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From the 2021 National Contest Rules (underlined italics for emphasis):

II. CONTEST DEFINITIONS AND JUDGING

1. Judging. Models will be judged for skill in construction, finish, realism, and scope of effort; accuracy may be used as criteria for determining final ranking for similar model subjects.

In short, accuracy is a final ranking criterion or a tie breaker.  I encourage all to read the rules.  Though not germane to this discussion, I really encourage all to read the category descriptions.

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The problem is that in many categories the number of very good entries makes it extremely difficult to pick “the best”. That’s when you are forced to actually hunt down mistakes to cull the herd.

This will be an on going problem and never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

My personal suggestion is to do away with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd awards and just give out an “award” with multiple wins in categories. Use the same total awards for the contest, but split things up depending on numbers in a category. 
 

Still won’t be perfect.

Dak

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Multiple awards in each category?       

The Gold Silver Bronze system by another name!   Maybe this has been debated enough already!

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No, this is not really GSB. That would require the judges to assign a quality level to the model. What I suggested merely is a recognition and assigns no level of quality.

On the other hand it is not simply a participation award. Not everyone will win and the judges would not be required to give all out in a category. 
 

I am under no illusion anyone would go for it. I just think it would be better.
 

Dak

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But how would the judges decide what deserves to be recognized and what does not, since as you say: “… it is not simply a participation award. Not everyone will win and the Judges would not be required to give all out in a category?” One way or the other, the Judges are going to have to critique every entry in your system, and some may not be good enough for “recognition.” Nick Filippone, Senior National Judge 

 

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Just now, Nick Filippone said:

One way or the other, the Judges are going to have to critique every entry in your system, and some may not be good enough for “recognition.”

 

I generally agree with you Nick, but this is something we are supposed to do already, and I know my teams do this in Ships. Sometimes it is fairly quick & simple due to major seams or alignment, sometimes it takes a while, but EVERY model in my category is critiqued as we go.

Are the airplane judges not doing it? (My inference from your post, asking for clarification)

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My post was in response to Dak’s proposal for a contest without the contestants actually contesting. Of course we Aircraft Judges look at everything. As you ship judges do, that is how we divide the wheat from the chaff, even if some of the chaff is still quite good! Nick

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Thanks for clarifying,  I was sure I had misread your post.

For background, I know there are no-sweep contests where the judges only scrutinize what they think the builder's best entry is and skip the rest. How can any team pick the best entry if a guy brings 20 without looking at them more than superficially? I was really hoping this hadn't gotten a foothold outside those few chapters.

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Of course, you cannot determine which of a builder’s multiple entries is the best without scrutinizing all of them. It can be very time consuming but I think it is important to maximize that builders chance of placing by selecting the best of all his entries. Nick

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10 hours ago, Nick Filippone said:

But how would the judges decide what deserves to be recognized and what does not,

Oh come on, Nick. We have hashed all this before. In my plan, the judges pick what they like best based on the rules---the same way they always have. The big advantage with my idea is they don't have to resort to the nit-picking scenarios for which IPMS has become notorious. The critics of our system rarely understand WHY we are being picky. In fact, most are too lazy to get involved and find how things work. At the least, the advantage will reduce the grinching about how a model placed. Perfect, no, not ever. Perfection is never an option. I just think it is silly to struggle to pick "the best" out of a field of such mixed subjects judged mostly by people who don't know the fine points of the subject.

Not everyone will get an award and I never said they would. All I was saying was in categories with large numbers of entries you give out more than three and they are just awards, not a place award.

I just don't like the fact that with a category with 15 entries we pick ONLY three out of say ten VERY GOOD models and people will still say the 2nd place should have got 1st or that one which didn't place should have done so.

I don't expect anyone go along with it because most are obsessed with a zero sum result at the contest.

Dak

 

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Watching the olympics this summer, I was surprised to see a tie in an event (high jump I think), there were 2 golds and a bronze. Apparently this happens fairly often. The rules seem to be that (olympic) medals go to the top 3 finishers in the event. If there is a tie, finisheres with same score get the same medal. If there are 2 finishers with the same fastest time, they both get gold, there is no silver and then 1 bronze. In theory you could have everyone tie for a of medal, but in practice its almost always 3 and never more than 5 medal winners.

So we could let Nats judging teams declare a tie when there was no clear "best" or "second best" and let the awards fall where they may. The big advantage of using something like this for the Nats is that when there are two (or more) models that are both well done, the judging team could award 2 or 3 "golds" and all of them could compete for "Best Aircraft" (or whatever). And it would expand the number of awards slightly, without the problem many GSB systems have with awarding a huge number of bronze medals.

Edited by Schmitz
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Not sure about what Dak is proposing or how it would work in practice. Is he proposing Attaboy Awards? If not a 123 first past the post competition as at present in both UK and USA Nationals then the only way would be a GSB where models are judged to a standard for each award. The problem with 123 is that it severely restricts judges by having to award best, second best, and third place, plus some commendeds whereas all those models might have attained a gold award under GSB rules.

The Model Engineering and Modelling Exhibition in the UK used Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for many years quite successfully where models were judged against set criteria and not against one another. This way many more models get deserved awards for standards attained.

Edited by noelsmith
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Dak, it sounds like you are suggesting an acceptable/ unacceptable standard as the only criterion for an award. It does seem very exciting. It would be like a Pass/ Fail course in college. One’s efforts might have earned an A or a D-, but the world will never know, including the student…er…builder! Nick

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7 hours ago, Schmitz said:

Watching the olympics this summer, I was surprised to see a tie in an event (high jump I think), there were 2 golds and a bronze. Apparently this happens fairly often. The rules seem to be that (olympic) medals go to the top 3 finishers in the event. If there is a tie, finisheres with same score get the same medal. If there are 2 finishers with the same fastest time, they both get gold, there is no silver and then 1 bronze. In theory you could have everyone tie for a of medal, but in practice its almost always 3 and never more than 5 medal winners.

Actually, the athletes were given a choice--go to a run-off (jump-off?), or share the medal.  In this case, they agreed to share the medal.

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53 minutes ago, Ralph Nardone said:

Actually, the athletes were given a choice--go to a run-off (jump-off?), or share the medal.  In this case, they agreed to share the medal.

Ralph, this seems to be a somewhat special case for the high jump. There is a lengthy website listing all the ties, the general rule seems to be extra medals are awarded when breaking a tie would be unfair or impractical (eg. making  two runners with the same time run another tie-breaker race). There is a certain elegance to it that I think would work well at the Nats without the heavyweight change that GSB would entail (leave GSB for local/regional events).

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And once again logistics raises its ugly head.  

How many extra trophies must the organizing committee purchase above those they are contractually required to provide, to meet this?  10%, 25%?  Who will pay for them?  Can you sell a sponsorship for something that may not happen?
 

Well, we have these extra trophies on hand that have a date on them …

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There was a time when you had a contest with some good models and a small number of VERY GOOD models. Now days it seems we are getting a lot of very good models with a very tiny group of EXCEPTIONAL models.

While I saw some winners in Las Vegas, I did not think were very good, most of the work there was way above the level of the average person off the street. 
We want as many as possible to win awards so people will come to the event. So, we will always divide things up to give as many as possible a genuine chance at winning.

My suggestion was just a general outline. However, it always gets attacked as if the suggestion is the full blown plan. I would never expect even a detailed plan to be accepted because too many are obsessed with ranking the winning models.

But to me, trying to rank the models when the field is so mixed is pointless. It just seems better to say these winning models were the top choices and let it go at that. 

Dak

 

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Ed, my idea would not increase the overall number of awards. And actually might reduce the cost. 
 

Dak

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1 hour ago, EFGrune said:

How many extra trophies must the organizing committee purchase above those they are contractually required to provide, to meet this?  10%, 25%?  Who will pay for them?  Can you sell a sponsorship for something that may not happen?

We're talking about the Nats, we already buy extra trophies for splits, and charge more than cost to sponsor trophy packages to cover extras, so yes - we could order some percentage of extras. Worst case we give some someone an iou and mail their trophy a month later.

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The extra awards which are currently provided for splits, etc. are part of the number of awards which are contractually required to be provided by the local committee
 

Additional trophies awarded for ties under this approach are over and above the contracted number 

Ed Grune - NCC/Head Ship Judge

 

 

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54 minutes ago, EFGrune said:

The extra awards which are currently provided for splits, etc. are part of the number of awards which are contractually required to be provided by the local committee

 

 

If you're going to change how judging works,  then you have to change how it works - the contracts change. Adding a few extra awards is not exactly defying the laws of physics. 

Edited by Schmitz
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It seems that too much emphasis gets placed on what the award is vs. what it means.

For the category awards, buy simple, generic awards in bulk.  Buy enough to provide for a few shows and replenish as needed.  A 5"X7" color sublimated plaque or simple medallion emblazoned with the IPMS/USA logo and "First Place" should suffice.  If you want to get fancy, add a customized label (10 minutes to design, print on standard Avery labels) to the back with the show name and date.  Leave a space for the modeler to record what the model was, what category, etc.  If you really want to put on the dog, you can get plaques with a photo sleeve attached to the back, where the entrant can take a photo of the model and attach it to the award--that way, five years down the road, they can remember what the award was for...

We have used medals for our past three local shows.  Whether we used traditional IPMS judging or a scored system, the awards were a simple medal with the club logo on the front.  Cost?  $2.85 each.  We buy 100 each Gold (1st), Silver (2nd), and Bronze (3rd) place awards, and that one order lasts us for three shows.  If anybody is interested, contact me and I'll be more than happy to get you the contact information for our supplier.   

I've heard the arguments against--"So-and-so did a nice sand sculpture for their awards", and "These guys had elaborate backlit acrylic tombstones".  And that's fine, if we're talking Class, Theme, or Special awards.  The Best in Class, Special, and Theme awards should be "customized" for each show.  Here is where you buy the backlit acrylic monolith (we like acrylic state map cutouts), sandcast geegaws, and the like, and include the theme artwork, show name, date, and all the rest. 

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I always thought small medallions were the most classy. Like with flags, what it stands for is more important that the object. 
 

Dak

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   Gee that's the one thing that makes each hosts unique to their show, the awards. You start handing out cheap generic awards then what's the point?

   As it is now we have 196 categories splits included plus 5 ad hoc contest wide awards for a total of 201 for a grand total of 603 awards.Thats a fixed number. Anything else makes it damned hard to plan for and how do you limit what gets what if you do anything else? You have no number to work off of.

   I would rather have judges nit picking then picking what they "like" .My question is how am I as a builder supposed to know what a judge likes and which judge will I get to look at my model,  i'll need to know this so I can build to what they like so as to be judged fairly. See you can't do that and be fair. The more Objective you are judging the better as it takes bias out of the equation. I also say that's why the lady holding the scales is blindfolded. That's why I tell my guy's it's not about what you like, it's about what's on the table and what errors you find so that you can quantify your rankings .I would much rather be ranked against my peers than to be given a grade by someone who likes or dislikes my model. And what qualifies that person to give that grade,that opinion. Judging is much different than grading. Also more times than not 1st place jumps out at you and it's the placement from 2nd and 3rd or two contesting 3rd place that's a chore.One year (OKC) we spent alot of time trying to decide on 3rd since all the rest entrants had big issues. 

  This year I had a team tell me every single model save for first place had basic alignment issues in their gear. So how is it that all of these models need recognition when most are having real issues?

  And finally we want to "grow" the society,  we want more and more models on tables. We had over 3k in Vegas, we're pretty damned successful as it is, why do we want to mess with success ? We're quickly getting to the point where we won't be able to handle the job of judging. And everyone with all their suggestions need to remember and consider the judges volunteering their time. Push to hard for drastic changes and you'll loose the judges. Then what happens? do you have a reserve pool of 250 judges sitting around that I don't know about and if so why aren't we using them now? 

 Jim Clark  NCC/ Head Aircraft judge

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I still say small medallions are the most classy. They don’t have to be generic, but that doesn’t really bother me, if they were. But never go back to the big ugly bowling trophies, please!

Picking what we like best is not the worst way to chose winners. In fact, it may turn out to be the only way if numbers of entries continue to grow.

Dak

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