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Thread: Proposal for Ongoing Fan Protest of Anonymous Judging

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    Proposal for Ongoing Fan Protest of Anonymous Judging

    I originally batted this idea back and forth with the incomparable Mrs P during the more "interesting" scoring moments of the Sochi Olympics (who could single one out--there were so many of them!). But I decided to wait and see if TBTB in the wacky world of skating would actually vote to eliminate at least one of the most glaring problems with competitions today or would they stick to business as usual. Surprise, surprise, business as usual won again. So here goes.

    As a preamble, a lot of these ideas come from the lessons learned from the ACT UP protests in the US, one of the most successful protest movements ever. Act Up was formed to bring attention to the woeful state of available treatments for AIDS patients, price gouging by US pharmaceutical companies for the few pitiful treatments available, and particularly to address the problems of the Food and Drug Administration process to approve potential new treatments for AIDS in a timely matter (potential pharmaceutical treatments were expected to follow the same protocols for approval as say a hair dye or cough drop--on average 7 years; this when the average expected life span of a patient with AIDS was 2 years or less). Act Up achieved success with all of these objectives.

    Some things I learned from Act Up:

    1. Protests need to be focused. Its "message" should be clear, coherent and on target. Don't clutter up a protest with too many issues. For example, one of the first protests was staged at New York's Stock exchange, specifically to bring attention to the fact that Welcome-Burroughs, a pharmaceutical company, was significantly inflating the price of the only effective treatment at the time: AZT. Several days following this demonstration, Burroughs Wellcome lowered the price of AZT from $10,00 to $6,400 per patient per year.

    2. Theatricality brings attention. Attention, after all, is the goal of any protest movement. Act Up burned public figures in effigy, filmed their own protests, made that film available to the news media. Chanting is important--and each Act Up protest had specific chants to get the "message" of that particular action across (such as "SELL WELCOME" for the Wall Street protest), but the theatricality adds visual impact. And at a time when most people get their news from television, the visual and theatrical may the most important component of any protest movement.

    3. A simple logo can embody the message. For Act Up, that logo was the now famous Pink Triangle won by gay prisoners of the Nazi Holocaust with the legend SILENCE=DEATH. Visual, dramatic, on point.

    So, how can we apply these lessons to the an ongoing fan protest of anonymous judging?

    We need to emphasize that such a protest is not against any particular country or skater. The system as a whole is at fault; the protest needs to clearly and simply indicate that it is a system-wide problem. No figure pointing at Country X or that Skater Y "should have won." Playing the blame game that way dilutes the message.

    1. Keep the message simple: TURN THE LIGHT ON JUDGING.

    2. A simple logo with this message. I suggest a black square or rink-shaped logo with the message that can be worn to events. Perhaps an entrepreneurial type can design a tshirt. Tshirts can be wonderfully effective. Gets that message out to people who aren't dedicated fans. Plus it's visual, dramatic, simple and on-point. And you can wear it in the summer!

    3. Fans who attend skating shows should not only wear the black square or rink-shaped logo on their clothing (even a black ribbon could suffice), but also bring small black flags, similar to the flags of individual countries already waved at events. I propose these flags should be waved at all times when they would not interrupt the skaters' performances. Imagine the impact a rink full of fans waving black flags and chanting TURN THE LIGHT ON JUDGING could have. It would certainly play well on televised events, and would give mass media something to focus on. And again, getting attention is the name of the game in any protest movement.

    Feel free to add your suggestions.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I think it might be hard for the proposed protest to gain traction. In the case of the ACT UP demonstrations, it was a matter of life and death.

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    Yes, I realize both points you make are valid. There isn't the same urgency as there was with Act Up. And it is difficult to gain traction with such a protest because there aren't fan organizations in the same way that there were Act Up organizations or Queer Nation organizations. Which is why I have tried to make the proposal as simple as possible: wear a black square or ribbon when attending a skating event; bring a black flag to wave at appropriate moments; let people know you are doing so because a light should be turned on judges and judging. Simple, clear, visual. But if a few people each time a skating event is held simply do this, it can gain momentum. Believe me, even the first meetings of Act Up had a relatively small number of participants as opposed to the general population of LGBT people. Those numbers grew over time.

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    Hang on, aren't you basically advocating what everyone hated so much about the Olympic crowd? Chanting and flag waving?

    I think that changes should be made to the judging system, but let me make one thing clear. If I had the chance to go to a Grand Prix or other huge event and people were waving black flags and chanting stuff and generally ruining my experience, I'd be majorly cranky.

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    Size 7 Knife Boots Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karne View Post
    Hang on, aren't you basically advocating what everyone hated so much about the Olympic crowd? Chanting and flag waving?

    I think that changes should be made to the judging system, but let me make one thing clear. If I had the chance to go to a Grand Prix or other huge event and people were waving black flags and chanting stuff and generally ruining my experience, I'd be majorly cranky.
    I don't know...I might pay just to see that?

    I'd wear a little black flag or a pin that had shadow judges giving perfect 10's. I wouldn't chant anything though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by karne View Post
    Hang on, aren't you basically advocating what everyone hated so much about the Olympic crowd? Chanting and flag waving?

    I think that changes should be made to the judging system, but let me make one thing clear. If I had the chance to go to a Grand Prix or other huge event and people were waving black flags and chanting stuff and generally ruining my experience, I'd be majorly cranky.
    The chanting and flag waving was national partisanship. That's a very different kettle of fish than what I am proposing. This isn't directed at the skaters themselves AT ALL. Which is why I suggested that people should wave a black flag only during those parts of a competition where it would not directly affect a skater's performance, and having now watched a number of competitions via streaming from pre-judges introduction to medal ceremonies, there are plenty of possibilities.

    For me, the crap judging at Sochi did more to make me majorly cranky than even the boorish Ross-i-ya chants. I'm still majorly cranky about it four months later.

    If you are uncomfortable with chanting,as Sam says, simply wear a little black flag. If someone asks you why, tell them. And encourage them to wear one the next time they go to a skating competition. The important thing is to get the message across. Turn the light on judging.

    If you do nothing, nothing changes. If AIDS had happened now, with online boards and social media, and all LGBT people did was post on a board, probably nothing would have changed. Just sayin'...

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeakAnkles View Post
    The chanting and flag waving was national partisanship. That's a very different kettle of fish than what I am proposing. This isn't directed at the skaters themselves AT ALL. Which is why I suggested that people should wave a black flag only during those parts of a competition where it would not directly affect a skater's performance, and having now watched a number of competitions via streaming from pre-judges introduction to medal ceremonies, there are plenty of possibilities.

    For me, the crap judging at Sochi did more to make me majorly cranky than even the boorish Ross-i-ya chants. I'm still majorly cranky about it four months later.

    If you are uncomfortable with chanting,as Sam says, simply wear a little black flag. If someone asks you why, tell them. And encourage them to wear one the next time they go to a skating competition. The important thing is to get the message across. Turn the light on judging.

    If you do nothing, nothing changes. If AIDS had happened now, with online boards and social media, and all LGBT people did was post on a board, probably nothing would have changed. Just sayin'...
    Is it different? I don't see how it is. The Ross-i-ya chant was not directed at the skaters themselves either. Nor was the Can-a-da chant in Vancouver. If you label that chanting "boorish" then you must label what you are advocating "boorish" too.

    It did not escape my notice that the sort of protest you are advocating includes burning effigies and that sort of hooligan behaviour. Do we really want to start down that dark path? Do we want to reduce figure skating fans to the level of soccer or ice hockey hooligans?

    And despite your continual protests that it would not be directed at any one skater, how can it be seen as anything other than directed at Adelina? How do you suppose she would feel with a bunch of fans chanting and screaming and waving flags that are directed squarely at her gold medal, knowing that she is a victim of abuse and threats simply because she happened to beat Yuna?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karne View Post
    And despite your continual protests that it would not be directed at any one skater, how can it be seen as anything other than directed at Adelina? How do you suppose she would feel with a bunch of fans chanting and screaming and waving flags that are directed squarely at her gold medal, knowing that she is a victim of abuse and threats simply because she happened to beat Yuna?
    I think it is time to let all that go. Moving on, the anonymous judging issue was debated and voted on by the membership of the ISU with a majority of federations supporting the proposals of the USA, Russia, and Greece to eliminate anonymous judging. The proposal did not achieve the required two-thirds. By 2016 there will be new leadership in the ISU, maybe better, maybe worse than the current crew. There is no reason why figure skating fans shouldn't try to put in their two cents worth, rather than sitting back and hoping that someone else will do something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    There is no reason why figure skating fans shouldn't try to put in their two cents worth, rather than sitting back and hoping that someone else will do something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think it is time to let all that go. Moving on, the anonymous judging issue was debated and voted on by the membership of the ISU with a majority of federations supporting the proposals of the USA, Russia, and Greece to eliminate anonymous judging. The proposal did not achieve the required two-thirds. By 2016 there will be new leadership in the ISU, maybe better, maybe worse than the current crew. There is no reason why figure skating fans shouldn't try to put in their two cents worth, rather than sitting back and hoping that someone else will do something.
    Exactly. Thank you.

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    Love popcorn, hate horendous costumes Meoima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think it is time to let all that go. Moving on, the anonymous judging issue was debated and voted on by the membership of the ISU with a majority of federations supporting the proposals of the USA, Russia, and Greece to eliminate anonymous judging. The proposal did not achieve the required two-thirds. By 2016 there will be new leadership in the ISU, maybe better, maybe worse than the current crew. There is no reason why figure skating fans shouldn't try to put in their two cents worth, rather than sitting back and hoping that someone else will do something.
    I also hope for a better council in 2016.

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    I dunno... I can see both sides here. On one hand, if a protest can bring out change, that'll be a good thing. On the other hand, I see Karne's point--how is this any different from the Rossiya (or Canada) chants? Those chants weren't directed at specific skaters either. I think it's bound to be disruptive to the skaters and fellow audience members. The real question is, is that worth it for the "greater good"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by karne View Post
    Is it different? I don't see how it is. The Ross-i-ya chant was not directed at the skaters themselves either. Nor was the Can-a-da chant in Vancouver. If you label that chanting "boorish" then you must label what you are advocating "boorish" too.

    It did not escape my notice that the sort of protest you are advocating includes burning effigies and that sort of hooligan behaviour. Do we really want to start down that dark path? Do we want to reduce figure skating fans to the level of soccer or ice hockey hooligans?

    And despite your continual protests that it would not be directed at any one skater, how can it be seen as anything other than directed at Adelina? How do you suppose she would feel with a bunch of fans chanting and screaming and waving flags that are directed squarely at her gold medal, knowing that she is a victim of abuse and threats simply because she happened to beat Yuna?
    I agree with all of the above.

    Anonymous judging has been with us for a long time.
    So why the call to protest NOW?
    Yeah, I think we all know the answer to that.

    I am against anonymous judging, but I do NOT support the proposed methods of protest - and I'm going to be cranky too, if people spoil the experience for myself and others with innapropriate forms of protest at competitions.

    Any form of protests could be distracting for the competitors - and I do NOT want to see blameless competitors suffer, because of alleged "crimes" by judges, or because of fans who didn't like "a particular result".

    I'm not even convinced of the need for protests anyway. A majority of countries already voted to get rid of anonymous judging - but it just wan't a big enough majority this time. They didn't need any fan protests at all, to make that much progress.

    I'd rather see lobbying of federations, than protests at competitions... Or if people feel they must protest, do it outside the venue. It will still get media attention if done right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandpiper View Post
    I see Karne's point--how is this any different from the Rossiya (or Canada) chants?
    Very different, to me. If you go to a sports event and shout USA! USA! or Go Ohio State! Go Ohio State! -- well, yeah, away games can be tough. I suppose it is rude to the visitors. We should instead start up a chant of, "We just want everyone to perform their best! We just want everyone to perform their best!"

    "Turn the light on judging! Turn the light on judging!"

    http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs36/i/20...by_pekwall.jpg
    Last edited by Mathman; 06-23-2014 at 01:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by karne View Post
    And despite your continual protests that it would not be directed at any one skater, how can it be seen as anything other than directed at Adelina? How do you suppose she would feel with a bunch of fans chanting and screaming and waving flags that are directed squarely at her gold medal, knowing that she is a victim of abuse and threats simply because she happened to beat Yuna?
    It is a bit ironic that they would be protesting against South Korea for upholding anonymous judging while they are predominantly Yuna fans.

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