The subjectivity of judging

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Shelley
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by Shelley » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:37 pm

Your comments are very illuminating, Brenda. I've noticed that exact point in competitions which publish marks for the Top 20 (such as the Bush Lantern). The differences between one judge's top listed poems often comes down to decimal points.

That just proves the point that both David and Terry have made - that you have to love what you do, and have the courage to back yourself if you've written a poem that you believe is good. I know a couple of good writers who have expressed real discouragement because they've picked up one or two prizes, then have had a run of just missing out. So they've begun to second-guess their ability, when in reality, at 6th or 7th they've probably only been a point or two away from winning.

As for me, I know I've probably given up on some poems too soon. Once they've been round the traps I start to get a bit embarrassed about continually entering them - but perhaps as David has suggested in the past, the best idea is to rest them for a year or two and then try again. Who knows what the result might be?

Sometimes I enter only one poem per section, but if I do choose to submit a second entry, I try to do the same as you, David, and mix up my subjects/styles if possible. Apart from (hopefully) displaying my diversity, it also gives the judge/s variety - which can be refreshing, I believe. We don't want our judges to be bored!

The pleasing aspect of all this is knowing that we writers are succeeding in making life hard for the judges (sorry BJ!) If you'd said there were no good poems to choose from, then I'd be really worried!

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
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David Campbell
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by David Campbell » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:58 am

Coincidentally, I've just received a judge's report (not rhyming verse, as it happens) that reminds me of another frustration. It's very clear from the judge's comments that he/she has failed to understand a key aspect of my entry. In fact, what they have done is completely reverse the perspective of the poem by not picking up on key clues...and in so doing they've lessened the impact considerably.

Maybe I should have made the situation more blatantly obvious, but then you can end up hitting the reader over the head and taking the challenge out of the piece...subtlety can be very powerful, but judges must be prepared to go further than skimming over what appears on the surface. There's a rhyming poem I wrote back in 2011 which I'm pretty sure has suffered from a lack of understanding, but it's hard to know for certain without (as happened here) a judge's report that makes it obvious.

Cheers
David

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keats
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by keats » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:22 am

I understand completely, David. The Inconsistency of Judges. Given another Judge on another day with more lateral vision, that particular piece may have won. In the ABPA at present, we have more Judges than entrants in most Written Comps these days, and many with dubious credentials.

Neil

Terry
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by Terry » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:24 pm

Hi Keats & David

My understanding was that you had to have won at least 3 ABPA Approved Comps.,
to be considered eligible to become a judge - perhaps the rules have changed?

Terry

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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by Shelley » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:09 pm

Hi Terry and All

You're completely correct Terry - to qualify as an accredited ABPA written bush poetry judge, an applicant must have won at least three ABPA-approved written bush poetry competitions. The rules have not changed to this point anyway.

Similar criteria applies to applicants wishing to be considered as accredited ABPA performance judges.

It is all stated clearly on the application form which can be accessed here: http://www.abpa.org.au/Files/competitio ... cation.pdf

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
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"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
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keats
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by keats » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:47 am

Yes Shelley. but most of us know these rules were changed where changed from two competition wins when Hal became President. Nobody seems to know what an ABPA accredited competition is and most that were run years ago were not run under the auspices of the ABPA. They were independently funded and organised comps. Hal himself is a Judge. I have never seen his name associated with winning any ABPA Comp or any comp for that matter. A couple of our Judges are not even financial members. I think it is time for some transparency in this regard and see what some Judges have actually won to make them eligible Judges. I was told I had to apply and was hounded till I did. I have Judges many state and National Competitions as well as many others yet do not fit the criteria. Special circumstances, I was told. Time for a rethink on this ‘Accredited Judges’ BS me thinks. And no better time than at the AGM in a few weeks.

Cheers

Neil

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Shelley
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by Shelley » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:13 pm

Hi Neil

Reading your latest post, it appears that the focus has shifted from written judging to performance judging. My previous comments specifically concerned written judging, as that was the subject of David’s original thread.

I am not involved in performance competition or judging. However as you’ve addressed certain statements to me, I felt I should attempt to clarify – so in the interests of accuracy I’ve gained access to ABPA records, which yield the following information ...

The requirement of winning three competitions (either performance or written) was established at the 2011 AGM. This was prior to the commencement of Hal’s tenure as ABPA president, and was a "whole of committee" decision at that time.

There is a full list of ABPA-accredited competitions in the competition package. This list was compiled by the then ABPA secretary in consultation with competition organisers, and subsequently approved by the committee. The list included competitions no longer running, so that wins in these competitions could still count towards an applicant judge’s criteria.

All accredited written and performance judges are listed on the website. Hal is not a fully accredited judge – rather he is a supplementary performance judge operating within restricted guidelines (as per the application form). The category of supplementary judges was introduced to cater for performance competitions which due to distance or monetary concerns, are unable to use ABPA-approved judges.

I understand that our current treasurer is currently auditing the financial membership status of all accredited judges.

From my time on the executive, I can speak from experience when it comes to transparency of appointing new judges. Applications are submitted in writing and each case is assessed on an individual basis, and approved or rejected by the entire committee. Where applicants are unable to meet the "three-win" criteria, recognition of prior achievements is taken into consideration. All associated documentation is held by the secretary and appended to committee minutes.

The current ABPA guidelines have derived from extensive input from ABPA committees from 2009 to the present. They were thoroughly reviewed, formulated and presented in November 2014 via the website to the whole ABPA membership as a ‘dynamic’ document. All subsequent suggestions from members were taken into consideration. The guidelines were then trialled at three ABPA State Championships and further adjustments were made to them.

As you know Neil, the ABPA guidelines for both performance and written competitions are formally reviewed every two years. The 2016 Review Committee (of which I was part) comprised both performers and writers. Through the magazine and forum, submissions were invited from all ABPA members. The next review is due in 2018, so this would be the ideal time for any incoming committee to once again invite and consider members’ input - rather than at an AGM where there is only a portion of the membership present (and possibly very few writers), and where there are severe time constraints.

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
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"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
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keats
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by keats » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:46 am

Merry Christmas Shelley. For you and your family.

But I still stick by my post.

Cheers

Neil

Terry
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by Terry » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:51 pm

Yes Merry Christmas to everyone.

I suppose the only way to sort this out, is for all judges both written and performance,
to show their credentials to an independent panel - problem solved - or would it be?
An independent panel might be hard to find!

Anyway Cheers

Terry

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David Campbell
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Re: The subjectivity of judging

Post by David Campbell » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:17 pm

Thanks for that insight into the selection process, Shelley, it’s very useful. No procedure like this can ever be perfect, but, on the issue of transparency of credentials, I can foresee a few possible problems if information is to be opened up to the general membership. Transparency regarding who won what might sound fine in theory, Neil, but I wonder how it would work in practice. With the written judging application (I'll leave the performance side of things for others to debate) the three competitions won have to be stated, which would open up the opportunity for criticism.

For example, I might stick my nose in by saying that such-and-such a competition shouldn’t be counted because the poem concerned should never have won a prize in the first place as the metre was pretty wonky. To which somebody might reply that the metre should be overlooked because it was a great story or very funny or on a significant issue or…etc etc. And somebody else might weigh in by saying it didn’t really qualify as it was only a small competition with hardly any entries. And so it would go. It’d be the sort of discussion that the committee may well have anyway, but on a larger scale.

In the end, somebody has to make a decision, and the committee is probably best placed to do that…in house. And they can always seek outside advice if necessary in order to get another opinion. Terry’s independent panel may be a viable alternative as it would presumably ease the committee’s workload a bit, but I’m guessing that it would only have the power to make a recommendation…the final decision would still need to rest with the committee. And yes, as Terry says, an independent panel might be hard to find. I’m surprised to hear that a couple of judges are not financial members, and that certainly needs to be sorted out. Anybody acting in the name of the ABPA should be a current financial member.

Cheers
David

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