Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Little More on the Homeschool Blog Awards

In my last post I disqualified myself from the Homeschool Blog Awards. In the comments section skdenfeld said:

It's starting to sound like a schoolyard fight. Isn't this attitude in part, one of the reasons why a lot of us pick homeschooling in the first place?

First, thank you for the comment skdenfeld. It's a good opportunity to start a discussion around this.

Regardless of what the issue sounds like though, what's at the core of it? What's prompting the attitude?

It started last year when Doc was excluded from the awards under dubious circumstances. It caused a bit of a kerfuffle. Now this year the rules change quite dramatically to exclude any blogs that:

...has cussing (no potty mouth), photographic nudity (I’m not talking about one image of some sculpture from the 1500’s in an art post), sexual content, or hostility toward other bloggers.

On the surface this is quite reasonable. They run the awards and have a right to define who qualifies. However, they're effectively eliminated a huge chunk of secular blogs with their rule on profanity. Not that secular homeschoolers are blogging swear words non-stop but most use the odd one and that means that we're out. It also gives, with the statement on hostility, the HBA team a licence to exclude any who might be critical of them and certainly many were after Doc's problems with them last year. Alltogether they've eliminated not only myself but most of the blogs I read.

Not a problem if they change their name and/or how they define themselves. They have every right to limit who gets nominated but should examine whether they also have an obligation to reflect those limits honestly. Are they truly the general, inclusive group that the name 'Homeschool Blog Awards' implies? Are they really bringing us, "Homeschooling's finest bloggers," if many excellent blogs aren't even able to qualify?

Do people who notice the Homschool Blog Award Winner Badge on a blog understand what that means?

Do those suppliers who provide prizes get an honest idea of the audience they're reaching from the HBA description?

Me, I'm not sure the HBA's are worth much of a kerfuffle. I did my post and disqualified myself and I'm certainly up for discussion about it but I'm not going to let it bother me too much. It's my opinion the the HBA team is confused about the focus of their awards and that confusion has led to it's irrelevence for for a lot of bloggers.

I wish them luck and clear vision and hope they get themselves straightened out next go around.


Heather said...

Thank you for putting a name to the thing that has been mysteriously bothering me about these restrictions all along. I was miffed about the restrictions, and convinced the people at HBA were prudish and petty, but something else was there eating at me that I couldn't put my finger on. Misrepresentation. That was it.

How dare they say they're awarding the best homeschool blogs when the only people winning seem to be conservative (and mostly Christian) and do not in any way represent the type of homeschooler *I* am, let alone the many many other homeschoolers I've grown to respect so highly? If they're only gearing their awards toward a specific TYPE of homeschooler, their awards should be named after that type. I'm sure they could think of something more fitting of an obviously *exclusive* awards program.

skdenfeld said...

Wow. You used the word 'kerfuffle' twice. Most impressive, I must say. Thanks for your remarks on this issue. Food for thought.

PS. I'm glad you and your husband can agree on the Homeschool thing.


Dawn said...

Thanks for coming back Kathi and thanks for IDing yourself. I wasn't sure if you were a fly by night commenter or not. :)

And yes, I do love the word kerfuffle!

justfrank said...

I am fairly new to homeschool blogging, so I was troubled by the whole awards thing in the first place, and I commented so on Doc's page. She responded that it's about being excluded.
My first instinct was to not get involved in the whole, as you said, kerfuffle. And, I have to admit, I was not myself far from thinking that this whole thing resembled a playground fight. But your post made me see the whole issue in a different light.
I am fortunate enough to be raising my kids in a community with many intelligent, open-minded, liberal, secular and otherwise, homeschooling families.But I am also aware that it is not like that everywhere.
So, in solidarity with all of you t there, I have disqualified myself.