Update: I had some feedback that I should have separated the positive congrats to Benjamin from the criticism about the process. Apologies if he or others felt offended, this definitely wasn't my intention, and again Benjamin has some merit that should make him a committer more than a contributor award winner.
My former colleague Benjamin Cabé has been nominated Top Eclipse contributor for 2009. Congrats!
Now although I'm very happy for him, this awards thing makes the community guy in me a bit uncomfortable. I know Benjamin does great things and has a lot of merit, but don't other contributors also have a lot of merit? Does he really deserve this award more than the dozens of other active contributors? Has he been chosen because of his work, or because this work happens on more visible projects, or because he's more vocal than other people and thus more visible?
This introduces a kind of competition or ranking among contributors which I don't think is really healthy. Open source organizations are meritocracies, but your merit is defined by what you do, and not by how you compare to others. Becoming a committer on a project doesn't mean that because you were elected, other won't be elected if they also deserve it.
This award system goes against that spririt and can have bad side effects such attracting people that just want to compete for the award, or on the contrary leaving behind people that do a lot of less visible but necessary grunt work.