A disappointment

For those of you who voted in the IndiBloggies, you’ve probably heard of the repoll in the Best Design category. Some of you might have followed the discussion on the IndiBloggies website, so you know what this is about. But for the rest of you, here’s a recap.

Last week, nominations were announced in multiple categories including Best Designed IndiBlog. This blog also made it to the list. Much happiness. A couple of blogs in the first stage of nominations used non-original designs. After receiving negative feedback on their inclusion, the organizers eventually withdrew them from the list and the contest went to the polls. And then they had a change of mind. Thus the repoll.

The organizers, by way of an explanation, claim that it does not matter where a blogger got their design from. Created, inspired, lifted, mutilated – it doesn’t really matter. If it looks good, it qualifies. They go on to add that in honoring a ‘borrowed’ design, they actually mean to honor the ORIGINAL designer, not the person lifting it. And lastly, they add, since templates are part of the ‘blogging phenomenon’ and ‘most blog-wares provide starter templates’, a blog using someone else’s design should still be eligible.

Here’s what we say — Sure. Using someone’s design that has been made public domain (in the form of a theme/template) is most certainly not unethical. I wouldn’t call it plagiarism. But entering a DESIGN contest using someone ELSE’S design IS. If, by honoring a blog that has re-used someone else’s design they are really honoring the original designer, then THAT designer’s name should be on the list, not the person borrowing it, yes? If a piece of writing is a writer’s intellectual property then the same is true of a designer and their design. A designer, by making their design available for public consumption may have waived their intellectual property rights to USE the design, but it doesn’t mean they have allowed you to ENTER A CONTEST with that design.

The organizers also claim that 99% of the blogosphere uses borrowed templates, and only 1% showcases original design and thus it was unfair to narrow the playing field to that 1%. While firstly, I doubt the credibility of that statistic, even if that were true, then why SHOULDN’T that 1% be honored? It is the DESIGN category, for crying out loud! Let’s take a different example. Say 2% of the blogs in the blogosphere are Telugu Indic Blogs. Still only those 2% qualify for the Telugu Indic Blog award, yes? So why should things be any different in Best Design? It is NOT an award for content. It is an award for aesthetics, colors, navigation and user interface. Not how cleverly you can borrow and customize someone else’s creativity.

Anyhoo, this is my take on the situation — it is evident that this award does not respect originality and thus fails the very concepts it sets out to honor. For those of you who voted and are willing to vote again, please do so. For those of you who are sick of the whole affair and don’t wish to vote again, I feel your pain.

Either way, the outcome doesn’t matter anymore.

61 thoughts on “A disappointment

  1. Rajesh J Advani

    [Decamisado] My pleasure! Though I must say the checklist is incomplete :) I must have missed out a number of other points. Like page weight, usability, testing on different screen resolutions, the need for horizontal and vertical scrolling, etc.

  2. ?!

    http://www.itwofs.com/hindi-salilc.html

    See how even iconic songs like “Dil tadap tadap” have been “lifted”. The point is not about being original. It is about being creative. If you can take something and make it suit your context, your mood… it deserves a prize.

    (You won and the blog rocks).

    “While firstly, I doubt the credibility of that statistic, even if that were true, then why SHOULDN’T that 1% be honored? It is the DESIGN category, for crying out loud!”

    Precisely. It is the design category. If somebody has had the _unique_ taste of using a template that nobody else has : congrats. Cos he/she has displayed _unique_ taste. Else the whole blogosphere would’ve had the same template. Design awards are for using building blocks, not making them : or should be. Awards for best templates are basically geekbased.

    If somebody has customised one to suit his/her blog, and the effect rocks … why, it DESERVES the award. Cos using a template is but a starting point.

    Consider this : if this same template had been used, say, for desipundit (linkfest based) or any of the political/topical blogs, it would’ve sucked.
    :))

  3. Dev

    [RJA] Adding to that list,

    * Search engine friendliness
    * JScripts and Stylesheets in a separate URL v/s embedded
    * DIV v/s TABLE and similar HTML choices
    * onHover available in Firefox, so JScrpt hacking needed in IE and other cross browser issues
    * Beating the outputs from 3rd party services like blog-maps etc into your look and feel
    * Image editing for the internet

  4. Suhail Kazi

    Congrats! Though I had voted for you the first time round..I just gave the whole second round a miss.
    It was ridiculous to say the least and I though it was not even worth going through it again. Infact even the first time round in the best tag category…one of the tagline had a spelling mistake: “existance”!

    Whatever, all’s well that ends well :)

  5. Suyog

    BANG ON!!

    This was exactly what I was fight about with Debhashish on the repoll category. I stayed away from repoll as I thought it was completely useless and didnt matter anymore.

    In any case, you won, and you DESERVEDLY won! This is the best “originally” designed there is in Indian Blogosphere, and the award has to repsect that!!

    Cheers!

    Suyog

  6. Daku of Darbhanga

    Sassura eee bloggging elecksun ma bhee be-imannnee karat rahe logan!!……….Meghaji…Firsht Praieej to aaap ke hee blog ko sobha deta hai……..Meghaji… bole to hum tuhar waaste duee char laathva ghumaye ke sassura booth capturing kar levat hain ….kaa kahat ho…eee logan play-gear-ijhum karke naamee-nate ho gaye …chambal kee ghati main termeee-nate kar devenge……waise agar ham vote karte …hamara vote aap hee ke blog ke waaste hota …..acha chlate hain…kaunu tensun ho to jaroor yaad keejeyega…ram ram!

  7. Megha Post author

    [All] Thankoo all for writing in and for the congratulatory wishes. As a bit of a departure from tradition, I am not going to write individual replies on the rest of the comments on this thread. This topic has been flogged plenty already and it is time to leave the horse to die, I think. Plus we have some fresh inspired silliness up on the blog, so let us go waste our time on that instead :) Ta!

    ps .. Boo hoo. The Patriots lost. Pliss to not rub it in! *sniffle*

  8. Pingback: The Great Indian Dream » Dumb logic of the year

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