"There are three social classes in America: upper middle class, middle class, and lower middle class." -- Judith Martin
Now we have numerous blogs and various social media platforms and constant online dialogue, much of it very uninformed, and some of it quite partisan. What is written online matters. Politicking used to be in back rooms, now it's online, consciously done or not. Many sports writers source their material from FSU, where sometimes I think we like arguing more than watching figure skating . Where that leads us, we'll see.
ETA: I also meant that if the 6.0 results had the level of scrutiny today's results have, with people watching competitions avidly online via live streams and dissecting minutely in real time...there'd have been an uproar and the judging system would have changed sooner, IMO. Maybe that would have been good, but what would we have changed it to? CoP or some other analytical marking scheme most likely.
Last edited by flowerpower; 03-23-2013 at 04:59 AM.
Note: I didn't just say EVERYONE hated it. But people did hate it. How many? Hard to say. But basically every time there was a controversial or incomprehensible judging decision, people ripped 6.0 to shreds.
Sometimes people just ripped the judges. Sometimes this ripping wasn't very informed. Like "how could Judge 1 give skater A a 5.4 when all the other judges gave him 5.6-5.8" and then we'd explain how 5.4 wasn't necessarily out of line because you had to look at the ordinals. (And often the 5.4 judge wasn't out of line.) Sometimes the ripping was informed but it would quickly go around in circles because we didn't really know why the judges ranked the skaters why they did. But the technical analysis could be interesting if you could filter through the crap and the whacko political theories.
Kind of like now.
Some common complaints:
-Too easy to manipulate
-Too hard to keep all the performances in your head so you can accurately rank them
-Performances of 6th ranked skater would change who was in 3rd and 4th if 6th ranked skater skated later
-Presentation and Technical scores were too tightly wrapped together (you never saw 4.4 for tech and 5.8 for presentation)
-Jumps were too rewarded over other skills like spins and footwork
-Falls weren't punished enough
-Holding marks for later skaters if a really good skater skated earlier
Last edited by MacMadame; 03-23-2013 at 04:49 AM.
Delete. Wrong Thread.
The more I learned about skating technique and rules, the more I understood and often agreed with the results.
So when people online argued against results they disagreed with -- and that did happen frequently -- or when I disagreed with the results myself, I usually tried to analyze why the judges might have come up with the rankings they did. Sometimes I changed my mind and sometimes I didn't. If I posted my thoughts online, maybe sometimes I changed other fans' minds about a particular result, or maybe not.
When people argued in favor of alternative systems, I usually defended the 6.0 system as it was practiced in the 1990s/early 2000s and pointed out potential drawbacks of the alternatives. I definitely did not like the idea of adopting the pro competition approach of giving two scores for technical merit and artistic impression, dropping high and low, and adding the remaining scores, because that could lead to even more paradoxes than ordinals.
A handful of thoughtful fans suggested more points-oriented systems, but the ones I discussed it with didn't have as much knowledge of skating technique so they couldn't provide detailed suggestions. I tended to point out what I saw as potential problems with what they proposed.
As a thought experiment I tried imagining different approaches to scoring that would be more specific than the two marks to produce ordinals approach. One possibility that I thought of was essentially a code of points with bonuses (+GOE for both quality and difficulty) and deductions (-GOE), without a separate tech panel. I had some reservations about whether the results would be worth the added complexity so I didn't spend much time discussing it.
When the IJS was first proposed I was wary. I'd already thought of some possible objections before the topic was even raised officially. And the earliest descriptions raised as many new questions as they answered. But after the full system was revealed and started to be used, I decided that I did like the detailed approach better than two marks.
I still had objections from the beginning to some of the specific rules. As the rules have changed and the system has been tweaked over the past 9 years, some of my objections have been solved and others have become apparent. But in most cases I think that tweaking the rules here and there can solve the problems.
There are some drawbacks inherent in the code of points approach and some values to the two marks/ordinals approach that get lost by breaking down the scores into separate pieces. But on balance I was soon convinced and remain so that the separate marks are more beneficial for skating as a sport.
There are more drawbacks for skating as popular entertainment.
By all means keep improving the detailed rules in directions that will allow the results to better match the educated opinions of skaters, coaches, officials, and knowledgeable fans based on appreciation of skating technique. There will still always be disagreements even within those groups.
But I would hate to see the sport compromise on rewarding good technique just to attract fans who don't care about the details.
But with the fragmentation of the media entertainment market, getting people who would be interested in sport skating to know it exists is increasingly difficult.
Casual viewers are most likely to first be exposed to skating through the Olympics. Next time something exciting and intriguing happens in that context, interest will go up. Hopefully no one will have to be physically assaulted and the exciting part will happen during the actual skating.
And I wish there were ways to make the American public more aware of opportunities to get into rinks themselves -- as participants, or as spectators at live events with good but not necessarily great skaters, just because it's a whole different experience up close and unmediated.
Maybe pro competitions, skating reality shows, cheesefests, etc., could be a way to capture people's attention and bring some money into the sport. And then direct the sports fans in the audience to the real competitions, arts fans to high-level ice theatre.
As a few have already mentioned, the 6.0 system itself was rarely discussed, there was a lot more debate around the ordinals of individual judges, national bias and reputation judging and conspiracy theories for block judging. Some decisions were controversial but they never felt unjustifiable. (I can't recall a situation ever where someone with 2 or 3 big errors won over someone with no error and the same or just slightly less jumping difficultly and overall quality.)
As gkelly and others said, it was more of a debate why the decision went this way or that way and would you have gone with the majority or minority. Basically, 6.0 was subjective, but everyone knew it was subjective, accepted it and instead engaged in debate - sometimes healthy, sometimes angry, sometimes intellectual, but always interesting, especially the close ones.
For example, Boitano only beat Orser 5-4 on that magical night and conventional wisdom says Boitano was flawless with 2 triple axels and while Orser had one minor mistake and only one triple axel. But Orser did skate with a more nuanced and complex choreography, ("transitions" if you will ) and I think he really kept up more speed, power and flow through to the end of the program - I can see the POV of the judges who may have awarded him their 1st place ordinal though I'd clearly side with the judges who gave it to Boitano on the clearly superior technical merit and still quite good presentation. Or consider Kerrigan vs Baiul in 1994 another 5-4 decision. Most were quick to point out all of Baiul's little quality issues and flaws and scream Nancy wuz robbed, but Oksana's power and speed were second to none and her ease of movement and presentation and interpretation superior to Kerrigan. Many judges who awarded Baiul the 1st place ordinal were on record saying just that - she had more powerful spins and spirals, a bigger lutz and and superior presentation and that Nancy was tentative and also had a mistake herself.
Lots of but it was just different than COP, which invites acceptance and "these are the rules, everyone knows what they have to do to earn points and that's the way it is. Who are we to question it." Boy do I miss the debates!
My issue with COP is that it was rolled out to grandiose fanfare as an objective system not a subjective one, meant to end all debate. Debate is what made being a hardcore skating fan interesting. You can't apply objectivity to what are inherently subjective judgements, but it seems like newer fans tend to believe in the be-all-end-all single truth of the COP score - "at least now we know how they came up with the score." No, we don't. Often the GOEs are all over the place and more inconsistent than the ordinals under 6.0. The PCS is just cray. Way more cray than any ordinal I ever saw under 6.0 (except maybe the cray Hungarian judge in the ladies SP at 1998 Worlds. )
COP also asks far too much cognitively of the human mind. Our brains are hardwired to directly compare things to each other, not indirectly compare them to a prescribed standard. It's much easier to look at two apples and directly compare them to each other (this one is bigger, that one is more symmetrical, this one is a deeper red) than indirectly compare them individually and without bias to some written standards of perfection for apple color, size and shape. 6.0 asked for the former, COP claims to ask for the latter but (especially with PCS), the judges fall back on direct comparison because it's natural, especially when you consider the fact that each PCS mark is asking the judge to compare it program indirectly against about 20 different criteria and assign five marks against a 10.0 standard for perfection. Really just not possible for anyone but a savant.
I agree the place where 6.0 could seem like it got things pretty wrong was in the middle of the pack because it was cognitively taxing to compare a field of more than about 12 skaters. In a big field the top few were almost always really clear and the lowest skills were clear too - it was the vast middle that was hard to retain in working memory and assign a justifiable ordinal.
None of those things involve directly comparing A and B to see which one is better. They do involve having many years of looking at many As and Bs and Cs and developing a sense of range, but in the end, a paper is either good or not on its own merit, not because it is better or worse than the others in the pile. The play is good or bad on its own merit, not because of how it stacks up to the last one I saw. The disease either fits the established parameters of a particular condition or it does not. The apple is either that size, that size or that size, and is either for eating or cooking or mulching, all based on preset standards for apples. There are differences of opinion for all of those things--yet no one says that the problem lies in having standards, only that the standards sometimes need to be adjusted or enforced.
I think all of us can look at a single apple and determine whether it looks good or not without seeing another apple beside it, because we have a concept of what a good apple should be. If we have never seen an apple before, a single apple will be rather confounding, but seeing another apple next to it won't clarify the issue. What if both are rotten? What if both are perfect? We can only know that if we already know enough about apples to tell the difference or we have something that tells us what a good or rotten apple is like.
It may be more cognitively challenging (or not--I'm not sure) to have to make a decision about a single apple, but it's hardly impossible. In some ways, it's easier. You only have to assess one, and you are assessing it against a preset measure of apple greatness. That doesn't strike me as exceptionally challenging. Even if you have never seen an apple before, you are given an idea of what an excellent apple should be and you can make at least a crude determination from that. If you have seen a lot of apples before, it's pretty easy to categorize them. You don't even have to decide which apple is the best; you just score them all individually and see which one comes out on top. Much easier, IMO, than trying to remember all the other apples you looked at consecutively in the last hour but can't see now and trying to figure out if this apple is better or worse than each of them.
"There are three social classes in America: upper middle class, middle class, and lower middle class." -- Judith Martin
As you note first, 6.0 leant itself to debating bias and supposed bloc judging. People seemed to relish those debates. But they ultimately undermined the system itself when it got out of hand in SLC.As gkelly and others said, it was more of a debate why the decision went this way or that way and would you have gone with the majority or minority. Basically, 6.0 was subjective, but everyone knew it was subjective, accepted it and instead engaged in debate - sometimes healthy, sometimes angry, sometimes intellectual, but always interesting, especially the close ones.
How else could they roll it out? "Here's a new system that you'll all enjoy tearing apart because its no less subjective than the last one"? I don't see a point in being very bothered with the ISU making claims for the new system that it would be fair and just; they couldn't exactly say anything else....My issue with COP is that it was rolled out to grandiose fanfare as an objective system not a subjective one, meant to end all debate. ...
And needless to say it has hardly ended debate.
My impression at the time was that after SLC, the ISU was under the gun. It had a choice, be an Olympic sport or don't be and COP was the answer to that. They probably did rush it but they were in crisis mode with media and the IOC and fans demanding change at a fever pitch.
Ultimately to get back to Christine Brennan's article, she may be right that when skating was the "ultimate reality show" it appealed more to casual fans (in the U.S.). Certainly the Nancy/Tonya sideshow was a lot more interesting to a lot of people than the skating itself.
Brennan seems to imply that skating could have chosen the reality show route. But it couldn't do that and continue as a Olympic sport. The ISU chose to go for being an Olympic Sport. If the reality show side could have supported itself then pro-skating wouldn't have died off I suppose but it did.
And we are left with an Olympic sport whose scoring system wasn't designed to appeal to casual fans.
This is fine with me because I don't like reality shows and I do like Olympic sports. I also hated all the old cacophony about biased and corrupt judging that accompanied 6.0, even though it otherwise was a workable system, IMO.
I think that fans, skaters and other stakeholders should continue to debate how to make changes to the COP that improve the sport, but I don't think that has much to do with bringing in casual fans.
“I am happy that it’s over. Happy that I did well.” Yu Na Kim
Indeed, there seems to be lot of negativity surrounding figure skating particularly in America. A fan wrote that in Japan, the focus on Chan's win is how he managed even with the two falls, instead of allegations of corruption and attacking the skater.Originally Posted by gkelly
The reality is that judged sports will never beat club and male sports in popularity.But with the fragmentation of the media entertainment market, getting people who would be interested in sport skating to know it exists is increasingly difficult.
Some fans seem to prefer the 'artistic' side of figure skating and some 'sports', I like the idea of pro competitions as this will allow the more 'artistic' skaters with beautiful upper body movements but for one or another is unlikely to win any medals in Worlds or Olympics, to share their 'artistic' talent with fans who prefer to view figure skating as an art than sport. In this way, we satisfy both preferences - art versus sports.Maybe pro competitions, skating reality shows, cheesefests, etc., could be a way to capture people's attention and bring some money into the sport. And then direct the sports fans in the audience to the real competitions, arts fans to high-level ice theatre.
Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus
In my view, this hits the nail on the head...it comes down to the judging decisions, not the judging system.
There are things individuals would like tweaked in one or the other system...you may think COP doesn't punish falls enough, someone else thinks taking off on a wrong edge should be penalized more in COP. Others thought 6.0 didn't weigh base difficulty enough and it rarely clearly penalized wrong edges and urs (see Hughes SLC). But when people complain about a judging result, they are still mostly complaining about the decisions that are made by the judges. If Chan had been marked down on PCS just a little bit more, the way a lot of people here think he should have (maybe scored 1 point less on PE and 0.5 point less on IN, which are subjective judging decisions), Ten would have won the competition, and we wouldn't even be having this debate. We'd probably be lauding IJS as producing fairer results than 6.0 because it allowed for a great upset.
Disclaimer: The post contained herein represents the opinions of a fan and may or may not bear any relation to reality.
For years I bought into the idea that an ordinal ranking system really was the fairest way to score skaters even though it seemed convoluted and was difficult to explain and had all these weird side-effect like a skater down in 6th place skating last and suddenly the 1st place skater was the 2nd place skater. But when I saw how a CoP could work and all the advantages it brought to the sport I changed my mind. I couldn't really explain why it appealed to me more expect to say that it worked out better in the field.
But this explanation of grading papers and judging apples really does explain it. I have graded papers and judged apples all the time and that really is how you do it. And I like the idea of judging them on their own merit against a standard of perfection and then letting the chips fall where they may in terms of which ones ends up in which place.
Delete. Wrong Thread.
Under COP the argument is a lot more about the system itself... errrr, scratch that. Actually, it's only about the system itself. Because only the sekret komputer knows which mark belongs to which judge and which marks were thrown out. So we can't effectively debate individual GOEs or PCS. Quite frankly, the ISU achieved it's goal of effectively sweeping any discussion of corruption under the rug by discouraging scrutiny of individual judges' marks for bias, corruption, or incompetence, and they effectively discouraged any sense that a decision could have gone one way or other and either decision was justifiable.
If you mine back through all these threads and others, there are a lot of people making statements along the lines of, "at least now I understand the score. I understand where the 143.56 came from but I never understood where a 5.4 came from." Folks who say this infuriate me. How can you when the GOE and PCS are all over the map and no one knows who assigned which mark?
Also, in your examples, you have control over the standard. The standard is a personal standard you've developed in your head based on your years of experience. It may include some recognized standards (like grammatical rules - I've probably broken half of them in my post) but it also includes your own opinion of what's good/not good. The IJS dictates an overload of standards that you have to memorize and apply and may even disagree with, but you cannot change them and you're supposed to consider all of them. It's totally crazy!
Along these lines, one the most puzzling things to me about the evolution of the IJS is that a trial with a split panel - one for TES and one for PCS "failed." I've seen it suggested over and over, with most serious fans not even realizing that it was tried. IIRC they tried it once at Nebelhorn and declared it a failure with very little said or published. (IMO because it's too expensive to have so many judges, ) With so much to recall about what makes a -1 vs a +2 and so much to recall about what might make good PE and IN ... all while you're judging GOE, maybe looking down, missing a TR or two... seemed like a major improvement would be to split the panels. Let one set of judges get really clear about the criteria for technical elements and assign GOE without concern for assessing timing and rhythm to the music or choreographic nuances that properly highlight the theme. And let another panel watch the program as a whole, and at the end assign the PCS based on the overall observation without having to worry about if the skater did adequate steps into and out of the a jump to warrant a +2 or +3. It's just way too much for the human mind to assess it all.
Having taught at a local college, I understand the analogy of marking papers and knowing what grade it would likely receive. However, to rightly assign the correct grade, I use a rubric -- a standard that all the papers/tests are marked against. In that way, the student knows that they have achieved not just an "A" grade, but an actual mark. They can also see where they went wrong, what they perhaps should have done to have met the specification for that particular question. For my students, this was a much better way of receiving a mark. They could take the test/paper back and see what exactly they did correct and what area(s) they needed to improve. Generally speaking, this feedback usually meant they did much better on a more comprehensive level later in the semester. As a student, I also appreciated that kind of feedback so that I knew why my paper was only a "B" and what I needed to do to bring it up to an "A".
In the same manner, I believe COP has done this for the skaters. They can take their protocol sheets with them, ask for feedback in the specific areas where they had problems and then go away and figure out how to do better. I think this kind of feedback makes the sport better for the skaters and their teams. Knowing what the standard is, getting feedback specifically on how well you did (or didn't) reach the standard, is something that I think most of us understand better. It's probably why I understand COP better than the 6.0 and ordinal system. I really did try to figure it out, but after a number of years, just gave up.
As for why figure skating is apparently dying -- well I think it's more than just the "new" marking system, and dying is in the eyes of the beholder. Ask someone in Japan if THEY feel it's a dying sport. I think you'd likely get a very different answer.
Crazy about sports!
As for tying, the possibility exists, but I am no longer allowed to put a mere letter grade on a paper. I must use points. Soon I will have to use a rubric, but for now, I can just use points. I don't get a lot of ties. And IIRC, ties sometimes happen in skating, too, just not very often.
I have also done ranking. I really, really hate ranking. At the moment, I am judging papers in a writing contest and must rank them all from first to last place. I've ranked textbooks and prospective new faculty. I find it very hard most of the time to just line them all up and put them in some kind of order in comparison to one another; there are too many positives and negatives to assess and weigh. Cognitively, I find it much easier to judge things based on an objective standard than a side-by-side comparison (which isn't even what happens in skating), but that might be because I am just more used to assessing one by one instead of ranking. Or maybe I just have a different kind of brain. Or something. But I'd rather assess what's right in front of me and go on without worrying about what came before and what will come after. I find it very hard, even with charts and lists, to keep all the details straight.
Delete. Wrong Thread.
Yes, reputation judging occurred under 6.0, but to a lesser extent. Someone, not sure if here or elsewhere, made a valid point that under 6.0, even heavy favorites like Michelle Kwan were still vulnerable to being upset by younger ones like Tara, Sasha, or Sarah if she made a mistake or if the young'uns skated harder programs. Under CoP, that's not the case. Someone like Gracie Gold could skate totally clean as the top people have splatfests, and she'd still 100% have no shot at winning bc she was 20 points down PCS wise to begin with.Originally Posted by MacMadame
Everyone here on either side of this debate seems to be pretty knowledgeable about skating, so saying that people you happen to disagree with don't know anything about skating or CoP is not a valid argument.
As far as people blaming CoP for the decline of the sport, whose to say that it wasn't a factor, even if it wasn't the only factor? In every other major sport, basketball, baseball, football, the way points are tallied is very easy to follow. Here, unless someone makes the effort to go online after watching and review the protocols, it IS harder for the casual fan to follow.
Last edited by iloveemoticons; 03-23-2013 at 09:10 PM.
If one side can't say anything, neither can the other.
I know thay writers don't of ten write their own headlines, but I see it as a problem if the judges are propping anything up. That's DWTS and SYTYCD -- i.e. patially scripted and heavily edited commercial venture -- territory.
"'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney