I am rather happy about the participation.

My last word before I sign off: All the posts that made it to polls were excellent as per se judges, irrespective of they win or not in polls. Polls , though are measure of popularity or networking, they are not ultimate devices to gauze excellence. Another thing, if you note, I have little control over who wins or loses, even in those few categories that I judged. It has so many deciding entities at various stages. Please do not curse me when you see the results. (Which is why I made this whole effort of writing this long post.  :P)

Lastly, thank you everyone: volunteers, badge designers (including Chirag, Sakshi and Dinsan), judges and above all participants for making this happen! Avant Garde exists because of its participants. Thanks to each one of you who wrote a post of Avant Garde in its inception days (and later) and spread the word in every way possible. May God bless you all!

Signing off,

Poonam

Avant Garde Bloggies Awards 2009 – Addition of Categories

I have to start by thanking everyone for your support. We have received about 120+ nominations. Again, with public demand, here are two new categories:

Best 55 er Post: It is a post that tells a story in 55 words.

Best evocative post on parenting:  This category included all posts about your kids, parenting in general. It includes both mommy bloggers and daddy bloggers, if there are terms like that. :)

I would also like to point out that you can nominate all your science/nature posts under the Best Tech post category. Depending on the number of nomiantions we have in the Science category, we can start that next year. :)

Remember if a category doesn’t receive at least 6 nominations, it will be scrapped. There are very few nomiantions in these categories:

1. Best Consumer Rights post

2. Best Professional Blog

3. Best Tech Post

4. Best How-to Post (which surprisingly was a popular category last year)

5. Best Culinery Post: Surprisingly so far received only 6 nominations! How come! I thought we had lot of food  bloggers around. We then certainly have not been reaching out to all the right people.

Nominate more posts and save these categories from dungeons. :)

You can check the list of categories here. Please send in your nominations in the comments section of this Avant Garde kick-off post.

Note that if you can not see your comment after posting, please DO NOT WORRY. It has most probably gone into spam due to too many links.   I will retrieve it when I spend a moment on wordpress. For safety sake, just let me know in another comment that you nominated, I will approve your comment.

Lastly, please read the rules before nominating. As per now, you can nominate you posts in three categories, which excludes the blog award categories as listed in the list of categories. I publicly request all of you who have nominated themselves in all the categories, to consider and let us know,  in which three categories you would like to enter your blog posts.

P.S: Avant Garde Bloggies Awards Group on Facebook. has about 110 members, please join them for more updates that are not regularly posted here on the blog.

P.P.S:  Both the current header and Avant Garde Bloggies Awards badges have been designed by Chirag.

P.P.P.S: Please DO NOT write in your nominations in the comment section of this post. For nominations, write in the comments section of this Avant Garde kick-off post.

Avant Garde Bloggies Awards 2009?

Last year Avant Garde Bloggies Awards (2008) was very popular. It had a huge participation; so much that it had to be conducted with the help of a small, dedicated team (whom I can never stop thanking enough):  :)  The Scrutinizing Committee, the Publicist, the Badge Designer, the Poll Manager and of course the Judges.

This is the list of award categories for which nominations were invited. Before taking the plunge into such a mammoth and busy affair, I would like to know your opinion:

Taking lessons from the last year event, there will be some necessary changes this year. For example, multiple nomination by same person in a category will not be allowed. Voting will be available for lesser duration. Award categories maybe overhauled. And more changes, if required.

Similarly, in case you want to suggest any changes in Avant Garde Bloggies Awards, if conducted this year, let us know in the comments section. Thank you!

P.S: Oh, and here is a promotion video from last year created by Nikhil.

Updates, Tag and General News

First the good news, I have written about DU distance learning students’ plight at their courses not being recognised. IGNOU has now given a green signal for DU distance learning courses. Hurray! :)

I had written this post at request of Deepak, who wasn’t receiving his appointment letter from Staff Selection Commission (SSC) even though he was selected. So, thankfully, Deepak will receive his appointment letter shortly.

All winners of Cricket-opedia Contest by Virgin IHL have received their gifts. However, I could confirm it with all winners except one, Sandil Srinivasan. Sandil, could you please let me know if you got your goody bag?

Now come the dedications and thank yous.

Continue reading ‘Updates, Tag and General News’

Avant Garde Bloggies Awards – Announcements

avant-garde-badgeBest 6 finalists for Avant Garde Bloggies Awards have been decided in each category. Thanks to wondrous efforts by the judges! :) As each category was judged by two different judges (sometimes one of them being me), panel of 8 judges proved less for 34 categories. I had to look for more judges as my existing panel of judges had enough Avant Garde work on their palette.

I wrote to professionals (writer bloggers and poetry professors), they showed interest but perhaps backed out when they realised it was voluntary work. I lost ample time in the process. I wrote to other blogger friends to judge, some of them responded too late and some of them gave up at eleventh hour due to personal and professional crisis. I understand their circumstances as it could have happened to me. In fact, it has happened to me.

Continue reading ‘Avant Garde Bloggies Awards – Announcements’

Happy New Year!

I have not been able blog for a while now. I was on a trip to Goa and Mumbai. Candolim beach goa

It was fun. I will write about it soon. :) Hope all you guys there celebrated new year eve with gusto.

Before I move on to write new posts of the year, I need to thank Ashish again for two (actually three) deeds.

Continue reading ‘Happy New Year!’


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