# Thread: Interesting CoP description / breakdown

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## Interesting CoP description / breakdown

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Blades on Ice updates their news page on the first of each month. This month, there's some material on the first person to win a medal under the new system, who the victor would (probably) have been under the old system, and a rundown of some numbers.

It's just over a third of the way down the page. Search for "Nebelhorn".

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Interesting. I'll admit I haven't done my research on the CoP, but I'm asking anyway ... what is this Grade of Excellence? Is it a way to bring subjectivity into this supposedly more fair method of judging? Am I being too cynical here?

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Very interesting! Mathman, I think this answers your question as to what happens if a jump the skater executes gets downgraded, and than the skater repeats that jump (In the article, skater does triple instead of quad, so his next triple does not count).

Tharrtell, there is ALWAYS some subjectivity. GoE is basically how well an element is executed. Think about it -- otherwise, all skaters who do a spiral would get the same number of points regardless of what extension they got and how they used their edges. So yes, this is subjective, but it is only subjective within given limits (for every element there is a minimum and a maximum GoE; the judge only says -2, -1, 0, 1, or 2, and the computer figures out exactly how much it should add or subtract for the given element). Thing about it this way -- it's like sentecing guidelines -- the law tell the judge what the minimum and maximum are for the given offense, and the judge passes out the sentence within those limits.

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Ptichka, I know there will always be subjectivity in figure skating - if for nothing more than it's judged by humans. However, I was reading the GoE as a legit way of factoring subjectivity into the equation. Your explanation makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

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The biggest question I have about the CoP is how the up to 50 points in the five "presentation" categories will work into the equation. If the difference between a great triple Lutz (+2) and a bad one (-2) is only a few points, it seems like all this technical bean-counting can be swept away anyway and it will just come down to who the judges liked the best. Just like it always has.

Mathman

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Originally posted by Mathman
The biggest question I have about the CoP is how the up to 50 points in the five "presentation" categories will work into the equation. If the difference between a great triple Lutz (+2) and a bad one (-2) is only a few points, it seems like all this technical bean-counting can be swept away anyway and it will just come down to who the judges liked the best. Just like it always has.

Mathman
The criteria for the "presentation" categories is very strict. There's a 1-point discretionary spread per description. In the past if a judge were asked why s/he gave skater A 5.8, s/he could justify just about anything: "she made me feel the tragedy, he was so powerful, etc. etc." If s/he gives someone 8-8.75 in skating skills, s/he better be able to explain why skater A had:

*Speed attained easily through very good skating technique, *Ability to skate easily and quickly with minimal effort
*Very good command of steps and edges in general
*Skating includes examples of most complex turns (i.e., rocker, counter, choctaw)
*Very good flow throughout program - very strong glide and flow sustained; skater is comfortable on different deep edges
*Very strong use of lean to achieve edge quality

Otherwise, s/he hasn't followed the scoring guidelines, like when there are few complex turns, use of inner and flat on the blade only, and/or chugging to gain speed.

Likewise, even for choreography, arguably with interpretation the foofiest of all,
*Skater includes original, interesting, and varied high risk linking steps and moves throughout program to enhance presentation and add to difficulty of elements completed
*Program includes many known and several creative and unspecified elements all very well executed
*Program elements regularly incorporate original and difficult entry and exit phrases, positions, and/or moves adding to the difficulty of the elements.

If there are no moves that add difficulty, but a lot of posturing and flailing or cha-cha-ing, it would be impossible to justify an 8 for choreography.

I can't find the Interactive Guide anymore on the ISU site, but they've posted a printable (alas but not cut-and-pastable) Adobe file at Points Code . It's 159 pages long, and has all of the detail for each points spread, and takes forever to download. "Points Code" is also the name of the link from the ISU Home Page.

My question is whether the ISU will enforce the rules, or whether current high-ranked skaters will get the benefit of the doubt in presentation scores. If they have the will to enforce it, the audit trail is there.

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Hockeyfan - Quote:The criteria for the "presentation" categories is very strict. There's a 1-point discretionary spread per description. In the past if a judge were asked why s/he gave skater A 5.8, s/he could justify just about anything: "she made me feel the tragedy, he was so powerful, etc. etc." If s/he gives someone 8-8.75 in skating skills, s/he better be able to explain why skater A had:

*Speed attained easily through very good skating technique, *Ability to skate easily and quickly with minimal effort
*Very good command of steps and edges in general
*Skating includes examples of most complex turns (i.e., rocker, counter, choctaw)
*Very good flow throughout program - very strong glide and flow sustained; skater is comfortable on different deep edges
*Very strong use of lean to achieve edge quality Unquote
__________________________________________________ __
If a judge were asked....... Who will ask the judge? The Caller? and what if there is a bad explanation? Is any of this covered in the Code of Ethics?

Joe

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Originally posted by Joesitz
If a judge were asked....... Who will ask the judge? The Caller? and what if there is a bad explanation? Is any of this covered in the Code of Ethics? Joe
There was a provision last year that a certain number of months after competition, the ISU would lift the veil of secrecy and review judges scores. According to one of the ISU Communications, they called a series of judges on the carpet to explain their judging, because they were out of whack from the rest of the panel and/or showed national bias. I haven't heard that this will change for CoP.

What I think is great about CoP is that it isn't a matter of just agreeing with your peers on the score, but whether the score is matches the description. If they interview a bunch of judges who seem to be out-of-line for a given element or type of element, they can find out if the judges can't see something from ice level, if there's something inconsistent or unclear in the scoring rules, or if the judges need to be re-educated about certain elements.

Examined correctly, intent doesn't matter, whether it be cheating, incompetence, or bias. The only thing that matters is behavior, i.e., how close to the rules each judge's scores are. Then they can either fix the rules, or give the judge X amount of time to get with the program.

It's a matter of whether the ISU will use the data that they'll be gathering.

(PS. I sent you an PM regarding Worlds )

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Originally posted by hockeyfan228
What I think is great about CoP is that it isn't a matter of just agreeing with your peers on the score, but whether the score matches the description.
...
It's a matter of whether the ISU will use the data that they'll be gathering.
I think those are two very excellent points. I'm sure I'll get to them somewhere in this rambling post...

I've been pretty excited about the CoP since seeing the ISU interactive website. I hope that's still available- hockeyfan mentioned earlier that he couldn't find it anymore. Also, the results from the Nebelhorn competition were interesting. You could look at each individual score, for each element, grade of excellence, and for each of the "program components" (read: presentation) marks. (I have been called a "data pig" before.)

I hadn't seen the information on the "marking range" before (it's in the pdf that hockeyfan mentions). Before it sounded like the program components score could be abused, but I think the marking range standards bring it back to the score matching the standards matching the skate, as hockeyfan mentioned.

I noticed on the Nebelhorn thread that many people were still concerned about the anonymity of the judges, and how that lends itself to collusion among judges and nationalistic favoritism. I think that there is a difference in the conception of the problem between most US vs. international observers. We tend to think of it in terms of individual judges who collude with others or mark up their own skaters; the ISU seems more concerned about pressure on judges from their national federations- that by freeing them from the scrutiny of their own federations they are able to judge fairly. It's a somewhat (stereo)typical division in thinking- we see it as an individual problem, they as a systematic one. Neither is right or wrong, or excludes the other, it's just a question of emphasis.

That does bring me to the second part of hockeyfan's statement; we have to wonder if the ISU will actually use any of this information they're collecting. Will they challenge judges on their marks. That has been an extremely weak point for the ISU (e.g. why is the foot-tapper still judging?!!). I think this gives them the information they need, but they have to act on it (which is always the way with data- collecting great, useful data is only the first step!)

Finally, going back to hockeyfan's first point, I think the CoP wins big because it brings the scores back to the skate itself- does the score apply the standard to the skate. While there's room to wiggle, and ISU needs to stay on top of it, it certainly brings it back to what's actually happening on the ice. However, I personally will miss the thrill of seeing 6.0 flash up for those great skates. CoP may lose big in that sense. Can anyone tell me how scores are reported at the event- will there even still be a kiss and cry? One last question that I haven't seen at USFSA or anywhere else- will the CoP be used for Nationals?

thanks for listening...
sk8fanconvert (Jeff)

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## spins and footwork

Okay, in all that previous rambling, I forgot one disappointment I have with CoP that I just have to air out. That is that spins and footwork count for relatively very little compared with other elements. Considering you have one footwork sequence, maybe 3 or 4 spins, compared to 6-8 jumps, and the possible scores for the spins and footwork are low in comparison to begin with.

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Those are interesting points, sk8fanconvert. It has already been reported that both Michelle and Sasha have planned to downsize their spirals because the reward for a super one is not that much better than for just a pretty good one. In some of her recent interviews Sasha has made the point quite explicitly that the CoP does not reward "pushing the envelope." For instance, the extra points that you get for attempting a triple-triple instead of a triple double, is not worth the risk of failing. So we will probably see less adventuresome skating, at least until the skaters and their coaches get used to the new system.

Mathman

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Originally posted by Mathman
Sasha has made the point quite explicitly that the CoP does not reward "pushing the envelope." For instance, the extra points that you get for attempting a triple-triple instead of a triple double, is not worth the risk of failing. So we will probably see less adventuresome skating, at least until the skaters and their coaches get used to the new system.
Mathman
Yes, this is disappointing. When I first looked at the CoP, I thought the rewards seemed like it would challenge skaters, but that's not what they're thinking. The deemphasis of spirals and other elements (spins, footwork) is, to me, even more disconcerting. We've recently seen the footwork sequences become major elements- at the very least from choreography and crowd-enthusiam standpoints. If these or other elements truly start to suffer under the CoP, I hope ISU will be prepared for revisions... I'm prepared to be optimistic for now.

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Originally posted by sk8fanconvert
Yes, this is disappointing. When I first looked at the CoP, I thought the rewards seemed like it would challenge skaters, but that's not what they're thinking. The deemphasis of spirals and other elements (spins, footwork) is, to me, even more disconcerting. We've recently seen the footwork sequences become major elements- at the very least from choreography and crowd-enthusiam standpoints. If these or other elements truly start to suffer under the CoP, I hope ISU will be prepared for revisions... I'm prepared to be optimistic for now.
This brings up two points:
*There seems to be an historical trend whereby clean skates and/or great presentation takes precedence over harder jumps, and then there's a shift towards rewarding harder jumps and combinations. Although I think CoP tends toward the former, it will be a few years of watching how strictly CoP rules are retained and enforced before it's clear if the trend will move again toward the latter.

*We tend to equate "pushing the envelope" with jumps. I share your disappointment with the lowballed point values for spins and footwork. I wonder if this is the ISU's way of balancing a quantity limit for jumps with rewards for jumps.

I am glad that Kwan has dropped the changing edge spiral, at least for now, because it's in every one of her competitive programs. As beautiful as it is, like any signature move, it gets old after a while. I also don't know why she'd change it to adjust to CoP this year, when CoP won't be used for Nationals or Worlds, and it sounds like "Tosca" isn't fully cooked yet.

It's clear that Cohen hasn't read the CoP very well if she's "dumbed down" her spirals. I think one of the great things about CoP is that it codifies difficult entrances and exits throughout. There are only a couple of ways to increase difficulty in entrances of jumps, spins, footwork, and pairs throws, lifts, twists, and death spirals: add steps, moves in the field, and spirals. Case in point: Cohen's half-rink-length Charlotte with an immediate reverse of direction into the footwork section in Rach 2. Under the recent CoP clarification, a spin in both directions counts as a single spin and ups the difficult by one level.

In transitions, the levels are based on varying steps, penalizing programs that rely primarily on cross-overs, and using moves in the field and spirals going into the other elements. In choreography, linking steps and elements are rewarded.

Also, there's a two-point bonus for an original move, good for the entire season if the skater/team is the first to do it and no other skater/team performs it in that first competition. The bonus is scored each in each program the skater/pair performs it for the rest of the season. (Also in the clarifications.)

So there are many cases that reward steps, moves in the field, spirals, and spins like Klimkin's bi-directional camel into 3Sal in both the GOE scores and the program elements scores, besides the point differential for elements.

About the tapping judges, despite the videotape and the resulting placement, the ISU is stymied to an extent, because they couldn't quite prove intent to cheat. It's not like the teacher found the note. Under OBO any judge could talk their way out of any placement. Each year, when the ISU looks at scoring patterns among the judges, they have a little more ammo, and each year, they call judges on the carpet. Under CoP they don't have to prove intent, just results, because very little is relative, and behavior is the only thing that counts.

BTW, I'm actually a she, who grew up in Madison Square Garden watching the Rangers and Knicks

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It seems to me as if maybe they need a robot for a judge.

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Originally posted by sk8fanconvert

However, I personally will miss the thrill of seeing 6.0 flash up for those great skates. CoP may lose big in that sense. Can anyone tell me how scores are reported at the event- will there even still be a kiss and cry? One last question that I haven't seen at USFSA or anywhere else- will the CoP be used for Nationals?

thanks for listening...
sk8fanconvert (Jeff)
skafanconvert - I can't help but agree with you and Hockeyfan and of course, there is room to wiggle. Yet your last few sentences (above) got to me. Will the CoP lose interest for the average viewer? I am wondering if interest in figure skating will continue to decline. It appears that Pro skating has already been replaced by NASCAR on US television.

Joe

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