In my opinion, the referendum implies an immediate change to our system. As such it will of course be rejected. Let me explain.
I have been a judge at IPMS National Conventions for 20 years. I’ve also been the head judge at the Three Rivers IPMS contest for about that same length of time. Our show uses open judging.
There is a common thread to the discussions on this and other forums regarding the GSB system. The topic is nothing less than radioactive.
This is not intended to be an ad hominem attack on any individual or group of individuals, but again through years of experience I have some idea of how these things work. Mr. Dedig has a very good point. One could easily see his description of “Lobby Champion” in the definition of the 1-2-3 system. It is not so much a definition as an indictment. I will interject in the definition below.
Currently, model entries are evaluated based only on the entries in that year’s contest - comparing them only to each other. Entries aren’t compared to any “ideal”, “perfect-model”, or “national-standards” criteria. Nor are entries judged, based on any perceived personal expertise of the entrant (“beginner/advanced/master modeler”).
This is absolutely true, and the inherit weakness of 1-2-3 contests. Much of any judging team’s time is often spent finding the “best of the rest” to fill out the 3rdor even 2ndplace winners of a category. The first plane winner may be obvious, but the rest could have so many problems that the team simply adds up the flaws of one model vs. another to determine the remaining winners. This frequently results in models winning at a national level that would not win in the open (GSB) format. Is that what we’re striving for? I’ve heard the argument that this point doesn’t matter. The three best models on the table in that group on that night won. Well how about the larger categories with 20-30 models that typically attract very good builders? I know we tend to split larger categories, but occasionally that can’t be accomplished due to the finite number of splits available. So here some very good models will not place, where in the first example, some not very good models will.
There are no “ideal”, “perfect-model”, or “national-standards” that I am aware of. But there are good and bad paint jobs, decal applications and basic construction. These can be dispassionately scored and the results evaluated. Perceived personal expertise of the entrant? We don’t do that now and would not in the open system either.
Judges are your IPMS peers, who volunteer a portion of their convention time to support the contest. They follow the guidelines in our Modeler's Guide To IPMS Contests. On average, we get 204 judges each year to cover 2,350 model entries. They ‘score’ an average of 600 winning models. Want to require those 204 to spend three times longer at their tasks, to ‘score’ all 2,350 models? Currently, any judge can leave comments on any entrant’s model-entry sheet; want to require them to leave comments for all 2,350 models? Are you going to make the commitment to help accomplish that task?
We do evaluate all 2,350 models now. Some take very little time due to obvious flaws. Depending on the open judging format, this may not be necessary in GSB either. A scoring sheet does codify the results and focus judges’ evaluations. It does take more time. But judges at Telford use one and I haven’t heard any complaints about that.
I’m not sure why this would take three times longer. Also, comments would not be required. A recent Regional Convention that I attended (and judged) solicited comments from judges. Some were helpful; most were not. The scoring speaks for itself. If you score 3 out of 10 in decal application the judging team doesn’t have to comment that the model didn’t place due to poor decals.
Recording results for just the 600 winners now requires 8 staff, transcribing scoring from just 200 sheets of paper, to provide entrant and model names for those winners. They work all Friday night and into Saturday until Banquet time. To do the same for 2,300 entries, are you ready to sacrifice your own convention time to help do that task?
This could be an issue, but perhaps not. We have run two Regional Conventions using the GSB system in Pittsburgh. One serious advantage is that judging can take place at any time. Our shows were two day events and judging began on Friday evening and continued through Saturday. Teams came and went at intervals. For a National Convention this would be a challenge to coordinate. But it could be done with proper planning. At the other Regional I mentioned, the judging time commitment was no greater than the typical 1-2-3 event. In no way do I wish to denigrate the efforts of the National’s staff. You all do absolutely excellent work and deserve all the credit we could possible give. The virtually flawless execution of the awards ceremony is evidence of the work of this group of people.
For cost efficiency and planning, the 1-2-3 system pre-defines the maximum number of awards to be purchased and presented: 200 categories X 3 awards in each = 600 awards. G-S-B method leaves open the count of potential awards to be purchased (from 0% to 100%), for approximately 2,350 entries each year. How many ‘extras’ of each award level should a host chapter plan to order, ‘just in case’? Just one per category (200 more)? Two or more per category? 2,350 awards – just in case?
This is an issue. But does anyone seriously think that 0%, no winners at an IPMS National Convention, or 100%, where everyone goes home happy is realistic. This type of argument clouds the issue and exaggerates the risk. Many shows of late have opted for medals as awards. These are relatively inexpensive. Extras could be ordered and some may not be used. If there are not enough, have more made and sent to the winners after the event. This is not a perfect solution, but we could ask other societies such as AMPS or the figure modeling groups how they handle the logistics. Also, there are no categories in open judging. We group the models together along natural lines: aircraft, armor, etc., just for ease of viewing.
Our convention attendees want a ‘contest’. How many ‘For Display Only’ entries do you ever see at any of our conventions?
I don’t even understand this point. GSB events are no less a contest than the current system.
“Critiquing entries to determine 1-2-3 vs G-S-B rankings is a distinction without a difference.”
If this is true why is there resistance?
“Want to be the one of the few entrants not even good enough to earn a Bronze award – ‘not up to national standards’?”
Old line dating back to an unfortunate incident at a National Convention. Every model going home without at least a third place award feels precisely the same now.
Our current processes are predictable and efficient. Our contest results and awards are a fair recognition of our entrants’ outstanding model-making accomplishments. The volunteer efforts of the judging corps are effective, without overwhelming our available judges. Our current system isn’t ‘broken’ and doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’ – unless what you ultimately want is for every contest entrant to always be a winner!
This is true. Except for the last sentence. I’m not even going to address that because it lacks serious merit.
To sum up (a little late for that), the arguments against GSB on this forum seem to be more of an attack on an alternative. “This can’t possibly be done because…”
Well it is done by AMPS, MFCA and local and regional IPMS shows. It is out there and it is gaining support. The purpose is to reward excellence and encourage improvement in modelling skills. I realize that we will never shift overnight from one style to another. That would be a recipe for failure. But to dismiss the open system out of hand, or continually attack it without considering its merits is also wrong. I think the National referendum should be something like this.
“Would you like to see IPMS/USA experiment with the open GSB system at a future National Convention?”
There are some excellent modelers who are also excellent judges and event coordinators who would support this. And by support I mean would sponsor trophy packages, offer to judge and help organize the experiment. Members could be solicited from the end of the prior convention, for let’s say a six month period to indicate if they would participate in an open judging experiment and approximately how many models they would enter. These models would not require any more space since they would be entered anyway. The distinction would be that a certain number of tables would be segregated for the purpose. Since we would know approximately how many models would participate, would could evaluate the number of awards to order.
If it fails, it fails. At least the question would be addressed and long standing argument, both for and against, settled. At this point we honestly don’t know whether the topic would be accepted by the membership or not. I do know that after judging at our show, even some diehard opponents to GSB have been won over. They have said that our system is actually easier than they ever expected.
Isn’t it time that we fairly approached this topic on a national level?