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Influencing Objectivity and Subjectivity
Through Award Program Criteria

by Denny Lancaster
-- May 17, 2006

Cultural practices, cognitive behavior, peer groups, learned behavior and individual preferences have a profound effect upon web site creations and award criteria-objectivity or subjectivity.

In addition what our visitors want and can give and what we wish to give and want are not necessarily equal, because each group makes decisions and applications which consider a representation, in terms of textural descriptions or graphics, of web content.

Denny Lancaster


Plato considered knowledge concerned with universal truths. To him personal opinions were simply irrelevant, since they belong in the area of change and were not fixed eternal. From Plato we gained the core of modern ideology of science.

A feature of academic writing is emphasis on the information which the writer can give. Thoughts and beliefs are based upon what has been studied, learned and how this has enabled various conclusions, which would lead a reader to assume that any idea not referenced is that of the author.

When objectivity as a concept originally evolved, it did not mean that those who write an award criteria or create a website were free from bias, rather the mission was to consistently test information in a transparent approach, so that personal and cultural bias would not undermine the award program. Then a thought to give a criteria from the most important to the least important, which would help an award seeker understand an unbiased and uniform approach to award giving.

In the original concept the method was objective, not the award criteria creator. The key was in the discipline, not the criteria itself. One implication is that of an impartial writer who created a criteria from a neutral viewpoint, would transform from seeking awards themselves, to innovation in observing, understanding or evaluation of those who seek awards.

At present older conventions or understanding have not been expanded to match the new forms of Internet publications and methodology and has done less to develop award criteria to accept diverse cultures or encompass ideology beyond that held by the award creator.

Cognitive Actions or Features

In 1919, Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz wrote the following account of reporting on the Russian Revolution. "In the large, the news about Russia is a case of seeing not what was, but what men wished to see." In their opinion, the news writers did not factor out certain cognitive actions which would have resulted in an objective writing about the Russian Revolution.

Once information is received by the sensory organs, it is encoded and sent to the brain, like parsing a world into objects, making inferences, having associative memory and so forth. Once in the brain an action is initiated, which in some instances bears no resemblance to objectivity.

When we write an award criteria objectively, it is in terms of an actual object of this world. One which we perceive with cognitive actions like walking, grasping, rotation's or from afar with stability with respect to action, but in these instances with an award seeker, the observation at different times taking into account cognitive behavior, the more we know the more we will discover and with discovery comes constancy.

Cognitive Style

Riding and Rayner (1998) contend that as individuals, we organize and present information according to our understanding of information processed and filter this information which transforms it to our own culture, peer groups and those whom we hold in esteem. We refer to this as cultural cognition theory (CCT). CCT is important in web and award development because we can observe the total design which includes graphics, text, music and informational architecture and form a strategy not to penalize differences from that of our own cultures. Such a strategy recognizes that cultural building blocks are well formed by young adulthood and will take a considerable time to reconfigure, if at all.

Measuring user understanding (an award criteria) by different cultures (in a broad sense this applies to regions even within the United States, educational background and so forth) involves operators which are known to affect cognitive processes, such as short-term and long-term memory and local and past cultural experiences.


Choong and Salvendy, 1999
Chang and White, 1992
Farnen, 1993
Nisbett and Norenzayan, 2002
Principia Cybernetica, 1997
E. Br. Goldstein, Cognitive Psychology, Wadsworth, 2004
Project for Excellence in Journalism
Popper, Karl R. Objective Knowledge: An evolutionary Approach, Oxford Press, 1972
Allen Megill, Rethinking Objectivity, London: Duke UP, 1994

Denny Lancaster
Copyright © 2006
All Rights Reserved

About the Author
Denny is the Compliance Manager of Award Sites!  He is also the owner of the Lancasters Laughing Place site and the elite Award Sites! 5.0 rated Talking Hands Award Program . . . and has excellent knowledge of W3C and WAI issues.  Professionally, he is a retired senior partner, tax attorney specializing in international finance.  Moreover, Denny administers a private foundation which builds free enabled computers for deaf and blind persons throughout the state of Alabama . . . and is a talented poet.

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