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Changes at the Blue Drop Awards

on Thu, 04/24/2014 - 16:41
Since the Blue Drop Awards started in 2012, we have seen continual growth in the amount of positive feedback and participation. This has encouraged us to continue this project in hopes that we can help improve the public's knowledge of Drupal and show off the best of what Drupal has to offer. 
 

There have been a few, very vocal, opponents to some of the changes that we made to the 2014 Blue Drop Awards website. I wanted to address these changes and the reasoning behind them and announce a few changes of our own in response.

First, I want to remind everyone that the 2014 Blue Drop Awards is an ALL volunteer organization. We have very limited funds and unfortunately, this year, we only have six volunteers and two sponsors. We’re thin on bandwidth and money, thus I would ask that if you have specific feedback about Blue Drop Awards, please feel free to reach out to me directly, erik@bluedropawards.org. I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have.

Second, I want you to keep in mind that we (the volunteers organizing Blue Drop Awards) have tried to make the Blue Drop Awards as inclusive an organization as possible; an organization that represents and exalts the best of Drupal.

Inclusivity:

Since day one we’ve realized that we would like to make the Blue Drop Awards as accessible to both the Drupal community and people outside of the immediate Drupal community. Meaning, we want both Drupal companies and their customers to be able to come to Blue Drop Awards and participate. We also have the problem of dealing with fraudulent votes. We don’t want voters to create dozens of fake accounts to vote up their favorite website.

The first year we addressed this problem by requiring Drupal.org accounts for every voter. The problem is, we had very few voters besides the developers themselves. These websites are generally created for companies who are not active in the Drupal.org community. We had to make it easier for people to create accounts and vote or else this project was doomed to fail. Fast forward to this year-- we decided to limit the solution to Facebook, the most widely used social media network in the world. It also is more difficult to defraud than many of our other alternatives.

Money:

While we are an all-volunteer organization, there are still expenses that must be covered. Which is why we came up with the $10-$25 nomination fee. Below is a list of items that must either be paid for or donated:

  • Awards: We have 22 categories at the Blue Drop Awards (including site of the year). Each category receives an award. Each award costs roughly $50 to design and print for a total of $1,100.

  • Hosting: One founder has been kind enough to let us use theirs this year, but this is an expense we cannot guarantee will be covered next year.

  • Development: This year we have not had any volunteers to help with the development of the site. I’m not even sure how much we invested in this, but my guess is somewhere in the range of $5,000-$7,000.

  • Party: Last year’s party at Drupalcon Portland was not a cheap endeavor and this year we were hoping on hosting another party at a bar on Sixth Street during Drupalcon Austin. $7,000.

While not a complete list, these expenses alone can reach nearly $15,000 a year. To cover this amount, we would need to get 1500 nominations at the $10 fee or 600 nominations at the $25 fee. We have never had that many nominations and realistically, we do not expect to reach that number this year.

So, how do we cover the rest of our expenses? Perhaps we do not have a party? Perhaps no physical awards?

Blue Drop Awards Changes:

To continue with the Blue Drop Awards, we have made the following changes.

  1. Add LinkedIn login functionality. We do so at the possible cost of having a less accurate vote count.

  2. Reduce the nomination fee to $10. We do this at the potential cost of not having a party or physical awards for the winners.

  3. Extend the nomination period. Lastly, we have decided to extend the deadline for the nominating period to 5/5/14, giving everyone a full extra week.

We would really like the BDA to be what it was always intended to be: an award system that showcases the best of Drupal. But do that, we need everyone in the community to help. If we get enough donations, volunteers and sponsors, we could do away with the nomination fees altogether.