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Kalyn's Kitchen

New Rules: Narrowing the Focus for Weekend Herb Blogging

October 27 – November 2, 2008, we are celebrating the Three Year Anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging. After that date, Weekend Herb Blogging will be managed by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once. Here is where to find the Rules for Weekend Herb Blogging on her blog.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the future of Weekend Herb Blogging, the food blog event I created by accident in October of 2005, and which became successful beyond my wildest dreams. The number of blogs and blogging events has exploded during that time, and in order to sharpen the focus of Weekend Herb Blogging so it remains informative and unique, I’ve been feeling like a little fine tuning of the WHB rules is in order.

I do want to be clear that I’m not having new rules because people are doing something wrong. I’m having new rules because there are now so many events for every type of recipe or food that to keep WHB interesting and useful, I feel it’s worthwhile to narrow the focus. More specifically, I would like to see WHB entries be limited to recipes or informative posts where people can learn about cooking with herbs or unusual plant ingredients.

These are the types of posts that I think have made WHB such a popular event. Although the more restrictive rules now make the event slightly more challenging for some people (including me!) I think restricting entries to this type of post will only make the event better. I sincerely feel this, even if people (including me!) have to skip a week now and then because they haven’t cooked anything that fits these rules.

Here are the new rules I’ve decided upon, effective July 20, 2008:

1. Entries submitted for Weekend Herb Blogging need to be posts written during that week specifically for Weekend Herb Blogging and that post cannot be entered in any other food blog event. (The only exception to this rule would be instances where a photo used in a WHB post is submitted to a photo event.) To keep the event manageable, each participant is limited to one entry per week, and entries cannot contain more than one recipe should focus on one recipe or ingredient. (The last sentence was edited to clarify that a post about ways to use a certain herb is perfect for WHB even though technically it may contain more than one recipe.)

2. Weekend Herb Blogging entries should have the goal of helping people learn about cooking with herbs or unusual plant ingredients. With this in mind, only two types of entries will be accepted: a) Recipe posts where an herb or unusual plant ingredient is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe, or b) Informative posts that spotlight one herb or unusual plant ingredient, particularly including information about how it is used in cooking. (Edit: Unusual uses of an ordinary plant ingredient are also fine)

3. Entries must contain the words Weekend Herb Blogging with a link to the host for that week, as well as a link to Kalyn’s Kitchen. (I’ve decided to require a link to Kalyn’s Kitchen so I can keep up on entries during the week through Technorati and Google Alerts. Without this, I’m finding it’s too time-consuming for me to read all the entries every week once the recap is posted.)

4. Entries can be written any time during the week, but should be submitted to the host for that week by 3:00 P.M. on Sunday. (This is based on Utah time, enter Salt Lake City into this map to calculate the difference where you are.) At the discretion of the host, posts submitted too late will be referred to the host for the following week.

5. Please put WHB in the subject line of your e-mail to identify it for the host. Your e-mail to the host should include your name, blog name, your WHB post permalink, your location, and a photo attached to the e-mail. (Edit: Hosts who wish to do so may request a certain size photo and Kalyn will indicate the size requested by that person’s listing on the page of Who’s Hosting Weekend Herb Blogging.)

Anticipating Some Frequently Asked Questions:

What does “one of the primary ingredients in the recipe” mean?
This means the dish could not be made without that herb or unusual plant ingredient. For example, chicken with sage cream sauce would be great; grilled chicken with parsley sprinkled on would not be okay.

What does “unusual plant ingredient” mean?
I realize that what’s unusual varies greatly in different parts of the world, and I’m not saying people need to seek out something no one has ever heard of each week. Participants can certainly spotlight any ingredient that’s unusual to them (for example I’ve never cooked with fennel, although it’s not unsual to some people.) Unsual fruits and vegetables or spices are certainly welcome. It’s my hope that this restriction will eliminate plant ingredients that are so ordinary no one is really interested in hearing about them.

What are some things that are no longer eligible as entries?

When Weekend Herb Blogging was a smaller event it made sense to allow things like flower photos, farmers market or garden photos, and somewhat generic vegetable or fruit recipes. Those types of things would no longer be accepted after July 20. (I’ve submitted those kinds of entries myself, so no one should feel bad about any past entries, please!)

Why don’t the rules start now?
I’m having a phase-in period so people have a chance to find out about the new rules and we don’t have to turn people down after they’ve prepared an entry.

What if I still have a question?
Please leave questions as a comment in this post so others can see the answers rather than writing directly to me. Comments go to my e-mail, and I’ll answer as quickly as I can.

Thanks Everyone!
Thanks to all my great blogging friends who have supported this event (some of you for years!) The overwhelming majority of posts that people have been submitting are already following these rules. I appreciate all the effort people have been putting into the event, and hope these slightly more focused rules will make it even better.

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    49 Comments on “New Rules: Narrowing the Focus for Weekend Herb Blogging”

  1. Well I’m not sure the mint is reviving itself, but it was still finding something for you. I’m not giving up on the mint yet, but it doesn’t look happy.

  2. Thank you for the reclarification, Kalyn. (I had hoped that YeastSpotting might fall into the same category as a photo event.) Naturally, I understand the need to keep things narrowed down and will refrain from labelling an upcoming post for both events.

    -Elizabeth

    P.S. You did?! Does that mean the ginger mint is reviving? I hope so!

  3. EJM, yes, submitting a post to Yeastspotting would immediately make it not eligible for WHB.

    BTW, I bought you something today in Chinatown.

  4. One final (I think) question with regards to the first rule: does a post that is labelled as one of Susan’s YeastSpotting posts immediately disqualify it for WHB?
    (wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting/)

  5. Thanks again Anna, Johanna, and Jean for the supportive comments.

    Priscilla, it has nothing to do with Blogger. I use Adobe Lightroom to size the photos because I prefer it. I don’t change the aspect of the photo, but some are too big for the center column of my blog, and I prefer all photos to be the same size (or close) so the recap looks nice. Blogger has a program that does this too, I just like lightroom better. I really think if you haven’t done a round-up like this with over 40 entries you can’t possibly imagine how much time it takes.

  6. Kalyn, you said: “When I wrote that comment to you at 4:05 I had already spent over 4 hours yesterday writing the entries, an hour today sizing photos, plus 20-30 minutes every day during the week answering e-mails and filing entries. I’m now guessing 10 hours overall. For a first timer, maybe 20 hours.”

    I have to wonder if this is a limitation of blogger. For example, sizing photos- are you actually using a photo editor program to resize entry photos? Does blogger not provide for this? (I’m asking sincerely because I don’t use blogger and so I don’t know what it can and can’t do… I use WP which really has the bells and whistles.) I actually would not want someone resizing my photos- I put a lot of work into processing them, including choosing the right size. Resizing them would toss that out the window.

    Anyway, I look forward to the challenge of the new rules 🙂 Maybe someday I’ll even host 🙂

  7. Agreed on the new rules, Kalyn. There are now *so* many blog events out there that it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart and impossible to keep track of them. I think the tighter the focus of the event, the more successful it will be in the long run. And maybe slightly fewer entries of a more focused nature will benefit everyone – the host (because he/she might take less time to the the roundup); the participants (because your entry won’t get lost in a cloud of others); and the readers (because you know that the entries will be of a fairly uniform standard.

    I don’t think I was guilty of any parsley sprinkling numbers, but at least I know I did always try to provide an informative post on the vegetable/herb I was using 🙂

    May WHB go from strength to strength!

  8. Anna, either way, new rules don’t go into effect until July 20.

    Johanna, yes, and to enourage people to choose interesting plant ingredients and/or interesting preparation methods when they’re not focusing on herbs.

  9. hi kalyn – I think it is great to narrow the rules to make this event unique but I agree with Laurie and Susan about ‘unusual’ vegetables as I think it is often really interesting to see another blogger talk about a vegetable they love and know which I find quite exotic.

    My other comment is that I really enjoy posts which have a lot of unusual information about a usual vegetable. (In fact I have a post in the works that I had thought would be good for WHB for this reason) as I see WHB as a way of learning more about the herbs and veg/fruit that we know and love.

    I think part of what you seem to be trying to do in narrowing the rules is to ask people to really focus on a herb/veg/fruit – is that correct?