I shall now take this opportunity to put in some awesome images by Kantoku.
The issue of the ABA surfaced several weeks ago; hell, I was there at #animeblogger when Impz started talking about the idea before its launch. However, I’ve remained quiet about it for quite some time now because I like to stand back and read both sides of the story. By now, I’d like to think I have a decent idea behind what the awards are about, what to say about them, and what action I ought to take regarding them.
I’ll skip talking about what the ABA is exactly – the site can explain for itself.
When they were announced some time ago, around the end of March, there was quite a bit of talk about it. Some people berated the awards, calling them a circle jerk, a popularity contest, and so on. Taking a look at the organizing committee, a number of them are affiliated with AnimeBlogger.net in some way or another – it’s not hard to get misconceptions about it. Some others said that the awards were a great idea and that they should be supported. Of course this side has a point too; the idea of “blog awards” died off some time ago, for reasons I wouldn’t know. Back then, these awards were pretty much the same – nominating people who deserve more attention, voting, et cetera. Similarly, the ABA will, according to the official site, “[help] serve as exposure for new bloggers,” “[help] objectively measure a blog’s achievements by means of peer review,” and “encourage readers to move out of their comfort zone by discovering new blogs,” all well and good.
Why then, is there so much negativity surrounding the ABA? I think much of the uncertainty behind participation in the ABA seems to stem from two points, namely: a) “It’s a popularity contest” and b) “Only bloggers are allowed to join”. Regarding the second point, Impz addressed this issue in the AnimeNano forums – “Reader involvement will come at the later stage of voting. We have a blogger’s choice awards where bloggers vote first. Then after it ends, we have the reader’s choice. Hence, there is involvement, just not now.” This leaves the first point – the ABA being a popularity contest. Again, taking a look at the objectives, one can see that the ABA is mostly focused on giving attention to the smaller but just-as-well-written blogs. The system behind the ABA isn’t really perfect, since generally speaking, the more popular blogs (ie: RIUVA, Random Curiosity) will clearly sweep the awards, but no system is perfect. Judging from how people seem to have gotten traffic from the site, I’d like to think that at least one of the objectives has already been accomplished.
Having read up a little bit more from Impz, the main organizer, so to speak, of the ABA, He clarifies much of the doubts behind the awards. I may seem like I’m defending them, but to be honest, I think the awards are at least worthy enough of a few minutes of our time (okay, around 10-15). They’re a great way to promote blogs you believe are worthy of people’s blogrolls; and they’re good for bringing good blogs to your own attention. If it gets the anime blogosphere (oh God, I hate that term) closer together, then I believe that the awards will have achieved their purpose.
And now, non sequitur Fuuko attack!
PS: Finally re-updated my blogroll. Yes, I follow nearly a hundred blogs; I’m sure you can find people who follow thrice as many.