March 2, 2011

How we compiled the first edition of the directory of topmost Indian blogs

We started listing the best blogs in India in 2010. The first listing was just a list of top blogs on India and by Indians, selected based on Google PageRank. In 2011, we brought out the first standard list - produced by manual checking of blogs - and thus arose the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

The present post gives a glimpse of all that we did while manually compiling the first edition of the best Indian blogs' list.
 
We have tried to be fair in our ranking, but we are conscious that ranking per se is a subjective activity. 

We are deliberately keeping our identities anonymous. Maybe, if our team of bloggers stays stable for about a year, that will be the time to announce ourselves. 

We started with seeing only those Indian blogs that are either personal or run by small groups or NGOs in a collaborative spirit rather than commercial activity. After some discussion, we excluded blogs that needed registration and collaborative blogs on non-Indian affairs in which some members were Indian.

There were too many blogs on IT, gadgets, hacking etc and we had to discard majority of them in favor of those where the blogger had made special personal contribution rather than aggregating material from other sites. Some IT and news blogs had too much automated content and too little personal effort by our reckoning. 

We failed to find many blogs as professionally managed as in the western countries. 

Some Indian bloggers have blogs in very narrow niches. For this edition, we did not include them.

We have also not included non-English blogs, because we are not proficient in many Indian languages. 

Of the blogs we did not exclude this way, we looked for regularity of posting. Blogs not regularly updated and whose posting was less than once a month consistently were rejected. We had to reject many beautiful, high quality blogs but we could not help that. 

Of the blogs so shortlisted, we looked first at the quality of content. This included the text, its presentation, language, grammar, use of graphics, etc. Then came the design elements including readability and length of posts. 

To reduce subjectivity, all four of our team gave marks to each of the shortlisted blogs [978 in all] on these parameters and came down to about a hundred top blogs. 

We sat together to have a final look at the blogs and reduced the list to 132 best blogs and gave ranks to these blogs based on a fair mix of marks given by individual members on different parameters. We are still not sure whether we should have given a higher or lower ranking than what we have given to some of these - all excellent blogs. 

As it was the first such exercise by us, and because we realize that we must have missed thousands of top quality blogs and made errors of judgement in various parameters as this was the first such exercise we did. As such, our rankings are limited to bringing to the fore very good quality Indian blogs, generally personal blogs in which bloggers have invested good amount of time, energy, thought and imagination.

At the end of this exercise, we find that Indian bloggers with zeal for presenting their worldview in an interesting way do ignore certain essentials of blogging. Based on our collective understanding and experience of blogging as well as what we learnt during this exercise, the Top Blogs will soon come out with posts to help individual bloggers in sprucing up their blogs.