On gold, silver and bronze

22 Sep 95 08:11:00 EDT

On 21 Sep 95 at 8:55, SDW@qld.mim.com.au dribbled:

>> We changed to gsb to address these problems. Now the judging panel in

>> each class _may_ hand out one gold medal and as many silver and bronze

>> "as they can justify". Their deliberations are audited by the chief

>> judge any time there is a multiple award. They are not obliged to make

>> _any_ awards at all in a class if they determine that no model is of

>> medal standard. Finally, in exceptional circumstances, the chief judge

>> may sanction the award of a second gold medal in a class (though it
>> be a unanimous decision of the 3 panel members, chief and assistant
>> judge) He is also responsible for ensuring consistency between panels,

>> and can ask a panel to reconsider their awards.

And Matt replied:

>This sounds good. However, you've given the impression to the
>judges you have, that gold is more than a commodity. You've strained
>your judges by saying they _may_ hand out one gold, if appropriate.
>Since you only hand out one gold, then you've gone back to the
>"first, second, third" type judging. What happens if there are two
>models worthy of gold? It sounds like you've told your judges to be
>"picky" (my word) when handing out golds, so naturally there will be

This is without doubt a valid criticism. When we first considered moving
to gsb the most common complaint was that heard earlier in this debate
about devaluing the awards by having an "award everyone something"
system. We considered a proportional representation method like that
described by Steve H. in which the number of awards was related to the
number of entries, but still had the problem of (maybe) awarding a gold
to a lousy entry. The judges themselves (those at the last pre-gsb
anyway) decided that we should make the award of a gold medal dependant
on whether there was a worthy winner. This is what I meant by
_emphasising_ the word "may". The judges "may" award a gold, not "must"
award a gold.

A point you may have missed is that the panel (if confronted by 2 worthy
gold winners) can call on the chief judge and his assistant and may award
a second gold. It hasn't happened _yet_. When we designed the system we
worried about the possibility of _three or more_ but decided that
specifically allowing more would risk a slide into devalued awards.
Instead, there is a catch all phrase which says "The committee, in
consultation with the chief judge, may vary the rules of this competition
to account for unforeseen circumstances contrary to the spirit in which
it is intended to be held"

This allows any number of medals - BUT they will NEVER be awarded lightly
while I'm involved.

The criteria for award of a gold is this: That all 3 judges consider the
model an exceptional demonstration of the modellers art.

I thought at first that we were asking for trouble with such a loose
definition, but thus far agreement within the panels has been amicably
reached. I believe we have had just one case in which a panel was
uncertain whether a model was "exceptional" enough to be awarded a gold.
They consulted the chief judge (CJ) who is responsible to ensure that
there is consistency in judging. Incidentally the CJ has never denied an
award though he can do so.

There were two reasons we changed systems. The first (fairness of awards)
I have canvassed. The second was because of incompatible scoring systems
within the 6 major clubs in the area. Judging was becoming a minefield,
since the increasing number of entries made complicated unfamiliar
scoring systems too slow, and judges useing different schemes from
different clubs led to some terrible injustices. Now the judges simply
each choose their "medal worthy" models. All "worthies" are then
considered by the panel, who must justify opinions to each other, and be
prepared to justify to the CJ. There are now NO accusations that a judge
favoured any model, since the system is transparent, unlike a scoring
system where a steward totals 3 anonymous judges score sheets.

An innovation in the second year was the listing in the "judges handbook"
of "technical experts" Nominating judges were asked to list their areas
of expertise so that panels could ask for assistance when confronted with
models of which they felt unsure.

The happiest note of all is this. At this years contest a Fokker D.VIII
won the only gold awarded in the "large scale aircraft - modified or
scratchbuilt" class which is the most hotly contested class of all. It
beat at least 10 FW(omitted) and other excellent models. The judges
panelled were two Luftwaffe fans and a jet fanatic. They asked my opinion
on issues of accuracy, but otherwise could see the model was a deserving
gold. The D.VII also won the "Best in Show" trophy.

Nuff said. All of this is just ONE way to do things and there are
certainly others as good or better. To some degree the methods need to be
different depending on circumstance, so no system is liable to ever be
perfect. And one has to avoid becoming too worried about it since after
all, it IS a hobby.