i-rix 2011 Blogging Competition: Was it judged right?

10Mar11

I-rix 2011, the inter-collegiate tech fest, hosted by SPCC (Chowgule’s College) for first time was, as far as I see it, a fantastic first attempt in, what I know of as, a relatively short time. Thanks to @geekblues (blog) I got a spontaneous offer to judge the blog competition. I accepted it after much nakhrebaazi πŸ˜› and geekblues has been real awesome to take care of all the details. Albeit regardless of my commitment to the task, being a blog fan, I did help with discussing and formulating the judging criteria. Perfect use case of Google Docs.Official I-Rix logo

The blog setup (powered by WordPress 3, which supports multi-author blogs) was done by @vailancio, the apple fanboi who builds sites in matter of hours. These sites only run on the awesomest of browsers. πŸ™‚ Truth be told he shoves Android down his iPhone and writes hidden “I Hate You IE6 & Flash” messages in the websites he cares for. He helped speed up the presence of i-rix on the web a hell lot. WordPress is an ideal choice as its not niche n expensive product making it far more accessible to students (Education system pay heed). Each team leader was to create the primary account and the blog to go with it. The leader would then add the other team members.

As far as my work was concerned, I was checking the blogs (roughly 5, of which 2 were almost never updated) through most of day 1 and then day 2. The resulting blogs at end of day 2 were collectively hopeless, and read more like a stupid FB feed. What I intend to present here is my PoV on whereall things may have gone wrong since Infofest 2007 the first time I judged blogs on similar criteria.

Mistake I felt I made while formulating the judging criteria:

  • Liveblogging with substantial sized proper English articles. I agree that I haven’t liveblogged enough to even remember a search term I can use to find one post of that kind. However, there’s nothing wrong in being biased towards demanding a bit of proper english. Yass, sihtty inglis pissis me. Even if I notice them on my own drafts. Team could have strategized on who covers which event(s) and kept writing into drafts. Right before the end, at lunch break of day 2 or after day 1, whichever team member has good command on language could have cleaned up the drafts and published them.
  • Requiring entire team to blog. This was more on the lines of participation bonus points. Where I stand wrong is all participants would’ve been involved in all other competitions through the whole day. Blogging didn’t have fixed hour of the day where all could focus only on that. This is why much less than whole team was involved in posting updates. Some with only pictures (poor quality) and even just a title! However if we did restrict the participant count, then I felt that given the hectic schedule of the days, the essence of the event would be lost as information comes on blog from secondary or tertiary sources. Ideally all team members could have accounts but one or two accounts could be used by more than the person in who’s name the account is created. In this case, how the team uses its ‘cheering’ members as keen observers to blog in detail is what would help them score better and cover events better.

Well, don’t want to exaggerate further all pitfalls and make my job like a scam. :p The ideas, that I get out of this event are :-

  • The organisers should encourage (anonymous) feedback from any and all participants to vote on their favorite events. They maybe asked to rate the style of conducting, the rules set, their clarity, fairness in judgement and so on. The feedback won’t change the scores, but alongwith what the general scoring trends are, the i-rix team can figure out what events need more sprucing up and which one needs trashing.
  • Given the short fuse of patience that shows through the posts, I’d say blogging competition should become a collaborative live microblogging event. I can think of WordPress P2 theme being used for that. The team can of course develop on that idea. For e.g. displaying random microblogs on a large screen. Esp., the unintentionally fun ones.
  • For people who want to write long stuff, let them write papers, original articles, where they can take time to be more accurate with the language. Make it a technical article and they’ll have to get their tech-jargon correct as well.

In the end, as much hard working the i-rix team were, round the clock with a month or less in hand, the blog event candidates were just as hardly interested. It was just fun being part of the team n the afterparty. πŸ˜€

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