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Show Profile  Paul G Posted: 30 April 2003, 1:14 PM  
To add another twist to the debate...
The roles of the planner and controller are becoming blurred as they are both (typically) involved in the planning process from the day they are nominated to run the event. The controller is not necessarily the more experienced of the two.
While the rules clearly identify who has responsibility, it is in reality a combined effort.
This evolution is largely influenced by officials' desire to identify errors as early as possible; to talk about the map, the courses, and potential problems from the start. After all, they are the only two people who (should) have seen the course beforehand.
The fact we have OCAD, Wincacs and printing available up to just a few hours before an event is putting new pressures on the planner/controller and it doesn't allow them much time to review their handiwork before the race is started. The last day of 9 days of an A grade/International standard orienteering, with control standards and sportident being available only after everyone else had finished with them adds a dimension that none of us would look forward to.
Perhaps the controller should be stepping back from a hands-on approach. This would disassociate the controller to some degree, and provide the independence that a complainant should expect - in the same way as a team captain could approach a match referee, and be confident of a fair hearing.

I think this is a healthy and positive discussion. I am taking a lot from it.
Paul Gilkison

Show Profile  Jenni Posted: 30 April 2003, 1:47 PM  
My feelings on this are along the lines of Rob Garden's (assuming that it Rob G is really Rob Garden). I do not think anyone should have protested for this course because as we can see from the splits it made no major difference to the results and it was a really fun race. I haven't gone through and taken the time lost from each person off to see what time they would have done and so I'm guessing there would have only been a few swaps of places (Jamie and Bill maybe?) This doesn't seem worth voiding a whole event over. My opinion is that even if about the same result ends up in the end then that's what matters. The "about" is the subjective bit but we have the splits so we could always publish a list of the results without that control. In my opinion the main thing, and the feeling I was left with after the race, was that it was a great course that I really enjoyed and I've written to tell the planner and controller that.

As far as the front of the race goes I think it's pretty obvious that it made no difference to Tan winning, the main contenders had already seen her, I believe, before that control and she ran away from them at the end anyway which she was always going to do.
Carsten was already in front of Rob J and the time Rob J lost wasn't enough for him to have been able to see Carsten I don't think. Carsten made a mistake a couple of controls later so maybe Rob J would have caught him but if Rob J could have kept up with Carsten over the last part of the course I'd be amazed (of course I'm biased but even the usually modest Carsten thinks the same!) In any case Rob J sent Carsten the mug he got for winning the race so even if he doesn't think so he doesn't feel he truly won. Carsten can't do the next superseries events as he's doing the Christchurch half marathon so assuming Rob J is doing Queen's Birthday he would have won the superseries anyway (even if Carsten was leading by 4 points now) and I don't think anyone can beat those two.

Greg I think you've lost it if you think that the overall ANZAC weekend result should be discounted just because we lost an average of about a minute and a half on a wrongly placed control

For those that didn't run have the control there was a pretty obvious clearing between the two reentrants in question. Like Tania I ran down the clearing expecting to see a control on my left instead I spotted one on my right, thought that's strange but I may as well check it, "hmm I must have been making a parallel error, oh well, off I go to the next control". Some people did worse because they ran down the correct reentrant until they got to the bottom and then tried some other options. If you came into the control by contouring you saw the control before hitting the correct reentrant, this is what Carsten and presumably Brent did. I'm not sure how Lisa lost 6 minutes but maybe she went out to the open to relocate.

I just looked up the Queen's Birthday events on the web and it looks great. Lots of fun head to head racing, for me it might even make up for missing Tiomila this year.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 30 April 2003, 2:07 PM  
umm, I think your'e coming a bit from left field here Jenni.

I don't really think its constructive to debate the merits of the protest, the jury of A grade controllers has determined the course should be voided. That a few people spiked the control does not make it fairer than if it had thwarted us all! And importantly none of us are suggesting that the course as a whole was poor, I too thought it was outstanding.

I'm confused as to the references to Greg.

Back to the debate as to the suitability of the controller to be the first point of call in regards to a protest....

Rob C (Head Honcho) questions the "chairman of the juries" objectivity if approached by a competitor, I don't quite see his logic here. Such a person would then have a duty to converse with the controller and then if needed the rest of the jury. I don't see how this creates a lack of objectivity, indeed this person would be there because of their neutrality compared to the controller.

Paul G brings up the heavy workload and co-operative nature of the planner/controller relationship, I couldn't agree more...this is what I described as the "reality". The controller is there as the competitors representative to make sure the course/controls are fair and controllers generally carry out this duty well. I'm just not convinced that there isn't a better procedure, as suggested, for when things go wrong.

Edited by - jamie on 30/04/2003 22:08:33

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 30 April 2003, 2:15 PM  
I found Gregs posting, I think we should quietly ignore his frustration.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 30 April 2003, 2:22 PM  
Yeah Jenni what are you getting at, the comments I made had nothing to do with the protest in question but what should be done now its upheld, read the other tread.

As for the protest I had no problems at the time as I contoured round and hit it, forgot about, but it was wrong and thats not fair, no one likes to protest, whats the bet next time the event organisers make sure they get everything right (eg PAPO)

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 30 April 2003, 11:11 PM  
Malcolm - Does having a home town controller make a difference?

It has the potential to. Thankfully NZ controllers are generally competent so issues don't arise so often, but having a controller who is also in the same club as the event organisation has the potential for conflict, and doesn't put them (the controller) in a great position.

Jamie, all I'm saying is a jury's role should be to consider facts brought before it - its not any jury members role to argue a case on behalf of a competitor with the controller - and of course it affects their impartiality, or others perception of their impartiality, as you're asking that jury member to "take a side" (whether he/she believes so or not). Draw an analogy with the legal system - although no doubt you think that can be improved as well :)

Jenni, I don't think theres much argument that the misplaced control caused an unfair result - while it may not have affected the top placings, "result" refers to placings from first to last - I had an interesting discussion with a certain World Cup controller on that point when a bridge got washed out in Switzerland some years ago. From the splits, at least 10 out of 21 men lost varying amounts of time, and in the women Claire had the fastest split (no offence Claire) suggesting you all stuffed it up. Just because it may not have affected 1st,2nd and 3rd shouldn't be a reason to allow the result to stand. Its unfortunate the winners dont receive the kudos theyre due but thems the breaks.

Show Profile  Jenni Posted: 1 May 2003, 3:12 AM  
OK I've got 10 minutes before I have to be somewhere and I probably won't have time to look here for at least a week or so now so don't feel offended or victorious if I don't write anything more!

I can see that this discussion has moved onto how to appoint juries and controllers and other procedural (something I have very little iinterest in) but I wanted to let you know my opinion which was that protesting this particular race was unnecessary.

Orienteering is never completely fair, sometimes there is dark green that you can get through in some places and while you can't 5m further on, sometimes you can see a control if you approach it from one direction but not if you're 5m different... As mappers, course planners and organizers we all try to make it as fair as possible. But maps are never perfect and neither are people. My belief is as long as it's "fair enough" then it's OK. Many people have said noone likes protesting a course because of all of the hours of work the people have put in and my point is in this case you really didn't have to, as it made very little difference to any results (I don't count being 8th rather than 7th for example as much of a difference) AND the difference it did make could have been shown (nearly) by producing a list of results without that control. Anyway it doesn't matter because the results are there to see and to many people they are meaningful results regardless of what the jury, controller or anyone else has ruled.

I don't think protesting helps to prevent it happening again. It helps to have less people volunteer to do the job and we don't have enough of them anyway. In our club it means that Carsten and I now volunteer to do some of the major events, meaning we can't run them. But I can't promise that we won't make mistakes, we use procedures to make them less likely and we'll give lots of hours to try to prevent them but I expect there will be mistakes there. (But maybe not for the next few years as we're going to live in Europe for a couple of years as soon as we can! And there's more pople to plan courses there so we can wait till we're rally old.) I hope all those that enjoyed the courses (as Carsten, Mike and I did) have also told those that put the work into it so they know.

My point to you Greg was that your reaction (stating that the ANZAC result shouldn't be counted in the superseries) seemed way over the top wrt the degree of the problem. As Fraser pointed out anyway, the Superseries event was the overall result which still existed without the chasing start race.

Happy training and I challenge you all to finish the blodslitet course at Queens Birthday weekend, might have to spend as much time training as you do at the computer...
(Pity Carsten can't run as it would have been a good promotional thing to have a winner of the original Blodlsitet running it, I said to him maybe next year and he reminded me that we'll probably be in Denmark so I hope when we get back he's still young enough to run with you young boys!)

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 1 May 2003, 3:47 AM  
I speak here as a former TC Convenor (a contribution as SS Manager is made on another thread).

Anyone who feels fairness has been compromised has the right to make a complaint. Anyone who feels that the result of a complaint is unsatisfactory has the right to make a protest.

With one exception, noone should be criticised for exercising their right, and they should not be subject to any pressure or horse-trading to withdraw. It doesn't matter how hard the organisers have worked or how many other events they have run successfuly. It's the way we have set up to resolve disputes.

The controller decides on complaints. (S)he may well be conservative in a fuzzy case in order to make the matter go to the next stage, but should not attempt to influence a protest. A jury decides on protests and the action that should be taken. The jury also decides whether a protest is frivolous or vexatious by withholding the fee. That's the only time anyone should be criticised for protesting.

Paul says, "The roles of the planner and controller are becoming blurred as they are both (typically) involved in the planning process from the day they are nominated to run the event. The controller is not necessarily the more experienced of the two."

If that was the case for any of the recent events it is wrong, and reduces the chance of detecting problems. The controller must retain a certain "distance" from the event organisation. This is much harder to do if the controller and planner are club-mates, and I have and do support the appointment of controllers from other clubs. I find I treat the controller's requirements much more seriously if they come from outside. And an outside controller provides another head and pair of hands to the organisation.

Michael Wood

Show Profile  Natalie Posted: 1 May 2003, 3:56 AM  
I think that Jenni talks sense. I know that rules are rules and the rules state that a protest is valid if the results are affected in some way by a misplaced control or similar, but the subjective bit is whether or not it is necessary to lodge the protest in the first place. There is no argument here as to whether it was correct to uphold this particular protest, as it does fall within the guidelines for upholding protests. The dubious action is the lodging of the protest in the first place.

I don't believe that just because strictly in a perfect world the control would have been 15 m in another direction it is right to protest and invalidate an entire race if the outcome is not significantly affected enough to make more than a slight whisper in the voice of the result.

What it really comes down to is perspective. I know that nobody likes to protest, as nobody likes to have protests against their courses, so perhaps people may like to take a second before protesting to look at things with some perspective. It is frustrating to have lost time through no fault of your own, but unless you (and preferrably others) lost copious amounts of time and places as a result, I think that perhaps the outcome of the protest may be more an overall feeling of disappointment rather than justice.

I also would like to offer kudos to the organizers, planners, controllers etc of the entire carnival, every race was thoroughly enjoyable and challenging.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 1 May 2003, 4:56 AM  
A couple of random thoughts:

While it keeps everyone nice and happy if nobody protests when a mistake that hasn't really affected things happens, in the long run this leads to a reduction in event quality. Having found myself caught in the middle of a debate stirred up by our local OY series last year, I think we'd be better off with one or two top races being voided per year, than every race being a bit rumpy but most people philosophically accepting it.

Orienteers learn from their mistakes (at least I've heard some do), so should course setters and controllers. Controllers should think of their role as representatives of the competitors - someone (one of the Robs?) has already said that I know, but its something that should be reiterated.

In this case an overall result has been salvaged despite a problem with one race - while that means rules of the event may be different from those published, that must be a better outcome than the whole thing being voided. But any event that comes down to a single race (such as NZ champs) we have to be extra careful - this hasn't always been the case in the past.

And finally something to ponder: is a wrong control that some people spike more or less fair than one that everyone loses time on? and if the winner of a race still protests a wrong control is that good or poor sportsmanship?

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 1 May 2003, 8:48 AM  
Jenni, I understood your opinion perfectly well the first time, but if you're going to keep trying to push it at least get your facts straight.

This debate hasn't "moved towards" protest procedure, it started there.

Your having to plan events hasn't originated from potential controllers getting annoyed with protests. I can't remember a protest lodged against PAPO in the last so many years. I'm presuming last years Canterbury Champs was just invalidated (as one would expect if a competitor decides he should move a control in the wrong place)

Indeed there have been many times when a PAPO elite course should have been protested, but hasn't been. Notably the 2001 Canterbury Champs where incredibly one competitor was given a 10 minute allowance for a misplaced control (the rest of the results stood), and secondly the National Short-O Champs 2002, where numerous planning (best route choices off map) and mapping (huge unmarked clearings and wrongly mapped tracks) mistakes were made.

The outcome of the later was a poor technical committee report and the controller threw a fit (correct me if I'm wrong). I don't hesistate to say if the former had been protested then it might have sent a message to the controller for the latter and maybe these problems would have been avoided.

It is worth noting that the latter was a one-off NZ Champs, dominated in elite by Bruce McLeod, and I suggest the only thing stopping a protest was his mana and the nature of the event. The last day of ANZAC was not quite so important and as shown an overall result is still possible.

Jenni, just because Rob and Carsten are so fast should the rest of us have to run around in circles in the forest?

Edited by - jamie on 1/05/2003 17:06:46

Show Profile  That Claire Girl Posted: 1 May 2003, 3:13 PM  
Gee...thanx Rob! Na, no offence taken, I couldnt believe it when i saw i had a fastest split seeing as i was rather sick at the time (trying to get over my vomiting and hadache etc...)!! I ran very slow the whole race, and so I'm guessing there was in fact a bit of time lost on that control. However, I dont really see how you could make much mistake on that control, as it was fairly open in there and you could see the control from quite a few metres away, plus, if you were coming from the previous control in the right direction, you basically came to where the control was before you came to where it should be (which is how I spiked it). So what the hell did you guys who stuffed it up do anyway? Oh well, i dont really want answers - rhetorical question. Jenni, you have some wise words in my opinion (but ten minutes my arse) !
Later! Claire.

Show Profile  darren Posted: 3 May 2003, 9:00 AM  
Hi everyone, I've just gone online for the first time this week (its hard out here in the wops!) and it looks like a great little debate is going on.

I thought I might put my 10mins worth in.

A couple of things before I start -

1) I agree with the postive comments regarding the Day 4 course, I to thought the course was very well set an think the planner and controller deserve a pat on the back for a job mostly well done.
2) I also agree totally and 100% with the protest, the control was wrong, plain and simple. We don't need to get all excited about it and complicate things by checking splits and looking at placings. It was simply in the wrong place and that's not fair in orienteering.

Its pretty straight forward really. In orienteering the little orange and white material things have to be placed where the centre of the circle is marked on the coloured bit of paper we use to navigate by. If they are just outside, or even right on the edge of the circle, they are wrong, plain and simple. Those who protested were well within their right to do so.

Stu Barr is correct - "The point isn't who is affected or by how much, it is that the course was wrong."

Jenni says-
"Orienteering is never completely fair, sometimes there is dark green that you can get through in some places and while you can't 5m further on, sometimes you can see a control if you approach it from one direction but not if you're 5m different... As mappers, course planners and organizers we all try to make it as fair as possible. But maps are never perfect and neither are people. My belief is as long as it's "fair enough" then it's OK."

What a load of rubbish Jenni. While I'll grant you the map is not always perfect and people do make mistakes these should not be excuses for sloppy control placement, this is the one thing we should be able make completely and totally fair.

Onemanfanclub says-
"While it keeps everyone nice and happy if nobody protests when a mistake that hasn't really affected things happens, in the long run this leads to a reduction in event quality."

I've been thinking along the same lines this week. In our 'A' grade events we should expect nothing less than perfect control placement, overseen by experienced 'A' grade controllers. If we keep accepting little mistakes and say "oh well, it was close enough" or as Jenni says "fair enough" then the overall standard of our sport suffers.

Sometimes competitiors do find it hard to protest. There were several small mistakes on the Day 3 event at ANZAC where controls were not in the centre of the circle, and even one site that shouldn't have been used as the map didn't accurately represent the vegetation around the control. I thought about protesting, but thought "nah everyone will just think I'm a wanker and being anal", even though several competitiors lost time on these controls. I regret my decision not to protest. Next time I definitely will.

Day 2 on the other hand was an example of where everything was perfect. On the elite mens course you couldn't protest a single thing. You navigated to the centre of the circle and their was the control, just where it was supposed to be.

Onemanfanclub also says-
"Orienteers learn from their mistakes (at least I've heard some do), so should course setters and controllers."

Of course the controller doesn't like to see mistakes happen, nobody does. A protest because of an incorrect control should not be taken as a personal attack on the controller as it was simply a mistake and humans make mistakes.
The mistake however does need to be accepted by the controller and an apology should be made to those on the course. The controller should take learning from the situation and should see the protest as constructive crticism.
The protest will only be destructive if the controller packs a sad and decides not to control future events.

I hope all our 'A' grade controllers are made of tougher stuff than some people suggest and can admit when they are wrong and strive to do the perfect job the next time if a mistake does ever slip into one of their courses.

I agree with the idea of using controllers from other clubs for 'A' grade events this would enable the contoller do an impartial job without getting caught up in the planning. Is this suggestion practical? How many 'A' grade events do we actually have each year?

As far as the elite and ex-elite competitiors are concerned. Many of us guys and girls (especially the older more experienced ones) represent a group of people that are among the most highly skilled and experienced map readers in the country. In the future when we stop training and competing at the top level we will hopefully be able to give back to orienteering in NZ by planning and controlling top class perfect events. Many of us already do this.
In the mean time we all have a responsibility to help raise the standard of O in this country. We already are starting to do this with the invention of the Super Series which is designed to raise our competitive standard, but our responibility is wider than just our own performance. One of the things we can do is protest every single time an 'A' grade event has an incorrect control regardless of how much time was actually lost. This will enable the 'A' grade controllers to learn and improve themselves, which means everyone wins.

Show Profile  darren Posted: 3 May 2003, 9:15 AM  
Oops I forgot, people poking their noses in and trying to persuade others not to use their right to protest is something we do not need in orienteering. If you get criticised when you protest by people not minding their own business, then the end result is people will feel even less inclined to point out when things are wrong. Michael Wood has some very good comments. Some people would do well to read these again.

Show Profile  stu barr Posted: 3 May 2003, 5:17 PM  
I can't remember a protest lodged against PAPO in the last so many years. I'm presuming last years Canterbury Champs was just invalidated (as one would expect if a competitor decides he should move a control in the wrong place)

Actually, I put in the protest on behalf of a group of affected competitors. It was all good hearted and there was plenty of honest and helpful dialogue between the organisers and competitors. The official lodging of the protest was just to keep everything legitimate in terms of the super series.

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