2001 Webbys April 24, 2001 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Tiffany Shlain, the most self-promotional person I know, announced the 2001 Webby nominees for best community site: Chickclick.com, Craigslist.org, Fray.com, Beliefnet.com, and Kuro5hin.org. Where the crap is MeFi?
posted by jkottke to MetaFilter-Related at 11:20 AM (101 comments total)

It would appear that MeFi is missing. Although Matt deserves all the accolades and awards that can be heaped upon him, perhaps this is better to keep the site under the radar just a little longer...
posted by anildash at 11:25 AM on April 24, 2001

Surely Chickclick is past it's prime, as is fray.com (fray.org is a different matter...that should have been nominated instead, IMHO)...MeFi is easily one of the most vibrant new communities out there.

Of course, the Webbys are the Oscars of the Internet (or worse)...only the most popular and vapid people get nominated for either.
posted by jkottke at 11:32 AM on April 24, 2001

Those nominees bug me. A lot.

Maybe my idea of "Community Site" is terribly skewed, but 2 online magazines with discussion forums (chickclick and beliefnet), and a shopping page with discussion forums don't really mean "community" to me. Sure, there's a community aspect to the sites, but the community aspects aren't why the site's are there, the advertising money is.

I'm inclined to question Fray.com's nomination too. No slight to Derek, I think the community that's been built around The Fray is absolutely phenominal, but Fray.com itself isn't that community to me. The discussion forums contain some great stories, but I've never gone back to see how someone reacted to something I said, or to see what user x is up to or if user y has said anything interesting lately.

K5 seems like a community site. Plastic.org seems like a commercial community site. Metafilter.com's a community site. I think best community site should be devoted to places that are all about community. I mean, what's K5? Opinion, links and discussion. Plastic is links and discussion. MeFi is links and discussion.

Chickclick may have _great_ discussion areas, I don't know, but when I look at the site I see "Read our articles, then click on each message to increase our page views" like any ZDNet online publication.

I hope K5 wins. Not just because I think they're the closest to my impression of community, but because Rusty and Inoshiro (and the other admin types I don't keep track of) have built a really excellent community there.
posted by cCranium at 11:37 AM on April 24, 2001

Well, a vote for kuro5hin is a vote for democracy. or progress. or metafilter. or something.

I was happy to see Rusty's site nominated, I always thought kuro5hin was under the radar.

Craig's site is great too (maybe a couple years too late?), and Derek's is fantastic of course, but I'm pulling for Rusty (kuro5hin is a lot like metafilter so sue me). I don't know what ChickClick is doing there, or that jesus slashdot site.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:38 AM on April 24, 2001

Does anyone find it ironic that there are no links to the sites within that article?
posted by hijinx at 11:54 AM on April 24, 2001

Here I thought the internet was a way to get away from stuffy irrelevant institutions like the oscar academy.

The proper response is complete apathy to whatever they do and to ignore them.
posted by john at 2:12 PM on April 24, 2001

The links are on the sidebar. Isn't that good enough?

With anything as large and unruly as the Web, awards don't mean much. There's no way they can consider every site to get a list of nominees. We all know MetaFilter rocks.
posted by anapestic at 2:12 PM on April 24, 2001

Not good enough, dammit! Not good enough! What happened to any word, click it, get information? I thought I had this Internet thing figured out.

I am curious as to why MeFi isn't on there, but then again, things have been busy with the recent media coverage. Maybe not being nominated is a blessing in disguise.
posted by hijinx at 2:48 PM on April 24, 2001


I congratulated Rusty on the K5 nod and he said he wished he saw MetaFilter up there too, so that was nice to hear. Go K5!
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:05 PM on April 24, 2001

Tiffany Shlain, the most self-promotional person I know...

Then we should stop this thread. Now. This discussion means nothing but face time for her, and there are few who deserve it less.
posted by aaron at 3:06 PM on April 24, 2001

Or we can just talk about Matt instead. I love Matt. Matt's going to help me lower the suspension on my truck.

Also, Jason's comment does highlight a pretty salient point: Is Fray a community site? I sure don't think so. Personal? Yes. Story-telling? Absolutely. Community? Tangentially.

I think the best news from MeFi getting overlooked is that nominations of these sorts are usually an indication that a nominee is past its prime. But see, here at the 'Filter, we are knee-deep in the Golden Era.
posted by anildash at 3:30 PM on April 24, 2001

Then we should stop this thread. Now.

Oh, that's a good point. Tiffany is, um, a little icky.

Is Fray a community site?

Sorta? It used to be...people identified with the site (fray.com) in a big way and came to identify themselves with the site and talked to other people about the site and their comments on it. With the infrequent updates and the fragmentation of the personal Web publishing scene (i.e. everyone went off and started their own Web site), the community aspect of the site has declined. (fray.org, on the other hand, has done something very few sites have had success with: taking an online community and moving it offline. Very cool.)

Think of it this way...before Glassdog.org came into being, was there a community around Glassdog? I would argue yes...people identified with the site and talked about it among themselves. I would argue the same about Scripting News/DaveNet/WhateverWinerIsUpToNow.

I also think this sort of person-centered community is hard to build these days. I have a fair amount of traffic coming to my site, I occasionally do typical "community-oriented stuff" (via Blogvoices mostly), but I wouldn't say there's a kottke.org community (not even close). The "market" is just too fragmented these days or something.

Forgive the ramble....
posted by jkottke at 5:42 PM on April 24, 2001

It would seem to be more like fans or readers then a community.

Really, now that I know that there is the possibility of free coffee I think I might work a bit harder.
posted by john at 6:05 PM on April 24, 2001

Out of interest, did Matt (or anyone else) actually cough up the money for the entry into the webby's? If not, don't cry foul.
posted by Neale at 6:22 PM on April 24, 2001

I looked at the community section and saw that icq.com was a nominee, what the?
posted by Zool at 6:34 PM on April 24, 2001

cough up the money?

Hmm...I don't think he did. But I didn't last year either, and somehow got nominated anyway.
posted by jkottke at 7:16 PM on April 24, 2001

What's the point of an award you have to pay to enter?
posted by normy at 10:06 PM on April 24, 2001

It looks good on your resume, normy. :)

I was wondering why the flying f MetaFilter wasn't on the list when I first saw it linked at prol's -- certainly Mathowie's baby deserves to be there more than any of the other sites, except maybe Kuro5hin. ChickClick? Eh? Who picked that? Jason is being kind when he says it's past its prime.
posted by lia at 10:58 PM on April 24, 2001

I didn't enter because I didn't know you were supposed to do such a thing or what the cost was (what was it? like sxsw, being $25ish or real award like $100ish?).

And if MetaFilter was nominated, I think this interview would have sealed my fate as a non-winner.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:00 PM on April 24, 2001

I don't visit kuro.. because it's too hard to type.
posted by sudama at 12:02 AM on April 25, 2001

Entry fee's according to the Webby site:

Fees and Forms
Before November 17, 2000, the fee for entry is $75 US Dollars per Web site, per category. A 40% discount is given to entries to the Personal Web Site category, entries by a US non-profit organization that can provide a valid 501(c)(3) Tax ID number, or entries by non-profit organizations from outside the US that can provide appropriate documentation.

After November 17, the fee structure is as follows: $65 per Web site per category for entries by eligible non-profit organizations; $75 per entry in the Art, Personal Web Site and Weird categories; $90 per entry for all remaining categories.

posted by dangerman at 7:41 AM on April 25, 2001

posted by thirteen at 8:01 AM on April 25, 2001

Entry fees? For an award? Why does this sound familiar? Read the fine print.

All "winners" agree to attend a 45-minute presentation featuring Webby's Wonderful Florida Antlered-Frog Beachfront Retirement Properties. High-pressure sales tactics and rubber-hose beatings will be employed; entrants explicitly and implicitly agree to all conditions upon surrendering fee. Thank you for participating in the 2001 Webby Awards!*

*Not affiliated with the non-profit organization "National Empowerment for the Webbed-Toed" (NEWT).

posted by Skot at 8:59 AM on April 25, 2001

Hell, I'd pony up the entry fee just to see Matt win. Suggested 5-word acceptance speech: "This really belongs in MetaTalk."
posted by bradlands at 12:15 PM on April 25, 2001

Jeez. I'm so glad I just stayed up till 5am putting up a new {fray} story. Somebody should have told me my site was past it's prime. Silly me.

If you think {fray} is not a community site, I'd suggest you examine your preconceptions. Community on the web doesn't have to mean long scrolling lists of threads. Community means connecting people together and giving them a fertile environment in which to form relationships - and what better way to do that than with personal stories?

Yes, it takes more time with {fray}. And yes, the tools could be improved. (Any programmers out there willing to code fray 2.0 for free?). But to deny the site's community is to slap a whole lot of people in the face. I thought MF-ites, of all people, would understand that.

Finally, yes, MetaFilter should have been nominated. Absolutely. I personally lobbied for its inclusion (along with K5) to the judges. There is no question that there is a vibrant, growing community here. I know, I'm a part of it.

And while it is a bloody shame MetaFilter wasn't a finalist this year, you've gotta admit, this has been a good year for the site. Brill's Content, Yahoo Internet Life, and every other story about weblogging and/or community, including some I've written, has profiled the site.

So perhaps the best thing we MF-ites could do is be gracious and allow five other sites to take the spotlight for a while, knowing full well that if MetaFilter had been in there, it'd kicked the pants off everybody.

Peace and coffee,

-- Derek
posted by fraying at 1:56 PM on April 25, 2001

I would just like to point out that I tried to limit my snarky comments towards the webbies and not the nominees.

Truth be told, I haven't even seen any of those sites before.
posted by john at 2:35 PM on April 25, 2001

Dear Occupant: YOu have been selected for inclusion in Who's Who, America's pantheon of greatness! Just imagine what seeing Occupant in the list of America's best known personalities! You, Occupant, could be listed alongside scientists, politicians, and business leaders, simply by submitting a small fee! Yes, the time is now for America to learn about Occupant!
posted by dhartung at 3:30 PM on April 25, 2001

The truth is out there
posted by john at 4:17 PM on April 25, 2001

Community on the web doesn't have to mean long scrolling lists of threads. Community means connecting people together and giving them a fertile environment in which to form relationships - and what better way to do that than with personal stories?

i was going to say that...glad you got to it first derek. There is definately a community of fray users. If i saw someone else on the street with a Fray shirt on i wouldn't hesitate to stop and talk with them. It is just different...thats all...I walked around NAB in vegas with my sketchbook plastered with Fray stickers hoping to attract a comrade. The fray community is intimate, and there is a lot of email that goes on back and forth between posters, and a lot of very real connections that are made.

i'd do the same for a MeFi shirt-wearer as well. Or a WebZine.ws contributor. Discussion doesn't make a community...a feeling of having peers makes a community. Discussion follows.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:58 PM on April 25, 2001

What th3ph17 said. {fray} is definitely a community. In fact I seem to recall seeing many of the posters here at the Fray Cafe in Austin. And a good time was had by all.

On a side note, I think if you seek validation from an award show, then you should accept that award show on its own terms. If you think the award show is bullshit, then you're self-validating, you don't NEED the award show to tell you you're good, and you shouldn't care whether you're nominated or not.

Surely it's possible to be happy for your peers when they are nominated for an award, whether you think the award show is meaningful or hype. That falls under the heading of friendship, mutual support and respect. Which are the very things that make up a community, no?
posted by Zeldman at 1:32 AM on April 26, 2001

Jeez. I'm so glad I just stayed up till 5am putting up a new {fray} story. Somebody should have told me my site was past it's prime. Silly me.

Derek, I don't think anyone said that Fray is past it's prime. I don't think anyone even implied that. Scrolling back, the closest I could see to such a suggestion is jkottke saying that there haven't been many updates.

Zeldman, I don't think anyone's upset that Fray got nominated. There are very, very few people that would suggest Fray is undeserving of any award.

If you think {fray} is not a community site, I'd suggest you examine your preconceptions.

You know as well as, and probably better than, I that "community" is a very subjective term, and what is a community to me is not necessarily a community to someone else. That doesn't invalidate that sense of community in the least, it just means that someone doesn't "get it."

And if people don't get it, then maybe you should examine your preconceptions, because obviously the message you're intending isn't coming across the way you think it is.

Look, I love Fray. I nearly squealed with glee when I got the notice of an update in my inbox yesterday. And yes, I do feel connection to the people who write the stories, the same way I feel connection to you because I read about Fred, the same way I feel connection to Zeldman because I read about his winter of hellish disease and overwork, the same way I feel connection to everyone else's writing I read, but I don't personally feel a sense of community, because there's no way on Fray to know how other people react to _me_.

If I don't feel a part of a community, how can I know a community exists?

I hope this doesn't come across as ranting or angry or anything other than honest curiosity, with a dash of hope that I can learn from this conversation.

As an aside, if you're serious about a call-to-arms for Fray 2.0 programmers, point me somewhere I can sign up.
posted by cCranium at 6:41 AM on April 26, 2001

cCranium: Derek, I don't think anyone said that Fray is past it's prime.

jkottke: Surely Chickclick is past it's prime, as is fray.com ...

I think the Fray is great, but it has been great for years and has won numerous awards for it. If I was picking Webby Award nominees, I'd try to find something that deserves accolades but hasn't received them yet.

To put it another way, how many Oscars does Tom Hanks need?

posted by rcade at 7:01 AM on April 26, 2001

I don't want to be a grammar snoot, but it's happened three times in this thread -- too often to be cast off as a typo or a brain fart -- and I can let it pass no longer: The possessive form of the neutral pronoun has no apostrophe. "Its prime," not "It's prime." For example: "Fray.com is only past its prime insofar as it's no longer one of the Web's few sources of personal narrative. Nonetheless, it's still an awesome site and, as far as online personal narrative goes, still has some of the best (only?) editing and design."

Thank you. That is all. (Except for the subjunctive mood, further abuse of which will cause the beatings to resume. Rogers, you've been warned.)
posted by luke at 7:17 AM on April 26, 2001

I was thinking about this today, and realized that Lileks has never won--or has he? I think lileks.com is one of the most sustained, generous, contentful sites on the web, and deserves some recognition.
posted by rodii at 7:43 AM on April 26, 2001

Aw crap.
posted by cCranium at 9:14 AM on April 26, 2001

Derek, one person saying your site is past its prime is the margarine of criticism, to paraphrase Dr Evil. Isn't one of the important facets of community building accepting that people in the community aren't always going to like everything about everything?

One of the things I love most about MeFi is that there's plenty of intelligent disagreement -- I might not change my mind, at the end of the day, but I will at least have questioned what I know and why I think the way I do about certain things. A polite slagging off of people who disagree with or criticize you simply because they disagree with or criticize you (or your work) is appreciated for its politeness, but it's still ugly.
posted by lia at 9:53 AM on April 26, 2001

My grandmother is the progenitor of strong, intelligent, beautiful women. My grandmother is also past her prime. Do I love her any less?
posted by megnut at 10:39 AM on April 26, 2001

"Isn't one of the important facets of community building accepting that people in the community aren't always going to like everything about everything?"

this goes against the 'it's all good' philosophy that has, sadly, been the noncommercial web's hallmark.

i say 'sadly' because i think that attitude encourages complacency and, well, just BADness.
posted by maura at 11:04 AM on April 26, 2001

Fray and Blogger might deserve nominations, but they definitely shouldn't be squeezing their way into a category intended for personal websites.

Personally, I'm rooting for the Dancing Paul to boogie over the competition... ;-)
posted by markkraft at 11:10 AM on April 26, 2001

I have this very strange image of Derek as L'il Abner right now, and Meg's grandmother as Daisy Mae...

...and they're both singing!

I certainly see {fray} as a community site, and while I don't think it's past it's peak (look at that physique!), it almost seems like it should have retired itself from competition TRL-style by now. Of course, if it hasn't ever been nominated for a community Webby, then the I'd say the proper response is "It's about time!"

That being said -
    Derek, you take stuff way too personally.
    Jason, you really know how to sweettalk.
    Jeffrey, I have no criticism for you.
    Matt, you was robbed.

posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 11:13 AM on April 26, 2001

My grandmother is the progenitor of strong, intelligent, beautiful women. My grandmother is also past her prime. Do I love her any less?

Meg, I hope not. But don't be surprised if she doesn't win the Miss America award this year.

What a rotten analogy. I hope I don't need to point out to anyone that the freaking Webbies do not equate to anyone's grandmothers.
posted by Skot at 11:23 AM on April 26, 2001

Actually, I gave my grandmother to k10k last year in recognition for their design excellence.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 11:31 AM on April 26, 2001

Skot, my point wasn't that webbies = grandmothers. My point was that past its prime != insult. My point is that both Chick Click and Fray inspired thousands of personal sites, inspired thousands of people to take risks and explore the web and learn more about themselves in the process. And that we love them and respect them for it, though they may not be as fresh and young and new as some other sites. Sorry I made a "rotten analogy." Perhaps I'm past my prime. ;)
posted by megnut at 11:32 AM on April 26, 2001

Joe...*shakes head*
posted by dangerman at 11:44 AM on April 26, 2001

When I saw {fray} under community, I said 'Well, yeah.' When I saw it under 'personal', I was like 'Huh?' Derek said that 'personal' doesn't mean individual, but personal as in it being personal.

Even so, I would have thought other sites would be more deserving of the 'personal' label, both from an individual as well as a 'its personal' aspect. Maura, of course, I always say.. and then pamie.com - although she may fall more into the humor category. And then alexismassie, I think has come up with quite an innovative community/personal thing with the questions and answers and the overall design of the site, even if she doesn't update enough.

And how about Glassdog? I mean, that's one damn good site, although how you would classify it is beyond me.

And how about A List Apart for community?

I think the choices are boring and unimaginative. They are the skim off the top, in most cases, because it would be too difficult to actually dive in and find the pearls that would be deserving of an award - and shouldn't have to pay for the honor.
posted by rich at 12:21 PM on April 26, 2001

No, Joe, {fray} has never been nominated for a Webby. Ever. I fail to see why I should be ineligible (or take myself out of the running) because I've been running a site for almost 5 years. Shouldn't we be rewarding people for years of hard work, instead of disqualifying them for it?

And, yes, I take things too personally. Always have. But I'd like you to try doing something out of love for 4.5 years, giving it all the creativity energy you have, to the detriment of jobs and even relationships, and then having people you thought were your friends tell you that it's "past its prime" on the day you get the news that it's been nominated for the biggest award there is.

Past its prime is an insult, Meg and Jason. And you know what else? It's not true. The {fray} organization is growing and evolving every day, with every new visitor. Fray Day 5 is going to be a global event. And I have big plans for the future evolution of the site. You'll see.

Maybe none of you noticed, but {fray} is the only site in the community category with no ads and no financial backer. I've been doing this for love for a long time. And it's hard to take things where I want them to go with no financial support. It's even harder without the emotional support of your peers.
posted by fraying at 12:28 PM on April 26, 2001

Actually, Meg, you gave me a more gracious response than I deserved. I see where you were coming from, and apologize for the a.m. crankiness.
posted by Skot at 12:58 PM on April 26, 2001

It's important to remember a few things, I think, the most important being that thriving communities engage in self-critique. It does no one any good to pretend that we all love everything that everyone does. Critique is helpful, it keeps a community in check, it pushes people to do new things in new ways.

Support does not have to mean that you like the things people are doing/creating. The ACLU certainly supports the right to free speech in very extreme ways, and surely they don't always appreciate the messages they are helping to protect.

Further, just because one thinks that something "is past it's prime" does not mean that they don't appreciate it and have for a while, but arguing that point is ridiculous.
posted by bryanboyer at 1:02 PM on April 26, 2001

Interesting point: some are quick to dismiss {fray} as a community, but almost no one is quick to dismiss Blogger as a "personal site".
posted by hijinx at 1:16 PM on April 26, 2001

*raises hand*

I did...but I'm cranky today so I don't know if my dismissal really counts.
posted by dangerman at 1:20 PM on April 26, 2001

H. Christ, Derek - give your well-practiced martyrdom a rest, eh?

How you manage to get from Meg and Jason making a perfectly legitimate comment re: Fray and its place in the Webby award category to them becoming betrayers of the sacred and holy Derek Powazek cause is well beyond me. They've written nothing to warrant this response.

You're behaving like a spoiled and bratty child.

You have won more awards for Fray, garnered more recognition and paying jobs via this one project than just about anyone else has for any other project they've worked on. What in god's name do you possibly have to complain about regarding the success and well-regard that Fray has and that you have?
posted by gsh at 1:53 PM on April 26, 2001

hijinx, I did on megnut, and I didn't see the need to get redundant.
posted by megnut at 2:03 PM on April 26, 2001

"Past it's its prime" can be an insult or a critique. It depends on your subjective sensitivity. For example, the movie Space Cowboys could be said to be inhabited by a bunch of actors past their prime trying to still play hero roles and failing utterly (insult). The movie Grumpy Old Men could be said to be filled with folks well past their prime, but still managing to make us unvoluntarily wet ourselves with laughter (critque).

Fray Day 5 is going to be a global event. And I have big plans for the future evolution of the site. You'll see.

Hmmm, could this be a plot to inspire you to work even harder "to the detriment of jobs and even relationships" and produce something so brilliant that we would all be in awe. A week later we would then be able to declare it past its prime.
posted by john at 2:06 PM on April 26, 2001

Good lord.

Yes, some of the sites may be in the wrong categories. Yes, Matt was most definitely robbed. Yes, the Webbies are basically the Tiffany Shlain Show (after last year's ceremony I watched a camera crew literally follow her to the "executive powder room," which was nothing more than a glorified port-a-potty).

But there are a lot of nominated sites that were created by people we know and respect. Don't they deserve at least a one-day honeymoon before everyone starts ripping into who's "deserving" or not? Christ. Some of the posts here reek of the stench of sour grapes.

The Webbies may not be visionary but hey, it's all we've got. At least for now. Like it or not, being nominated is a big freakin' deal.

The whole "the Webbies are crap" conversation starts every year right after the nominees are announced. If you think the Webbies are doing it wrong and you yourself would like to create a big-time web award, go for it. And be sure you talk to Lance before you do, because he tried it a few years ago and can tell you it ain't easy. Everyone likes to talk about it, but when push comes to shove, very few people are willing to help do anything about it.

As for any site being "past its prime," the question is this: Whose prime? Those of us who've been on the web years and years and years? We're a pretty jaded bunch and I think we sometimes forget new people discover the web every day. Those sites are awfully new and exciting to them.

Regarding Fray in particular -- I'm a four-time Fray contributor as well as being good friends with Derek, so I'll admit my viewpoints may be rather biased. But some three years after my first piece was published, I still get email about it. I still have people approach me at parties and conferences to tell me they just discovered Fray and something I wrote touched them. For a site "past its prime," it still sure inspires an awful lot of people.

So anyway ... congratulations and good luck to the nominees.
posted by shauna at 3:15 PM on April 26, 2001

If you think {fray} is not a community site, I'd suggest you examine your preconceptions. Community on the web doesn't have to mean long scrolling lists of threads. Community means connecting people together and giving them a fertile environment in which to form relationships - and what better way to do that than with personal stories?

A community is a group of individuals brought together with shared personal or professional interests, often around having to tackle similar issues in their lives.

While {fray} might connect people (though, I'm guessing, not nearly so much online as it has done through Fray.Org), how is it a fertile environment to form relationships?

{fray} is a publication. Is any publication that inspires a following a "community" publication? Is _Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood_ a "community" novel? Or is it just a novel that happened to spur things like meeting groups? To Shauna's point, many authors, in many venues, receive email or letters talking about how their works touched them. Does that mean it's community?

It's important, I think, to make these distinctions, because I think an important aspect of community is how a community serves as a resource for the members in it. I'm on mailing lists, which I think of as online communities, where I can ask questions and get answers. Where I can ask for help and find a few folks who can pitch in. Where I can share an experience and get feedback. That's community.

Now, a community might have built up around {fray}, in the same way communities have built up around, oh, watching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, but to call {fray} a community is a misapplication of the word.
posted by peterme at 3:26 PM on April 26, 2001

Derek -
I have all respect for you and {fray} - and agree that just because you've been doing it for five years is no reason that you should be disqualified. I have always assumed (Incorrectly, it seems) that all sorts of accolades had already been heaped upon the site, and that it had so much going for it that it ought to step aside and let the younger sites get a shot. I'd like to be as secure as Mr. Zeldman and say "screw awards - you shouldn't need accolades" but I'm not. If I were you, I'd want to be recognized.

Still, if you are going to do things that the general populace (relative to metafilter, of course) sees, you need to at least develop a millimeter of epidermis. Lets face it, most of the time when people say harsh things about you it's a comment relative to your popularity. It's true that Jason wouldn't know tact if it pissed in his mouth, but he follows up his "past it's prime" comment with a self-deprecating remark and a statement that awards generally have a high bogosity factor - so I really don't think he was intentionally slamming your work. He was expressing righteous indignation that once again the mainstream award givers had failed to recognize one of their best and brightest.

That'd be Metafilter.

posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 3:32 PM on April 26, 2001

i love the webbys.

i love the webbys because of the way the nominees reflect the state of the web at large. year in and year out, tiffany and her crew manage to pick sites that honestly reflect the intangible *essence* of the web.

i love the webbys because of the wonderfully saturnalian way the Ceremony brings together a wide variety of people, for a grand celebration of the web's unique creativity and spirit. i'm hoping that finally, this year, the rest of the world wakes from its slumber, steps away from the AOL chat rooms or puts down the remote control and pays attention to our remarkable medium.

i love the webbys in the way they've managed to create a micro-economy out of the event, where the nominees pay to get nominated while the sponsors pay for the prestige so the attendees can pay to hear the paying nominees trip up to the microphone under a paying sponsor's logo and utter a five word speech, while outside sidewalk vendors hawk t-shirts, sweatshirts and other overpriced trinkets to the chattering masses.

and, finally, i love the webbys because it reminds me that hope springs eternal. every year i can dream of getting that nomination email. and every year i can dream that i'm a winner, and imagine walking up on the stage of san francisco's magnificent war memorial opera house and muttering the five words i've been dying to say for so, so long...

"it's all fucking carl's fault."

posted by msippey at 3:33 PM on April 26, 2001

I just want to point out that you don't necessarily know who was, or was not nominated - you just know who made the final 5 finalists.

It is an akward situation, though, this high fee for nominating, because it puts people in the position of nominating themselves for the 'honour' - let's face it, how many of us ponied up $75 to nominate someone else's site? And after that, it just gets very, very weird to me - for $75, why not just pick yourself up an old bowling trophy at a garage sale, if you must have something to put on your shelf, and use the $70 you have left to rent yourself a hooker?

What kind of respect are people looking for that they pay money for?
posted by kristin at 3:46 PM on April 26, 2001

Kids, that's enough! Everyone stop splitting hairs and back to your room!

To those that got nominated, Congratulations you really do deserve it and best of luck to you. MeFi was not nominated but look at the bright side... it's still a hidden treasure for us privileged few to continue enjoying as a fairly small, close, very vibrant and exciting community.

Now how's this for the winner's acceptance speech: I am NOT Matt Haughey!
posted by tremendo at 3:46 PM on April 26, 2001

Lets face it, most of the time when people say harsh things about you it's a comment relative to your popularity.

Bingo bingo bingo.

The first time someone wrote something nasty about me, I was absolutely devastated. Lance told me something I've never forgotten: "They can say whatever they want, as long as they get your URL right."

I really don't think he [Jason] was intentionally slamming your work

Nor do I. I don't think it was anything personal -- just pure commentary (much of which I agreed with) on the Webbys themselves.
posted by shauna at 3:52 PM on April 26, 2001

"it's all fucking carl's fault."

Hey Derek, if you win and use Sippey's quote for your speech, I'll give you five bucks.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 4:02 PM on April 26, 2001

wow. I never realized so many cool people hang out in metatalk. I was wondering where all the old school MeFites disappeared to.
posted by dogmatic at 4:04 PM on April 26, 2001

it puts people in the position of nominating themselves for the 'honour'

Fee or no fee, the major awards always require people (or their studios) to nominate themselves. I remember a story several years ago about Tim Allen (of "Home Improvement" fame) -- he forgot to send in his self-nomination and hence, he was shut out from the Emmy nominees that year. Oprah Winfrey, who's won more Emmys than any mantle could ever hold, stopped nominating herself for them a few years ago so someone else could have a chance.

The Webbys actually don't require you to pay a fee or to nominate yourself. Most of the finalists do come from the paying self-nominating pool, but not all of them. Metababy didn't nominate itself last year but it made the finalists. And as you said, it's doubtful anyone else ponied up the money and nominated it without Greg's knowledge -- which means some sites are nominated internally by the judging panel.
posted by shauna at 4:05 PM on April 26, 2001

I think we're all missing out on the most important thing here, which is "We hate Tiffany Shlain!" If that can't unify us as a community, then what can?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 4:18 PM on April 26, 2001

I'm sorry.

I regret some of the things I posted here. It's been an emotional couple of days. I made the mistake, and it's typical if you know me, of assuming that I could be my real, true, emotional self in public. After all, it's that desire that birthed {fray} in the first place.

I came here hoping for a little support from my fellow independent content producers. It was my hope that we could applaud each other when one of our own is up for a prestigious award. That's what I did last year, when Jason, Halcyon, and Greg were nominated. I just assumed that's what everybody would do this year, too.

I apologize for my assumptions and for the emotional candor of my posts. And, if it's all the same to you, I think I'll just bow out of the conversation now.

Ever forward,

-- dmp

ps - If I win, my 5 word speech will be: "Next year nominate MetaFiler, dammit."
posted by fraying at 4:21 PM on April 26, 2001

According to the webby's publicity releases- all sites are nominated externally - if you are nominated, someone paid for that nomination. The Webby's require that *someone* pay the fee. Someone paid the fee to nominate Metababy. And $75 is a lot of money to ask. This isn't the entertainment industry, where Tim Allen make $200 000 an episode. This is the web, where everyone is losing their jobs.

Incidently, if you nominate a site that has already been nominated, the Webbys still process your credit card for that $75.
posted by kristin at 4:23 PM on April 26, 2001

See? Kristin has the idea.

posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 4:32 PM on April 26, 2001

According to the webby's publicity releases- all sites are nominated externally

And I'd be a lot more inclined to believe that's the only way it happens if the words "webby publicity release" weren't involved.
posted by shauna at 4:32 PM on April 26, 2001

Ooh! And Shauna trumps!

We hate them if you have to pay to be nominated, and we hate them more if they secretly nominate people who didn't pay!!!
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 4:44 PM on April 26, 2001

Sassy self-effacing posts, emotion outburst posts, ironic addendum posts, snarky snippet posts, passive aggressive posts, hair-splitting posts...

This thread is proceding well and godwin's law is nowhere to be found. But even more frightening then Shlain's ego is the haunting feeling that shinning the spotlight of fame and the giving of laureates hides the decay of the medium itself.
"And the feeling’s crawling in that the Internet as we know it is somehow dead end Neanderthal technology, like Betamax. Beyond the fizzing meaningless fringes where thoughts turn to dust and fractals, a different kind of communications technology is waiting. Somewhere on the other side of pure green dissolution, where Wilber’s ‘yellow’ integrative meme culture will emerge, there is no ‘Internet’, no radioactive VDUs, no carpal-tunneling mice to manoeuvre and most importantly, there is access to a functioning global mind that fuelled by something other than caffeine and charlie and hormones unleashed.

Until that day, who could fail to see in the Internet, the great Ring-Pass-Not for the Rational Consumerist mind, where sense dissolves into incoherence and anxious questions about questions unravel without end ? In this Ghost Garden, as we’ve seen, unfounded rumour can provoke international panic as real as any boring old Martian invasion. Debates unfurl for days based on hearsay or lonely speculation or on the sighting of weird information spooks and roaming ‘rumours’..

Here, at the global schizoid party, everyone can be shouted down.

Here is where someone disagrees with us and we try to make them agree but they never do and never will and we should have known that before we got started...and oh christ the music’s insane...

Here at the limit, is where the sacred sovereign Self, the pinnacle of the last 300 years of social evolution, disintegrates into memes and cogwheels, dust and pish.

Hmm, It does look nice outside today...
posted by john at 5:05 PM on April 26, 2001

MetaFilter was robbed.

It's been a couple days on this, and I figured it might be interesting to chime in on how this has all gone for me. I run K5, by the way. You probably all know that. :-)

Good things:

I've met a bunch of cool people, by being sucked into this oddly gravitational award thing, including Derek and Matt, who I've talked to before, but not at length. I look forward to meeting a bunch more cool people at the awards, mainly other nominees (though if Bjork and Gillian Anderson show up, I can't say I'd be displeased ;-).

I'm also really honored that the nominating judges though K5 was that good. I seriously don't care if we win, because the final judges are probably not people whose opinions matter to me at all. Usually they're celebrities, to increase the money-drawing power of the Webby franchise.

Bad things:

MetaFilter was utterly bent over. I *know* it was brought to the attention of the nominating judges, and there's no possible excuse for not nominating it.

Why is everyone savaging Derek, when Beliefnet and ChickClick are such obviously lame corporate shills? Yeesh, people. Here's how I see the community nominations:

K5: Slashdot-style, more edgy and personal, but pretty clearly filling the role of "best slashdot style site this year".

Fray: Community not in the weblog mold. People telling personal stories, and talking about them. Fits the criteria for me.

Craigslist: Site devoted to bringing the real community and the virtual community together. Worthy for being a fantastic resource, and one of the most effective online/RL integration tools in existence.

ChickClick: "We need some special interest sites! Which "grrl powah" site is hot right now?" Bah.

BeliefNet: Marketing with bulletin boards? Good gracious. Who thought this was interesting? We've had this, in roughly this form, since 1996. Crap.

Should have beens:

In my alternate worthwhile universe, Chickclick is dropped in favor of MeFi (who probably wins), and BeliefNet... uh, I don't know who I'd replace them with. Just about anyone really.

In general, I'm not real happy with how this is all going. It brings out so much negativity and spite, especially for something I didn't exactly ask to be included in. Like I said, I'm really honored to be nominated, and I kind of wish it was over now. The party sounds scary, and the people behind all this just don't impress me at all.

Oh well. Look for a report on the whole thing on K5 end of July. :-)
posted by rusty at 6:09 PM on April 26, 2001

Promise me you'll wear something from the Jennifer Lopez collection, and it will all turn out.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 7:18 PM on April 26, 2001

But seriously people, back to the subject of Tiffany Shlain being a loser. I've seen the woman in person at least 5 times, and every single time she's been wearing the same outfit.


My personal wish is for someone to pull the plug on the Web so that we can all put our creative energies into offline projects. If we can create amazing interactive wizzywigs on the Web, damnit, we can create some great real world art, literature, music, whatever. The Webbys are a symptom of "everything digital must be good/cool/money making" and if anything is past its prime, it's that notion.

Derek's emotional post, regardless of whether or not you agree with his stance, brings up an interesting point. Relationships lost? Lifes spent locked in a basement in front of a CRT? Youch!

I dunno. I dunno what I'm saying, really, because I'm just as bad as anyone (even though I live with a hot chick). I just think that maybe everyone needs to take a step back once in a while and breath real air and evaluate if what they still even believe in The Dream. I used to. But I don't think I do anymore. And that has nothing to do with award nominations or community sites. heh.
posted by benbrown at 7:30 PM on April 26, 2001

If we can create amazing interactive wizzywigs on the Web, damnit, we can create
some great real world art, literature, music, whatever.

Stuff online isn't "real"? Can't be art? Literature? Foo.

The Webbys are a symptom of "everything digital
must be good/cool/money making" and if anything is past its prime, it's that notion

Now that's true. No argument there.

Relationships lost? Lifes spent locked in a basement in front of a CRT? Youch!

Look at Jackson Pollock's life. Total hideous mess. Yet he screwed it up in the process of creating some truly great art. Sometimes that happens. I don't think it happens more online than off.

I just think that maybe everyone needs to take a step back once in a while and breath real
air and evaluate if what they still even believe in The Dream.

Yeah, but this is a good point too. Getting buried too deep in one thing is almost never good, whatever it is.

This whole award thing is making me think about a lot of this stuff again, and I'm not coming up with any comfortable answers yet. Maybe I'll work it out.
posted by rusty at 10:08 PM on April 26, 2001

"The Dream?" There is but one? I hope not.

I have always assumed (Incorrectly, it seems) that all sorts of accolades had already been heaped upon the [Fray]...

Well, there's no question the site's had plenty of accolades in its time. Whether it's received an amount of attention proportional to what it's accomplished, and/or proportional to other sites of equal accomplishment, is a matter of personal opinion.

My guess is it probably hasn't received as much acclaim as others have. I know that in my online travels over the years, I've seen very little ever mentioned about the Fray, in terms of mass-media mentions or links from other sites. Compared to the never-ending gushfests about every other site out there comprised of such a high proportion of A-lister (there are no A-listers™) contributions, the Fray isn't even on the same map.

I can only speculate about the likely reason: its design. Every time I go there, the site makes me, as a reader, feel like an outsider. The front page says nothing about what the site is for; almost nothing that is on that page makes any overt sense to anyone who isn't already familiar with The Fray. The About link is hidden at the bottom of the page, precisely where most people would expect to find the copyright/terms&conditions link (in other words, the absolute last place anyone would ever want to click unless they were paying close attention to the Javascript onMouseOver message ... if they even had Javascript running). You just get no idea what The Fray is about, unless you actually start digging in. And most people simply won't dig in under those rules. They think it must be something they either can't understand or, worse, that it's been intentionally designed so they won't understand it because the content's only intended for the group of contributors, not for them.

These sorts of design quirks don't matter much as long as your buzz is good amongst the Web/blogging community. We all know what The Fray is; many of the members of this community are contributors, so it will always be known, understood, and referenced here. But what about the rest of the world, including the members of the mass media who would otherwise be heaping the same accolades? I think a lot of those people just are not getting it.

Anyway, this is not a slam of any sort against the Fray; I think the content is excellent, as is the design on the stories themselves. But I honestly have gotten disoriented and confused by the site every single time I've ever gone there over the years. And the first couple times long ago, before I started bopping around the same online communities as many of its creators, I honestly could not grok what it was about or who it was for. So I figure this may have something to do with the relative lack of recognition it has received over time.
posted by aaron at 11:18 PM on April 26, 2001

{ fray } encapsulates everything that I'm nostalgic for when I think of the web during the time I was most engaged with it. It's a proud survivor of that era of "well-wrought" personal narrative that Derek pioneered with Alexis and Lance and Maggy, and it still attracts a huge response: both on the site, and through fray.org. But as peterme succinctly pointed out, it's closer in form to a publication such as Granta, with an editor-proprietor who acknowledges the importance of readers' contributions as an accompaniment to his articles.

MetaFilter isn't well-wrought, but it's the ne plus ultra of the web in 2001.

The Tiffany Shlain web is something else altogether, a something that I don't recognise: Lance's "Memo" on last year's awards said it better than I ever could.

And yes, it's all Carl's fault; just as the sack of Rome can ultimately be blamed on Julius Caesar.
posted by holgate at 5:30 AM on April 27, 2001

I dunno if there really is anything more to say. On the basis of emotional outpouring and support for Derek for being nominated; well, {fray} as a personal site, well, uh - no. (note: fray has won many awards, just not a Webby)

I can see the community aspect of it, from the writing responses about the stories. Although, I have been saying for the past couple years, she could use a face-lift. A big one. the general design of the site inhibits the community aspect of it, even if its content evokes strong response.

Dogmatic - thanks for realizing that I'm hanging out here (for the slower people - I'm the cool people).

And even while Ben Brown lives with a hot chick, I married one. See, I'm the next superstar.

posted by rich at 8:59 AM on April 27, 2001

I made two errors in judgement when posting my original comments:

- "past its prime" was an unfortunate choice in phrasing...it has a negative connotation to it.

- I should have made it more clear that I was talking about fray.com (the site located at www.fray.com...because that's the site that was nominated) in the context of its inclusion in a list of nominees for a "best community" award.

Other than those two errors on my part, I stand by what I said. fray.com does not have the impact as a community site it once did. There's nothing wrong with that...fray.com is still a very fine site (which I enjoy very much) doing very fine things, but just not as a community site to the extent that it was. That's all.

"And Joe, if you don't like me, you can just say it. Don't hold anything back, man," he said tactlessly.
posted by jkottke at 12:12 PM on April 27, 2001

Yeah. What Koettke said.
posted by rich at 12:33 PM on April 27, 2001

Hmmm.... maybe "Jason wouldn't know tact if it pissed in his mouth" was a poor choice of words, too. I should have said that just because you *sound* like a jerk, it doesn't mean you *are* a jerk. Your comments just require extra processing in order to separate the content from the bile.

Now rich is a different story. I can't stand that guy. What an ass!
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 12:46 PM on April 27, 2001

Man, go away for a little while and Joe jumps down your throat.


Hey - love you too, Joe, baby.
posted by rich at 1:26 PM on April 27, 2001

I think we're all forgetting the real enemy here. Tiffany Shlain. In fact, I did some checking--you know, poring over fresh ram guts, the usual--and discovered this disturbing fact.

TIFFANY SHLAIN can be anagrammed to AH LITANY SNIFF.

"Ah, litany. (Sniff.)" Her true attitude to the web revealed. How does she deal with her crushing ennui, this cognitive dissonance over her ambivalence/fascination with the web?

Once again: TIFFANY SHLAIN anagrams to SLAIN ANY FIFTH. Troubling. Clearly, a heavy drinker of spirits.

The final result at the end of the day? It's all too clear; her destiny is writ large within the damning letters of her own name, commanding her--no less--down the darkening path.


Fail, shy infant. Mewl away. All will be ashes. The die is cast. In your own name may you find my farewell words to you: AS IF FILTHY NAN. That's right. As if, filthy Nan.

Think about it.
posted by Skot at 1:41 PM on April 27, 2001

I *heart* Skot.
posted by jennyb at 2:20 PM on April 27, 2001

Shouldn't this be on ... uh... meta-meta-talk?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:42 PM on April 27, 2001


How about tackling the anagramma from Jung's The Seven Sermons to the Dead?


(I suppose this counts as topic drift and should really be on Meta-physical-talk)
posted by john at 6:57 PM on April 27, 2001

i still believe in the dream.
posted by monstro at 9:14 PM on April 27, 2001

Dude, let it go. Cheryl Tiegs is *never* going to pay you to dance for her.

... oh, was it some other dream?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 10:45 PM on April 27, 2001

I'll give you a quarter to dance for me, Lane.
posted by bradlands at 1:12 AM on April 28, 2001

It seems that there are so many people on the web who simply want to win awards. Not just that, or not only that, but people who are passionate about who votes for who and who wins what, all the while sounding like the latest bitchgossip between some random Hollywood starlet and her arch-rival, all because they don't like what the other one does.

Maybe it's because I live far, far away from all of this, and perhaps it's because I feel detached from the rest of the internet. Whatever the reason, I think everyone should keep doing what they're doing if they feel passionate about it, and not worry about awards. No one should need an award to feel good about their site. Anyone who does should stop posting and get out and live in the real world. (And don't even start about me saying that the internet isn't the real world, because it's SO not.)

And even while Ben Brown lives with a hot chick, I married one. See, I'm the next superstar.

Ummm, he is marrying the hot chick.
posted by animoller at 4:39 AM on April 28, 2001

"And even while Ben Brown lives with a hot chick, I married one. See, I'm the next superstar."

I am a hot chick. I think that trumps Rich.
posted by kristin at 9:17 AM on April 28, 2001

The Dream is dead. Long live The Dream.

Children, children: you're all cooler than each other.
posted by cardboard at 10:20 AM on April 28, 2001

That's not going to fly cardboard. This calls for a 'hottest member' contest. Break out the webcams!
posted by john at 2:04 PM on April 28, 2001

Because a contentious thread wouldn't be the same without me chucking in my 2 pennies - here I go:

Fray is supercool, the design is awesome, and I always pass it along to people to say "hey, HTML and the web aren't just Bob's homepage and Amazon.com - there's cool stuff here". But I've never felt "invited" to that community, it just always seemed like "a-list, art/design folks only here". I'm not saying that's reality, just my perception of it.

Mefi, on the other hand... Well I just checked my user page recently and realized March has been a year since I've been here. I've talked and read about every subject under the sun, flamed and been flamed. Talked smack, and been smacked down. It's freakin' awesome that something as simple as: link -> comment -> discuss can do that, and it's like "hey, you, you got something to say - spew it mofo!".

All your Mefi are belong to us. (really)
posted by owillis at 6:30 PM on April 28, 2001

Hey! Who let the chicks in here?

By the by.. since I already married the hot chick, Ben's just copying me.

And yes, I suppose Kristin has trumped me.

As far as design goes - it's always so subjective. While the design of the fray logos and whatnot may be cool and still very neat, I don't think the interface has aged as well. But I think I've said that already.

The whole thing about awards is that first you need people to pick judges, then judges to pick sites, then people to accept what the judges picked.

I have one word for you. Dubya.
posted by rich at 9:35 PM on April 28, 2001

The Fray is not, has never been and -- knock on silicon -- never will be about "smack" or "mofos spewing it."

And thank goodness for that. If that makes it less of a community or "a-list" (Which it isn't. Anyone can submit a story, and anyone can comment; the barrier to participation [Read the story.] is even smaller than that of MeFi [Become a member, wait a week.]) so be it.
posted by luke at 10:37 PM on April 28, 2001

"smack" and "mofos" are my little tongue in cheek usage of wrestling terminology...
posted by owillis at 10:19 AM on April 29, 2001

Due to some recent information I've become privy to, I highly doubt that much thought was put into the award nominations. Looks like it was a pretty last minute, no effort thing.
posted by benbrown at 7:00 PM on April 29, 2001

Well jeez, ben, don't leave us hanging. What's the dirt?
posted by annathea at 2:18 PM on April 30, 2001

No big surprise there.

I mean, let's do some simple math: if Tiffany Schlain is a glory hog from hell who wants only to be famous for being famous, and her raison d'etre is the Webbys (which never meant a damn thing anyhow), then where did *anyone* get the idea that these nominations are in any way, shape or form connected with the concept of 'honor'?

If I may be so bold as to quote myself at 19, "Cluephone, line 1 - it's for you."
posted by gsh at 11:17 PM on April 30, 2001

In summary, uh... Yay everyone but Tiffany!
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 1:16 PM on May 1, 2001

From the better-late-than-never department:
The Webbies changed the nominations page today to make it more clear that it's the double-whammy of fray.com and fray.org that's nominated for the community webby.

Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the People's Voice section because of complicated database issues. Still, I expect everyone here to be writing in MetaFilter there (I did).

That is all.
posted by fraying at 11:41 AM on May 3, 2001

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