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Best Blogs Brazil: Winners by jury, public and hacker votes

Be it expressing opinions, fighting for freedom of press and technology, or spreading the word about creativity and quality in writing, we know that not all blogs in the world do this, but these qualities do apply to many of those in the Brazilian blogosphere. But, how do we know which blogs really deserve a visit? Well, we always have our personal favorites, but if you read Portuguese why not broaden your feeds by looking at the best blogs of 2008?

For the second consecutive year, the polls at the Blogs Brazil 2008 Award website were open from December last year throughout January, ending at Campus Party Brazil, on January 23 and split into two types, jury and public, with the finalists grouped into 30 different categories. The jury was made up of specialists, who had been giving lectures and participating in discussions about blogs during the Campus Party. On the other hand, over 30,000 people participated in the public vote [pt]:

“Acabou a votação aberta ao público. Foram mais de 78 mil votos, dados por 34 mil pessoas que se inscreveram para participar e contribuir com o Best Blogs Brazil.”

“The poll open to the public is over. There were more than 78,000 votes cast by 34,000 people who subscribed to take part and contribute to Best Blogs Brazil.”

Not always was the same blog chosen by both jury and public. According to the panel of specialists, the best blog in 2008 was Blog do Tas, whereas according to public opinion Brogui deserved the top prize. With over 1,000 followers and almost 4,000 updates, Brogui was a brave contender to beat Blog do Tas, written by a successful and well known Brazilian journalist, Marcelo Tas. Being quite as informative as Tas, Brogui is more light-hearted, design-conscious and also outdoes Blog do Tas in interactivity with other blogs. Brogui won 1,621 votes ahead of the 1,415 won by third placed Blog do Tas.

Like the main category contest, public and jury votes also diverged in the sport blogs category. Blog do Juca, by Juca Kfouri, one of the best sports journalists in Brazil, was awarded first-prize by the jury but deserved only fourth position according to public opinion. It received only 360 open votes against 1,467 cast for Terceira Via Verdao, a blog with a clear connection to Brazilian football club Palmeiras. Their content, therefore, might be more appealing for fans of that club.

Moving onto the best arts and culture blog, the focus of Livros & Afins [Books & CIA] on just one specific segment of culture – books – was enough for the blog to be the popular winner, at the same time that Amalgama, fifth in the public vote, took home the top trophy by the specialist jury. Set up by scholars and people who not only love art but understand it inside out, the blog is open to anyone who would like to jot down some ideas about cinema, literature, and music.

Only blogs in six categories were unanimously chosen as best blogs by both public and jury: the science prize went to a blog about Biology, Brontossauros em meu jardim [Brotosaurus in my Garden]; the business and finance prize was won by Dinheirama; the wedding plans of the blogger at Planejando meu Casamento won it the best blog in the daily-life category; the advertising and communication prize was won by Brainstorm #9, a blog for those who want to know about media; the best blog design prize was taken by Sedentario e Hiperativo [Sedentary and Hyperactive], and, closing the list, Kibe Loco was chosen in the humor category.

To be or not to be fair – that's the question

Blogs were nominated by anyone who had a valid email account and agreed to subscribe to the website. However, as the web is not a cheat-free zone, the organizers were driven crazy by a blogger who wanted to win at all costs – even by taking an unfair advantage. On the penultimate day of the pole, the organizers posted the following:

“Longe de ser um mar de tranquilidade, o Best Blogs Brazil foi como um tsunami nos últimos dias. Decisões foram tomadas, sempre em busca de ter uma eleição justa, imparcial e verdadeira, para sabermos quais são, de fato, os maiores blogs do Brasil.

Um fato intrigou muitos durante este tempo: como um blog anoitecia com x votos e quando era no outro dia de repente aparecia com centenas? Alguma coisa estranha existia, mas como provar? Não havia ainda uma resposta. (…)

Enfim, consegui finalmente descobrir como isso aconteceu. Simplesmente eram criadas várias contas de email para que o blog ganhasse votos. E descobri o IP desses votos.

“Far from being free and easy in the last days, Best Blogs Brazil was like a tsunami. Decisions were taken always in order to promote a fair, impartial and true contest, for us to know which are, in fact, the best blogs in Brazil.

One fact intrigued many people during this time: how could one blog have X votes in the night and then, on the next day, it would suddenly show up X hundred votes? Something weird was going on, but how could it be proved? There was no answer. (..)

At last, I finally managed to find out how it happened. Basically, there were many email accounts opened for a blog to win votes. And I found out these votes’ IP address.“

The discussion was open to everybody in the community built around the awards, and organizers and public reached a decision together:

“Decisão tomada. A votação permanece como está. Avaliando todos os comentários abaixo, vemos o quão é difícil analisar a situação. Mas se a grande parte concorda que se as regras não previam isso e se a tecnologia permite que isso aconteça, então os votos são validados. Porém, algo tinha que ser feito. Alguns IPs que enviaram uma quantidade absurda de votos, foram bloqueados. Que vença o melhor.”.

“The decision has been taken. Voting will go on the way it is. On reading all the comments below, we realised that the situation is very difficult. If the majority of you agree that the rules did not forbid this and the technology makes it possible, then the votes will be valid. However, something has had to be done. Some IPs sent an absurd amount of votes and have been blocked. May the best site win”.

To see the full list and find out more about the other winners, visit Best Blogs Brazil 2008. To see pictures of the award ceremony, check Wagner Fontoura's photo set on Flickr. As of now, there is no news about next year's edition, but, hopefully it will take place again and this time the cheats will be, in one way or another, completely defated.

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