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Thread: Are All Judging Panels Equal?

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Are All Judging Panels Equal?

    A dear friend of mine who travels to LIVE competitions brought up this question after she read the protocols:

    Patrick got 20 points more at SC than Abbott got at NHK. Similarly Adam got 10 points more than Abbott got at NHK. hmm, if true:

    We can not believe in World Standings if points are used; we can not believe in Personal Bests.

    But can we believe in the good trust of the judges with regard to scoring?

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    I feel that judges must be consistent within an event to ensure the correct result, but may not always be consistent between one event and another. I think the Olympics were greatly inflated, but all the skaters were probably inflated equally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    A dear friend of mine who travels to LIVE competitions brought up this question after she read the protocols:

    Patrick got 20 points more at SC than Abbott got at NHK. Similarly Adam got 10 points more than Abbott got at NHK. hmm, if true:

    We can not believe in World Standings if points are used; we can not believe in Personal Bests.

    But can we believe in the good trust of the judges with regard to scoring?
    The only way to make it more fair is to have the same judges (and more) for all GP events. Also don't go by points to rank the world standings, give a value to the place they got such as 1st place gets 500 pts, 2nd place 450 pts and so on. So idf scores are iflated for some reason it wont matter if the rankings were in the proper order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PolymerBob View Post
    I feel that judges must be consistent within an event to ensure the correct result, but may not always be consistent between one event and another. I think the Olympics were greatly inflated, but all the skaters were probably inflated equally.
    If the ISU is going to recognize season's best and personal best scores, or even world records, it definitely needs to be consistent between seasons. Unfortunately, since the rules can change dramatically from one season to the next, and the judging different from one event to the next, it may only be practical to be consistent within an event.

    I don't feel the Olympics were "greatly" inflated--keep in mind that many, if not most, skaters actually had clean performances. It's rare for an event--let alone the Olympics--to have so many clean skates. I believe the appearance of "great" inflation came from two causes: clean performances and an "Olympics bonus." When you take out the extra points from a clean performance, the "Olympics bonus" wasn't that big.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I think the differences from one event to another are more a reflection of the techical specialists than of the judging panels.

    With nine judges chosen at random, it would seem unlikely that all of them would get together and say, "let's all be stingy with GOEs at this competition."

    But a strict or lenient tech caller can make a big difference, in terms of edge calls, under-rotations, etc.

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    I think it's possible that the judges could decide to be stingy with GOEs, if there was a lot of talking going around about GOE inflation before that competition, perhaps. Or they might decide to be harder than usual on lack of transitions after it was discussed at length. Maybe at the last GP there was a skater who got completely out of sync with her music due to a glitch in the sound system, skated straight through, and got very high Interpretation marks anyway, and there was a minor scandal about it. I think there are lots of things that could influence the panels one way or another, on a subconscious level, or just because they're taking a closer look at one certain aspect of skating due to recent events.

    Humans are pretty lousy at being completely unbiased and consistent, in my experience. It's just not how our psychology seems to work, for the most part.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    So we are saying that scores in one competition need not be compared to other comps.

    I do not think there is any conspiracy here despite the poster who loves to cite them.

    If Takahashi got a set of scores in one competition and Chan got a different set of scores in another competition, that should not affect the World Standings. Is that correct?

    If Amodio scores in one comp higher than Rippon in another, would that affect the World Standings?

    What about Seasonal Bests?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    If Takahashi got a set of scores in one competition and Chan got a different set of scores in another competition, that should not affect the World Standings. Is that correct?
    Correct. The World standings are not based on how many CoP points you get.

    If Amodio scores in one comp higher than Rippon in another, would that affect the World Standings?
    No. The World Standings are based on placements. You get 1200 points for finishing first at Worlds, 1080 for second place, 972 for third place, etc., regardless of how many CoP points you score in your performances. Finishing in the top 8 at other events give you a lesser number of points. These are accumulated over two years to determine the World Standings.

    What about Seasonal Bests?
    There are two separate lists here. The Season World Rankings are like the World Standings in that you get points for placements in various international events during that season. Again, how high your programs scored with the judges doesn't count, just placement.

    The Season World Rankings are used to determine who wins the $50,000 bonus at the the end of the year. I think they are also used to determine which countries qualify for the World Team Trophy competition.

    By the way, the top five men in the Season World Rankings so far this year are

    Artur Gachinski
    Andrei Rogozine
    Han Yan
    Joshua Farris
    Konstantin Menshov

    Besides that, each skater has a "personal best" in terms of highest CoP points for short program, long program, and combined. This is just for fun. I don't think it is used for anything.

    I think that the list of the top 75 CoP point-getters in the previous season does play a role in receiving Grand Prix assignments. For instance if you have a personal season best that is higher than someone who finished in the top six at Worlds, then you are guaranteed to get two Grand Prix assignments, or something like that.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    ^ Thank you for the information. My main point here is that different panels produce different scores. This is obvious. I do not think it is just because of the Tech Panel, although it certainly can contribute to it. (Personally, I think that panel serves no purpose other than to insult the integrity of the judges.) They all have the same view of the ice. They all could have a slomo machine.

    Your thoughts on Grand Prix assignments do have an affect on different panels and Personal Bests would depend on points.

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    Different panels will see things differently just as they did in the 6.0 era.
    As gkelly correctly reminds us from time to time "judges are human."

    Maybe because I am an older fan I rarely get caught up the the point totals and still think of placements as the most important thing. I consider where did Joubert place at COC and where will he place at his next GP event. But point totals certainly do matter as they determine the podiums and overall placements at competitions.

    I wonder about the purpose of the tech panel......sometimes it feels more political with the judges under the control of the federations they represent and the tech panel under control of the ISU.

    Isn't it possible that a judge might see a step sequence as a level three only to have the caller declare it a level 4?
    What if a few judges did not mind or even liked Joubert's spins at COC? Did they fit the program? It doesn't matter because Joubert's spins were not decided by the judges but by the tech panel who saw something different and decided they were level 1.

    I dunno, I think Joe raises a good point. If I was a judge I don't think I would take too kindly to being supervised and in some instances told I was incompetent to score without additional help from the panel.

    It seems under CoP that skating got so caught up in nitpicking the jumps they forgot about how to evaluate some of the components. It took a skater, Plushenko, in his own words to tell us the judges are full of crap when it comes to marking TR.

    Seeing Miki, a fine technical skater always getting the reputation type pcs shows how askew the CoP can get as it continues 6.0's tradition of reputation scoring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Isn't it possible that a judge might see a step sequence as a level three only to have the caller declare it a level 4?
    Judges aren't looking at the step sequence in terms of the level -- they're not counting the numbers of different kinds of turns or turns in both directions or how many times the skater moves her head and torso in addition to her arms and feet, and they haven't memorized the rules for how many of each the skater would need to qualify for level 2 or 3 or 4.

    Not all judges were skaters themselves at all (most were, but different federations may recruit judges differently), and if they did skate they may not have skated at a high enough level that the differences between brackets vs. rockers vs. counters is ingrained in their muscle memory. Or their own skating may have been so long ago that they've lost the muscle memory.
    Which would make it difficult to distinguish between them by sight in real time.

    The exception would be those judges who are also trained as technical controllers. But they may watch step sequences with very different mental approaches when sitting on the tech panel vs. on the judging panel.

    Technical specialists need to be able to make those calls in real time. That's one reason why they're required to be former high-level skaters and/or coaches who work with these skills on a daily basis. And, of course, they have to memorize those rules for each feature.

    So judges may be aware of whether a step sequence looks complicated or simple or in between, and they could penalize a step sequence on GOE if it looked "too" simple even for level 1 (no turns in the opposite direction at all, no difficult turns at all, lots of forward or backward steps in a row without turns, lots of two-foot skating, crossovers to pick up speed lost in the other steps, etc.). Or with the new choreo step sequence in the senior men's LP, they could reward a sequence for using complexity effectively even when it's not required.

    But otherwise, they're supposed to be judging the quality of the edges, cleanliness of the turns, speed and flow, relation to the music, and other aspects of how well the sequence was executed.

    It's the tech panel that focuses on the nitty-gritty of exactly what steps were executed and how they match the specific rules of what qualifies for level 2 or 3 or 4.

    What if a few judges did not mind or even liked Joubert's spins at COC? Did they fit the program? It doesn't matter because Joubert's spins were not decided by the judges but by the tech panel who saw something different and decided they were level 1.
    The judges can give +GOE to the spins, even +3 if they liked a lot of things about them.
    Yes, I know the Scale of Values often rewards adding another level more than raising the GOE one more point. That's one thing about the rules I'd like to see changed -- let quality always be worth more than quantity for these features. (I'd also like to see 1 feature worth more than 0 features.)

    Judges can also reward the spins in the Choreography component if they thought they fit the program especially well and/or showed some originality.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation gkelly. Your comments about judges are interesting and when I said something similar last year I was crucified by a few Canadian posters who wrote at great length about the rigorous training Canadian judges are put through. That may true but perhaps not for all federations.

    The idea of the tech panel at times seems good as expertise is certainly required to judge skating - now more than ever under such a complex system.

    I wonder if a pc specialist could be added to the panel? As long as skating consists of two programs that are skated to music with the only difference being the duration it seems more attention could be paid to the components.

    Much of that area is subjective ....... and the judges need something to do

    But why does the ISU feel added expertise is needed for the technical elements and not for the pcs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Thanks for the explanation gkelly. Your comments about judges are interesting and when I said something similar last year I was crucified by a few Canadian posters who wrote at great length about the rigorous training Canadian judges are put through. That may true but perhaps not for all federations.

    The idea of the tech panel at times seems good as expertise is certainly required to judge skating - now more than ever under such a complex system.
    Well, all judges have to go through rigorous judging training to get to the international level, although the details of how each federation trains them are different and I think some smaller feds rely on ISU seminars to train their international judges.

    But judging training means recognizing elements and edges and errors, and knowing the judging rules and the guidelines for the scoring that judges do, whatever they happen to be at the time, and keeping up with the changes.

    Under IJS, that does not include determining the level of a spin or step sequence. That task belongs to the tech panel.

    Judges who were also skaters have an advantage over judges who never skated themselves or never got to a high level when it comes to things that are better learned in one's own body than intellectually. A smart, well-trained judge can learn the intellectual parts just as well as or better than the former skater, but she won't feel it in her own body the same way.

    Speaking as an adult skater who got to preliminary level as a kid and not much further as an adult, I understand the difference between rockers and counters, even though I can only do a few of them on the ice myself, and even fewer that I'd put in a program.

    But if I'm watching a step sequence, in real time I might think "Rocker! Or was that a counter? Wait, maybe it was a bracket. What edge did it start and end on? Which way did he turn? Let me rewind!"

    That wouldn't work if I were a tech specialist trying to call the level of a step sequence. :lol:

    If I were judging a step sequence under 6.0, I could recognize that yes, the sequence did have several difficult turns in it, which is all that judging required.

    When the new system came in and wanted to give specific rewards for specific kinds of difficulty in jumps and spins, one of the things they also introduced was specific rewards for variety/complexity in the kinds of steps and turns used in the step sequences. So that meant it was no longer enough to recognize "difficult turn" -- someone also had to keep track of how many different kinds of difficult turns were used. That's what's much harder to do in real time in the middle of a complex sequence.

    Then there are also picky rules that have changed a few times over the years, like you have to have at least eight different turns with each kind of turn counting no more than twice to get level 2, etc. That's new knowledge that was never required in the 6.0 system -- not just identifying what the skater did, but also how it fit into that year's specific rules for step sequence levels.

    BTW, I'm pretty sure that it's a lot less common for ice dance judges not to have been ice dancers themselves. So much of what's being judged in that discipline is picky little technical details that are completely invisible to the untrained eye.
    I'm enjoying Belbin's commentary on Universal Sports because she educates me a little more about some of those details that are only obvious to trained ice dancers.

    At least ice dance at a social level is also something that is more suited to starting as an adult.

    I wonder if a pc specialist could be added to the panel?
    How would that work? What would that person do?

    Right now the panel is just responsible for identifying the elements that make up the technical content.
    I could see introducing more different kinds of technical content, involving skills that right now only fit into transitions, and having the tech panel identify those and give them levels. But then those would become elements.

    As long as skating consists of two programs that are skated to music with the only difference being the duration it seems more attention could be paid to the components.

    Much of that area is subjective ....... and the judges need something to do

    But why does the ISU feel added expertise is needed for the technical elements and not for the pcs?
    Right.

    Well, remember, most judges do have skating background.
    Having that knowledge in muscle memory would be useful for judging Skating Skills. It would also be useful for judging transitions especially when someone does something unusual to be able to sense in one's own body "Wow! That was a really difficult means of getting into that jump or spin! Big bump up on the GOE and also Transitions score" vs. "Cool flashy entrance to that move. But having done that kind of move myself, I can feel how that setup would in some ways make it a easier to do the move than the typical approach."

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    With all the hoopla and defensive remarks of some posters, we have to remember that like it's short testing in "B" competitions, it was also rushed to be the new official format of FS competition scoring. Cinquanta was a marked administrator if he did not clear up the innuendos that the Sport is crooked. Reason? Money lost on leaving fans. Action had to be taken immediately, hence the CoP, ready or not, was implemented. The one thing I like about the CoP, is that it did cut down dramatically on cheating judges. There is some possibilities of cheating but so much less than in the 6.0 System. I don't see all that much difference in the actual scoring of a competition. The supposed Tech comp can easily be overtaken with a splendid PC scoring. So there really is no Test of Tech in the SP. It's like 4 Falls can be saved by an old fashioned 6.0 component called skating ability like quads do not show skating ability except as a trick.

    The human element with all its biases will play on scores but can not influence the outcome unless there is regional bias emanating.
    If two elite skaters are competing in the same competition what would their nationalities mean to other judges? We don't know. All we know is that the panels are different and the total scores are different, and surprises will loom on what we do know.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    At least ice dance at a social level is also something that is more suited to starting as an adult.
    Totally off topic, but how do adult recreational skaters find partners? Must ladies drag their unwilling husbands/boyfriends to the rink, as in ballroom dancing? Or are there opportunities to pair up at the rink? Do ladies dance with each other if there are not enough gentlemen to go around (like the old-time junior high sock-hops of my youth, where the boys were too shy to ask the girls to dance? )

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