I’ve been working on an idea for a while with Brent Ozar and Jeremiah Peschka for a contest that recognize the efforts and skills of bloggers in the SQL Server community. We went through a lot of iterations, but we decided to start with a simple contest this time, learn some lessons, and then make some changes for next time. Let’s start with the rules:
- Bloggers submit links in their choice of two categories, nominations open until Oct 15, 2009
- Content must have been written on or after Oct 15, 2008 to be eligible
- We (myself, Jeremiah, Brent) will review all the entries, score them, and then look at the scores to pick a winner in each category (and we’re not eligible to win)
- Winners announced during the PASS Summit (if nothing goes wrong!)
- Winners in a category this time will not be eligible in that category in the next contest
Ready to enter? Use this form: http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dGxCaVN2dWtNeEpkRXNlekZzVEk0Tmc6MA
Now some background. Our thought is to do this once a year, maybe twice a year, and expand it to include reader nominations and reader votes in addition to what we have the first time. We went with a simple online survey for now, if we get things figured out we’ll see about building something more permanent. We’re going to try to be transparent about our process. If something works, or doesn’t – tell us, and we’ll fix what we can this time, and fix it better for next time.
A good starting point for transparency is the judges, what’s a good system for picking them? We appointed ourselves this time to get things moving, we’re thinking that for the next round the three of us will choose someone to replace one of us (and we’ll use rock-paper-scissors to decide who sits down!) out of the blogger community. Open to discussion, but that’s one idea for how to keep it community focused. Probably the thing to pair with that is that judges aren’t eligible for a year or two after judging, that way there’s no appearance of back room deal making!
But…this is the first round. We’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m excited about the possibilities. Blogging tends to be a lonely endeavor, this gives us a way to recognize people for their efforts. It’s also a way to drive interest in blogging, and a way to challenge people to write better. We know that we’re all competitive, so it won’t take long before the bloggers will be scheming;
- should I save this great post for after the deadline so it’s eligible for the next contest
- should I try to compete in category x or y
- Grammar and spell checking
- Looking for gaps to fill
What’s great about that is those are all positive behaviors. We can encourage blogging and better blogging.
So what do the winners get? At least a nice badge for the blog, and maybe a shirt this time. Next time? That depends on you and on us. If we make it work and the contest becomes really interesting and competitive, then I see cruises, movie deals, heck – even free software!