A post I had little to do with invited a storm of comments – most of them I put up but one accused me of not being ‘free and fair’ and that B plays Don Corleone to me and while I had a short chat with B, and I mentioned this to him and he said, ‘With your various fathers you don’t need enemies’. I’ve still got a smirk on my face.
But on a serious note, and I’ve said this before, moderating comments allows me to practice my little dictatorship here. Comment is and should be free, but there are limits and don’t use me to get at others. On the look and feel aspect, the simplest thing to do is to increase the font size on your browser, it is a one-click function on all major browsers. And give me a couple of weeks for a comprehensive change, this is going to get a lot larger than K, but just wait!
Anyway, going beyond procedural issues the last post brought up issues of awards being bought and sold – and I might have mentioned it in passing before – this is not new. And every major group indulges in it from ‘Car of the Year’ to ‘Indian of the Year’. Yes, there are some ‘clean’ awards but those are few and far between. In Mail Today during the last week of December there were a whole bunch of ‘scam’ ads – awards are the easiest things to game, but advertising awards always have been.
A senior journalist who was on the jury of a TV awards show told me how the organisers gamed the jury, in essence everyone won an award so that everybody could be happy. Sort of like car award shows - make sure everyone wins something so that everyone keeps advertising. But forget gaming, one of the oldest awards given out by a really old publication based in Bombay has been known to be bought and sold. This organisation was in deep financial doo-doo a few years ago and forget selling the award, they started selling the cover.
I know a case that involved a large HR consultancies whose ‘Employer of the Year’ award was essentially given to companies who hired them to do HR work, or was a ‘potential client’. That made the organisation I work in now switch to a double-blind assessment method for the award (the HR consultancy used to work with us earlier until they were found out and subsequently have bounced around several media houses before getting caught).
This business of awards and advertising is always quite dubious – I know that several awards for ‘Indian of the Year’ last year were normalised to give the award to acceptable people – because Narendra Modi won quite a few of them when it came to SMS voting. Voting patterns were ‘normalised’ to make sure there was always a more acceptable winner. Remember voting patterns are never normalised or daily SMS polls all these channels. Some winners never make sense until you figure out that they actually bothered to land up for the function, so they get the award. That works!
There are awards and then there are awards – it just depends on what you call it. Some awards are done on the basis of empirical data that has ‘supposedly’ been audited – like top companies. However, despite auditors getting stick nowadays for all sorts of reasons I would suggest that awards get audited and vetted. It would make things a bit more believable.