[concours] Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 01:07:12 -0700

Steve A. sent me a provocative e-mail responding to my suggestion that
scores at individual concours be indexed to a national average. I won’t
quote him since it was off list, but he did bring up an interesting point
that people who show up at a laxly-judged concours with a true 100 point car
would be unfairly penalized.


Sure there might be a person or two who is penalized because they actually
had a 100 or nearly 100 pt. car. On the other hand, inflated scoring by some
clubs penalizes stricter-scoring clubs and dozens of people who have chosen
to enter their Jaguars in their concours. Currently, there is no correction
mechanism, no penalties, while at the same time clubs and entrants both
benefit from lax judging.

Under my suggestion, the penalty targets the source of the infraction.

Dick suggested judging guides, rules, etc. That’s a start, but as long as
the system rewards laxness, there will always be a slow creep in that
direction. Sure, every once in a while, someone will crack a whip and things
will straighten out for a couple years, but not much longer as clubs see
other clubs granting ever higher scores and garnering the long-distance
entrants. It’s just human nature. No one is going to pursue a goal,
especially something as amoral as accurately judging a hunk of steel, when
clubs and entrants are penalized for approaching the ideal. The only way it
will happen is if there is some carrot or stick. I see two sticks, one
carrot, and one that does both:

  1. Oversight – a trained national chief judge at all concours to look over
    the shoulders of the local judges and ensure that judging is up to a defined
    standard. (Potential stick)

  2. Training / Testing – requiring some sort of hands-on training or testing
    for one or more judges at local clubs. This would not be an open-book rules
    test, but something where proficiency would be demonstrated to the
    satisfaction of the JCNA, for example the accurate judging of a car. (A baby
    carrot)

  3. Penalty – some kind of penalty or sanction for a club who is obviously
    off the scale compared to others. In an extreme case, scores could be
    rejected, for example. (Big stick)

Of course, there are combinations of the above, for example, a penalty could
be oversight for the following number of years.

The problem with 1 and 2 is that they involve travel and costs. 1 and 3
require someone to be the bad guy. Penalties may not be timely and are
subject to dispute and sometimes drawn-out resolution.

  1. Automatic adjustment mechanism – what I am proposing or something
    similar. (Carrot and stick, both at the same time)

My solution provides a self-correcting mechanism and would be in the rules
so all members would know it going in. There’s no bad guy and the scores
would be automatically adjusted at the end of the season. It would be
self-policing because if local members own true 100 pt. cars and their club
is known for lax judging, the members would demand that their judges get
their butts in gear and start judging properly so their scores aren’t
adjusted down. Since most entrants are local members, and local members are
usually the judges, they would be demanding it of themselves. If they ignore
the rules and continue to judge laxly, the long-term effect is that
long-distance entrants with top notch cars would choose venues where judging
is stricter so that what scores as a 100 pt car is much closer to a flawless
example. The adjustment is current (same season) and with the scores being
updated regularly on the JCNA website, entrants could get a feel for any
adjustment as the season progressed. It would be easy to keep an overall
running average of the Championship and Driven Divisions and an average for
each concours.

The adjustment might occasionally unfairly penalize an entrant, but there is
still the top-three-scores rule, and the entrant could add another show to
his travels.