Voting has begun for the Homeschool Blog Awards. When the nominations began, I never would have imagined the controversy that would ensue over two little words: family-friendly. Rule #9 on the nominations page states:

If your blog violates the rules (no cussing, no photographic nudity, your blog must be a homeschool-related blog), you will not be added to the nomination list. Only family friendly (G-rated) blogs, please!

I really thought this was a no-brainer. Apparently there’s a misconception that the HSBA team members had some kind of agenda that would result in the disqualification of certain blogs. In reality, I’d never heard of these blog who were disqualified by their content.

Next came the notion that the team members shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the contest. The following comment was left on the HSBA site:


I want to be helpful, and due to some discussions on my blog, I wanted to pass on some comments/thoughts to you.

Have you considered that you are running an unregistered contest/raffle in each of the states?

Have you discussed your legal ramifications with a lawyer if you and any of your ‘helpers’ should win? That’s illegal as far as I know, but I’m not a lawyer.

I’m not a lawyer, either, but I know a couple, and this is feedback I received from a lawyer :

From a legal standpoint, I must tell you that I am not sure at all about the idea that the organizers in something cannot be selected… Normally when we see disclaimers about certain people being ineligible for winning something, it has to do with a competition or contest sponsored by the company for the purpose of getting extra business for that company. That is not the case here – I am assuming that there is no fee to be part of the homeschool online blogging community, and this is just a fun award and it is not really promoting anything.

Who would be sued… the organizer/winner? For what? Fraud? But nobody expended any money to enter? See what I mean about there having a big commercial element missing. Plus – it’s like, where would the lawsuit take place? I’m assuming the group is from all over the country. It’s not like a singular entity that has a business somewhere is benefiting from the competition.

There is nothing wrong with excepting blogs with profanity, nudity, or comments that would be patently offensive to the homeschooling community as a whole.

The 10 team members found in the sidebar of the HSBA site received a total of 17 nominations. It is possible if not likely that there would have been winners among them. In light of the controversy and to remove any appearance of impropriety, their names have been removed from the polls. These ladies individually and voluntarily removed their names from the nominations post; two of them are teens. I’m proud to be among them.

Without the HSBA team members, there wouldn’t be a 2007 Homeschool Blog Awards. There was only 1 remaining contributor on the site. I’m not sure how they managed with only 3 of them for the 2006 awards, and I would like to publicly thank them for a job well done. Winning best blog design for 2006 was a great boost for a fledgling web designer, and I appreciate the opportunity their efforts afforded me.

Unfortunately, there are people in this world so offended by moral decency (the family-friendly requirement) that they’ve turned the 2007 awards into a controversy that resulted in the elimination of the people who cared enough to keep it going in the first place.

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