Malofiej-week is here

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Can a judging process be fair?

The judges have now been through all of the entries for the first time – and as expected only the select few made it to round two and three where the medals are awarded. A bit of discussion among the judges about the fairness in the procedure, because it takes only four judges out of nine (in print-category) to throw an entry out of the competition.

Voting system explained
The system this year is as follows: All the entries in a category are put up at the tables, and the judges can walk alongside them and put markers on the ones which they do NOT like enough to see it advance in the competition. If more than four markers are found on an entry after the presentation, it is removed. Several entries got a full cup and were removed with nine markers – one even mistakenly had eleven markers on it after the first round. It was a graphic without a chance of an award, so no harm was done.

In the next round the judges have to place a chip on the graphics, which they DO like. And if five judges marks a graphic as good enough, it will make it to the actual discussion where the medals are awarded. With nine judges it takes 6 votes to be awarded a bronze, 7 votes to get a silver and 8 votes to be crowned with a golden medal. Is the entry submitted by one of the judges they will have to step away and let the remaining judges discuss and vote about that specific entry.

If this system is working and if it’s fair is always up for discussion. Every competition has its own system, and I guess every judge has their own ideas about how a perfect system should be.

Be happy with whatever system you choose
I remember, when I was a judge in Malofiej back in 2003, we scrapped the proposed system and made another while eating our first lunch. There we used different coins to introduce different values of voting (gold, silver and bronze), so we could spend more time discussing the entries and less time walking around the tables judging in silence. We were happy with our system, but I respect that every jury get to choose what works for them.

As of today it looks like this jury is very stingy with the goldmedals. So far they have awarded nothing better than silvers, even if a couple of entries got the internal title of being ‘almost-golds’. But the awards aren’t officially announced before Friday night, so there is plenty of time for more discussion to take place among the judges.