One club's idea for competition marking

Forums Crewe PS Business One club's idea for competition marking

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  ajroyle 3 years, 5 months ago.

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    One of the clubs that I will be judging for next season has come up with its own marking system. You can readily see what they are trying to do but, will it work?

    No marks are to be awarded. Instead all the entries are to be put into one of three grades; Gold, Silver, Bronze. The judge can award as many Golds as they think fit, but within the Gold class he/she must award a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. They also have two sections; Advanced and Intermediate, but that is not unusual.

    What do you think?


    Tom Seaton

    Very similar to our own scoring system for the Annuals which works OK. Many judges already seem to separate out entries into three groups which could be called Gold Silver and Bronze. A difference is we award 1st 2nd and 3rd places plus highly commended and commended awards.

    I don’t think it would work in our league competitions without major surgery.


    Ian McNab

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, as usual, Tom. There’s an essential difference between giving everyone an indication of the standard of their work (the system John outlines of Gold, Silver and Bronze ‘grades), and generating scores that differentiate individuals arithmetically to create a ‘league table’ by giving each picture a specific numerical score.

    The problem with the ‘scores’ system is that the validity of the numerical ratings is highly dubious. The arbitrariness of the numerical values assigned to individual pictures is especially glaring when the great majority of pictures are all of a similar standard. And, on the other hand, judges themselves point out the invidiousness of having to to give a 20 to a single ‘winner’ when there are two, three or four equally good but very different pictures.

    Personally, I’d scrap the idea of a league: it’s OK for football or squash, but not for art and creativity.



    Tom Seaton

    Scrapping the league! What would we do with all the trophies?

    All that work during the season to get the sums right…….mmmm  you may have something there Ian!

    Scalpels out. It may be time for that major surgery.




    Sounds a move in the right direction. I agree with Ian and I disagree with Ian.My first club experience late 50″s was 1st 2nd 3rd and commendations–once a year. Restricting judges to only award one 20 has no logic. The club idea John mentions sounds a bit like Chelsea Flower Show, where if merited the judges award many golds -silver and bronze.So photographs could be awarded the award on merit.Like Ian for me the “league has no place. I am splitting hairs saying I disagree on a point Ian makes. “An indication of the standard of their work”—only in the view of a “judge”who so often come to lamentable decisions. Nothing will change , but for what should be the aims of a photographic club–there are far to many competitions. Why will it not change, simply because so many members now are interested in one thing only—winning. That is evident by the lack of interest or support to the club in many ways.One example is lack of support to the forum- or to the publicity stands nor giving support to those few that do. There is by many a deep lack of interest to make the club tick by members who could help muster support chasing sponsors and publicity as an example. The “portrait evening is a class example—due respect to the very wonderful Sharon and how her patience must be tried. What is the problem with people first in line to pick up the cups-help and support-arranging models—lights–background or even outside locations.–Do not worry–put the tablets away—its not going to happen.Who now helps John with the competition number crunching.??Who is preparing class CPS Christmas cards now and calendars and CPS diaries that will finish up on the desks of potential club sponsors. Sorry I digress (delete sorry) -.



    We are all begging questions we cannot answer – would we get the entry numbers without the League system? What would we replace it with? Whether competition are valid or not having a points system of some sort seems to motivate. Any marking system or grading system can be used as a basis for a league score – even the system they have at Knutsford, which is 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5th and nothing else. The gold, silver, bronze idea could easily become 20, 19, 18, (first, second third, then 17 for the rest of the golds, 16 for the silver and 15 for the bronze – exactly the same as our annual system.

    I must admit that, while I regard myself as non-competitive, I do feel some excitement during competition evenings and I’m sure everyone finds them entertaining, though they can be a problem for newcomers who may not be able to contextualise the comments passed  about their work.

    We might get a consistent number of entries if we abandoned the league system, entries do seem to fall off during the season. What ever your opinion about competitions they are certainly hotly contested and so clearly a good proportion of the members enjoy them. Would we get that lovely range of work that we have been fortunate  enough to experience in the past?

    Perhaps it is just the number of entries we allow. It might surprise, no, shock our members to know how many photos the club in question allows members to make in any one category. The answer is ONE. How much of an attraction is our very large entry allowance? If we reduced the entry we could run prints and PDIs on the same night.

    On Ken’s points about support; I am sure most members would help with anything they feel capable of doing, if asked. It is always the case that a few enthusiasts in a club will do most of the work. Probably a lot of the effort is not strictly necessary but it creates a buzz, an energy level which is felt by outsiders as well as members.



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