Friday, August 08, 2008

The Nokesies

About a week ago, Jennifer Lynn Jordan nominated the Unlocked Wordhoard for the Brillante Weblog award. The rules of the award are as follows:
  1. Put the logo on your blog.
  2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
  3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
  4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
  5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.
The fourth one was the sticking point. The award had already made the rounds of the medieval blog-o-sphere, and I didn't want it be become a sort of annoying chain letter. Instead of doing that, I came up with a different idea.

I'd like the Wordhoard to give out its own award, but instead of awarding a particular blog, as is generally the custom, I'd like to award particular posts. Since the Wordhoard is all about building bridges between the popular and the scholarly, I'd like to periodically give an award for the best online post or article discussing a difficult medieval topic in an accessible way. The author doesn't have to be a scholar, and any reasonably-intelligent undergrad should understand the post.

First, I've been trying to think up a name for the award, and I'm coming up blank. At first I tried various puns on "Wordhoard," but I didn't care for any of them. Then I tried thinking of medieval figures famous for translating difficult things, but the "King Alfred the Great Award" seemed way too pompous, and the "Saint Jerome Award" sounds like something the Knights of Columbus would give out. For now, I'm just calling them "The Nokesies"* until I can come up with a better name. If anyone out there wants to suggest a particular name for the award in the comments below, I would really appreciate the help.

Second, I want to give away an actual physical prize. The last contest I had I gave away a copy of one of my books, but that's way too me-o-centric for this. Nor do I want to break the bank, but I would like to give away something someone would actually want. I'm still coming up with ideas for prizes -- anything from engraved pens to t-shirts to little trophies. Suggestions there would be helpful too.

Finally, I'd like to give it out periodically -- less than once per month, but more than once per year. I was thinking of dividing the year into three "semesters" -- spring, summer, and fall, roughly corrosponding to academic semesters. Each semester, I would take nominations for posts or articles from the previous semester, and pick a winner.

Here's where I am with the rules:
  • Anyone can nominate up to three posts or articles. Note that whole blogs, websites, or magazines cannot win.
  • Anonymous posts are eligible for nomination, but will be deemed ineligible to win if the writer is unwilling to provide me with a mailing address to send the prize. I've got nothing against anonymous/pseudonymous writers, but I can't very well just hand the prize to the postman and say, "See if you can figure out where this goes."
  • Online blog posts or static articles are eligible.
  • No post on the Wordhoard is eligible, nor are other articles written by me either in part or whole -- duh.
  • Writers can nominate one of their own posts or articles.
  • "Semesters" will run January-April, May-August, September-December.
  • Bribes will not affect the outcome of the contest, but are happily accepted nonetheless.
I need your help in figuring this out! Any good suggestions for names, or prizes, or rules changes/clarifications would be appreciated. Please do not send in nominations -- I'm still trying to figure out if I can get the Nokesies up and running.

* /'nouksiz/ in IPA for those of you needing a pronunciation guide. The o is long and the first e is silent, just like in my name.


  1. Might I suggest the Neo-Turpin awards?

    It would be reflect a remembrance of Archbishop Turpin of the Carolingian epics and legend as well as Pseudo Turpin, but use the prefix neo to denote newness.

    I did a quick Google search and there is nothing to be found for Neoturpin so you won't be trodding on anyone else's toes should you select it.

    Have fun with this.


  2. kishnevi10:48 PM

    If you're looking for translators, there's Aelfric.

    There's Junius and Vercelli--manuscripts are, after all, a sort of wordhoard.

    As for prizes, how about an e-gift card for Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Borders? I'm sure none of the recipients will mind having to buy a book of their choice :) and will cut down on the complications of snail mail. Plus, if it's a t-shirt, are you sure it will fit?

  3. I say stick with Nokesies. They sound kind of like a noogie, probably have a cute small statues involved ... and do your blog the credit of linking it back to you and your generosity of spirit in creating them to begin with. Why change what already works?

  4. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Nokesies sounds like a cool name to me!
    I have a nomination for when you start taking them! It's all about the idea of elves in Anglo-Saxon culture and how this idea changed with the rise of Christianity in Northern Europe, as evidenced in such texts as Beowulf and Thomas of Ercildoune.
    I'm very sure that it is understandable to undergrads.

  5. The problem with "The Nokesies" is that it wouldn't look good on a CV or resume for someone wanting to brag about their writing. I'll probably still call them "The Nokesies" informally, but I need a good formal name, too.

  6. The Nokes Prize for Blogitudinal Excellence!

  7. Anonymous1:28 PM

    'Blogitudinal' doesn't really sound like a formal word to me, either, but I think Jennifr has something going here, though. Maybe something like 'The Nokes Prize for Excellence in Medieval Blog Writing' would sound more professional and convey the point of the award.