This article is a post to answer what we feel are the two biggest questions on the competition: Why we came up with the idea, and how we made the ranking of the blogs work.
Why did we feel we needed to make a blog list?
The short answer is that we couldn’t find one. In 2008, we were looking at different language blogs and talking about which our favorites were and why. To make our discussion more colorful we wanted to compare our favorites with a top list. Looking back at last year’s competition it was a huge success. Since blogs evolve constantly and we definitely missed some blogs last year we are running a bigger and better competition this year.
What’s new in this year’s competition?
Based on our experience and feedback (e.g. here and here) participants, we have decided to make some changes to the procedure. Firstly, we have added categories (see below) to make the wide range of language-related blogs comparable. Second, this year’s ranking will include user votes as well.
How does the competition work?
There are four phases for this year’s competition:
Phase 1: Nomination (June 22 – July 6)
During the nomination phase we will collect as many blogs as possible. All of last year’s blogs are nominated, as well as other suggestions we have received since then. You are welcome to recommend your blog by posting a comment here.
Phase 2: Public Voting (July 8 – July 27)
At the end of the nomination phase, we will prescreen every blog and put it into one of the four categories (see below). In each category 100 blogs will be included for voting.
If your blog is on the list you can ask your readers, friends, family and whoever comes to mind to vote for you. We will provide a voting button for your convenience before the voting starts. Every person can only vote once the voting of the top 100 blogs for each category.
Phase 3: Ranking of top 100 blogs (July 28 – July 29)
All blogs will be ranked based on user votes (50%) and the Lexiophiles ranking criteria (50%, details see below). We will then compile the top 100 overall language blogs list and the top 10 list for each of the four categories.
Phase 4: Announcement of winners (July 30)
The top 100 list will be published on bab.la. The best 5 blogs will receive a Kiva starter pack as a little thank you for their efforts on sharing language topics with us every day. Kiva is a non-profit website which helps people in third-world countries with so called micro credits. We were so impressed with their website that we joined last year and have already made 11 loans.
What are the language categories?
The competition is divided into four categories:
1. Language learning: Blogs about the language learning process, difficulties with or discussion about learning a language.
2. Language teaching: Blogs discussing languages from the perspective of a teacher.
3. Language technology: Blogs discussing technology as part of the language learning process.
4. Language professionals: Blogs by people using languages in their profession, such as translators or interpreters.
How does the Lexiophiles criteria ranking work?
Every blog will be analyzed and ranked with a number of points. There are three main ranking criteria: content, consistency and interactivity. We know that no ranking is 100% accurate and always somewhat subjective. Still, we feel that these three categories give a good overall view of how good a blog really is.
Content: No need to explain that the reader appreciates good content. This category takes into account what type of content the blog features. We look for authored and original content, depth of postings and incorporation of multimedia (such as videos, pictures etc.).
Consistency: A blog is about sharing information in a fast and uncomplicated way. The articles are not like research papers you work on for months. People want to read something new every time they visit a blog. Therefore, we look at whether the blog is active, and if so, how active. Frequent postings give a higher score as well as the regularity of postings.
Interactivity: In our opinion a good blog is not a one-way street but involves the readers as well. The most observable feature is comments, but it doesn’t stop there: Can the user contact the blogger via a contact page, Facebook or similar? Can the user follow the blogger via Twitter or RSS-Feed or share the blog with others via a bookmark button? There are many neat functions that make a blog more interactive.
Is there a prize?