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Webby Award 2004 Winners Announced 284

ivar writes "Over at the official site, the 2004 Webby Award Winners have been announced. There were a few surprises given the last publicly viewable rankings - I guess they keep the last few days in secrecy for a reason." The press release announcing the winners has more detail, noting: "Reflecting the egalitarian spirit of the internet, winners ranged from (Best Community), a free, community-built encyclopedia, to the official site for the Oscar-winning documentary The Fog of War (Best Film), to web powerhouses like Google (Best Practices and Best Services)."
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Webby Award 2004 Winners Announced

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  • by Power Everywhere ( 778645 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:00PM (#9134687) Homepage
    There's nothing worse for the web than Flash. Can't be bookmarked, needs a plugin, version dependent, source can't be studied, and the W3C has no control over it.

    Valid XHTML 1.1 and CSS are the way to go, no matter who or what's writing it.
    • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:03PM (#9134706)
      Afraid the Broadband category winner has a URL ending /index_flash.html
    • by Deitheres ( 98368 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {yportnelaturb}> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:16PM (#9134784)
      I know that Flash is not popular here on Slashdot. No flamebait or trolling intended, but you gotta realize we are no longer in the world of lynx. You may still use it, I may still use it on occasion (just like you and I may still use vi or emacs), but the general public wants multimedia content. While it is true that Flash requires a plugin, so do many other things (such as java on mozilla). The necessity of a plugin does not make something inherently bad (IMO).

      Flash allows for cross-browser, cross-platform web development. If I create a Flash animation I do not have to worry about how it will appear on Mac/Linux/Windows/Netscape/Mozilla/IE/Opera. It will be consistent across all platforms. The same cannot be said for HTML and CSS. Even though standards have been set, rendering software does not always abide by those standards (mainly this only applies to MS).

      Long story short, and I know it's slightly OT, I think Flash is a great way to present good looking multimedia content with a (relatively) small footprint. What does bother me are websites that do flash-only, or use flash unnecessarily. You should not design an ENTIRE site in flash, and if you do you should at least provide a non-flash site for your users.

      Just my $.02
      • If I create a Flash animation I do not have to worry about how it will appear on Mac/Linux/Windows/Netscape/Mozilla/IE/Opera. It will be consistent across all platforms. The same cannot be said for HTML and CSS. Even though standards have been set, rendering software does not always abide by those standards (mainly this only applies to MS).

        Very untrue. There is sometimes a HUGE difference between quality of the same flash object on the same computer, depending on what os&browser&plugin combo you
        • by Deitheres ( 98368 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {yportnelaturb}> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:38PM (#9134965)
          Well I will admit that it has been a long time since I have run Linux (long story, wife is not a computer person can't "understand" Linux blah blah blah), but I never had any problems with flash animations between platforms. Now, when I last used Linux the only browsers available were Netscape or Opera, so I have no experience with Mozilla/Konq/Foo Browser under Linux... In the past, I never had an issue between IE/Windows and Netscape/Linux as far as rendering the animation. Granted, both versions of Flash were version 4.0 (I believe). I do not know what the status of Flash releases are these days, and it may be an issue where version releases are not kept consistent across OS platforms, although I could be wrong.

          Also, I think you misunderstood my point about CSS/HTML. You said when valid HTML is "displayed on a standards compliant browser, it will be the same." I agree, but the point that I was trying to make is that IE is not exactly compliant with W3C standards. That was the only point I was trying to get across.

          Out of curiousity, is there an OSS alternative for Flash? A quick Google search did not provide anything that stuck out to me, maybe a fellow slashdotter can fill us in!

      • Flash has its good points, you are right. The main problem is the accessibility of it, and the disgusting trend of providing no non-flash alternative, or simply providing a message saying "Sorry, this site requires Flash. Bugger off." This is pretty much like telling everyone who can't see the pretty pictures, for whatever reason, that they are not wanted.

        Regardless, as long as there's no content expressed solely in Flash, and as long as it is used effectively it's OK. As a dialup user, it pisses me off,

      • by TrentL ( 761772 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:00PM (#9135106) Homepage
        Every single Flash app is re-inventing the wheel. Unlike HTML, there are no common Flash widgets (or at least none that I've seen in various places). The usability is shot to hell. Users can't apply their own styles. Can I even cut and paste text from a Flash app? Most don't let me.

        Flash does have it's place. The Washington Post and NY Times often have nice Flash side-bars that can make an electoral map or poll results come alive. But in general, I don't think Flash enhances the web experience.
        • "Unlike HTML, there are no common Flash widgets (or at least none that I've seen in various places). "

          Flash has had common 'widgets' for the past 3 versions. (they have issues, particularly with implementation but that's another discussion and not a problem limited to flash)

          The Washington Post and NY Times often have nice Flash side-bars that can make an electoral map or poll results come alive. But in general, I don't think Flash enhances the web experience.

          I don't understand, didn't you just describe

        • As noted elsewhere, you're wrong about the widgets, and you CAN cut and paste text (not images) from Flash unless they turn that off. But I just wanted to show you this link:

          Portals and other sites/apps benefit greatly from Flash due to the way the widgets and/or sections are able to pull data without causing the other widgets/sections (or the entire page) to refresh. In HTML, this would be possible via iFrames and/or DHTML, but your bookmarks issue is just as relevant in that case and th
      • by iammaxus ( 683241 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:03PM (#9135138)
        But you are missing the point of the web entirely. Flash is managed by one company, its control is not in the hands of a consortium but a for-profit company. HTML does have problems being used cross-platform, but thats just beacuse of the nature of its creation, by a relatively disjointed consortium and there is no way around it. Sure the proprietary nature of it gives it advantages but it gives it disadvantages too.

        Regardless, personally, i think the biggest porblem with Flash is how hard it is for machines to get data from it. As soon as google starts giving me results for Flash based content, maybe i will change my mind.
      • Good flash example (Score:5, Interesting)

        by yem ( 170316 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @11:18PM (#9135622) Homepage
        Flash allows for cross-browser, cross-platform web development.

        The local pizza delivery co [] has a 100% flash site. It takes orders and everything - very slick. However, it was developed with Flash 7 and the latest plugin for Linux is When I click my location on the map, the web browser segfaults.

        This illustrates the problem. Flash makes you dependant on one company for your display software. When they don't keep up the support, you get locked out. Hell is only flash site I actually would use regularly and it doesn't work for me. So much for cross platform.

        • Here is what the site looks like with Flash:
          Illegal Operation in Plugin
          ? The plugin performed an illegal operation. You are strongly advised to restart Navigator.
          [] Don't show this message again during this session.
          [ OK ]
          See what you are missing, exciting isn't it!
      • If I create a Flash animation


        There is no need for animations on the web. MAYBE for scientific research, or medical use, but most of that could be done with trusty animated gifs or for real research a video clip.

        Flash is used by 99.99999% of web sites because it CAN and because it look cool, not because it SHOULD. ANyone with a modicum of UI know-how and study knows how much of a shitty job most websites do with the basics, simple navigation with tabs and b

      • Raku-something or other.

        Sure it's flash. It loaded pretty quick.

        BUT I CAN'T DO ANYTHING WITH IT. What the hell? it's intensionally obtuse, it tells me nothing about the person except he or she is a pretty good flash artist.

        But pretty styleless, and an utter waste of bandwidth. It's not even remotely interesting.

      • If I create a Flash animation I do not have to worry about how it will appear on Mac/Linux/Windows/Netscape/Mozilla/IE/Opera. It will be consistent across all platforms.

        Except for Linux on PPC, which doesn't have a flash plugin available for it.
      • Slightly OT here.

        When we say "no flash!" doesn't always mean, "we don't want eye candy but get the contents right!", at least from my point of view. Flash is evil, because only HUMAN can read the content.

        It'd be fun for you to learn about semantic web. It's about machines reading other machines content and fiddle with that.

        I understand flash came out earlier and it's spread around the world, but there's a great alternative that just does the same thing in xml in text format, SVG.

        Of course svg is only a
    • I've seen a few SVG demos, and if adopted could do much of what Flash does.
    • The Fog Of War page has heavy flash content.


    • Yeah, and color TV is evil and sucks the soul out of everything. Flash has it's place, and has made great strides in usability - just because it's not the way you would do things doesn't mean it is evil. If you don't like flash - DON'T VIEW OR SUPPORT SITE'S THAT USE IT - but it has it's place just like every other peice of technology on the planet. Damn, the W3C has no control over those pesky games people play over the internet either, let's make sure we dump the entire games category from the webby's. Slashdot users, for the most part WE ARE GEEKS! I am proud to say that I fit that description, but everytime I see a fellow /.er bemoan some peice of technology because THEY don't like it, it smacks of elitism, and intolerance, are you just trying to get back at someone in the past that made you feel inferior? Or maybe you're just challenged because something you don't use is liked by someone else? Having said all that, yes, XHTML and CSS are excellent tools as well, and often more useful than flash, but sometimes moving images, sound, etc. go a lot farther than static images and text to create an experience, as for those that said Flash is a bastardization of all the Internet was meant to be, sorry, next time we want to create anything we'll clear it with you.
  • Where's Slashdot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:01PM (#9134696)

    The 2004 Webby Award Winners have been announced.

    I don't understand. Wikipedia and Google are cool and everything... but what about Slashdot??

  • Wikipedia community (Score:5, Informative)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:02PM (#9134699) Homepage
    Probably the best community page on Wikipedia to get to know people in the community is Wikipedia:Wikipdians []. It's a listing of all the differnet indices of Wikipedians. (I personally started Wikipedians by age and the Facebook)
    • "Best" community?

      I would consider slashdot or something awful to have far superior communities. Sure, the idea is great (I sometimes contribute to wikipedia here), but let's be honest with wikipedia-- trolls are almost unstoppable, and many editors and admins I have met are rude and lazy, following the moto "Let the wikiprocess sort it out"-- using that as an excuse to have someone else fix it. And of course nobody does-- and when you do you get labeled "POV, troll, fanatic", etc.

      Quacks, paranormalists,
      • by Eloquence ( 144160 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:30PM (#9135311)
        I think your sig speaks for itself. If you approach Wikipedia articles in a confrontational manner, then of course you will run into conflicts and edit wars. How else could it be, if people from all parts of the political, scientific and religious spectrum have to work together?

        My experience is that the people who will get into conflicts are mostly those who have a problem with our neutrality policy. They feel that Wikipedia should clearly label certain views as nonsense. Of course people can never agree on what is and isn't nonsense, so they fight all day about it. But our policy states that in such cases, what we do is attribute the claims from both sides to their adherents.

        Now, there are often misunderstandings regarding that policy, such as the belief that we have to give pseudoscience "equal time" in science articles. This is addressed in some detail in th actual policy page: NPOV and pseudoscience []. And of course there are religious fanatics and other hardcore believers who find it difficult to work together and insist on the exclusion of certain points of view or on the prominent inclusion of their own in articles which have nothing to do with their belief system (e.g. religious views in scientific articles). However, as we develop and refine our policies, these cases become increasingly rare.

        There is of course always conflict, and it contributes to truly adding all perspectives to an article. However, in terms of civility, Wikipedia fares much better than most other online communities, not least because we have a clear policy against personal attacks. In terms of getting the facts right, I have described several ideas in my campaign platform [] for the upcoming Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees election.

      • Might I point out that Lord Kenneth is a known miscreant who has pulled a number of stunts like this []. Keep that in mind when evaluating the worth of his criticisms.
        • Might you explain what led me to do that?

          Having members try to get me temp. banned because I reverted from a POV, biased article from a known problem user over three times in a 24-hour period (when the rule says, vaguely, "day"?)

          How about being called immature for trying to get some "community support" on the same article because no one else wants to review changes, saying "let the community fix it"?

          Me getting temp. banned then was justified, however, it was aggravated by the wonderful "community" you ha
  • I thought the Webby's were made irrelevant back at the end of the 90s. With so many web sites and services, this award has no meaning what-so-ever. Oh well, I guess some things don't know when they're dead.
    • While they are no longer the black-tie galas they were in the 90s, when the Information Superhighway was still the Next Big Thing, the Webbies are still around, albeit hosted in some sweaty guy's studio apartment on El Camino Real.
    • Yes, and with so many actors and directors in Hollywood why give out awards? Because recognizing excellence helps promote the arts and sciences. Which the web is an unique mix of both.
  • BBC (Score:5, Informative)

    by RonnyJ ( 651856 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:07PM (#9134726)
    The BBC also have an article [] about this, predictably considering they also won three awards. They won best news, sports and educational coverage, which really does show how great a resource they are.
  • Wikipedia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shapemaker ( 779051 ) <mikko DOT tanner AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:08PM (#9134734)
    If you don't yet know what that is, head there now [] to see for yourself. You're doing yourself a disservice by not looking :-)

    While you're there make sure to contribute to the topics which are marked red (no explanation yet). That way the great service will become even better and we can all benefit from it.

    I know of several schools in my country which instruct their students to go look for information there (in case the student knows english, not our native). I suppose it will only get better since academic institutions are beginning to refer to it.
    • I should let you know - Wikipedia is not just english. Last I heard (and I'm an admin there) there are somewhere between 50 to 60 other language versions. English is obviously the largest, but the German wikipedia has some 70,000 articles, Japanese has 40,000, etc. (List of languages [])
    • Re:Wikipedia (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LordK3nn3th ( 715352 )
      Unfortunantly wikipedia's community is almost anarchistic. Being able to "vote" on whether a user is suspended or whatnot (well, it was like that not too long ago!) is never, ever a good practice on online communities. Also, pages are sometimes guarded by various quacks who have nothing better to do than flood pages with misinformation and re-add it in every time it is changed. Pages can be locked, but they can be locked on the "quack" version and the troll can start up again once it's unlocked.

      Once I s
      • **yes, I realise being able to vote is "democratic", but when I was there it was executed in such a lawless way it was inefficient and many times unfair.
      • Ya dude, once I spent months on this article with this guy who kept adding this liberal nonsense... LordCarl... LordLenneth... hmm, it was something like that. Wish I could find the guy to smack some sense into him.
    • Re:Wikipedia (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rdsmith4 ( 767227 )
      As great as Wikipedia is (I'm an avid user and contributor) I'm afraid that it can never have very good credibility, written as it is by anyone and everyone who wants to write. I'm not talking about the vandalism or obvious nonsense, which is removed in a hurry, but badly-written or simply misleading articles, particularly on obscure topics.

      Also, too many people create too many new pages with too little information (stubs) - the article count is in the hundred thousands but how many of those are exhautive

      • Re:Wikipedia (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shapemaker ( 779051 )
        Hmm, weird. Mathematics, physics, particle physics, basic and advanced chemistry... I've followed those "threads" quite extensively and I've yet to find a blatant error/nonsense. Of course there are lots of stubs (or just placeholders), but that is just waiting to be rectified. You're right, though, when you say that there's too little existing information in many cases.

        As for the politics, I cannot comment as I've only contributed occasionally and anonymously. I certainly hope it's not THAT bad as other
  • wikipedia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ambienceman ( 721763 ) <crazywolfeyes@[ ] ['yah' in gap]> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:12PM (#9134758) Homepage

    Wikipedia (and affiliates) should be on that list because the interface is clean. It's easy to get around and go off on tangent while searching something. It's open...and it's educational. I learned a lot of cool facts.

    Like where the " All your base are belong to us [] " come from. And yes, ive just proved that I am not worthy of reading Slashdot because I didn't know wtf that came from.
  • Ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mabu ( 178417 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:12PM (#9134760)
    The Webby award site has dumbass javascript pop-up windows that link to the award winning web sites. Way to go people... take an award-winning web site and cram it into a 1/4 size pop-up for all the world to appreciate.
    • I can get your not liking the pop-up windows (I don't either, though in this case it's probably the best solution) but complaining about the default size of the popups is moronic. They aren't cramming anything, resize or maximize the window like a good little boy and shut the fuck up.
      • I assume the awards are based on creativity, content, form and function. To spawn a window a fraction of the size for which the web site was designed is totally stupid.

        Yea, I can resize the window, but it's BAD DESIGN, counterproductive and inappropriate, not unlike your comment.
  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:14PM (#9134770) Homepage
    Sorry to see Groklaw not on the list, especially in the law group. I've learned more about the law in the last year from that site than I learned anywhere far. It is also an example of a true community site that formed by self-selection. People just flocked to the site and made it what it became. The power of many-eyes in action, this time to discuss legal cases that could greatly impact our tech lives.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:18PM (#9134795)
    I nominated and I dont see it as a winner. This contest was rigged. We all know they get 10x as many hits as slashdot. ;)
  • As it is currently inaccessible, possibly due to webby-driven traffic. Oh, the irony.
  • Crap! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) * <> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:23PM (#9134834) Homepage Journal
    It used to be that winning a Webby ment your website wouldn't be around for the next year (they had this great knack at picking websites that were on the verge of shutting down).

    This year: Google wins two categories. I'm frightened.
    • Google is going to IPO, soon. So yeah teh Google you love is leaving, to be replaced with investors who want money.
    • Not always. The Onion has won the humor category every year I can remember. Has it been every year? I've been reading The Onion for years and I think their books are brilliant. Unfortunately, the guys that made it great all got hired into good comedy writing jobs elsewhere. has been very good over the past year. Dubya has given them so much good material to work with. The Onion won on the strength of its name.

  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) * <> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:26PM (#9134845)
    I surfed over to webbyawards [] and sampled each site briefly. Honest-to-God, if this is the award winning best of the 'net then the 'net is in bad shape indeed.

    Happy Trails!


  • by leshert ( 40509 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:30PM (#9134894) Homepage
    I signed up for the 'Webby' nominations last year, and got a reasonable number of emails from them (not all-out spam, but maybe 6-7).

    Maybe it's just me, but the whole tone of the thing leaves me with the impression that the Webby folks have an extraordinarily high (but unfounded) opinion of themselves. Reading the mails they sent, I was transported back in time to the mid-1990s, when The New Economy was going to leave the brick-and-mortar dinosaurs choking on comet dust.

    I think we may have found the last few dozen people who haven't woken up from the Internet Bubble.
    • Re:It's so 1997... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pseudonym ( 62607 )

      You have to be worried when a guest presenter on Good Morning America sets up something called the "International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences". Seems like these days you can call yourself anything you want as long as you're the one who gets in first.

      Yours sincerely,
      Bitch Sex Demigod from Hell

  • by idiotnot ( 302133 ) <> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:40PM (#9134979) Homepage Journal
    You have got to be kidding me. They make Fox look a paragon of unbiased reporting!
  • Why The Onion? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Entropy Unleashed ( 682552 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:46PM (#9135018)
    The Onion has essentially been doing the same joke for years now. They're certainly one of the funnier sites on the Web these days, but I for one found both Modern Humorist [] and Red vs. Blue [] more funny and innovative. I can see it winning People's Voice, but I'm surprised that the Webby awarders didn't spice things up a little.
    • Considering that Modern Humorist has been dead for nearly a year, I'm surprised they even got a nomination.
    • Red vs. Blue is way more awesome than The Onion. I can't believe it didn't win something. The Onion is funny, but it's won the humor people's choice webby _every year_ since humor became a category; only once has it been upset in the non-people's-choice awards. Come on people; The Onion isn't the only funny thing on the web.
    • Re:Why The Onion? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ray Radlein ( 711289 )
      Because these are the glory days of The Onion.

      Ever since Bush came into office, the staff of The Onion have been racing desperately to keep their parody ahead of the rapidly-accelerating absurdity of American politics. The prime example of the difficulties they have to overcome is their now-legendary headline for Bush's Innagural address in January 2001: Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'. Reading the article today, the uncomfortable fact is that the jokes they ma
  • I'm sorry, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonfromspace ( 179394 ) <jonwilkins&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @09:51PM (#9135051)

    WTF is the web coming to???
  • am i missing something, or does it seem that this doesnt deserve an award?

    peoples voice winner under the net art category. wtf is this site supposed to be/do?! its a stupid rocket ship. a bad one at that.
  • A quick look at the political and activist webby winners indicates to me that the majority of them are left-leaning. Is this a coincidence?

  • by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @11:00PM (#9135532) Homepage Journal
    There weren't any "surprises given the last publicly viewable rankings". There are two sets of awards given out: the Webby award and the People's choice award. The former is decided by the academy and the latter by popular vote. The publicly viewable rankings are for the People's choice award. The nominated websites usually advertise it on their front page and get their readers to spam the people's choice vote, reducing it to a most-visited-site contest. Therefore, IMNSHO, the people's choice award is not very meaningful. For the Webby award itself there is no indication of who the winners are going to be before the final announcement.
  • Very egalitarian (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HBI ( 604924 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @12:04AM (#9135871) Journal
    Just about every site listed had a tilt to the left.

    It's about as egalitarian as Pravda in the old days.

    Nice to know that some things never really change.
  • by blakespot ( 213991 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @12:56AM (#9136138) Homepage
    This asshat [] won a webbie in 2001. A distinguished honor, the webbie...


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wikipedia is not a community or a social club. Failing to comprehend this leads inevitably to destroying the encyclopedia to please the community.

    Sadly this is the end result of the mailing list [] system and also of the concept of a "banned user []" (whatever that is, since they always come back).

    A recent user (whose name should not be pronounced any more, but who is not a banned user) recently gave as one of the reason for leaving the fact decisions were increasingly taken over irc discussions. The media

I've got a bad feeling about this.