My largest misgiving on this whole survey is that it put the cart before the horse. I stated such when work began, I said so when the questions were being written, and I'm saying it now.
The first question that needed to be asked is "What does IPMS/USA envision the purpose of it's National Model Contest to be?"
Does IPMS/USA want to simply pick the best models presented at that show on that day? (OR--Does IPMS/USA want to recognize well-built models and more or less ignore the rest?) If that's the goal, they already have it in the 1-2-3, comparative/triage judging currently in use.
Does IPMS/USA want to aid modelers in their efforts to become better modelers? (OR--Does IPMS want to offer structured feedback and advice to the modeler in an effort to help them help themselves?) If this is where the aim is, look to the AMPS system.
Does IPMS/USA want to recognize a modeler's body of work entered in a given show on a given day? (OR--Does IPMS/USA want to reward a modeler for their effort on that day?) If this is what they're looking for, check out the MMSI Chicago System.
(As an aside, I note that several of the IPMS Open Judging systems in use on the local level--Jaxcon, Chattanooga, etc.--are a hybrid of all three.)
Those questions needed to be asked before the survey questions were issued. They needed to be asked before the questions were written.
Next, a rudimentary structure for said Open Judging system needed to be developed before the survey was released. Why? We now have four (maybe five by now) pages in this thread of "why".
The way the survey is worded is akin to asking your kid if he wants baked chicken for dinner, or "something else". When the kid asks, "What's the something else?", the only answer you have for him is "I don't know, and I can't tell you until you choose it--it hasn't been defined." So, the kid either goes with chicken, something he knows and kinda likes, or--if he's adventurous--takes a stab at the pig in a poke, which could be pizza. It could be liver.
Or, the kid could spend the next day speculating as to what "something else" is and go hungry.
The smart kid goes with the chicken.
What infuriates me is the President's Column in the July/August Journal, where Ron Bell stated that, and I quote, "We just thought it was time to get this issue settled once and for all and put it behind us, one way or another." (Emphasis is mine)
What this tells me is that the E-Board has a closed mind and has no vision of growing and changing the Society with the times per the membership's wishes. This attitude, I believe, has caused people to leave IPMS/USA and go to AMPS and to other organizations (even forming other organizations--look to the South Carolina Modelers Association as an example), never to look back. I personally know at least a dozen former IPMS/USA members who left and won't come back. One (a former E-Board member, no less) once told me that he tried to change the system, but was met with, as he called it, "the IPMS/USA Good Old Boy's Stone Wall." When I asked why a stone wall, he stated that "it is cold, deaf, uncaring, and unyielding."
Couple that to the IPMS/USA Chief Judge's attempts to color the current system as "The Best. Judging. System. Ever.!", and paint Open Judging as an effort to see that "everyone wins a trophy", and it indicates that the E-Board is using this survey merely as an attempt to look like they are listening to the membership without intending to change a thing. The motion will fail, then they will say "We've done that, it failed, end of story" the next time this same issue is brought up. In this thread alone, there's already an IPMS/USA Past President doing that very thing, looking back to a failed effort in 2004--as if nothing changes over time.
I am a proponent for Open Judging, believing that a well developed, uniform system could yield good results over time. A well-defined, thought-out system CAN work--but it will require several things to happen. Most importantly, it requires a buy-in from the majority of the membership. If the membership doesn't believe in it, it won't matter what system is used--it will fail. It will take time and a lot of effort to change--it won't happen overnight, and will probably require a years-long phase in. Start at the local level, iron out the bugs, take it to the Regional level, work out the new bugs, then move it to the National level--where, undoubtedly, more issues will come to the fore and will need to be dealt with. Rome wasn't built in one day, nor will any sort of new-to-the-organization judging system.
My vision for an Open Judging system extends to more than the Nationals--it needs to be a UNIVERSAL system, required to be used by ALL IPMS/USA Chapters at ALL IPMS/USA sanctioned contests, whether they be local, Regional, or National. Judges will need to have formal training and periodic re-training. Whatever system used needs to be applied consistently and reviewed periodically, updating it as needed. Without these things, all you will wind up with is an Open Judging version of what we have now. The current system is only required to be used at the Nationals--local contests can simply say they will hand out medals to every fifth pink model that comes through the door and call it an IPMS contest, if that's what the host Chapter wants to do. The word, and I've used it many, many times before, is Standardization. Have a standard, uniform, universal system that is required throughout IPMS/USA. "But, how can you require us to do anything?" Easy--it comes with the deal. You wanna be an IPMS/USA Chapter? You agree to the terms set out by IPMS/USA. Period. Don't like it? Don't play.
But that probably won't happen. If we talk about the Chicago System, some see it as "limiting the number of models on the table"--when, actually, nothing is limited EXCEPT the fact that the entrant, if the scored model in their group scores enough points, takes home ONE award for their body of work.
AMPS, likewise, encourages the entrant to self-asses their work and only enter one model per category. Why? Because they will only take home the award for their model that scores the highest in any given category, so even by entering eight M4 Shermans into Allied Armor, WWII will only yield ONE medal. "But I want the feedback!" Usually, as the models are judged, the same faults are found on all the models entered by that person. How many times do you need to read "Watch the floating tracks" before you realize that you need to do just that?
The examples above also serve a purpose--it eases the burden on the judges. They don't have to judge 500+ (or 1000+, or 10,000+) models, the judging goes quickly, and the end result is the same.
This is why "Display Only" has been a standard category for AMPS for as long as I've been a member. Submit your best work for evaluation, put the rest in Display Only. The goal of the show isn't about "winning" or "losing", it is about showing off your work.
But I am not optimistic that any of what I just wrote will come to pass. IPMS/USA has slowly evolved their contests into bloodsport--the winner take all, "I'm the GOD OF STYRENE!" attitude has eroded any semblance of friendly competition. Even the survey says it--Advantage #2 of the 1-2-3 system is stated as "models vie head-to-head for awards, creating a healthy (really?--me) spirit of competitiveness amongst (sic) our members."
And why do we feel the need to compete, anyway? I get it--'Murica and all that. But a very vocal minority has taken an enjoyable pastime and twisted it into yet another way they can climb to the top of the pile, beat their chests, and wail at the moon...
I will now go back to my position of a few years ago--Exhibition only, no contest, no awards. Make it about the models, NOT the medals. After all, everyone says they enter shows to show off their work, right? So, by their own admission, the awards don't matter--and following that logic, that means the method used to determine the awards likewise doesn't matter, but some will NEVER enter a contest judged by a system they don't like. Funny, that...
Club stands, SIG stands, vendors, food, and friendship. Hang out with a bunch of like-minded people and enjoy the show by looking at, talking about, and sharing techniques for scale models. Screw the contest, screw the judges, and screw the awards...