The Cry For Equality In Awarding Citations And Web Awards

The Cry For Equality In Awarding Citations And Web Awards

"Discrimination" for​ purposes of​ this article means to​ treat a​ person or​ particular group of​ people differently, and​ unfairly, in​ a​ way that is​ worse than the​ way people are usually treated. to​ discriminate against someone is​ to​ treat them as​ if​ they have less of​ a​ right to​ fair and​ ethical treatment than others do.

In this article we will examine a​ situation involving Jill, an​ award giver, and​ Bob, an​ award seeker. Please note that Jill, Bob, and​ others depicted in​ this fictional situation are not modeled on any known persons, group, or​ situation. They are completely fictitious. They exist only to​ illustrate this article about discrimination.

The Situation

Our fictional award seeker Bob had spent a​ great deal of​ time building a​ website on his favorite political topic, and​ he thought it​ would easily win Jill's award. After all, Bob's website complied with all of​ Jill's criteria, and​ seemed to​ him to​ be as​ good or​ better than most of​ the​ sites on her winners list. So he sent in​ an​ application for​ Jill's award with confidence.

Our fictional award giver Jill also had strong political views, but they were completely the​ opposite of​ Bob's views. Because of​ this, Jill did not like some of​ the​ things that Bob's site advocated. Even though the​ site would have merited a​ gold award, based only on her posted criteria, Jill turned him down for​ an​ award. She thought it​ would be wrong of​ her to​ appear to​ support Bob's views, even with a​ web award.

After waiting an​ appropriate time, Bob sent Jill an​ e-mail asking her why his site had been turned down. When Jill explained her reasons, Bob felt that he and​ his site had been the​ victim of​ discrimination. After all, he had read Jill's criteria, her tips page, and​ her page of​ disqualifications; and​ he had even taken and​ passed her self-test. None of​ what he had read had stated anything against submitting his site with it's views, or​ any site with political views.

The Reaction

When Bob realized that his site had been turned down for​ an​ award solely because of​ his views, he was justifiably upset. the​ longer he thought about it, the​ more he felt a​ sadness rather than anger that someone would treat him this way because of​ a​ difference of​ political opinions.

He had also lost some of​ his sense of​ trust. Jill was a​ member of​ several award organizations, and​ she obviously had not abided by the​ ideals proclaimed by those organizations. Bob couldn't help but wonder if​ other people would act the​ same way, and​ he even started to​ wonder about other awards that he had failed to​ win. How many of​ those had been similar situations? the​ rational part of​ his mind told him that it​ was probably very few or​ none, but he couldn't stop being suspicious.

On the​ other hand, there was Jill, who thought at​ first that she had done the​ right thing. Then she began to​ worry about what people's views of​ her would be if​ word got out. She knew that she shouldn't have turned him down for​ an​ award when his site met her criteria, but she had not wanted to​ appear to​ support his viewpoints. Jill now wondered if​ she had made the​ right decision and​ what, if​ any, would be the​ effects of​ that decision.

The Resolution

Bob thought about the​ situation for​ awhile, and​ decided that he didn't want to​ just let it​ go. He knew from his research that Jill was a​ member of​ several organizations whose rules clearly forbid her to​ do what she did. So he decided to​ contact one of​ the​ organizations and​ told them what had happened.

He didn't exactly want to​ get Jill into trouble, and​ certainly wasn't interested in​ revenge, and​ by this point it​ wasn't even that he wanted her award for​ his site. However, Bob did hope that if​ someone in​ one of​ the​ organizations spoke to​ Jill about the​ problem, that perhaps she would realize what she did was wrong. He hoped that she would not hurt anyone else's feelings or​ her own reputation again in​ the​ future.

Now we enter into this fictional tale Daniel of​ Great Awards Association. When Daniel contacted Jill, she already knew that she had behaved badly. She explained the​ whole situation to​ Daniel, including her own mixed feelings about her decision.

Daniel advised her to​ make a​ change in​ her criteria so she wouldn't have to​ face such a​ situation again. Jill added "No political or​ religious based sites may apply" to​ her disqualification page. it​ was the​ first time Jill had done anything truly unethical, and​ she sent Bob an​ apology by e-mail. He accepted the​ apology and​ there were no further problems or​ bad feelings. Each of​ them felt like the​ outcome was a​ good one.

In the​ fictional story of​ Bob and​ Jill, there was obviously discrimination; but in​ cases where someone claims discrimination and​ there isn't any, people can be badly hurt. an​ award giver may leave a​ situation with a​ badly damaged reputation, or​ an​ award seeker may end up labeled as​ a​ problem applicant. One should never claim discrimination unless they are sure that their site was disqualified for​ a​ reason that was not specifically listed in​ the​ award program's criteria.

Discrimination can be very difficult to​ determine. in​ fact, unless the​ award program owner admits to​ you that discrimination was the​ reason, you might never really know. After all, how many of​ us have applied for​ an​ award we were sure we would get, and​ then missed out? Did we misread the​ criteria, or​ was it​ that our interpretations of​ their criteria were different from the​ award givers' definitions?

Sometimes, even if​ you suspect something is​ out of​ line, you may be better off if​ you just let it​ go, rather than risk hurting people with false allegations; not to​ mention the​ possible damage to​ your own reputation.

This article has discussed discrimination as​ a​ disqualification of​ a​ site for​ reasons not included in​ the​ criteria. But what if​ another award seeker with a​ political site, Cheryl, visits Jill's program, reads the​ criteria and​ feels that Jill's rule against political sites is​ in​ itself discrimination? is​ Cheryl really facing discrimination?

Most ethics organizations agree that award refusal on the​ basis of​ religion, race, creed, or​ national organization, etc. is​ unethical, but if​ an​ award giver chooses not to​ evaluate any site with strong religious or​ political purposes and​ posts that clearly in​ the​ program, is​ that unethical? the​ majority view is​ that it​ is​ not discrimination as​ long as​ the​ restriction is​ clearly stated within the​ program. the​ same goes for​ any program that chooses not to​ award any other particular type of​ site.

For example: an​ awards program would be discriminating if​ it​ stated it​ would not award sites by African Americans; while if​ another awards program stated it​ would not review sites on the​ politically charged subjects of​ Black or​ White Power (generally beginning in​ the​ 1960s) it​ would not be discriminating.

I can hear the​ questions now, though. What about a​ site that only awards women, or​ only men? What about sites that only award Christian sites, or​ my own atheist-only award? Are these sites discriminating? Some would say yes, some would say no.

Most would say no, as​ long as​ the​ requirement is​ clearly stated in​ the​ criteria, because in​ these cases, people are awarding only sites they want to​ award and​ not condemning anything else. After all, I doubt anyone would shout "Discrimination!" at​ a​ web site that only awarded pet-related sites. a​ great deal of​ the​ reaction of​ the​ award seeker to​ the​ criteria at​ an​ award program is​ the​ manner in​ which it​ is​ written.

There are no federal laws that cover discrimination in​ awards programs. What we have instead are ethics organizations that are set up to​ govern themselves, such as​ APEX and​ CEM/CEMA. the​ members strive to​ keep award giving ethical and​ fair. Many award givers are not members of​ these organizations, and​ in​ the​ end it​ is​ up to​ the​ individual program owners to​ make the​ awards community an​ ethical place; a​ place where award givers and​ award seekers can feel that they will always be treated fairly and​ ethically.

Discrimination doesn't just hurt the​ award seeker; it​ can also do irreparable damage to​ the​ award giver's reputation and​ to​ their feelings about themselves. By working together and​ trusting each other, we can help to​ make the​ awards community a​ truly ethical and​ discrimination free place.

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