Time to try this again.

There seems still to be a lot of confusion about the possibility that with the interim system of choosing nine judges out of fourteen, maybe the "wrong" person will win through "statistical error." This is not correct, even though a lot of people (some of whom claim some mathematical training and so ought to know better) are coming up with statements like, "In a 5-4 split the wrong person is given the victory 25% of the time," etc.

The problem is not with the business of selecting 9 "real" judges out of a pool of 14. Any system of selecting judges does this -- you have a pool of possible judges, then you select some of them actually to judge the contest. The problem is with the secrecy in the process.

To convince yourself of this, imagine that we use the same 9 out of 14 process, but that everything is done out in the open. Fifteen minutes before the event begins, the computer selects nine of the judges to be the real judges. Everybody knows who the nine are. The other 5 can either sit there and go through the motions just for fun, or they can repair to the nearest sports bar and watch on TV over a couple of cold ones.

Sure, a skater might complain, "Gee, I wish the computer had made a different choice -- I would have a better chance to win if I had a different judging panel." But this complaint is equally valid no matter how or when the selection of judges is made.

Mathman

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