Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Pink Pigtail Inn Awards of 2010 – The Blogosphere

Ahem!

May I ask for your attention one more time? I’m here to make one more announcement regarding The Pink Pigtail Inn awards of 2010 – the fourth and final. This time we’re taking a closer look at what’s been up in the blogosphere.

I won’t hide it to you that I’ve had a hard time to make up my mind. There have been moments when I’ve been ready to give up. How could you possibly pick one favourite in each category, when there more often than not at least ten other blogs that would be equally worthy winners? No matter how long and hard the jury thinks it over, there will be bloggers as well as readers who are utterly disappointed and can’t understand how I possibly could highlight THAT scrub instead of their own favourite. But that’s life. There is no justice. And remember, this is just a little bit of fun, OK? With no further ado, let’s get started!

Biggest blog facelift

Nominated: Murloc Parliament (“I’m not sure if everyone even remembers who she was before”), Cold’s Gold Factory, Tree Bark Jacket, Just My Two Copper , Disciplinary Action, Oh My Kurenai, Manalicious

OK, I’m probably not the best person to make a judgement about layout changes to a blog. In the end, I've always thought that it’s the content that matters most. You may tweak your blog into the prettiest piece of artwork ever seen, but if you don’t write decent posts with some regularity, I’m not interested.

However: over the last year, even I have noted how much better the blogs look today compared to when I entered the blogosphere three years ago. At that time 90 percent of the blogs looked more or less the same, using either the most basic design provided by Blogger or Wordpress. My blog still looks the same, unfortunately. Call me a slacker if you want! But many other bloggers have given their virtual homes a bit of polish, and they certainly do deserve some recognition for their efforts.

It’s been a tough call between the nominees. Murloc Parliament resurrected from the ashes of a blog drama that we’d rather just forget about, and did it just beautifully. Rhii broke up from I Sheep Things and created a lovely place of her own under the banner of Oh My Kurenai. Disciplinary Action has gone through a fantastic facelift and looks stunning - even with reverted text, which I'm normally not a fan of.

As a matter of fact I almost decided to give the award to someone who wasn’t nominated – to Blizzard Activision. The community website went through a surgical treatment of epic proportions and some of their leading staff can nowadays ad “blogger” to their business card.. However, since they don’t interact at all with the blogosphere, I don't count them as a part of it, and that leaves them out of the list.

The winner is: Manalicious!

Motivation: Vidyala of Manalicious decided to move over from Pugging Pally, where she previously had built a certain readership. It’s not easy to go through a name and domain change without getting lost, but she has succeeded. Thanks to Vidyala’s drawing skills, Manalicious has a distinct look and feeling of its own, while yet sticking to classic, easy-to-read design principles such as white background and an easily readable font. The fact that she also has helped other blogs to go through a facelift, offering them beautiful banners is of course an extra plus.

Most memorable blog post

Nominated:
Special characters by Tobold
Are we all just playing for second place by Phase 3. profit
'' It's not me it's you '' from Issy on Jaeycandco
Why Thresa must die (a roleplaying philosophy) by Orcish Army Knife
A Friend Avenged by Orcish Army Knife
The Gerald saga at Righteous Orbs
Ratshag’s Dangermouse mourns her friend
I Shapeshift therefore I am by Tree Bark Jacket (“Though I personally completely disagreed with the sentiment, a LOT of druids rallied around this posts and the poster image was seen everywhere.” )

Healertrek nominated the posts about the PuG at Greedy Gevlon:

“Just when it looked like Gevlon had blown all out of steam with his economic take on the world of warcraft, he decided to take on a new project with a bold announcement. Following his success in taking down Ulduar in blues, he thought up a PuG guild where his anti-socialist ways and super efficiency are valued above all else. If you want to see raiding treated like a business, this is a fascinating set of entries to follow that continues to this day. In fact, this is really the entry that spawned a whole new Gevlon.”

Prelimar nominated Gnomeaggedon’s series of posts about depression from November: "It was deeply personal and really amazing. i can't nominate this enough.”

There were a lot of good suggestions, but in the end I picked something different, a choice of my own.

The winner is: An open letter to Blizzard by Shades of Grey!

Motivation:
There were so many good posts written during the Real ID debacle. But no one was anywhere near as spot on like this one. It gave me goose bumps to read it. It still does. This post is about much more than just Real ID. It captures the spirit of the game. I can’t refrain from a little quote from it.

“We don’t want to be John Smith.
We don’t want to be Jane Doe.
We don’t want our friends to just be John Smith, or Jane Doe. That’s not the point. That’s not the point of what you’ve given us. What you have given us is an awesome, amazing, awe-inspiring game where we don’t have to be ourselves. Where we can pretend we are Kronk, gruff and oft-misunderstood orc warrior with an odd penchant for interior design. Where we can pretend we are Gisella, noble paladin of the Light and kidnapper of baby wolvar . Where we can forget about the real world, the real world’s problems and issues, the real world’s pressures and annoyances and just settle back and kill some internet dragons.”

It's simply awesome and I must admit that I'm a little bit envious. Just a little. WTB writing skills!

Most noticed blogger breakthrough

Nominated: Just My Two Copper, Vidyala -- formerly Pugging Pally, now Manalicious, Life In Group 5, MMO Melting Pot, Murloc Parliament, Disciplinary Action, Postcards from Azeroth.

Syl from Raging Monkeys was nominated by several:
“Yes, I know she's got co-bloggers... but it was mostly her that I noticed commenting on other people's blogs when they'd only just started up and I've seriously never seen a blog skyrocket in popularity so quickly. That's what I call successful networking!”

And here's a vote for Lathere and Cassandri at HoTs and DoTs:
" Although the sisters from Australia had more entries in six months of 2009 than they had in all of 2010, their fun style has put them on many blogrolls of others I follow. That's as good an indication as any that this blog is having a major breakthrough. And how could you not appreciate the name?"

The winner is: MMO Melting Pot!

Motivation: There was something missing in the blogosphere. We just didn't know it until MMO Melting Pot swept in from nowhere and started to share their findings from the most obscure corners of the community. Under the command of the energetic Rebecca, MMO Melting Pot has established itself as one of the major institutions that brings glue to the community and helps us stay together. It's as if they've always been there. It's a remarkable breakthrough.

Most solid content provider

Nominated: Cold’s Gold Factory, Warcraft Hunter’s Union, Just My Two Copper, Mana Obscura, Murloc Parliament, Killing them slowly “For the fabulous combo of outstanding RP and useful Warlockery”, Righteous Defense, Krasus Kronicles,, Righteous Orbs, MMO Melting pot, Shy At Wow, MMO Champion, Tree Bark Jacket.

Healertrek nominated Matt Low both at World of Matticus and WoW Insider:

"Matt Low is probably the face of the healing wow community, and although he does get some assistance from co-writers at WOM, he still manages to produce multiple quality articles every month. Plus, his perspective on raiding and leading a raiding guild provide valuable insights to other guild officers and even the regular guild members of other guilds who wonder what goes on behind the scenes."

Fidjit suggested Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual:

“Updates might be a bit slower than other blogs, but I've found every single post on "Cynwise's Battlefield Manual" to be absolutely top notch. Extraordinarily detailed, insightful and entertaining."

Shintar nominated Klepsacovic from Troll Racials Are Overpowered:

"Sometimes he strays into crazy rambling territory, but he does update more frequently and more reliably than anyone else I read. That's worth a lot, especially on a quiet Sunday afternoon."

OK, I admit it. This category gave me a severe headache. The previous winners - Tobold and Spinksville were so obvious and outstanding. This year we had several strong candidates and I just couldn't make up my mind. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Righteous Orbs, and they’ve provided a ton of excellently written walls of text over the year, how more solid can you really get? But on the other hand, they've already gotten plenty of other awards.

I hesitated for the longest between Klepsacovic - who indeed is reliable in his updating, although possibly not so "solid", rather a little unpredictable and crazy - and Keeva at Tree Bark Jacket, who all year long has provided posts on a constantly high standard level, along with fantastic guides for resto druids. But in the end, I ended up with someone else.

The winner is: We Fly Spitfires!

Motivation: Gordon is one of those rather rare bloggers who manages to combine high quality writing with a good frequency. He has a wide perspective and doesn't only write about WoW, but also about other MMO:s. But even when he writes about games that I don't play and have no plans on ever trying out, he manages to grasp my attention. His writing is solid, smart and sometimes personal. As a matter of fact, the more personal he becomes, the better are his posts. Sometimes I disagree with Gordon; as a matter of fact quite often, which is one of the reasons why this blog is so worth to follow. When I look for blogs, I look for those that not only tells me what I already knew, but who also challenge me once in a while.

Most hugged blogger

Nominated: Miss Mediocre, Vidyala (Puggin’Pally and Manalicious), Cold’s gold factory, Rhii, Issy, Gnomeaggedon, Apple.

Tobold got a nomination in this category, which took me a little by surprise. He's one of my favourite bloggers, that's for sure, but it hadn't occurred to me that he had hugging potential.

Helertrek argued:

"One of the most solid content providers of the past two years has gotten into some battles but keeps blogging and coming back strong because his community supports him well. There's nobody that stands out like Phaelia and BRK from a year ago, but Tobold deserves all his hugs as well!"

Pike from Aspect of the Hare got a lot of love:

“The outpouring of support when she brought up having financial problems recently was quite impressive. Though not as impressive as that in response to her favourite pet's model getting changed... Hunters. They like to stick together”
"Sweet girl, great site, loving fans."

The winner is: Gnomeaggedon!

Motivation:
How do you sense that a blogger should be hugged? You just know it. Frankly I can't think of anyone more huggable in the entire blogosphere. Gnomeaggedon is one of those who make the blogosphere into a better place. He's got an eye for details, a sharp pen and a sparkling sense of humour. But also a big heart. If he ever spots something written between the lines in a post of mine, that might indicate that I'm a tad low, you can bet that he'll write me a worried letter, wondering what's up and if I want to talk about it. In November 2010 he brought his writing to a new level with a series of posts about his personal experiences of suffering from depression, including good advice to others who might be in the same situation. I think it was the bravest writing I've ever seen since I started to blog. It's about time that someone gives him a hug.

Hottest blogosphere topic

Nominated: Markco vs Gevlon. Gevlon’s Undergeared project, 10 vs 25 man raiding changes coming in Cataclysm.Fail PUG stories, Hillarious misrepresentation by GTFOOTF for the JMTC blogging carnivals. Whether being an asshole is bad or not.

Real ID got a couple of nominations:

"Not only does it count as the most controversial happening in the community at large, but Real ID set the blogging community on fire more than any Cataclysmic announcements. Whether you were for or against the changes, everybody had something to say."

Shintar and many with her suggested "the whole feminism debate":

"There was some good and thought-provoking stuff in there, but it went on for so long and got so heated after a while that I just wanted it to go away eventually.

"Frostheimgate" or whatever you want to call it would probably make a pretty decent runner-up though. And if bronze medals were to be given out as well, I'd give one to the whole "harassing bad roleplayers" affair early in the year."

The winner is: The giant sexism kerfuffle!

Motivation: Ever since I started blogging, gender related topics have been on the agenda a few times every year. How is it to be a woman in a male heavy guild? Is it an advantage or disadvantage, are their differences in how we're treated or not? Do or don't our boobs make us different to other gamers? However, the summer and early autumn 2010 was different. It was the year of the "giant sexism kerfuffle", as Rhii named it (thank you very much; I fumbled for a label that was wider than just "women" or "feminism".)

We didn't just talk about players this time around; we also looked into the game design and discussed the stereotypes, female as male. Chastity at Righteous Orbs explained why he found it easier to identify with a female avatar than with a male, whose neck was thicker than his head. The discussion was heated to say the least, and chainlightened between a great many blog, including those posts at The Pink Pigtail Inn. Eventually I think we were all so exhausted that we needed a break for a while. But I have a feeling it won't be long before someone picks it up again.

Best writer

Nominated:
Inkobah of Twinkinfo.com, Klepsacovic of Troll Racials are Overpowered, Saga at Girl's don't play WoW, Vixsin at Life in Group 5, Gnomeaggedon, Cynwise from Cynwise’s Blog Empire, Miss Mediocre, Ratshag, Pewter at 'Mental Shaman "for analytical writing", Rades at Orcish Army Knife "for evocative lore filled, beautiful posts".

Ano wrote two long motivations for his favorites:

Vidyala (formerly of pugging pally, now blogging at Manalicious and guesting raaaaather a lot at Sword & Board) is consistently excellent. She's always been witty, informative, irreverant, playful, serious and a bunch of other adjectives which should be contradictory but aren't in her case. Plus it's all accompanied by her wonderful illustrations. Who else could offer an entirely useful recipe and give it true Azerothian flavour?”

Rades at Orcish Army Knife has always written well, but particularly over the back half of the year, seems to have caught fire a little. Nowhere is this more evident than the letters to Northrend series he did for NaNoWriMo this year. I was worried earlier in the year, when I found myself actually caring about some lore or other having read one too many of his lore-related posts. I was exasperated when, having thought I'd come up with blogging gold ("Deathwing is just a stooge - there's something behind him and I can write about it!") he proceeded to write about the same subject with such
depth and skill I deleted my draft in self-disgust. And then I read the Letters to Northrend series.

Healertrek nominated John Patricelli at Big Bear Butt:

"I'm not a tank, this I accept. Sure I find it fun on the Death Knight from time to time, but my attempt to tank with my druid have been fail fail fail. However, Patricelli explains things so well about tanking that even I feel like I can get it (as a healer). That's a great achievement, and he's entertaining to read to boot. Definitely my favorite read of 2010."

This was yet another very difficult category. All the suggestions are excellent choices. I’m particularly intrigued by the fact that there seem to be so many good shaman writers. Is there some kind of chain lightening going on there? Apart from the already mentioned Pewter and Vixsin, we also have Charles at Planet of the Hats. He’s not one of the most productive bloggers and he’s not in the centre of the action, but oh, that man can write!

In the end though, I settled for a non-shaman.

The winner is: Chastity at Righteous Orbs!

Motivation: For some reason people tend to mix up Chastity with his fellow blogger Tamarind and I thought it was about time to make it clear that they’re two different persons and two different writers, with different writing style and temperament. Tam, who got the award last year is a brilliant writer - but so is Chastity. It isn’t just that his writing is fluid and pleasant to read, and that I think Chastity could write a good blog post about just any topic you tossed to him. He also has the ability to really get through to the reader, to touch them, set them on fire, make them feel, think and react. More often than not, Chastities posts will spark a discussion, as for instance in the case of The giant sexism kerfuffle. And when this happens Chastity goes into his PvP mode and keeps writing in the comment section, even more furious, precise and poignant. But even in his rabid-dog-who-never-lets-go mode, he always remains sharp and intelligent. The blogosphere would be quite a deal duller if Chastity wasn’t there.

A few final words
So this was it. The Pink Pigtail List of 2010 is complete. I will post the final look of it in a summary below.

But first I want to thank everyone who contributed with suggestions. While we do have a one-man jury, I have taken a lot of inspiration from the nominations.

As I've been working with this list, I've realized that it's somewhat incomplete. Why do I award podcasts, but not videocasts? Wouldn't it be appropriate to have an award for the best WoW comic? Or what about giving out genre awards: the best druid blog of the year, PvP blog, gold making blog or guild leadership blog of the year?

There's a lot more you could do of this yearly event. If I’m still around blogging next year, I might do a few changes to the list. Feel free to come with suggestions!

Only one thing remains: to bring out a toast for all the winners. Congratulations to your well deserved awards!

Cheers!

  1. Best raid instance: Icecrown Citadel
  2. Least successful raid instance: Ruby Santcum
  3. Most longed for instance: Black Temple
  4. Silliest gold sink: The Sparkling Pony
  5. Biggest addition to the game: The Dungeon Finder Tool
  6. Best quest: The retaking of Gnomeregan and Echo Isles
  7. Ugliest tabard: Loremaster’s Colors
  8. Favorite non combat pet: Core Hound Pup
  9. Biggest community controversy: The Battle of Real ID on the forums
  10. Most charming Blizzard employee: Nethaera
  11. Best podcast: The Obscurecast
  12. Biggest blog facelift: Manalicious
  13. Most memorable blog post: An open letter to Blizzard by Shades of Grey
  14. Most noticed blogger breakthrough: MMO Melting Pot
  15. Most solid content provider: We Fly Spitfires
  16. Most hugged blogger: Gnomeaggedon
  17. Hottest blogosphere topic: The giant sexism kerfuffle
  18. Best writer: Chastity at Righteous Orbs

25 comments:

Redbeard said...

Congrats to all the winners!

Shintar said...

Brilliant, I'm looking forward to next year's version already!

He's one of my favourite bloggers, that's for sure, but it hadn't occurred to me that he had hugging potential.

That line made me laugh out loud because I completely understand where you're coming from - Tobold does have a certain aloofness about him, doesn't he?

And woot for Chastity getting some recognition. I read his blog before he and Tam merged into Righteous Orbs, so I always roll my eyes a little when people get them mixed up these days. Your characterisation of his writing is both amusing and apt.

Shintar said...

Oh, and while I don't follow Gnomer's blog regularly I did read his series about depression and found it deeply touching as well.

frank said...

congratulations to everyone, nominees and those selected! i am continually amazed at the creativity and passion of the WoW community. you are all so inspiring.

Rades said...

Thanks for doing these Larisa! It's been terrific fun reading about the highlights over the last year, some of which I'd forgotten about completely or never even knew about in the first place! Looking at how many nominations there were for each category, it must have been so much work. I think I speak for everyone when I say we greatly appreciate the effort and love you've put into these awards. :D

Looking forward to next year's awards!

Imraith Dos Santos said...

Congratulations to all! I am inspired!

Vidyala said...

I am really touched and honored. Thank you Larisa, and congratulations to all the other people who were nominated and who won! Tough choices to make with the available options. There is some incredible talent and amazing people in the blogosphere, it's a pleasure to count myself among you. At the risk of repeating myself, we are all so awesome!

Pewter said...

Wow. I'm honored to be nominated (whoever did so). I look forward to these every year, although they tend to sneak up on me.

Congratulations to all the number 1s, they are quality writers, bloggers and personalities, and we're all the better for their presence :D

Apple said...

Oh, wow, I got nominated for something? :O Well! HUGS OF ALL SORTS to whoever did, and to everyone who one and everyone who was nominated, and...

it might've been more accurate to nominate me "most huggy blogger" XD

cynwise said...

Congratulations to all the winners!

Syl said...

A very interesting read and obviously huge effort to compose, cheers Larísa!

and I guess for some people it's just hard to believe (or too good to be true) that RO has two writers like that, I've actually seen Tam and Chas mixed up before too, hehe.

many great nominations and very well-deserved winners! Gratz everybody! =)
and I feel honored to have been mentioned among so many other, great and longterm WoW bloggers, thanks! :)

spinksville said...

Congrats to everyone!

Tam said...

Congratulations to everyone - and I'm sure Chas is chuffed to bits. I know I tend to grumble when people think Chas is me but really I should take it as tremendous compliment :D

This must have been a borderline impossible task, Larisa, so congratulations to you as well - I suppose the thing with running the awards is that you never get an award yourself, which is terribly unfair.

I love pretty much all the blogs you mentioned, so I have no idea how you chose winners. I thought Gnomer wrote some amazing posts this year, and Klep has been amazing. Syl has been great too, and I admire Keeva and Pewter very much indeed. Can't believe Chas pipped Charles though - he's also a truly wonderful writer.

Klepsacovic said...

Maybe Tobold needed hugs after the constant troll wars. Stupid trolls.

Sionel said...

Great idea, and well chosen winners (in my humble opinion at least ;) ). I love that you detail the nominations, too - yay for recognition of lots of deserving people/posts!

Fitz said...

New category award for next year: craziest blogger nominations for PPI Awards. And the winner goes to...me?

I stand by my hug for Tobold. Underneath the hard exterior there lies a soft person waiting for someone to reach out and hug. And so there you go.

Thanks for all the nomination link love. These were some very tough choices this year and I cannot disagree with any of the winners in the blogger category. I know I had to rack my brain a couple of times to come up with my responses.

Another great year to come and more awards in 2012. Let's get to it, shall we? Cheers Larisa.

Larísa said...

@Shintar: To be truthful I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of time this event took me this year, especially the blogosphere section. Right now it feels a little like: "never again"", but I'm pretty certain that will change until next year, if I'm still around blogging then.

@Frank: yes, you don't really grasp how big, productive and generally amazing this communiy is until you sit down and summerize it. It's quite hard, not to say impossible, to get a full overview of it.

@Rades: I'm so glad you appreciated it! And I'm pretty certain that you'll be one of the end candidates for the list next year, if you keep on doing what you're doing. You're amazing!

@Imraith Dos Santos: Cheers!

@Vidyala: That statement can't be repeted too often. Grats to a well deserved award!

@Pewter: you didn't even need to be mentioned by someone else, you were already among those bloggers (and podcasters) that are top on mind for me. Yep. You're that good. Be proud!

@Apple: Check out the comments to the call-for-nomination-post. It might be there, unless it was one of those nominations I got by e-mail.

@Syl: All those nominations you got really shows that you indeed were a strong candidate for the break-through-of-the-year category. You should be immensly proud of what you've achieved! (And I expect more to come! Just look at your lovely guest posting at WoM! Quite a success I'd say!)

@Tam: well, as I stated it really has given me a headache and sometimes I've been ready to just give in. It just seemed so cruel and unfair not to be able to select more people as number 1. I suppose in the end there IS a little bit of randomness in it. How do you really measure quality? I ended up following my instinct I think. The writer class was one of the toughest. In the end I think the fact that Chas is more productive than Charles contributed to my decision. There simply had been more writing to enjoy.

@Klepsacovic: Actually thinking closer about it I think Tobold might need a hug. He just doesn't know it yet.

@Sionel: Thanks! I'm glad you appreciated it.

@Fitz: I hope I'll run this event in 2012 as well but you never know. Currently I'm afraid I suffer too much from PPI list exhaustion to think about it.

gnomeaggedon.net said...

Awww feeling very loved and hugged...
it's OK, you can give hard hugs, I'm a tough little Gnome.

TBH, I'd like to see Tobold receiving the hugs, that would be a memorable moment.

Thanks again Larisa for providing the round up of the year, with your own special personal touch.

Each you you show what a quiet cornerstone you are for the WoW blogging community...

Soooo Hugs right back at you!

We Fly Spitfires said...

What a wonderful surprise! Thank you so much :) I wasn't expecting it all!! And thank you for the kind words, Larisa, it's much appreciated and means a lot to me.

gnomeaggedon.net said...

Started the day as "most hugged blogger 2010", ended it as "Blogger most in need of hugs 2011".

Depression is a shit, but one thing is for sure, little things like your recognition make life worth living...

thanks Larisa!

Bronte said...

Thank you Larisa, this was a great post.

I added close to 10 new blogs to my reader, and they were all better than the one prior. Awesome!

Bronte said...

Also, your "I shapeshift, therefore I am" link is broken.

Here is the actual link:
http://treebarkjacket.com/2010/04/10/i-shapeshift-therefore-i-am/

:)

Charles said...

A little tardy reading this (as usual) but thanks for doing it, not least because there is so much going on out there that it's good to be reminded of or have pointed out. I'm also honoured for the mention, thank you :)

Congratulations to all and I look forward to checking out those I hadn't come across before.

Shadesogrey said...

Aw, thank you for the award! I love reading your blog - you don't need a WTB writer skills, you've got buckets! :)

Larísa said...

@Gnomeaggedon: It sucks to hear that you’re having a tough time. I feel a little helpless seeing it from the other side of the planet, but I’m glad if a huge collective hug from the blogosphere can cheer you up a little. I know I’m not the only one who wants to hug you.

@We Fly Spitfires: It was very well deserved! You’ve become one of those institutions.

@Bronte: I’m glad you appreciated. And thanks for the link point out, it’s fixed.

@Charles: thanks, I’m glad you appreciated it. The blogosphere is so huge so it’s hard to follow everything that is going on and I’m glad if some of my findings were news.

@Shadesofgrey: Thank you very much! Cheers!