Bakersfield, another C&J failure
- Now that I'm on the outside, I no longer have to go along to get along.
So I can tell it like it is. All you sending nasty email, keep it coming,
there's bound to be a pony in there somewhere. (All you sending positive
email, thank you. You shame me.)
The C&J system is quite good, maybe the best of any competitive judging
system for any field anywhere. But it still has one big flaw, and that
is the expectation that a judge, based on some instruction at St. Jo many
months before, will be able to go into a strange hall and deliver scoring
equivalent to what he would be able to deliver in any other hall as well
as equivalent to what the C&J system expects. Seems silly, right? Yet,
Far Western District management (for instance) blindly clings to that myth
as holy writ.
Scores in Bakersfield look to be about 3 to 6 points low clear across the
board, except for the Senior Contest which was dead on but with a different
panel, see http://spebsqsafwd.org/scores/2004/index.cfm with the Bakersfield
scores being .pdf links at the bottom of that page. As with the Division by
Division scoring against a fixed score to make the cut for District, and the
Prelims scoring against a fixed score for International, this year more than
any other the chorus scores at District had an effect - they determined which
choruses will go to the Salt Lake City Wild Card Contest. There's going to
be some disappointed FWD choruses with what happened in Bakersfield.
There are possibly two ways to ensure equivalent scoring in different venues:
1. Allow the contestant to compete in multiple venues. This is, of course,
impractical for a chorus. It's also been rejected by the FWD Board and HOD
for quartets for reasons professed that were often absurd. The benefit to
quartets of multiple competitions got buried by that garbage. Looks like
2. Provide for proper calibration of the judges' scoring yardsticks at each
venue. I don't know how you'd do that, maybe play recordings of ensembles
over the sound system for various scoring benchmarks before the contest?
Or (for quartets, anyway) a performance by live quartets of known, fixed
quality being "point testers" much like the "mic testers"? Or develop
some sort of electronic scoring monitor that analyzes chords, rhythm,
and other variables from contestants as they perform, against known
standards, compares them with scores from the pit, and produces an
overall handicap to add to or subtract from all scores across the board
at the end of the contest (would that take a Cray?)? Anybody got any
other ideas? I understand there used to be a post-contest review of
scoring variances of some kind but it got discarded? and since then
scoring variances have increased? Does the review need to be restored?
What other ways might be available to aid the judges?
Until you in C&J fix this problem you are not as good as you should be, not
as good as your competitors deserve. Please get with it. And yes, like any
other consumer my checkbook will stay closed Until Service Improves.
--Mike, former barbershopper, now just a bass.
- Kevin wrote:
> From: "Kevin Keller" <kkbari@w...>. . .
> Date: Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:15 pm
> Subject: C&J issues
> I'm really trying to put together the whole enchilada. According to Mike,Not exactly.
> it seems that the C&J program should:
> a. Fix scores after the contest is over
> b. Fire any judge who doesn't get it rightNo. Not ever.
> c. Fix scores during the contestNot exactly.
> d. Have all judges be perfect in their scoringNo. Not necessary. Rather, allow for the opposite.
> e. Spend their lives watching and calibratingNo. Not necessary.
> f. Allow competitors as many chances to make a cut [sic]Not exactly.
What I am seeking is:
1) improve competition opportunities for quartets at the Division level.
2) provide additional competition opportunities for Division level quartets
that missed the District cut for *any* reason.
3) install on-site real-time scoring adjustments for across-the-board
scoring anomalies that exceed a tolerable threshold
4) directly elect all District and International officials and board members,
and limit voting in the House of Delegates to chapter delegates.
#1 & #2 are easily accomplished, and they work in LOL. The votes against
it ranged from puzzling to silly.
#3 can be a simple spread-sheet function. It can be accomplished in a number
of ways. Here's two:
a) Suggested from time to time on the Harmonet, although this is the
first time by me: for when there is more than a single-judge panel,
throw out the lowest and highest score and replace them with an average
of the remaining scores in that category, or if no scores remain in that
category, replace them with the combined average score from all the other
--From now on, when penalty points are assessed, the total of them would
be placed on the Official Score Sheet with the name of the contestant
being scored (as in "scores shown include a penalty assessment totaling
--Upon applying for a contest, a contestant would submit its latest
contest percentage score after adding back any penalty points, and the
name of the contest where it was earned - this is an auditable honor
system; a new contestant would so indicate.
--Upon completion of the contest the spreadsheet would exclude contestants
with the largest positive and the largest negative variance from the
previous scores and exclude new contestants before the final step,
--If more than 5 contestants remain, the spreadsheet would compute the
average variances for all remaining contestants excluding current penalty
points, and if it were more than 1% positive or 2% negative, the
inverse of that average would be applied across the board to all final
scores before subtracting any penalty points. A copy of the calculation
would be furnished to all who ask.
Both of these methods could be used together, and would tend to smooth
out anomalous, larger variances while leaving minor ones alone.
- - -
#4 is tangentially relevant to Kevin's point about responsibility:
(Kevin also states:)
> As for Mike's lost efforts in Bakersfield, it is not a C&J issue. It is aThis understates both the power and the responsibility of C&J management.
> District Policy issue. If LOL has the policy, then C&J supports the policy.
The vote in Louisville was 15 to 1 against the policy. It was given great
weight in Chuck Hunter's memo to the FWD HOD. If it had been 15 to 1
*in favor*, the measure would have passed. Your position was not neutral,
it was critically persuasive.
The National Board and Management (including C&J management) is not
accountable to the membership. That should be changed.
> I don't appreciate the inflexibility on Mike's part, but I think itsI'm inflexible? You're the one defending the status quo, not me.
> ok to challenge the system.
- - -
As things stand, Bakersfield will be the last contest where I am familiar
with the field, and thus someone else will have to carry any reform baton
after this year. It won't die, it will probably retreat into the usual
beaten, whimper mode. Make no mistake, if you think there's no problem,
then you haven't been listening to all those other people out there who
have timidly raised their hand about it shortly before the mob of you
took 'em out and hung 'em.
--Mike, former SPEBSQSA member