Thanks to the genealogy blogging community for helping spread the word about our Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs, an article scheduled for the May 2010 issue. We hope it will draw readers’ attention to the great work being done on genealogy blogs.
We wanted to get readers involved in the article for a few reasons:
- To encourage people to check out more blogs, including ones they might not be aware of
- To make the selection process more of a bottom-up effort, not just our editors’ choices
- To get genealogists’ help and input in selecting from the huge blogging universe
We chose to do this through a nomination period, followed by a voting period. Genealogy blogger FootnoteMaven raised some questions about the process in her recent “Hmmmmmm” post, so I wanted to clarify some points here. I apologize in advance for the long post!
We’d planned to explain more about voting once we saw how nominations went. Not having done this before, we didn’t know what kind of response to expect, which is why we weren’t more explicit about judging and criteria from the outset—it wasn’t a secret; we just weren’t sure how our criteria would work, based on the number and quality of nominations we might receive.
Voting is intended to make the process participatory, but voting alone won’t determine which blogs are featured in the article. When the voting concludes—assuming we receive adequate nominations—the top 80 vote-getting blogs will make it through to a “final” round, and then our editorial staff will select 40 blogs from that list.
Narrowing the list of nominees
There’s no predetermined limit to how many nominees will be included in voting. But we do anticipate a need to eliminate some nominations from consideration. Criteria that would disqualify a blog:
- It isn’t primarily about genealogy.
- The blogger doesn’t post original content (for example, if he/she simply aggregates feeds from other blogs).
- The blog is no longer updated, or does not post new content on a regular basis (say, at least once a week).
In narrowing remaining nominees, we’ll look at the quality of the posts—rampant misspellings (beyond typos—those happen to everyone) and poor language can make posts hard to follow. We’ll look hard at blogs associated with paid services—such a blog might be helpful to readers, or it might be primarily a marketing tool. Those made up strictly of advertising content would likely be eliminated.
If a blog gets just one or a few nominations, that won’t keep it out of the voting. If one blog is nominated many times, though, we’ll note that it’s probably a blog many people are reading.
We thought we’d divide nominees into categories because it’ll be easier for readers to choose from, say, a list of 20 similar blogs than one huge list of all 500 or 1,000 (or however many) nominees. We feel it’s important to see the nominees before setting categories in stone, so we can make sure we have categories that account for all the blogs in the running. We also don’t want to end up with categories containing only two or three nominees, or 100 nominees, which would be unmanageable for voters.
FootnoteMaven asked specifically about categorizing wide-ranging, very frequently updated genealogy blogs such as Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings. We’ll come up with a broad, all-encompassing category for such “super bloggers.”
She also wondered whether the “excellent genealogy advice,” “offer insight,” etc. qualities mentioned in our first Family Tree 40 post might hint at the voting categories. They’re not meant to. Instead, we just wanted to get nominators thinking about why they’d want to take the step to nominate a particular blog.
Finally, FootnoteMaven also wanted a Family Tree 40 badge that encourages blog visitors to vote for their favorite genealogy blog, not just her own. Here’s an alternate version of the badge she and other bloggers can use:
and the original, which blogger also could choose:
If you have a comment or question, please click Comments and let us know.