having a definitive list of "objective" predefined features would be nice, however i think some caveats might be in order.
a large part of choosing a "best" app, and reviewing an app in general, is going to be a subjective thing, based on ones own biases about how a program should look and feel, and what features are more or less important.
because of this, we are never going to agree completely on what features are (most) important, and what apps have made the right decisions about implementing these features.
for these reasons and the reasons i gave earlier, i think the most coherent overarching policy should be that the final review/award will represent the conclusion and opinion of the reviewer, as informed by the opinions and feature-lists that have been collectively gathered by all of us here.
having a single list of agreed upon features would be nice, but i don't think it's absolutely critical to the process, and building this list might well be viewed as one of the things that the discussions can help to flesh out, rather than being a prerquisite to the discussion.
so i'm suggesting that ric has a good point about the usefulness of having some feature list, but i do think we should treat the feature list as an evolving thing that can come out of more informal discussions. i don't think its necesary for us to have a predefined list ahead of time, nor agree on a predefined list, but i do think that any time you can formulate some features you think are useful for evaluating a particular category it would be helpful.
so basically im suggesting this as the procedure
1) it will be up to the reviewer to make a single coherent evaluation and review and choice of best app, which we expect will be somewhat subjective.
2) as much as is possible, the review should try to ennunciate important features for this class of program, and describe where this winning program stacks up on this list of features.
3) the ASRT discussion will serve the following purposes:
a) help to find candidate programs for the award.
b) help to flesh out what features are important.
c) offer dissenting or concenting opinions about the winner, both before and after its selection.
so my position is that all 3 of the camps that ric outlined are useful, and i suggest that we start with an informal process whereby all such camps are welcome to make suggestions. it will be useful to me (and future reviewers) to have comments from any of these perspectives.
perhaps in an ideal world we would have a long list of well thought-out features pre-prepared for a given category, but that might be asking too much from the contributors to the discussion and the person who would be responsible for making this list.
so i suggest we start out a bit less formally, and maybe one or two people might find that they are good at forming such a list of features as we have our discussions, summarizing them as people chime in about what is important to them.
or another way to think of it is, it will be the responsibility of the reviewer to ultimately sift through the discussion and come up with a coherent summary of important features and impressions, and decide where different apps stack up. after all, the reviewer should expect to personally try all of the apps that could conceivably win, and make his/her own conclusions - not just take the view of people in the forum. the forum will serve an invaluable role in helping to find candidate winners for a category, and to express the views of others, and point out important features.