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Invalidating Courses

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 21 October 2013, 8:37 AM  
If a control is in the wrong place and is then relocated by the controller after it has affected many athletes should the grades affected by this error be automatically invalidated or should it be left to one athlete to lodge a complaint and then decide that the course should be invalidated if the complaint is upheld?

Show Profile  AlisterM Posted: 21 October 2013, 9:32 PM  
Moving a control after the competition is in progress is effectively agreeing with the complaint so the controller should invalidate the affected grades. Any competitor would still have the option of protesting against the invalidation if they thought that the change was insignificant. Then the jury would decide. However event organisers need to request that all complaints are made in writing, preferably on a prepared form, so that all relevant information is readily available for a jury. We once had an invalidation overturned because there was no official complaint even although the incorrect control had affected some competitors more than others. The questions that should always be asked is "was the course fair to all competitors?" and "were all competitors in a grade equally affected by the problem?" A jury may decide that the impact on the whole competition is too significant to require invalidation if the problem only affected one person who had an early or late start and overturn the invalidation. However these are decisions which should be made by a jury rather than the controller and certainly not an individual competitor.

Show Profile  mcroxford Posted: 22 October 2013, 5:37 PM  
The event organisers don't need to request that all complaints are made in writing.

Rule 27.3 A complaint shall be made in writing to the Controller as soon as possible, but within 60 minutes of the affected competitor finishing. A complaint is adjudicated by the Controller. The Controllers decision on a complaint shall be advised to the complainant, and displayed on the
results board as soon as possible, but in any case within 60 minutes.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 22 October 2013, 8:08 PM  
Interesting topic Jamie.

In New Zealand we are really against complaints and protests. We shouldn't be. We can't learn from things if people don't use the appropriate method to identify when things aren't fair.

However on the point about whether or not a complaint is required - I once had an event where something was wrong. The thing that went through my head was that I wanted to invalidate it, however, what if I was the only person that did? Two controls within about 20m were mixed around the wrong way. So I reinstated the people who went to the right location but punched the wrong control number, and the people that went to the wrong location but correct number were already valid. But it was a real mental dilemma for me.

End of the day - when someone wins something or does well, you don't really want a little star next to that result.

Whilst we are all gutted when things go bad - the thought process that people don't want to complain or protest because it is unfair on the volunteers involved is not really valid. When something goes wrong of course you are gutted, but having bad results eventuate doesn't make it any better. The key thing is we should all be learning and not having it happen again in the future.

Show Profile  Tane Cambridge Posted: 22 October 2013, 9:46 PM  
Hmmm shouldn't really have two controls on similar features placed less than 50m apart should you?

Anyway... First of all I should declare that I was effected by the control in question in the weekend.

I am not currently an A grade controller but I have completed a controllers course a long time ago. From my vague recollection there was not a huge amount of time of effort put towards how to deal with a situation like what came up on Saturday in the course. I think in the rule book the statement goes "it is the controllers responsibility to ensure fairness" which doesn't really help the situation either. Generally the controller does have some input to the courses and always some reluctance to invalidate the courses even if there is something wrong and I can fully understand that too as I have planned and controlled events myself.

As this situation tends to happen quite regularly (unfortunately) maybe there needs to be some sort of guide or flowchart or some sort of document that the controller can follow in an event such as this. Maybe if you have rules to follow then its easier to disassociate yourself with having to make the call and essentially you can blame it on the rules?

So what am I getting at... I don't think that (currently) our controllers are properly equipped to deal with a situation such as this....

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 23 October 2013, 11:36 AM  
I wonder if the new NZOF website that was rolled out at the beginning of the year has resources for controllers on it. Unfortunately all I can find is the old website so cant confirm this?

This message was edited by DMjunior on 23 October 2013, 12:50 PM

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 23 October 2013, 12:57 PM  
And good luck linking to any page that isn't the home page.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 23 October 2013, 11:19 PM

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 24 October 2013, 5:46 AM  
I want to hear Greg Flynn's opinion

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 24 October 2013, 9:22 AM  
Yeah you can link to any page if you know how

but it isn't very usable and its not a good look.

Show Profile  stu barr Posted: 24 October 2013, 1:13 PM  
Flynn! Flynn! Flynn!
I want to hear that too. Been a while since a good ol' fashioned Flynn rant.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 24 October 2013, 2:05 PM  
IOF opinion on invalidating courses

(from an anonymous source)

Show Profile  Bryan Posted: 24 October 2013, 4:08 PM  
Not sure I agree with example 9 from the IOF opinions - (last 6 runners in final couldn't start and 'The results should stand with due recognition that some competitors were
deprived of the opportunity to take part.'

I'm sure if this was the Olympics this wouldn't happen - imagine the fuss if the top 6 couldn't have a chance to take part (and get a medal). In my view competition should be voided or rerun on another day if possible.

In regards to the Auckland Champs, I wasn't there so can only comment remotely. Whenever as a controller, planner or organiser and we've had a control in the wrong place, no matter how many were affected, the course was voided.

Usually for bigger events, we have runners from the organiser club start early and if a problem is found there should be plenty of time to fix a problem (this has happened to me as an organiser on at one occasion) - the club runner is thanked for being the guinea pig and saving the day.

Show Profile  pete s Posted: 24 October 2013, 9:55 PM  
I'm not going to comment on the intricacies of the rules here, as will leave that to people with much greater brain capacity than I have, such as Jeff Greenwood and Simon Addison, who are both very highly qualified and intelligent people.

However I was reflecting that if this were another sport, such as say rugby, you wouldnt be able to go back a week later and change the score of a game because in retrospect the referee made a bad call. As frustrating as it must be the players accept that the decisions and result are determined within the timeline of the game, and sometimes there will be issues and mistakes. They accept that shit happens - it shouldnt, but it does, and so the game has to be played and result determined within a set period of time. The "game time" of an orienteering event surely must be the period the race is held plus the period that a protest can take place. Seems crazy that you can change the result some days or weeks later, which as Simon says means official results may not be able to be published for some long period of time.

Thats just my thoughts, which as I say are based on some musings rather than a deep analysis of the rules in this instance.

Was also entertained to read comment by DMJunior above slating progress of NZOF website. Ironic given said person was part of a select group of people invited to input to the design and scoping of the website earlier in the year, but for some reason never inputted at all - could be said his criticism is a little rich given his own lack of commitment to the cause, so to speak.

What IS great though is the very positive contribution a bunch of people have been putting into the new website, which is shaping up nicely, so stay tuned...:-)

This message was edited by pete s on 24 October 2013, 11:34 PM

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 24 October 2013, 10:59 PM  
I am not an A grade controller, but I've participated in a few events that have been invalidated. I think that although it seems harsh, if the course is significantly unfair (as with Auckland Champs) that it should be invalidated, rather than find a compromise. I don't think the competitors need to be put on the spot or questioned, or that the control should even be moved mid-race for that matter. It's annoying, but s*%t happens and the decision should then be straight forward. Results taken from the control before are not fair either - many runners tend to fade in the end of the course and don't deserve to win a sub-competition because of the 'luck' of a control being in the wrong place. IOF rules seem to have it covered (in this matter).

Damn it DMjunior! Now the major culprit emerges! You should have chosen the color scheme for the NZOF website back when you were being strung along, then we'd all have the new one to complain about already - shame on you!

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 25 October 2013, 2:16 PM  
Yes it is true that I was added to a group at the start of the year regarding this website but due to endless frustrating dealings with NZOF I couldn't see the point in continuing to try and rake water uphill so decided to focus my energy on actually doing something to help orienteering in my region in various ways. I do not want to get into a shit flinging competition here but I do have real frustrations with how my work has been treated by NZOF. Once again this is probably something to discuss with Simon.
But I do stand by the opinion that a new website should not have taken anywhere near as long as it has.




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