Want a New Brass Crescent?

A few reactions have been extreme, and others receptive. Brass Crescent has been doing an excellent job by awarding deserving bloggers with the honour and obviously there will be opposition when you have a sizeable blogosphere. The Muslim blogosphere is definitely not huge and choosing the same blogs year after year doesn’t help the case either. (I say this on my personal experience in sieving through blogs for nearly a year now)

There are a few things which obviously need to amended:

1. For example, Ali Eteraz was chosen, yet his blog is some of the worst Modernist Baatilism, vomited by Shayton, regurgitated from Eteraz’s Jinni Qareen, then lapped up by the worst “modernist” westerners to have plagued the Muslims in this century. [Abul Layth]

2. Two of the blogs nominated in the Best Design category have free WordPress themes (with a slight modification in one) installed. Where is the design?

3. Like some bloggers (e.g., Abu Layth), I’m a bit disappointed with the picks this year, finding the overall mix a bit ideologically lopsided (even if it’s in my camp’s favour). Quite a few brilliant, scholarly bloggers inexplicably went unmentioned. (Was most of the Islamophere in khalwa or something during the 1st round of voting?) It’s odd. [Akram]

4. Best Female Blog- “Nzingha is “honest and insightful” about Saudi Arabia, but “never makes Islam look bad in the process.” Plus, “she’s hilarious.”

I mean, what? Somebody honest and insightful automatically carries a significant chance of making Islam look bad?

These guys need a break. [Manas]

I wonder why South Asia and Middle East need a special category, while Europe and US don’t. Are these blogs incompetent to compete in the Best Blog category? Well, the truth of the matter is that Pakistaniat (a group blog) gets more visitors in a day than those ‘elite’ blogs get in a month, and it’s in the same category as Adnan’s (a personal blog) blog! Pakistaniat competing with Indian Muslim Blog would have at least made the competition even, but then…

I think its time to change.

31 thoughts on “Want a New Brass Crescent?

  1. I went over to brass crescent to ‘vote’. I was going to automatically give my vote to one of them in the best category, but I thought, wait, I can’t vote for the blog I know without reading – and judging – the others.

    So, for now, I’m taking a look at the other nominees. I had no idea some of these other blogs existed.

    [comment edited]

    So far, after reading 4 of the 7 contenders for the best blog, I have stuck to my original choice.

    As regards the various objections that you’ve raised, I can’t comment on all of what you said, but if location is important, then perhaps there should be a separate category for each continent at least?

    I guess Brass Crescent is still in its infancy…er… toddlerhood? It’s only the 4th year isn’t it?

    (For now, I’m reading through the nominees.. and it’s certainly interesting.)

  2. They said they received over 300 nominations. That’s fine but the problem is how they come up with the list out of that 300 nominations. Do they take the ones who had the most votes? Or do they pick the ones they liked?

    Ali Eteraz publishes soft porn on his blog and yet he’s been put forward for best blog and best itjihad. Is he qualified to make itjihad? Seriously, WTH…

    Maybe we need a new award with a more open and transparent system behind it because right now it looks like BC is being used to push modernist blogs and their friends.

  3. salam… I have been “dealing” with Ali almost ever since I joined the blogosphere. I got under his skin enough that he dedicated a whole post to me lambasting me for attacking him (needless to say I was honored). However, when a flurry of posters such as Nuqtah, Jinnzaman and others defended their brother (i.e. me) against his distortions, he quickly took down the post within a day or so. But I didn’t:
    http://muslimmatters.org/2007/05/15/when-intellectualism-meets-arrogance-and-mockery/

    I was not too surprised to see Ali in 3 categories because you have to remember who is organizing the awards. Also, there are other bloggers who made it that I haven’t yet figured out why.

    Regardless, credit where credit is due. I discovered some refreshing blogs that I previously didn’t know of, so I definitely thank the organizers for their effort in putting this together. I can imagine the hard work that goes into this.

  4. Asslamu aleikum,

    We appreciate your concerns about the Brass Crescent awards. To be honest, we were overwhelmed this year, not only with the number of nominations but with trying to improve the website and voting process (the coding required to tally the votes was one reason the voting start was delayed for 2 weeks.)

    We are putting together a FAQ for the site to address these issues. But one thing I thought I’d make clear as that the intention of the awards is to promote diversity and quality – not ideology. We can expand on this more once the voting is completed, inshallah, including more details on how the selection process works.

    I know there are some nominees that people don’t agree with ideologically (including us), but as the voting continues, there are no patterns so far to suggest that any particular ideology is being rejected (or promoted) by the voters. To us, this suggests that things are still relatively balanced.

    Are we experts at this? Not at all. We are always looking for ways to improve the site, such as category suggestions (the multimedia blog was a last minute addition) and we have other ideas we’re already working on for next year in order to improve transparency and final selection. Inshallah, we’ll keep you posted.

    ws,
    zahed

  5. Regardless, credit where credit is due. I discovered some refreshing blogs that I previously didn’t know of, so I definitely thank the organizers for their effort in putting this together. I can imagine the hard work that goes into this.

    Thank you for this. A few of us got very little sleep last week trying to put this together. Four years ago, Shahed and Aziz pulled themselves out of consideration for this award to put it together on a voluntary basis with consistency since then.

    We all struggle with our inadequacies and our biases. The ummah will have to deal with its own diversity of opinion one way or another and it’s better that we do it civilly.

    peace,
    zahed

  6. While I too am disappointed by some of the nominees, I suppose they are a reflection of vox populi, at least those voices who logged on and nominated folks. I have found some great new blogs to read and for that I’m thankful.

    Akram at Akram’s Razor: you deserved the nomination. Plain and simple.

    I also had the question concerning the 300 nominees…how were the final ones determined, by the selection committee at ABCA or by the sheer number of nominations each blog received?

    May Allah reward you all for your endeavors.

  7. zahed

    I appreciate the effort that you have put in. I also believe, very strongly, that your intention is to do good to the Ummah and others. No dispute there. Overall, you’re doing a good job. May Allah reward you for your lost sleep.

    About the choices, and the quotes I am a bit ill at ease, though. One of them is above in the post. The weirdest thing was what Sharique discovered- free wordpress themes put up for awards. They are beautiful, Mash’Allah, but the award should go to those who designed them.

    One more issue is with the category. From trivial errors like putting some widely known blogs in “deserving wider recognition” to putting blogs that technically arn’t involved with ijtehad in “best ijtehad.”

    Some blogs were conspicuously absent. Example- Suhaib Webb in “best ijtehad” and iMuslim in “best female blog”.

    And yes, Akram does deserve. In fact, he should have been, IMO, in “best blogs”, even though he is not my absolute favorite.

  8. Akram said:

    My gut instinct is that this is the work of a sinister agent provacateur bent on making the Islamophere look bad.

    That is not an instinct, that is 100% fact!

  9. It’s an absolutely fair criticism that more care could have been taken in selecting some of the finalists and that deserving blogs may have been left out. In the past three years, the top five nominations were put up as finalists up for public vote. Now that the blogosphere has grown, this methodology may no longer be sufficient.

    We’ll share more of our ideas and explanations after the voting has finished, inshallah.

  10. iMuslim in “best female blog”

    *iMuslim chokes on her cornflakes*

    Wha? Manas!

    Anyway… no system is perfect, and the guys behind Brass Crescent Awards have taken a huge responsibility on their shoulders, in order to promote the Muslim blogosphere. We, the editors at Ijtema, know how hard a task that is!

    In answer to the question posed in the title of this entry: i don’t think we need a new Brass Crescent Awards, but at the same time, there is no harm in a little friendly competition, if the aim is to serve Allah by serving the Ummah.

  11. zahed

    thank you very much for your response. insh’Allah next years ABCA shall be much more successful than this year.

    iMuslim

    you are banned from reading that part.

    yeah, it must be hard work. for example zahed pointed out fraud.

    a new award is a good idea. but it has to be novel. if it’s a copy of ABCA, then we don’t need another one.

  12. asalaamualaykum wrw b

    I think you (guys from ijtema.net or muslimmatters.org, for example) should start your own Muslim Bloggers Awards – u 2 sites in particular have much more credibility and clout than these ppl from the Brass Crescent Awards.

    Besides we dont even know whos on the committee that nominates these potential winners – or what their criteria is!

  13. Besides we dont even know whos on the committee that nominates these potential winners – or what their criteria is!

    It has always been Shahed and Aziz (from altmuslim and City of Brass, respectively). Criteria has been (as stated on the front page: “Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners,” which for the past three years has been the top 5 nominated blogs (nominated within a 2 week period) in each category automatically becoming the candidates. Nothing to hide here.

    By all means there is room for more contests and anything that encourages free and robust expression about Islam and the Muslim world on the Internet by anyone who wants to do it. The spirit of the contest is to help promote the Muslim blogosphere. Fair enough if you think we’ve done a poor job (yet, here we are discussing it).

    peace,
    zahed

  14. Criteria has been (as stated on the front page: “Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners,” which for the past three years has been the top 5 nominated blogs (nominated within a 2 week period) in each category automatically becoming the candidates.

    I think it’s the “top five” part that confuses people; readers don’t know what criteria determine which writers fall into the top five. I can sympathize with how difficult that must be, though, to narrow down the hundreds of submissions to just five. It’s virtually impossible to select five finalists that everyone will agree on.

    Popularity and vote counts are really not suitable ways to judge quality of writing. My personal feeling is that a panel of judges should be determined (this can be done by votes and nominations, with a final decision taken by an editorial staff), and that panel reviews all the nominations and determines the winner amongst themselves. Of course, the judges themselves cannot be included amongst the nominees.

    I do feel, based on all my research for Ijtema, that there is very little correlation between popularity and quality.

  15. Popularity and vote counts are really not suitable ways to judge quality of writing. My personal feeling is that a panel of judges should be determined (this can be done by votes and nominations, with a final decision taken by an editorial staff), and that panel reviews all the nominations and determines the winner amongst themselves. Of course, the judges themselves cannot be included amongst the nominees.

    Stay tuned…

  16. I think it’s the “top five” part that confuses people; readers don’t know what criteria determine which writers fall into the top five.

    It has literally been which five blogs received the most nominations. Since this means the deck can be tilted towards those that promote their blogs (i.e., plea to their readers for nominations) the best (rather than an objective measure of quality and merit), “this methodology may no longer be sufficient” (as I mentioned earlier), even though what is happening now is – technically speaking – democratic.

    More after the voting, inshallah.

  17. It has literally been which five blogs received the most nominations.

    But that seems quite odd – once something is already nominated, nominating it again results in a message saying “this blog has already been nominated”. So how does a blog get multiple nominations?

  18. Zahed,

    I don’t a new award is a solution,perhaps having more members on on the decision making board can help solve issues here. More diversity in the board will make the awards more acceptable.

  19. But that seems quite odd – once something is already nominated, nominating it again results in a message saying “this blog has already been nominated”. So how does a blog get multiple nominations?

    Sorry, I’ll clarify further… for the past three years, this was the case… where the top five nominees were the ones chosen.

    We realised this year that this system favoured only those who actively pursued nomination (and there was no way to contact every blog out there to make it fairer) rather than a being a quality contest (which required some judgement and expertise).

    Late in the process this year we restricted nominees from being duplicated (resulting in the message you got) and were still overwhelmed with 300 unique nominees and one week to narrow it down (hence the delay). Chalk it up to growing pains. As of now we have reached last years two week voting total in two days.

    For now we used a basket approach combining several factors (which we’ll discuss after the voting… what’s done is done and we don’t want to disrupt that). We are already working on improvements for next time.

    There are two ways a contest like this can be done. We could simply choose the five nominees ourselves (the “authoritarian” model… whoever wants to do this themselves is welcome to have a go) or base it on popularity, in which case people could just send in their traffic logs or Technorati rankings and be done with it (the more controversial, high traffic sites would win this, trust us).

    We are trying to find a fair middle ground. Unfortunately, this can’t be designed by a committee consisting all of cyberspace but, inshallah, we’ll be as transparent and forthcoming as possible. Please be patient with us.

    jk,
    zahed

  20. Pingback: Welcome to the Satanic Cesspool « Ali Eteraz

  21. Whether we agree, disagree, or are completely disgusted, it is cool to have these awards. It opens up the doors for more da’wah, more dialogue, and acknowledging that there are more people than we thought were blogging, online.

    So it is very cool.

  22. i do like you brothers amanullah for taking a practical ateam/sufragette/tabligh approach to things. you are pleasures to share an ummah with, and i dont stick you in the pro-regressive pit.

    so i have a solution. a very islamic one. in fact the fragrance of islam is very strong in this.

    just give a bro a hug out of fellowship.

    simple. no (well possibly different)coding headaches. a really big love effect.

  23. Pingback: Ijtema » Blog Archive » Brass Crescent: Winners Announced and Procedural Change

  24. No one is ever going to be happy with all the awards or nominees, but that is true of any award in any field, from movies to music to anything. I love the diversity of Muslim and Islamic blogs out there, and there is a difference between the two. Each is a voice in a grand online chorus, and it is beautiful music :) May Allah reward you for a great job under trying circumstances.

    Ya Haqq!

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