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Wow... I have to disagree on more levels than I can count.
Could you explain why?

Your statement is about as far from a be all end all as I can imagine. I feel obligated to point this out incase any unknowing soul gets misled by your opinion. It's ok to speak in generalities when one is a complete noob. But your comment lacks the sophistication you try to imply having based on your laundry list of people you have such an apparent intimate acquaintance with.
I'm sorry, but this was just uncalled for and as far as I can tell, unwarranted.

I can assure you... my own "master" would have made the same choice the populace did. But then again... maybe my master just thinks outside and beyond the box more than you. Who knows....
Who can say for sure what Dan would say, except for Dan himself?

I voted for Dale myself and explained in detail my reasoning for doing so on another thread. I do however like to read why other people chose other pot/plant combinations. I may not agree with them, but reading their reasoning can only expand my own understanding. I look forward to reading your words on why you so strongly disagree with fwhou's thoughts.


Will
 
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Tachigi

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Tom... my dear friend... I think holding the contest was a marvelous thing to do... It tends to be a good deal of fun for all. I would recommend for the unquestionable integrity of any further contests, that you keep secret from the public and especially your own judges, the identity of the participants.
Ms. Vic...my long time friend...the identities of the participants were hidden from the judges as was announced in the contest thread. In fact anything that took place on this forum during the time of the contest was excluded from them. All the judges put themselves in self exile so that name, rank and social status would not be a factor.

As far as hiding the participants from each other, well that would have taken away the whole idea behind this fun lil contest. A pick up game between community members to kill some time while we all count the days till the buds start swelling on the trees. This was what I thought might be a good idea throwing in a prize an incentive for these people that might be sitting on the fence. The main idea was for each person that viewed the thread to have the opportunity to learn something if they so choose. The prize and bragging rights were a secondary, at best, priority. One of the reasons I started the peoples choice award was to give you a voice to differ from the judges. This was done and the community expressed it feelings. That way it wouldn't be one sided and a person new to this game would see more than the judges opinion. I thought this was done quite adequately. Unfortunately people don't seem to see this and the "Prize" seems more important than the lesson learned.
 
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Rick Moquin

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I didn't expect that particular review and would be interested as pointed out to see it expanded upon.

The contest as a whole was extremely well run and laid out. The rationale behind the entire contest as Tom explained is pretty much what my opinion was/is as to the reason chosen for the format.

I believe allot was learned from not only the two judgings but also the rationale behind the reviews provided by the judges.

Tom picked a very difficult tree for this exercise. Wisterias have unique requirements when it comes down to pot sizes. The coarseness of their growth leaves the enthusiast with very little options wrt when the tree is displayed, which of course is when it is in bloom. However I have seen wisterias in their winter silhouettes as well, and some display rather well, now, none look very good in between.

The review provided me with the insight that this particular pot would have been a better selection as my second submission, which I almost submitted. However I thought that I could, with the use of Dale's extend the display of the tree into winter complimenting the bark, whilst the pot being subtle enough to not distract when in bloom.
 

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The contest as a whole was extremely well run and laid out. The rationale behind the entire contest as Tom explained is pretty much what my opinion was/is as to the reason chosen for the format.

I believe allot was learned from not only the two judgings but also the rationale behind the reviews provided by the judges.
"Word!" as you Americans say.
 

agraham

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Dale... you are without a doubt the winner of this contest in the minds of everyone, save one. No disrespect to Mr. Bill... he's put in his time and has the respect he deserves. But in this case, he was outdone... and there's nothing wrong with that... except for the fact that apparently that didn't matter.

Kindest regards,


Victrinia
Victrinia....please don't assume that you can speak for everyone,"save one".

http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1059&highlight=pot+contest

I sure am glad you "toned down" your response.I would have hated to see the accusations that were only insinuated in the posted version.

Great contest Tom.And my thanks to the judges.Sorry,Flex.Better luck next time.You need to learn to toe the line so to speak.:D .Actually...I'm sorry for the response to your opinion...an inquisition followed by a damnation.Completely undeserved in my opinion.

I learned more from this than I wanted to.But perhaps(not being in the know or having a "master" or having a "horse in the race")I just don't understand the dynamics.

andy
 

Dale Cochoy

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I voted for Dale myself and explained in detail my reasoning for doing so on another thread. I do however like to read why other people chose other pot/plant combinations. I may not agree with them, but reading their reasoning can only expand my own understanding. I look forward to reading your words on why you so strongly disagree with fwhou's thoughts.


Will
Will,
My point was, there WAS NO explanation of why pot#15 was scored soooooo badly. Look at Flex's critique again, it's not mentioned and that was the one I specifically asked about. All I asked was to hear why that pot, which most rated the best combo, was rated so bad by Flex. This wasn't explained at all?
I've been in a few bonsai-related contests over the last 30 years, as have some of the others, and I have seen many that I didn't enter personally. On more than one occasion I have been MORE THAN suprised by the judges choices. This became , finally, a point that caused me to decide to never enter another USA JUDGED contest, which, until this talk-group contest. I'm really sorry I broke my own word! But, now I am reaffirmed. I certainly bear no ill will against Bill, who I know well, or anyone else who entered the contest and might have one. My only question was to the scoring of that one pot. For some reason this wasn't answered. Some readers think it was, evidently. I'd have to say that they didn't really read the responses.
As I have seen time and time again, and I'm SURE Will could agree here!!!!, when someone sees something that just doesn't strike them as 'right' and they quiz on it. They come out looking bad, disrespectful and unappreciative. This is one of those cases! I still congratulate Tom on starting this interesting 'contest' and making nice prizes available to the winners, and I appreciate the time the judges spent on it.

Tom's snip
"Unfortunately people don't seem to see this and the "Prize" seems more important than the lesson learned."

Tom, I certainly disagree with this , at least in my case, and I think you know that. I did not want the pot(s).In fact, I didn't even realize there was a pot 'up for grab' in the Peoples Choice vote until Emil mentioned it to me after the contest was over. I guess I just stopped reading for comprehension after looking at the poll chart.
I just believed I needed a fair opinion on the judging. That was given shortly by two of the three judges. In Flex's 'explanation' he forgot to mention it in 3 posts?

Andy snip:
"Great contest Tom.And my thanks to the judges.Sorry,Flex.Better luck next time.You need to learn to toe the line so to speak. .Actually...I'm sorry for the response to your opinion...an inquisition followed by a damnation.Completely undeserved in my opinion.

I learned more from this than I wanted to.But perhaps(not being in the know or having a "master" or having a "horse in the race")I just don't understand the dynamics."

Andy this bothers me! and I don't like the undertone to it. I did not "damn" anyone. I just asked for an explanation. It hasn't come. If you can show me some explanation to the 4.25 vote ( out of possible 10) on pot #15, please quote it here. Your comment directly above was a bit of a slap in my opinion to someone who feels they are experienced and qualified to produce a good entry.

I'm now officially sorry I ever questioned the vote. Believe me! My question has been totally disected and accepted as being, mainly, troublesome, irreverent and unappreciative. I guess I shoulda just smiled and nodded, but I felt kinda like some of the last olympic figure skating competitors.

Dale
 

agraham

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Dale...I wasn't saying you damned anyone.

While there are guidelines for pot selection,sometimes a personal opinion is just that...a gut feeling.Sometimes there is no real justification or explanation needed.I wasn't a judge so my opinion doesn't count,but,there were some votes for pot and tree combinations that I thought were ugly.While I might question the person as to why they picked a certain combination or disliked a particular one,I think it would be pointless to say that "everyone else liked this one" or didn't like this one.As my father used to say..."I'm not everyone else".I assume the judges are not composites of all of us,but rather,individuals with their own opinions,likes and dislikes.

andy
 

Dale Cochoy

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I agree with you Andy.
I don't think I said 'everyone' anywhere? I better go back and read just in case. I do realize, especially from the readers pole, that many others did like other pots better and I'm sure most contestants voted for their own pots also.:)

"While there are guidelines for pot selection,sometimes a personal opinion is just that...a gut feeling.Sometimes there is no real justification or explanation needed."

I feel this was the case!!

Dale
 

agraham

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I think the phrase "everyone else" overstated the case,Dale.My apologies.:) It's just a saying.As in the exaggerated "but everyone else gets to do it"...and the response..."yes,but you're not everyone else."


andy
 
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I'd rather be humbled than out of line.

Greetings…

I have to sincerely apologize for blowing a gasket last night. I’ve asked for Ang3l to tell me I am not allowed to post when he knows I’ve managed to get my chain yanked by a situation, and I am too tired to be reasonable.

I still want to give Emil a chance to order a pot from Dale on me, because he deserves something as fine as a custom pot from Dale.

If you say that the judges were in self imposed exile Tom, I will of course take you at your word. I still believe you should make certain there is no pre-knowledge available in any case. At BT there’s even a rule that you aren’t supposed to discuss who’s doing what, when contests are held.

Such incidents of poor behavior in me are uncommon, and I apologize for failing to disagree in a respectful manner, which is my usual habit. I was indignant for a friend who did not ask me to be indignant. Again… I am sorry.

With respect,

Victrinia
 

Ang3lfir3

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Victrinia....please don't assume that you can speak for everyone,"save one".

http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1059&highlight=pot+contest

I sure am glad you "toned down" your response.I would have hated to see the accusations that were only insinuated in the posted version.
Andy,
I can tell you first hand (and im sure you actually already knew this) but Vic was refering to the fact that Dale won the people's vote AND also recieved the highest votes given out by 2 out of 3 judges. This of course equates in a rough manner to approximately : "Everyone" == "the majority". Hence the reason for the used phrasiology.

Tom,
First of all thank you very much for advancing the community and offering this wonder opportunity to really see inside the artistic minds of others. No doubt you had a great idea for a great contest and wonderful material to work with. You executed it beautifully and even now I would still be happy to enter any additional contests you may hold. (this is the part where people complain... aka Me... and make suggestions based on lessons learned)

Unfortunately I can't help but not look at the possibility of any number of judges knowing the identity of any of the contestants due to the simple ability to access that information even briefly. In other words without ironclad methodology I can't presume that all judges were honest, frankly i must have missed the part about the annonymous judging bit. (i know that sounds so terrible of me.... but im a glass half full kinda guy and i just know someone took the other half)

Interestingly enough IIRC it was Bill who set a wonderful example by not only giving details critiques of his judging methodolgy in the afore mentioned contest, but I also seem to remember him offering critiques on non-winning entries that he found interesting. This is an excellent model for contests of such a subjective nature. It beyond even the results of the judging and people's choice bits is the most educational bit of all.

Flex,
I...like Dale , and I believe many others , would like to get that reasoning behind the scoring of his entry. Of course the one person who deserves the most detailed and direct answer to that question is Dale himself. He after all is the contestant and deserves to understand your methodology and choice (what he chooses to do with the information is up to him... but he certainly deserves it..especially when asking for it directly). We just wanna know "why?" even if the answer to that question is "I just wanted Bill to win so maybe he will talk to me and I will be cool by association" (paraphrased and altered from the movie 10 things I hate about you). Its interesting to note that had you scored the pot as low as 5.00 (an average low score given by you based on the pattern given in scoring other combinations in the contest) that dale would have won the contest (marginally but would have won none the less).



Anyone still reading this..... I have found in my past experience that the ONLY non biased competitions are those where the public does the judging and the public is not aware of who the contestants are. This relies on the character of only one person (the contest holder)..... I can tell you that I would MOST DEFINETLY enter any contest like that held by Tom Brown any day of the week.
And in my book Dale won this contest hands down.... not because he is my friend... not because he is "Dale Cochoy".... but because that tree in my opinion truly deserves to be displayed in that perfectly married antique pot that so compliments the gnarled/ aged nature of the tree in its winter form with a color that compliments it's gorgeous blossoms... and apperantly 2 out of 3 dentists (i mean judges) think so too.

I think that is all I have for now on the subject..... but I'm sure there will be more I think of later.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I have found in my past experience that the ONLY non biased competitions are those where the public does the judging
This assumes that "the public" has a technical competency to judge something. I would argue that in this case they don't - or at least, the public in an open forum represents a cross section of skill and experience.

When using professional or expert judges there is always a chance for mistakes or (rarely) outright fraud. Take for example Women's Figure Skating. However even with the challenges, I would still hate to see the public judge Olympic Figure Skating. It would be a personality contest, nothing more.

I agree with your second comment about the anonymity of the contestants... next time we will need to implement this.
 

Ang3lfir3

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This assumes that "the public" has a technical competency to judge something. I would argue that in this case they don't - or at least, the public in an open forum represents a cross section of skill and experience.

When using professional or expert judges there is always a chance for mistakes or (rarely) outright fraud. Take for example Women's Figure Skating. However even with the challenges, I would still hate to see the public judge Olympic Figure Skating. It would be a personality contest, nothing more.
Professional judges have their merit. When judging a competition that requires specific skill in motion or physical/mental technique (figure skating and gymnastics are great examples) professional judges have their place. Judgement of these events requires the judges to know the strict rules of accomplishment that are bound by every competitor making an attempt to fit their execution into a strict box. Accomplishment in such contests is based solely on one's ability to perform a task to a predetermined "perfection".

The problem with treating Bonsai and its Competitions similarly is that in Bonsai (a purely asthetic form) there truly is no set of strict rules (even the rules aren't as strick as we like to think they might be...they are mearly tools for solving problems not readily solved without them). Bonsai's idea of perfection is different from person to person even amongst the Japanese who are most known for their strict rules which simply aren't strict enough for the use of professsional judges.im not saying the japanese don't use them... im just saying even their strict rules aren't strict enough

In such an arena where everything is so personal and subjective there is only one way to get the clearest picture of the largest level of success in bonsai. That is the public. Unless I am mistaken the number one goal of bonsai besides creating something beautiful for ones self is to create something beautiful to the largest group of others. What better group to determine that level of success than the public.

I can't help but believe that beautiful is beautiful. To get an accurate reading of that fact from a populous one must pole the populous to determine which subject meets the criteria for beautiful more so than any other in the collection.

again just my thoughts
 
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This assumes that "the public" has a technical competency to judge something. I would argue that in this case they don't - or at least, the public in an open forum represents a cross section of skill and experience.
I have to agree with the statement above, and as most of you know I also have the same "elitist" approach when it comes to esthetics and art. However, just to play the devils advocate for a bit, when looking at the scores one can hardly argue that tradition or "rules" have played a major part in the judging. I don't really have a problem with Flex judging the way he did, you like the pot or you don't. "I don't like the pot for that specific tree" is a very good reason for me and a reason I respect a lot more than "the height of the pot/trunk thickness-ratio is wrong" even though that would make communication a heck of a lot easier.

Anyway, my point is that if "technical competency" was a crucial factor the scores would have been much more the same since it would have been a matter of bringing out the ruler and "measure who will be the winner". If it comes down to personal preference, maybe average Joe (most of us) can do the job just as good and our opinion is of equal value? Or maybe I misunderstood what you meant?
 
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I still want to give Emil a chance to order a pot from Dale on me, because he deserves something as fine as a custom pot from Dale.

Victrinia
That has to be one the most generous offers I have had the pleasure of recieving during my 3 years of e-bonsai. As much as I appreciate it I cannot possibly accept. Dale was kind enough to offer me the pot he won from the people's choice, and I feel that that's more than enough! Besides, I'm years away from having a tree that deserves a custom pot (I don't want to spoil them already :) ). I thank you though, and I will remember it!
 
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That has to be one the most generous offers I have had the pleasure of recieving during my 3 years of e-bonsai. As much as I appreciate it I cannot possibly accept. Dale was kind enough to offer me the pot he won from the people's choice, and I feel that that's more than enough! Besides, I'm years away from having a tree that deserves a custom pot (I don't want to spoil them already :) ). I thank you though, and I will remember it!

You did beautiful work... When my Ang3l admits that you smoke him at virtuals... that commands my respect. In anycase... well done Emil... truly.

When you are ready for one.... let me know. ;) Just holding one of his pots is an experiance. I'm still trying to con Angel into giving me the one I ordered for him for Christmas. But he won't budge. :( lol


Kindest regards,

Victrinia
 
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Based on my experience creating, managing, and promoting bonsai contests, I agree with Bnut, the vast majority of the public do not have the technical competency to judge. Having been involved on both sides of contests where there was a popular vote, I can say with the utmost conviction that these quickly turn into a popularity contest.

Making the contest blind while still retaining the popular vote is an exercise in futility also, as entrants will let their associates quickly know which entry is theirs and others will be sure to spread the news of whose is whose behind the scenes.

We solved this dilemma a few years ago at AoB for our contests (the next one will be announced in just a couple days) by implementing a multi-step process.

First, we did away completely with the popular vote and all the problems associated with it.

Second, we bring in three world-class, renowned, highly respected bonsai artists to judge. People who are, without a doubt, experts in the area to be judged. The chances of two judges from different countries suddenly going corrupt as slim to none.

Third, we make the contest blind to both the public and the judges.

Forth, once judging is done, we post the judges worksheets, scores, and all other information leading up to the decisions.

In short, we make the entire process as fair, ethical, and transparent as possible.


It is about as fool proof as you can get, but we still are always looking for ways to improve upon the process.




Will
 

Ang3lfir3

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I'm always surprised to learn of the excess of work that must go into many bonsai related contests..... in my experience of managing dozens of contests as well as participating in on other forums (usually populated with teens and tweens as they were all computer science related) I find that this simple "excercise in futitlity" seems to work rather well and fair (as almost no one ever complains about the results) .... often entrants are even humble enough to admit defeat and even vote for their competators based souly on their competators having done better.

In my experience in the internet contest arena for many things artistic (from the elegance of code to the artistic merit of custom built computers and electronics to UX [software user experience which includes not only judging the design of the UI but the "feel"] )I have never seen a more popularity ridden arena than bonsai. Which I find SOOOOO rediculous due to the fact that it is largely populated by adults.

Strange how large groups of teens and tweens can get together and have an actual friendly contest without people going off on power trips and contestants feeling cheated..... maybe they just have a better sense of fair play, or it could be the mass willingness to call em how they see em.

just my thoughts..... but then again what do I know... I only have a dozen or so posts.:rolleyes:
 
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Dale Cochoy

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Will your voting scenario for furure contests sounds like a good one with lots of thought.

"Based on my experience creating, managing, and promoting bonsai contests, I agree with Bnut, the vast majority of the public do not have the technical competency to judge."

I think the word 'public' was misunderstood here and then built on. These weren't people off the street. Insteed they were members of the BNut 'family' shall we say that ,although all may not have many years of experience creating bonsai ,they are familiar with at least looking at pictures of beautiful bonsai. And IMO, as Angel eluded to , most people recognize that beautiful is beautiful, without giving much of a mental critique to it.

"Having been involved on both sides of contests where there was a popular vote, I can say with the utmost conviction that these quickly turn into a popularity contest."

Having been involved on both sides of contests that were judged by professionals and masters...I can with the utmost conviction say the same thing!

"Making the contest blind while still retaining the popular vote is an exercise in futility also, as entrants will let their associates quickly know which entry is theirs and others will be sure to spread the news of whose is whose behind the scenes."

Yep, seen that! You are right.

"We solved this dilemma a few years ago at AoB for our contests (the next one will be announced in just a couple days) by implementing a multi-step process.

First, we did away completely with the popular vote and all the problems associated with it.

Second, we bring in three world-class, renowned, highly respected bonsai artists to judge. People who are, without a doubt, experts in the area to be judged. The chances of two judges from different countries suddenly going corrupt as slim to none.

Third, we make the contest blind to both the public and the judges."

Having three judges from three countries that are blind to the other judges will solve most of your problems. Good idea!

Forth, once judging is done, we post the judges worksheets, scores, and all other information leading up to the decisions.

posted WORKSHEETS are an excellent idea. I wish this would have had them.

"In short, we make the entire process as fair, ethical, and transparent as possible.


It is about as fool proof as you can get, but we still are always looking for ways to improve upon the process."

I think , as you said, you will have fair, ethical and transparent contest. So long as the rules are fixed and non-bending and the same for everyone. I only mention this because I HAVE seen rules set in contests and then broken by the people who set them/judges. But, that is another story.....
Good luck in your upcoming contest.

Dale
 

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