I am trying to re-gain control over the blog award nomination process, or I pretend to do so. postmoderndonkey had called it a Mad Tea Party of a nomination process – and right he was.
You may accuse me of making this blog the strange attractor of a self-referential loop of weird referrals to itself and to blogs of like-minded subversive elements – and right you are as well.
For the first time on this blog, or the first ever, The Subversive El(k)ment has played by the rules when accepting an award. But I am not a role model, obviously, as the report of the Global Blog Award Acceptance Policies Enforcement Task Force Initiative proves in the most shocking way.
- There are philosophers and writers nominating each other back and forth, breaking the non-tag-back-rule and putting the causal structure spacetime at risk.
- Some nominees start out promising, applying a paragraph numbering scheme that Wittgenstein might have loved, but they stop at item x with [x < (Items demanded as per award rules)]
- Others simply say they will ‘add more items later’ – as if this were an option!
- Or they post their – not even fully compliant – reply to the comments’ section of your well-craft nomination post.
- And on an on.
- Until some postmodern writer decides to nominate the whole galaxy and to declare the ellipsis a trophy.
(I knew what Ellipsis is without googling!)
- The most subversive blogger was compliant with the rules, but found a loophole in the non-tag-back directive which made this response probably the most subversive.
I do not disclose the identities of the subversive bloggers for confidentiality reasons. I am just adding some random collection of links. Google shuns spammy pages containing too many links, so chances are this post of mine will not be indexed by search engines and your online reputation is not damaged (even more).
(If this link does not point to a specific post it might be due to a non-existent acceptance post as the reply has been posted to the nominator’s comments section.)
But all this is not your fault.
It is the lack of policies and processes as we use to say in The Corporate World. The originators of blog awards obviously have no training in quality management and writing Those Important Guidelines. You should have hired overpriced management consultants who would have written five volumes of seemingly great formal content on behalf of you, even if they just cut&pasted half of it from Wikipedia. I am speaking from experience here, but I cannot give you the details, otherwise I would be Liable and Doomed According to This Agreement On Confidentiality.
What I would expect from a well-written Blog Award Process Specification Protocol:
- Define terminology: If you are nominated by somebody nominated by somebody else you have just nominated – is this tag-backing? Or should we call it tag-tag-backing? Tag-backing to the power of two? Or does the strength of the tag-back decay exponentially with the distance from the tagging person (distance as to be defined as the metric in the blogosphere hyper-dimensional vector space).
- Define overall goals: There will be inconsistencies in the rules created by inexperienced Junior Consultants. Stipulate that Alignment with the Prime Directive or whatever you call these goals will help to sort these out
- Define deadlines: There is no ‘adding items later’! You need to be assigned a task in The Corporate Resource Management Tool, report on your non-progress daily by checking red / amber / green of an iconized traffic light. The status as such does not result in any consequences, but not reporting on it does.
- Define responsibilities unambiguously: Even if this (1) counts a tag-backing – are you as the nominee accountable for tracing the chain of nominations back? Back over how many hops? How are you going to document this for future reference (Documentation = proof of this being Someone Else’s Fault).
- Define your org chart: Committees, working groups, regular meetings. You need controls! It must not happen that the award logo start mutating – as any change (“change” as to be defined in the Change Management Guidelines) needs to be approved by The Blog Award Corporate Identity Group.
You get the idea! Also the Internet would not work without proper definitions of protocols! These are protocols for machines mainly, but don’t we act like Turing machines on social networks anyway? Do you know if I am human really? (I digress.)
Internet standards are defined in the so-called Request for Comments (RFC), a set of publicly available documents compiled by The Internet Community (This is a technical term!). The RFC 2026 on the standardization process (very meta!) states:
This memo documents the process used by the Internet community for the standardization of protocols and procedures. It defines the stages in the standardization process, the requirements for moving a document between stages and the types of documents used during this process. It also addresses the intellectual property rights and copyright issues associated with the standards process.
The blogosphere should take a closer look at these noble internet standards, designed for simplicity, clarity, but yet utmost precision and stability in communications. The overall Prime Directive had once been put forward by Jon Postel and it is called the Robustness Principle:
Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send.
The standardisation process does not need to be as tedious as it sounds. In contrast to management consultants, internet engineers are subversive. If any management consultant has ever followed this blog, he/she might unfollow now – but as a disclaimer I’d like to add: My job description was once close to ‘management consulting’, so I speak – as usual! – from experience.
And they managed to create what I call the spam poetry equivalent of standards such as the
... There is coffee all over the world. Increasingly, in a world in which computing is ubiquitous, the computists want to make coffee. Coffee brewing is an art, but the distributed intelligence of the web- connected world transcends art. Thus, there is a strong, dark, rich requirement for a protocol designed espressoly for the brewing of coffee. ... The web is world-wide. HTCPCP is based on HTTP. This is because HTTP is everywhere. It could not be so pervasive without being good. Therefore, HTTP is good. If you want good coffee, HTCPCP needs to be good. To make HTCPCP good, it is good to base HTCPCP on HTTP.
And so finally and automagically, we are back to the Mad Tea Party and Lewis Carroll’s creatures:
Twas brillig, and the Protocols Did USER-SERVER in the wabe. All mimsey was the FTP, And the RJE outgrabe, ...
Reviewing the history of the original Jabberwocky poem in Wikipedia again I believe Lewis Carroll would have been a subversive spam poet today:
According to Chesterton and Green and others, the original purpose of “Jabberwocky” was to satirize both pretentious verse and ignorant literary critics. It was designed as verse showing how not to write verse, but eventually became the subject of pedestrian translation or explanation and incorporated into classroom learning.
There is no conclusion! Feel free to start reading at the top again – the structure of this post is an isomorphism to the endless tag-backing loops closing on itself.
But I think it is obvious that I am pondering about founding a new blog award myself, isn’t it?