A lot of the fury and angst comes from the fact we see ridiculous things like judges giving out 8s in TR to programs with zero transitions, 8s in IN for performances in which the skater is visibly behind the music and struggling to catch up for half of the program, 8s in SS for skaters who scratch around the ice with shallow edges at snail's pace but manage to land a few quads. Or the fact that we often see technical panels inconsistently applying URs and edge calls both within the same competition and across competitions. This type of frustration doesn't come from ignorance of the scoring system--it comes from a knowledge of the rules in the rulebook.
That said, I do agree that there are people who are clueless about the IJS and don't seem to want to learn. But it's wrong to lump in all the discontent with the judging under the collective banner of ignorance.
I agree that some reporters and commentators could do more to educate casual viewers about how the scoring works, and I don't think skating scoring is more confusing than the rules of other, more successful sports. But skating is not very successful at the moment, and it's not reasonable to expect casual fans to educate themselves on their own.
As for IJS: yes, I've studied it as much as I can, in order to understand the scoring. I can even understand results that I disagree with, based on the system. But I, like many other FS fans, believe it is flawed. And I believe that the people who are not fond of the current system (including a large number of skaters and coaches) outnumber the people who think it is just fine and dandy the way it is now. THAT'S why there is such a controversy.
(In the Skating Lesson Podcast, Sandra Bezic made a comment that really struck a chord with me: the purpose of IJS is to rack up as many points as possible but, as such, the comparative aspect of judging skaters has gone away. I tend to agree. Judges aren't really even judges anymore, they are scorers.)
Last edited by skateboy; 05-05-2013 at 10:15 AM.
"I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"
I think the beauty contest aspect of the sport is no longer workable by itself. The international judging panels seemed unable to make reliable decisions using 6.0. To a degree, technical progress was also being thwarted by 6.0 values. Someone like Sandra Bezic would have confidence in a 100% subjective system because she has that much confidence-- and rightly so if you have seen her amazing choreography--in her own ability to evaluate quality holistically. Not every federation has judges capable of that. Panels proved themselves time and again for over a decade to be incompetent and/or willing to play games. The system had to be reformed to promote a sport that would be more credible in the sports world and to promote improvements in difficulty and quality-- and not just more revolutions on jumps.
I am not an enemy of 6.0, for I know the performance product was often more entertaining for audiences. However, can you deny that the sport has advanced technically? Also, is it not true that judging has become less whimsical?
People say 6.0 worked for a long time so why was it tossed out. I say 6.0 worked best in a time when there was: less globalization, a less diverse audience, you did not have internationalized coaching and choreography, the politics of judging was neatly divided into Cold War camps, and the sport was more amateur and less business-oriented. These things are all gone.
I would like 6.0 values to be retained, but when you deal with the problems of getting diverse (and unpaid) judges to behave rationally and fairly, you have to make compromises. You also have to think about how to promote progress and improvements beyond just having more jumps and BOEs vs flutzes. IJS does this by trying to account for every technical dimension.
I agree with Sonia Bianchetti that you cannot quantify interpretation or choreography. If you want validity, you need a system that admits interpretation and musicality are relative. Thus, it seems like you need to assign ranks to skaters to have an accurate reflection of artistic merit. The components system and categories are flawed. It worries me that the ISU carries on with it so glibly. The category names are not that audience friendly. So you can see I have my reservations too. I just believe when you evaluate this it is impossible to be overly idealistic or nostalgic. 6.0 had become an insufficient--albeit entertaining and fun-- system for the sport's long term prospects.
Last edited by TheIronLady; 05-05-2013 at 01:44 PM.
By the way, what does PJ stand for?
Regarding knowing how to get the points to get the best results even if you're not the best skater... two words: Laura Lepisto. (Love the girl, but to get a medal at worlds with the content she did, she played the game right and that's all that matters as she has a world medal). It's the ones who don't understand the system and don't use it to their advantage that bitch about results. Hello Plush.
If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted, I wish I had some ice cream.
I am sure post Sochi, IJS will bring tweak the COP to punish those who fall often one way or another. So for those who hate to see skaters fall and win, you may have your wish just like those to insist that quads should be encouraged got their wish post Vancouver. That should keep many happy, I hope.
If you wish to look at it from an artistic standpoint as in 'how it moves me' then certainly it is impossible to quantify. Art is purely intrinsic. What moves me may not moves you. If they wish to measure it, they have to find a way to quantify 'musical interpretation'. I think gkelly has posted how 'musical interpretation' is measured in COP.Originally Posted by IronLady
I think it's impossible to have a perfect testing system after all they are all marked by human beings. Having said that, it does not mean that the tests cannot be improved if certain outcomes are desired. And isn't it what the IJS has been doing?
I admit I have no idea what PJ stands for. (Patricia Jane?)
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye" in The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Plushenko should have won because he had the quad. And he had charisma. Lysacek winning was a disgrace."
"Are you kidding me? Plushenko ignored the rules. And sorry to say this but CH stands for choreography, not charisma, and his program was empty, he was scored on reputation, he should actually have finished off the podium.
"Takahashi should have won the Olympics."
"Takahashi? No way. I was there and he skated slowly. He was even slower than Plushenko. And his jumps were tiny and scratchy."
"Huh? I was there too and Takahashi wasn't slow. He definitely wasn't slower than Plushenko."
"Johnny Weir was robbed. He skated two clean programs, he should have placed much higher."
"Johnny? Oh, I love Johnny but he got stuck in the 6.0 system. He was just stroking from one element to the other with some posing inbetween."
As far as ice dancing, when Davis/White lose, their fans scream "wuzzrobbed" and "corruption", and when Virtue/Moir lose, their fans blame their defeat on 'politiking' and the judges using the PC mark incorrectly on purpose.
So who is right and who is wrong?
What I resent is the attitude, the implication, by several people here and elsewhere, is that if you don't agree with the results, you're just too stupid to understand the scoring system.
To me, it is like saying "if people only understood that offsides rule, they wouldn't question why that goal was disallowed." That's true for a segment of fans (I didn't understand the offside rule the first time I watched soccer), but there's also a segment who do understand and still question the calls. I have been to soccer boards where knowledgeable posters post screencaps and graphs to show why they thought a goal was wrongly disallowed, because of their knowledge of the rules, not in spite of it.
It's true that PJ said that only "some" are unwilling to inform themselves, but the comment that the system "isn't that complicated" is patronizing, IMO, and implies that if fans don't agree with the judging, the problem is not with the judging but with the fans.
Plus in the actual interview PJ Kwong qualified what she said (IOW, she took her emphasis down a few levels, and thus her grade of execution shouldn't convince anyone that what she's saying is either right or wrong! It's just her throwaway opinion at that point in time. )
Personally, I understand the technical details, the excuses and some of the motivations behind CoP/ IJS much better than I did anything at all about the ordinals and ranking system of 6.0! Neither are perfect systems. IMO, the main difference as to why IJS is having so many perception and popularity problems is that it was rushed into being, the judges are anonymous, and the rules are constantly changing, and the rules adversely affect the way programs look and are structured. The moves in many skaters' programs look too much alike, and moreover the endless spins and flailing and stumbling around that we see in most programs, has no connection to the music whatsoever.
At least with 6.0, even if no one could figure out what ordinals meant, we could understand what the string of scores meant comparatively, plus we knew the marks that each judge gave. I didn't like the fact that under 6.0 often a skater's fate depended upon who beat someone else. IMO, the sport might have been better served had TPTB at the least tried to take the best of 6.0 and make a concerted effort to incorporate it into a new system instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water and focusing exclusively on protecting the judges rather than on benefiting the skaters and the sport.
A lot of people don't know what the F is being judged under IJS because often the GOE and PCS marks make no sense at all from skater to skater. Even if some judges supposedly understand what the IJS scoring system is all about, they aren't actually applying it successfully or consistently across the board. In fact, IMHO, PJ Kwong's dismissive statement about people not understanding IJS includes skaters, many coaches, commentators, casual fans, die-hard fans, and ISU judges. So why don't we all put that in our pipe and smoke it!
BTW, just because so many people within and outside the sport are confused by the scoring doesn't mean it's the main thing that's wrong with IJS. The main problem is that IJS doesn't work! And no amount of the "tweaking" PJ Kwong says IJS needs, is going to fix the present and ongoing disaster. And neither will commentators trying to explain the meaning behind what they themselves don't understand and most of the time don't agree with either. The suggestion in other threads re judges explaining their scores is absolutely never going to happen. And in any case, that would be like putting a band-aid over a gash that has blood gushing from severed veins.
Last edited by aftershocks; 05-05-2013 at 05:24 PM.
I'm not sure it's THE problem with the sport but it's a significant one. Suggesting it's the fan's responsibility to educate themselves isn't exactly the way I'd go. I hate the way the scores are read as one number. No drama, no transparency. The sport does little to make it easy for fans.
I try not to force any education on fans when I go to events but when there are openings to share some of the knowledge I do have, I can say the relief on the face of the casual fan is obvious. And this leads to greater enjoyment and appreciation of what the audience is seeing. I sense there is a lot of hunger out there to understand because it's confusing to the fan. So many things are rewarded that aren't obvious to the fan, a little education would go a long way.
^^ ITA PrincessLeppard and Golightly -- which in essence means IJS doesn't work.
But conversely Rock2, many people didn't agree with the judges or understand the workings behind 6.0, but that didn't prevent most people from enjoying watching figure skating and understanding the scores comparatively and enjoying when the scores came up in the kiss 'n cry.
It's really kind of you to take the time to explain stuff to your seatmates at events, Rock2. Mayhap the relief you describe that appeared on the faces of those you made the effort to educate, was due to them being happy they were sitting near someone in the likely three-quarters empty arena upon whom they could lean on for clarity re the overall results. Or maybe they were just relieved that they could get up and go relieve themselves without being in danger of missing anything of relevance since they had you to rely on as narrator, translator and interpreter.
Funnily enough lots of sports-goers don't understand the rules of baseball, football and tennis, but anyone who watches those sports can begin to understand the rules, and even if they never understand fully most people can still enjoy watching and not get a headache most of the time re the final outcomes.
ETA: Clearly there is nothing wrong with people being educated. I'd advocate for lots of people to educate themselves, especially re the overall history of figure skating. Whenever you have a sport with an overemphasis on scoring/ rules and endless debates re new/old scoring system and constantly changing rules, there's definitely a problem that has little to do with education.
If education is really such a problem, why not pass out an explanatory booklet to fans filing into the arena (like they pass out score cards at baseball games). Problem is people will likely be spending most of their time reading the booklet and trying to figure out what the F it has to do with anything taking place on the ice, much less with the judges' scores.
People watching/ not-watching at home can fend for themselves, just like die-hard fans have to do re even trying to find viable online streaming sites for major and minor events during the season.
Last edited by aftershocks; 05-05-2013 at 07:06 PM.
Suppose we start with the sport of figure skating, with all the changes it went through between 1892 and 2013, all the rule changes and all the technical and artistic developments and all the contrasts and contradictions that existed within individual events in any given year.
Suppose we want a scoring system that will make sense of the mess, that will "work," and we're willing to toss out every past and present rule and start from scratch, with the skills and skaters that now exist. We know that tomorrow's skills and skaters may develop differently depending how we define the new set of rules.
So what is the yet-undefined new system supposed to do? In simple terms, it should determine who skated best, second best, etc., in the estimation of a chosen panel of experts, in ways that will make sense to other expert, semi-expert, and casual outside observers.
OK, then. How?
The devil is in the details.
Can we imagine any system that would always work perfectly?
Would skating be better served by a complex system that breaks down each aspect in to finer and finer details and often loses the forest for the trees?
Or by a system that focuses on the big picture and often misses important details?
Somewhere in between?
Which details should be most important? Which big-picture qualities should be most important? Should there be built-in ways to balance the different aspects, or should each expert balance them out for themselves and choose for themselves what to focus on and what to ignore?
Once a new system is in place, how do we decide whether it works or not?
Is a certain percentage of results we disagree with a reason to declare that the whole system is worthless?
Is the system viable if we agree that the results fit the rules, but we dislike the kinds of skating it produces and rewards?
What if we think that the rules are bad but the officials are doing a good job of sticking to them?
Or that the rules are good but the officials are not using them correctly?
Do we tweak the rules, reeducate the officials, improve education of the public, and keep improving the new system?
At what point do we throw it out completely and go back to the drawing board yet again?
Yes, I understand the system but still disagree with many aspects of it. And I'm not alone, especially the old figure skating fans don't like it.. I hardly believe, that anyone want to watch a sport where the winner has repeatedly falls. People want to see flawless, perfect champions.
I don't think that IJS is perfect and I do think they need to keep re-examining it and tweaking.
But what I find completely odd is when people suggest the results don't make sense with IJS and imply that they did with 6.0.
There are some things I miss about figure skating under 6.0 but consistently logical, universally agreed upon and transparent results are not among them.
We may not agree with the use of PCS or GOE or the deduction for or effect on the mark with falls but at least there is a breakdown we can see.
In 6.0 it wasn't uncommon for one judge to assign a program a 5.1 and another assign it a 5.7 or for one judge to place a skater 4th and another one to place the same skater 7th or 8th. And for the fans - there was nothing in the marks to explain it.
I suppose though - for those who are vehemently against falls - that 6.0 did make more sense.