People like lists and rankings…but should they?

Ever since Tom Hoffman’s post about lists, it has made me think about the authority of rankings. Rankings and lists make it easier for people to sort through content and organize. Rankings also infer authority.

The recent edublog awards seem to be the lastest benchmark for educational blogs. The authority is fairly easily identified in that it’s voted on by fellow educators, although Graham does express some concern in the having more information about the voting data but Darren doesn’t see it as being all the important.
Today I discovered via ITM, that I’ve been listed in the top 100 educational blogs by the Online Education Database. What’s that? Who is the OEDB? It does sound somewhat impressive and perhaps authoritative. My first inclination was to click the About Us page. This tells me more about what “they” do not who they are. So next I see a link to a press release. This again provides me with one name, Jimmy Atkinson but little more. At the bottom of the post, it simply states,

As with any list of this nature, there are bound to be flaws. These are just our personal favorites. If you would like to contact us with your own suggestions, please e-mail

So at least I know it’s simply a list of favorites, I just don’t know “whose favorites”. It makes me think about internet literacy and determining authority. I also don’t quite know how I ended up in the Internet Culture category. Recognition is great but I’m as pleased to be quoted by my fellow bloggers whose authority I know and trust than to be singled out by a person or organization I’ve never heard of or can find much information about. Maybe I’m looking in the right spot but I’d like to know who places me in the top 100. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining and when I look over the list, I like the company. (The first blog I looked for was Clarences’ which thankfully was listed although strangely not in the category I suspected)

I’d just need to know a bit more before I place the badge permanently on my sidebar.
Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode:

(Jerry turns to walk out.)

IZZY: Uh, oh, wait. (Izzy rummages on his bedside table and picks up a t-shirt. He holds it up to his chest so Jerry can read what’s written on it. ‘World’s Greatest DAD!’)

IZZY: How ’bout that, huh? The World’s Greatest Dad. My son made it for me.

JERRY: (humouring him) That’s very nice.

IZZY: The best in the world. (pointing to himself) Which means I’m better than just number one.

JERRY: Well, I don’t know how official any of these rankings really are.

Update: Darren and Miguel and also have similar thoughts….maybe that’s what makes us top 100. ;). Stephen Downes wonders about it too.