October 12, 2011

Updated Indian blog directory by 30th Nov

For two months, we have been discussing how to capture various attributes better for updating the Directory of Best Indian Blogs. Aiming at selecting only the top quality blogs on India and by Indians,  we kept on making the selection algorithm more and more complicated – with over 70 attributes, each given a weightage vis-à-vis others, marked in a scale of 0-5 and so on. When it became almost perfect, it collapsed: we found that we’d become too rigid and our work had gone up manifold! So, we not only returned to our earlier algorithm, we made it as simple as it gets.
 
We have sometimes been criticized for including blogs of all types in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs while many serious and analytical blogs have been excluded. We believe that blogging is both a personal and social activity, and we do not hold a case against blogs on very personal matters as long as they meet our selection criteria. So, while a spirited, well-composed and regularly updated blog on one’s kid, preacher, dog or garden may get included, a visually dull blog with copy-pasted newspaper columns, not allowing comments at all and not caring to provide any archive may be left out. 

 
If we find great blogs, we’d not bind ourselves to a maximum number of blogs in the directory. However, we intend to have a stricter filtering for quality [as explained below] and might end up with 500 to 600 blogs, no more.

 
Blogs as young as 3 months will be eligible for the directory.

 
We’d include blogs that are suggested to us and those explored by us only till October 31, 2011. We’ll bring out the updated blog directory by November 30, 2011. We have delivered on all our promises so far, and would strive to meet the deadline this time too.

 
Now the selection criteria.


•    Non-English blogs will not be included.  Bilingual blogs are OK if the other language is used unobtrusively.
•    We’ll consider the following as inappropriate content and will reject blogs with such content: unacceptable levels of nudity and violence; vulgarity; pornography; abuse; racial, casteist or communal denigration or hatred; rumour-mongering; slander; criminality; and other content not considered acceptable in responsible writing and visual / audio / audio-visual presentations.
•    Propaganda will be rejected; promotion of universally accepted social and moral values or a just cause with wide appeal is welcome.
•    If the blog or its content is found indulging in plagiarism or copyright infringement, it would be blacked out.
•    Commercial blogs and blogs of corporate bodies will not be included. Blogs with advertisements making more than 25% of their homepage content will also be filtered out.
•    If more than 25% of content in the blog is automatically generated, the blog will be rejected. [Content in widgets such as recent comments, archives, followers and advertisements will not be counted towards this.]
•    Blogs that have not been updated [by way of new posts] at least once in each of these months will be rejected: August, September, and October 2011.

 
Blogs not rejected due to above-mentioned reasons will be graded excellent, good, passable and poor for various qualitative attributes. The broad categories would be content, design and regularity. We’d give high weightage to content, followed by design and regularity. Blogs that score poor in any two of the three categories will be rejected. The main attributes for inclusion in the directory would be:

 
•    Effort made in blogging, as evident from big and small steps taken to improve the quality of presentation, proof-reading of text, use of widgets, etc.
•    Grammatical correctness of text content.
•    Various aspects of visual appeal [e.g. whether the blog is clean or cluttered, how well is the opening screen composed, elements introduced to break monotony and make the content interesting, use of widgets, appropriateness of colours and titling, etc for the type of blog]
•    Qualities relating to the niche of the blog [e.g. selection of subject and depth of analysis in case of current affairs, clear depiction of recipe and display of cooked food in case of cookery blogs, mastery over subject in technical subjects, and unbiased advice in case of blogs on share-markets].  
•    Quality and size of visuals, their appropriateness, captioning, attribution in case of content drawn from others.
•    Value addition [e.g. background information and external links] relating to the subject matter.
•    Ease of navigation and interaction.
•    Engagement with visitors, especially in the case of personal blogs.
•    Regularity in publishing content over a long period of time.

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We thank bloggers for their suggestions. We have incorporated them to the extent possible.

Since it is a directory created manually by us, we’ll not like any blogger to feel that we have included his / her blog just to give legitimacy and popularity to ourselves. So, we’ll inform all bloggers whose blogs come in the directory, by email or by posting a comment on their blogs. If a blogger wants his / her blog to be removed from the Directory of the Best Indian Blogs, we’d be glad to do so at the earliest.