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PJ Kwong: What is wrong is the failure of some to learn how the sport is scored

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, May 4, 2013.

Is PJ Kwong right?

Poll closed Jun 4, 2013.
  1. Yes

    78 vote(s)
  2. No

    60 vote(s)
  3. Don't Know

    0 vote(s)
  1. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    You know, the only people in this thread so far who've really focused on quads and falls appear to be fans of Patrick Chan's, yet they seem to think it's what most other posters care about. My impression has been that people have any number of things that they feel are working and aren't working when it comes to the IJS, as expressed in this thread and elsewhere. YMMV.

    Emphasis on "one example". FSU is way too big and too diverse for people to have such a narrow focus. While there are those who only go on about :wuzrobbed, there are also many posters who make thoughtful and interesting comments and suggestions - about 2010, about other events, and about skating and scoring in general.
  2. misskarne

    misskarne #AustraliaForTheTeamEvent

    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.
    OliviaPug, skateboy, shan and 7 others like this.
  3. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    I didn't say there were never uninformed conversations on FSU, just that there were plenty of educated FSU posters who question parts of the 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.
  4. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ Ha ha. I don't resent the attitude or the implication, but I tend to agree with your stance.

    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. :lol: So why don't we all put that in our pipe and smoke it! :smokin:

    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: May 5, 2013
    aka_gerbil and (deleted member) like this.
  5. Rock2

    Rock2 Well-Known Member

    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.
    TheIronLady and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Golightly

    Golightly Well-Known Member

    This, pretty much.
  7. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ 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. :COP:

    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. :p
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  8. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    See, I think these kinds of generalized, hyperbolic proclamations would make it impossible to come up with a system that does work.

    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?
  9. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. The Accordion

    The Accordion Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. The Accordion

    The Accordion Well-Known Member

    And when that happens - I think everyone is happy! But how do you mark when none of the skaters have a perfect program? Also I think there are a few programs that most of us can agree upon as being flawless and perfect. But those are rarities. What makes up a perfect skater? I don't think there has ever been agreement on that!
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  12. karlon

    karlon New Member

    And I want a champion who can win in any system...
  13. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Well, at least we have you gkelly to bust through all the generalized proclamations, and to get at the heart of our individualized self-important idiotic ways of thinking, if not exactly to precisely fix what's wrong with figure skating. :p

    Have you ever thought of becoming a trivia question writer on Jeopardy?

    My above comment and question are meant with all due respect to your knowledge and positive intentions and desire to educate us and to make us truly reflect on the underlying implications of generalizing too much about the intricacies of the sport's symbolic and very real problematics. Perhaps you can forgive me and others for being so sullen and disrespectful and riding our own pretentious high horses, much less having the effrontery to offer thoughtless uselessly idealistic escapist throwaway solutions, or not providing any solutions at all. This whole conundrum is such a maze really, even that intelligent mice can't hope to escape. ;)

    Seriously, once anyone realizes that something isn't working, why keep forcing it on yourself and other people? Your questions gkelly, seem designed to prop-up the importance of maintaining the status quo.

    It's really way too late to try being reasonable and logical about the difficulty/ impossibility of fixing the mess, gkelly. The baby has long since been thrown out with the bath water after all. Where were you when Cinquanta and the ISU were f'ing things up in the first place?

    As usual, figure skating will change for the better or it won't. How, when, why, and if that ever happens or not won't stop fans from making what you feel are generalized proclamations.
  14. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    No, I'm not arguing in favor of blindly maintaining the status quo.

    What I'm arguing against is blindly throwing out the status quo without suggesting a viable alternative.

    I think we can all critique specific rules and specific results and try to brainstorm solutions within the existing system. I think that if any people with actual decision-making powers are reading, practical suggestions that could be implemented next year would have more chance of being adopted than starting from scratch.

    But if we do think the current system is irredeemable and it's necessary to throw it out and start from scratch, I think we need a big-picture understanding of what a good system for evaluating skating should aim to achieve and practicable suggestions for how to achieve that.

    Over the years I have posted many suggested changes to the existing system -- and some of the smaller ones have actually been adopted. Nice to know that some decisionmakers were actually thinking along the same lines.

    I've also posted proposals for hypothetical alternative systems. I would be much more surprised to see any of them actually adopted because throwing out a whole system and starting from scratch is such a huge step. And look how resistant people have been to the last time that happened.

    Even if you and I and the ISU agreed that a completely new and different system would be better than 6.0 or IJS, and it was put into practice, I guarantee that it would not work perfectly every time, especially at first, and that there would be complaints and calls from some to go back to IJS, from others to go back to 6.0.

    But I can come up with many different alternative approaches, some that I like better than IJS or 6.0 and some that I like worse. Which ones I'd recommend depend on what the goal of the system is.

    A system that best serves the needs of casual fans and would therefore bring in the most outside interest and outside money would likely be different from a system that serves the needs of knowledgeable fans, which might be different from what best serves the needs of elite skaters, or all competitive skaters, or athletically inclined skaters, or technically inclined skaters, or artistically inclined skaters, or large federations, or small federations, etc. So before we design a new system, first we'd need to decide which needs we're trying to serve.

    Just declaring that the current system doesn't work, without defining what "working" would entail, isn't going to get anyone any closer to a better system.

    So I'd rather see more analysis and brainstorming about productive ways to change the status quo, and less generalized complaining.
  15. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Well, gkelly, I doubt ISU is seriously looking to FSU for suggestions/ solutions to implement. ;)

    In any case, I don't see most people here saying "throw everything out" -- ISU is the one who already did that lock stock and barrel, and the scoring system and the sport are suffering as a direct result. I think TPTB need to think differently and to seriously examine the mess they've gotten the sport into, and also to reach out more to fans with more goodwill and with genuine proclamations that they are interested in effecting positive change instead of hiding behind the status quo. If they were actually interested in productive change that would benefit the skaters, if they actually did give a rat's a** about figure skating fans, there might be fewer fans haranguing and complaining and creating worthless polls about IJS.

    Lots of posters offer genuine ideas for solutions and thoughts about what is wrong. Sometimes people in the sport may get ideas from reading productive comments in forums, but IMHO, the ISU does not care what fans think. In any case, we've been told more than once here that the ISU isn't responsible for effecting change. Certainly with the same person at the helm of ISU for this many years, there's no room for fresh ideas and progressive movement. Change if it comes will be from the bottom up.

    Jeez re your wanting to see "less generalized complaining." Are you running a figure skating fan board meeting? :lol:

    Why not go back through all the many threads that have been on FSU recently and in the past regarding the scoring system. I'm sure you will find lots of informed analysis and constructive ideas and suggestions being imparted amidst the generalized snarking, b**ching and complaining.
  16. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    I was wondering the viewers want to see that winner, who skated the most perfect programs in the current competition. For example that gymnast who wasn't flawless, won't win.
  17. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    I don't think it is a matter of how many numbers are read out when the scores announced that would actually lead to any greater understanding of the system. They are numbers and the skater with the highest score at the end of the event wins. I think that is how most casual fans view it.

    For myself, I watch other sports that I don't have much knowledge of about how it is scored and at the end of the day I particularly don't care how the result is obtained or who is the champion. I watch it because I enjoy it. This includes judged sports such as diving, gymnastics, rythmic gymnastics. I only have knowledge about figure skating because I am very involved in the sport. But I think even if I was a casual fan of skating, at the end of the day I probably wouldn't give a rats about the result at the end of the day. The thing that is going to stick out in my mind are the programs I like. Even before I started skating myself and got myself very deep in judging and administration, that is how I viewed it.
  18. VarBar

    VarBar Well-Known Member

    This man gymnast wasn't flawless here and did lose the vault but won overall and was the Olympic champion in the individual all-around event.:) I could give you yet other such examples but I don't think they would change your mind.;)

    spikydurian and (deleted member) like this.
  19. The Accordion

    The Accordion Well-Known Member

    But my point is what is the definition of "flawless"?
    For many this just means no falling. For others a fall-less program can still have flaws.
    Does it mean no doubling or leaving out a 2nd jump?
    Does it mean no deducted levels or negative GOEs?
    Does it mean a program with good transitions - because some would see a program with less than adequate transitions to be flawed.
    If someone has a slight bobble - does that take away the flawlessness?
    If the program is far superior to another skate in that competition but the skater touches their hand down after a jump - should the "flawless" inferior program win?
    Should less than inspired choreography be considered flawed?
    Can someone with a bad leg wrap skate a flawless program?
    If someone lands all of their jumps and completes all their elements and makes no "mistakes" but does not connect in any way with the audience - is their program flawless?
    What about someone who skates their very best and nails all the elements but skates very slowly with shallow edges?

    These are just some of the questions that have to be considered. It is not so black and white as you would suggest.
  20. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

    I voted no. For starters, P J Kwong is pretty much never right, so that was easy.

    I think it is fair to say that the judges (and certainly the skater) should not be blamed for a particular result when all they did was follow and apply the rules as written. That does not mean that there is nothing wrong with the rules.

    All that BS about unwillingness to accept change is just a smoke screen to avoid the hard questions. As mentioned upthread, the conversation doesn't need to be about dumping the new judging system, it can also be about making changes within its framework to make the sport more appealing and more comprehensible to audiences. The ISU technical committee itself has seen this deterioration of the artistic aspects of the sport and has already made some changes to try to steer choreography back in a better balanced direction. (For example, elimination of levels for the ladies spiral seq and second men's fw seq was a response to the visual clutter and ugly positions skaters were using in quest for higher levels.)

    IMO, I think it highly likely we will also see them move on the question of Program Components and find a way to tell judges to make sure they are giving marks based on the totality of the program and not looking at components in isolation. Sandra Bezic recently used the "missing the forest for the trees" analogy and I think that is pretty apt.

    So, no Kwong is not right to think the only problem is people not understanding the rules. There are still problems in the rules themselves.
  21. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    I think a case can be made that the sort of things the IJS emphasizes are less likely to produce programs that would appeal to casual fans. The advantage of the system is that skaters know what they need to do to score well and where they can improve, so they can plan their elements and structure their programs accordingly. The problem is that (IMO) this has led to less variety in the programs than we saw in the past, because there is only so much one can do and still get good marks; and I feel that there is now more of an emphasis on the technical side than on certain aspects of the presentation. I'll happily sacrifice some transitions for perhaps easier but more aesthetically appealing choreographic content.

    That said, I don't think a return to 6.0 or dumbing down the requirements is the answer, but I do feel that the system has become too constraining, and perhaps some things should be reconsidered. Maybe dropping spin and step levels, for instance - choreographic step sequences don't seem to have led to a drop in quality, and scoring other elements based on quality and execution rather than level features might allow for more variety and originality.
  22. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    Wrong example, the other men did more mistakes. And I remember Nemov! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izuJEIS5P68 :mad::angryfire
    In London 2012 my favorite was Mustafina, but she did mistakes and Gaby Douglas won. Great!!!
  23. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    I understand you, but I can't answer your questions. But I'm sure the audience don't want to see such a champion who did falls and some major mistakes. The judges must be punished for making mistakes! When the choreographers made ​​the programs, they need to know that the skaters likely able to skate flawlessly the program in race conditions. And I don't think that the falls don't spoil the artistic impression...sorry, or the interpretation and the choreography, etc..
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  24. Eyre

    Eyre New Member

    Actually, it's Patrick detractors in general focus their attentions on falls as if falls should determine the outcomes. Also each category name under PCS has given people excuses (maybe that's one of IJS's faults) for not studying and going into the contents of those categories. People fail to relate each category closely to figure skating. Instead, they consider these categories in general non-skating terms which they know long ago.

    I'm not saying that IJS is perfect. It does need some changes and tweaks. But changing IJS has been used by many to try to make the kind of skaters they would like to win.

    Especially the old skating fans because they are stuck into the past and cannot accept the new system.

    Wait till after Sochi when Plushenko retires, big change might come.;)
    spikydurian and (deleted member) like this.
  25. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

    The problem is that the general public is not going to see or understand edges and skating quality, which count significantly towards the score (and should.) This is anecdotal, but I can be at a public session and a beginner skater will beg me to do a "trick", so maybe I will do a power pull into a rocker-rocker and they ask me to do something "harder" like a "triple axel" or "iron lotus." The non-skating public wants to see triple jumps landed perfectly with no falls and I honestly think nothing will ever change that. It's all about the visuals for them and the same reason figures were cancelled. I can't even see edges on TV and I'm a skater myself. Is this the fault of the commentators or the skating federations to not educate the public? Not sure. That being said I think IJS is a huge improvement over 6.0 even if I don't understand everything.
  26. Eyre

    Eyre New Member

    Exactly! IJS is so much better than 6.0.

    People favor more on visual effects, such as cleanness and better upper body movements. Therefore, conflicts between casual fans and the experts are sometimes inevitable. It seems to me, the only resolution is that if casual fans cannot bring themselves closer to the expert level of understanding the system, they should just learn to accept it and ignore the results. In the meantime, enjoy the skaters you love regardless the placements.
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  27. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Even at a more realistic level, a layperson might be more impressed by a mediocre single axel than by a rocker-rocker, but the latter is certainly a higher level skill.

    Which means it would be helpful if there were some means -- especially on television -- to help viewers recognize and appreciate those skating skills that happen primarily from the blade down but that are fundamental to what makes figure skating figure skating (as opposed to, say, gymnastics or dance).

    Both, I would say. The ISU and the national federations could make written materials and videos available directly to the public -- some free online or free handouts at competitions, others available for sale at reasonable prices. And make information directly available to journalists and to broadcast networks.

    Then it would be up to the networks to pass along that information in a format that enhances their broadcast and engages the viewers. They could also produce educational materials of their own, initiated by their expert commentators and consultants.

    I think the most important thing is for the federations to invite the fans into the process rather than holding them at arms length and assuming they all want to remain ignorant and just buy expensive tickets to see pretty skating.

    And for the media to frame their coverage with a basic respect for the evaluation process and respect for fans' ability to understand it, rather than setting them up as in opposition to each other, e.g., a skaters-vs.-judges conflict with judges as the bad guys and fans on the side of the skaters who "should" win but often don't.
  28. wonderlen

    wonderlen New Member

    The MAIN PROBLEM with COP is that the judging is inconsistent on things like <, <<, levels on spins and footwork and deduction on fall and/or what constitute a 'fall'. Bigger problem is the PCS part of COP. Sure i mean the judges give score from 1 to 10, but the rules doesn't really say what is 1, what is 2, etc. Its pretty much on all relative and comparing a skater A against skater B. Meaning skater A will always score higher PCS mark regardless of how he/she performs in actual competition, and skater B will be always marked less.
  29. karlon

    karlon New Member

    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  30. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    No, you are wrong. I don't like the new system, because the programs are so similar, I don't like the meaningless TRs, because the programs become too chaotic, annoy me. I adore Plush, but I also adored the FS, since.....very very long time ago. You believe me, Plush isn't the reason, why I don't like the new system. Even more so, because he won some competitons and won a silver medal not too long time ago, under the new system. I think, you perfectly know this, but you wanted to be a little hostile with me.