How the Brass Crescent Awards work
Aziz Poonawalla and Shahed Amanullah started the Brass Crescent Awards in 2004 with the purpose of promoting the best writing of the Muslim web and exposing them to a greater number of readers, and with your help we seem to have succeeded. We are humbled and overwhelmed by the response that the awards have been given by the nominees, winners, and voters, and hope to improve and expand the awards to more effectively serve the growing community of Muslim bloggers.
The Brass Crescent Awards are awarded on an annual basis, based on the Islamic calendar. Nominations begin immediately after Ramadan, with a panel of judges narrowing the nominees down to five in each category. Voting then begins and concludes shortly before Eid al-Adha, when the winners in each category are announced.
There are three ways in which awards such as these can be given. One way is to make all the decisions ourselves, with or without a board of judges, and simply present them without having a vote. The second is to let the process be completely open, and let people vote for any site, with the highest number of votes for any site prevailing. We feel the first method is too authoritarian, and does not tap into the energy of the blogosphere to promote the winning sites. The second is basically a popularity contest, which does not necessarily promote the best writing and opens the awards up to potential abuse.
In keeping with the goal of promoting the best of the Muslim blogosphere, we have a two-stage process. First, readers nominate their favorite blogs to each category. Then, the nominees are validated and winnowed down to five (or fewer) finalists in each category. The voting phase then commences, with the blog that recieves the most votes declared winner and second-most as runner-up.
Note that we do not give preferential treatment to nominees on the basis of ideology, becauise our goal is to highlight the authentic diversity of the Muslim blogosphere. So long as nominees consider themselves to be working in the best interests of Muslims and/or Muslim/non-Muslim relations, and are accepted as such by the bulk of their readers, they will be eligible for nomination to the BCA, in the spirit of the Qur'anic injunction to "compete, then, with one another in doing good works" (5:48).
The winnowing process
The finalists are selected from the nominee pool based on a number of criteria:
Why wasn't Blog [XYZ] a finalist this year?
Please note that whether a blog is a finalist one year does not guarantee that the blog will be a nominee the next year. For a blog to be a finalist in a given year, it must first be nominated by enough readers that year. Every year, new blogs are started, old blogs gain or lose readers, etc. The best way to be nominated, and increase chances of making it to the finalist round, is for the blog author to promote the blog during the Nominations phase.
If you have any questions or comments about how the Brass Crescent Awards are run, please contact us.