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Unread 10-12-2005, 05:43 AM   #166
Eleryth
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Ah, understood! I was a little confused, hence the question. Thanks for answering!
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Unread 10-12-2005, 10:38 AM   #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeto
And embarrassing for me. I must sound very ignorant in this discussion, referring to "ICG sanctioned masquerades"...* -dies-
It's a common misconception, fueled in part by the very existence of the guidelines. If the ICG has masquerade guidelines for cons to follow, by extension if the convention does follow them, therefore it's an ICG-approved or sanctioned convention.

So don't worry about it. This is how we all learn. You all know things about cosplay masquerades that I'm completely ignorant about.

JSM
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Unread 02-06-2006, 01:14 PM   #168
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Depending on which convention/event you are attending, each will have their own guidelines for divisions. It's always best to check out the guidelines for that particular convention/event BEFORE competing and if you have questions, cosplay coordinators are typically very happy to help you make a decision as to where you should compete.

While on this topic, over the last two years I have been working on standardization for the conventions/events I've staffed for. Our division requirements differ slightly depending on the competition and category. Here are examples...

Craftsmanship Category
Junior: 15 years old or under. Any number of awards. Any number of costumes.
Novice: 16 years old or older. Won up to 2 Major Awards. Won up to 5 Minor Awards. Has made 5 costumes or less.
Journeyman: 16 years old or older. Won up to 4 Major Awards. Won up to 10 Minor Awards. Has made 9 costumes or less.
Master: 16 years old or older. Won up to 6 Major Awards. Won up to 15 Minor Awards. Has made 11 costumes or less.
Professional: Any age. Any number of awards. Any number of costumes. Any participant who has made more than half of his/her annual income from costuming in any of the last 5 years. Not able to win Best in Show.

Found Item Costume Category
Youth: 15 years old or under. Any number of awards. Any number of costumes.
Adult: 16 years old or older. Any number of awards. Any number of costumes.

Street Fashion Category
Youth: 15 years old or under. Any number of awards. Any number of costumes.
Adult: 16 years old or older. Any number of awards. Any number of costumes.
Professional: Any age. Any number of awards. Any number of costumes. Any participant who has made more than half of his/her annual income from costuming in any of the last 5 years.

Notice that the Craftsmanship has the "typical" divisions plus Professional. However, the Craftsmanship sub-categories (Found Item Costume and Street Fashion) have only 2-3 divisions, which are Youth, Adult, and Pro. The main competition is more division based where the sub-categories are more of an open competition, but it was necessary to separate Youth from Adults (and Professionals in the case of Street Fashion).

The same thing basically applies to the Performance Competition...

Performance CategoryJunior: 15 years old or under. Any number of awards. Any number of performances created.
Novice: 16 years old or older. Won up to 2 Major Awards. Won up to 5 Minor Awards. Has created 5 performances or less.
Journeyman: 16 years old or older. Won up to 4 Major Awards. Won up to 10 Minor Awards. Has created 9 performances or less.
Master: 16 years old or older. Won up to 6 Major Awards. Won up to 15 Minor Awards. Has created 11 performances or less.

Musical Act Category
Youth: 15 years old or under. Any number of awards. Any number of performances created.
Adult: 16 years old or older. Any number of awards. Any number of performances created.


Major Awards are considered Best in Show, Best in Division, or the like. Minor Awards are considered Honorable Mention, Merit Award, Judge’s Award, and the like. Only awards in the Craftsmanship Category that were won at conventions are counted. Awards won in a Hallway Contest are NOT counted. Awards won at events (e.g. clubs/organizations, stores, 1-day mini-conventions, etc.) are NOT counted.

We felt that basing everything solely on awards was not the best route, so we also gave guidelines that are based off of costumes/performances. We want to base also on skill level, but honestly, all guidelines are very subjective. Ultimately it's left up to the cosplayer.

We understand that not everyone competes regularly. Someone who has made over 25 costumes in their life that may be at a Master skill level really should not compete in Novice just because they've won no awards. Skill Level is very hard to define in words at times (without writing a dissertation). I believe it's up to the Cosplay Registration Staff and Judges to help cosplayers decide if they are truly unsure. Good Staff should be able to figure out the best place based on awards and skill level (through asking questions about number of costumes, how long costuming, etc.).

Our department is continually revising our guidelines to make them as fair as possible, while still providing useful guidelines to help our cosplayers make a decision about division of competition. We are constantly asking for feedback from our cosplayers to improve our standards. I feel most conventions/events do this and are always looking to strive for a better cosplay competition. I hope one of these years many of us Cosplay Directors will get together and hammer out standardization for cosplay geared towards conventions (and then later, scaled down for events).
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Unread 02-06-2006, 04:49 PM   #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeto
Traoenna: I noticed that your rules determine skill level placement based on the OVERALL number of awards that an entrant has won. Have you considered also basing skill level on what past awards were won at? If you have an experienced costumer come in who has taken 1 or 2 high level awards from previous competitions, but only qualifies for a beginners' division, based on not having the required number of awards to technically compete higher, what are you going to do? Stick them in Novice?
When we area speaking of awards, we are talking about ones taken at conventions (as in 3-day events). At this time we are not differentiating between WorldCon from Otakon from Ohayocon from ColossalCon. We, at this time, consider any 3-day event to be "big" enough to qualify. Something like Animarathon (a 1-day mini-convention) and the like, those are considered Events and don't qualify in the totalling of awards.

As to number of awards per division/skill level...we're trying to make the wording of our guidelines as simple as possible. If someone has ever competed (and placed) higher, they really should stay in that division/skill level. I understand that some Novices (that qualify as Novices) try to go up to Journeyman too early and realize they just aren't at that skill level and then choose to go back down, but they never placed.

Also, these are guidelines...they are not set in stone...so if a person truly is a Journeyman even though they "could" compete as Novice due to awards, they should be honest and compete at the Journeyman level. Also, no one is ever FORCED to compete in any division, at least not in our competitions. We do gently encourage better craftsman to compete up if we feel they really should. I had one such case at Ohayocon 6 (I was head Craftsmanship Judge then). One of our Novices came in for Craftsmanship Judging and I was like, are you SURE you don't want to compete at Journeyman, because she was selling her skills short competing as Novice. Now, she had experience in costuming and was quite good, but she'd never competed before. However, looking at her quality...it just wasn't fair to other Novices for her to compete because her actual skill level far surpassed theirs. Also, in my opinion, she was selling herself short. She ended up moving up to Journeyman. Our guidelines last year weren't quite as clear as this year's will be, so hopefully that will help. Ok, I just babbled on. I apologize.

I hope I answered your questions. If I did not due to my derailment of thought and possible misunderstanding, I'd like to try answering again.

Oh, BTW, Saeto. I tried to PM you some time ago, but your box was full. If you would be so kind, I have something I would like to discuss with you privately. Would you mind e-mailing me or PMing me? Thank you.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 06:50 PM   #170
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I know we chatted about this privately, but for the benefit of the community, I'll post basically what I learned from our discussion.

The issue comes when we try to factor in WorldCon (and other similar conventions with really high standards of competition) award winners. Since their level of competition is SO much higher than our competitons, it would be unfair for a WorldCon award winner to compete in anything less than Master division. I will be factoring this into our divisions as per our conversation. I was unaware that WorldCon was that much higher than our competitions (mainly because I had not been to a WorldCon or similar con).

Also, I realized that I had not adequately explained that if someone wins a Master division award, they can no longer compete lower even if by the division standards they "could" due to number of awards or whatnot. I had known this in my mind, but never clearly defined it in our guidelines. I just assumed people would understand the bit where I wrote...

Participants may compete in a Division higher (Junior can compete as Novice), but cannot compete a Division lower (Novice 16+ cannot compete as Junior). If in a group and all participants are Novice, but one participant is Master, the group must compete in the Master Division (as no one may compete in a Division lower than their own). Professionals can ONLY compete in the Professional Division. If in doubt what Division you should compete in, please see Cosplay Department Head or Head Judge.

I know I had not posted this here as I didn't think it was necessary at the time. I will further re-word these guidelines to make it perfectly clear to all participants.
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Unread 02-07-2006, 07:13 PM   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traeonna

Also, I realized that I had not adequately explained that if someone wins a Master division award, they can no longer compete lower even if by the division standards they "could" due to number of awards or whatnot. I had known this in my mind, but never clearly defined it in our guidelines. I just assumed people would understand the bit where I wrote...

<...snip...>

I will further re-word these guidelines to make it perfectly clear to all participants.
Traeonna,

I just read your divisional rules, they are very expansive.

If you're worried about confusing people why not just use the ICG guidelines? Then you wouldn't have to reword anything. ^_^

Cheers!
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Unread 02-07-2006, 08:27 PM   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaijugal
If you're worried about confusing people why not just use the ICG guidelines? Then you wouldn't have to reword anything.
Nothing against ICG, but currently I disagree with how the ICG Guidelines are written at this moment in time. The idea is great, but upon speaking with many cosplayers, I have found most were confused by them and felt they were a bit unfair due to being based solely on awards. This is why we chose to develop our own that suits the needs of our convention. We did refer to ICG Guidelines as well as many other competition division guidelines when developing our own. I'm sure it will continue to be developed until we find something that everyone both understands and feel is fair.
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Unread 02-07-2006, 10:48 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traeonna
Nothing against ICG, but currently I disagree with how the ICG Guidelines are written at this moment in time. The idea is great, but upon speaking with many cosplayers, I have found most were confused by them and felt they were a bit unfair due to being based solely on awards. This is why we chose to develop our own that suits the needs of our convention. We did refer to ICG Guidelines as well as many other competition division guidelines when developing our own. I'm sure it will continue to be developed until we find something that everyone both understands and feel is fair.
It's your choice to use whatever system you wish...but the ICG guidelines aren't solely based on awards. I mean, the 'number of awards' is there as a guideline for people who have no idea what category to enter in, but the ICG system has always been very open in terms of competing up (i.e. entering in a higher division if the person wishes to). So if somebody has been sewing for years but has never entered a masquerade, the Masquerade Director would probably encourage them to enter in Journeyman or higher due to their skill level.
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Unread 02-08-2006, 02:17 AM   #174
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Due to feedback we've received in our feedback session, on our forums, and via other methods, it seems that cosplayers really want things spelled out when it comes to divisions and what to consider when thinking about what division they "should" compete in. Perhaps they just still felt lost after reading the page on ICG's site. Whatever the case, this is mainly why we've decided to develop our own for our event so that things are perfectly clear and detailed to meet the needs of our cosplayers.
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Unread 02-08-2006, 09:38 AM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traeonna
Due to feedback we've received in our feedback session, on our forums, and via other methods, it seems that cosplayers really want things spelled out when it comes to divisions and what to consider when thinking about what division they "should" compete in. Perhaps they just still felt lost after reading the page on ICG's site. Whatever the case, this is mainly why we've decided to develop our own for our event so that things are perfectly clear and detailed to meet the needs of our cosplayers.
I'm sure the ICG guidelines can seem quite daunting if one has never actually experienced them, or an ICG style masquerade. Arguably, most rules are when you're new to them ^_^;

I understand what you are saying regarding whatever feedback you recieved in your research with your local group, as I'm sure most people have not had opportunity to experience that type of masquerade or have had the opportunity to have thier questions regarding the ICG guidelines to be answered by a live human being.

Even here new people who come from other masquerade or "costume competition" backgrounds are at first wary of this framework, but I find in almost all cases people catch on quite quickly are ultimately pleased with thier experience.

It seems your ideas are not really that far off the mark, (notably there are additions based on number of costumes created, wether they have won awards or not).

Please do not get us wrong, we are not criticizing your system. We are only enthusiastic in promoting a system that we have used, (and participated in), with much joy and success, and hope others can find it useful as well. We also would like to see more conventions incorporating a standard system so that people will not be intimidated or confused by the rules as they will be the same, or extremely simmilar across north america.

Even once in a while I am confronted with masquerade divisional rules from stand alone systems that leave a big question mark dangling over my head. My rule of thumb for this is "To hell with it!", and entering in Master to avoid any potential accusations of sandbagging. *sheepish grin*

Good luck with your ideas. I look forward to hearing how your show comes along.

Cheers!
~Kai

P.S. If you do know of anyone with questions regarding the ICG guidelines, or any related subjects let them know they may PM me and I'll be delighted to answer their queries, or feel free to pass on my email: masquerade@animenorth.com
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Unread 02-08-2006, 02:12 PM   #176
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Personally I think it would be great if a board of cosplayers were to get together and further develop guidelines that are currently being used by conventions in North American and try to make some type of training in the form of documentation for Cosplay Directors in order to further encourage standardization.

I don't think standardization in cosplay ends just at defining divisions. I feel it goes further into HOW cosplayers are judged. It is also important to understand the type of competition and the "size" of it. Obviously someone would expect to be judged more strictly at larger conventions than smaller events. I could go on forever. I'm not saying ICG doesn't have some form of this already, but it seems it's not completely apparent to the majority of cosplayers I've spoken to.

What I'm saying is that ICG has a great idea, but I feel more development would need to be done if ICG really wants to have any type of "say" in standards of competition when it comes specifically to cosplay.

I suppose I feel from ICG supporters it's always, "well just use our guidelines even though you think they're flawed, but it's just because you don't know anything" instead of trying to get feedback about why they think it's flawed and try to further develop those guidelines and related information in order to promote standardization of cosplay competition.

Perhaps I just take such things a bit too seriously. I was a process developer for a corporation as well as a course developer (for our training programs) and so I tend to see things a bit differently than others and tend to demand more out of guidelines than most.

I feel we have a long way from cosplay standardization at this point because there hasn't been anyone to say, ok, calling all Cosplay Directors, Judges, and Veteran Cosplayers...let's get together and try to nail this stuff out that's benefitial to everyone. And it shouldn't just be a one time deal, processes always need to be further developed as times change and to fit the needs of the community. It would be great to have a "training" program to go along with all of these wonderful guidelines this imaginary group would make.

Like I said, I take things seriously...maybe too much for others...but this is how I am. I'll do what I feel is best for the project I'm working on and the community I'm working for. This post was never meant to attack anyone's ideas of what's "right" or "wrong" but to seek feedback on different division systems in order to further research what can be developed for our own to best serve our community.
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Unread 02-08-2006, 07:55 PM   #177
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Quote:
Obviously someone would expect to be judged more strictly at larger conventions than smaller events.
I'm just curious why one would think that. If you're developing a standard, why shouldn't the standard hold regardless of the competition? Good craftsmanship is good craftsmanship, and a good performance is a good performance. Size of the convention shouldn't matter if you're intent on creating and using a standardized system.

Otherwise you create a "standard for cons with fewer than 500 attendees, one day events, promos, etc"; a standard for cons with 500-2000 attendees or more; standards for "big regional cons".... and that just creates more confusion. What's an award at a small con using "small con standards" worth when they attend a large convention? What if the costumers happen to be really good, but the event is small? (IOW, small events do not mean that the level of quality of costumes is lower. Perhaps generally, but it's no guarantee.) That requires more paperwork and more explanation, which I think leaves chances that there would be more confusion among costumers (which is what we have now, ne?). It's like America needs one big flowchart for how one con's costume contest compares to another since they're so different in judging and guidelines.

If they all used the same standards, regardless of the size, then the costumers would be familar with the system. The goal of any standard is just to help them decide where to compete that would make for a fair competition - I'd hate to have to figure out small event VS medium event VS large event VS International ICG events like Worldcon/Costumecon (I'm not saying they should all use the ICG guidelines, I'm just using it as part of the example).

I think it all boils down to encouraging people to enter in the division they feel most comfortable in. That's all anyone really wants with the guidelines, I think, anyway (as long as there's no obvious sandbagging, but I would leave that up to the MD to decide and talk to the person/people in question).

~~~~~

I do kinda like how you're clarifying your divisions with examples of the number of costumes (as long as that's not a hard and fast rule, either). I think what you're trying to do there is give an example of the skill level of the people in each group in a way a cosplayer can understand if they've never competed before.

Based purely on the number of costumes, though, I'd be in Master...but only because most of my costumes are just half-assed for fun ones (like Bleach or Pinky Raver Asuka or Trisha Elric) and not all end up with photos. Nothing competition worthy. So the cosplayer again would have to take a look at themselves and their skills and figure out which division they really belong in. (I'd probably enter in Journeyman myself or whatever is in the middle, seeing as most costumes I've made do not hold up to higher standards, but I don't consider myself a beginner.)


I think finding a standard guideline that everyone agrees with is an eternal battle that will rage as long as masquerades are around. :P I find following it interesting.
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Unread 02-08-2006, 08:35 PM   #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleryth
I'm just curious why one would think that. If you're developing a standard, why shouldn't the standard hold regardless of the competition? Good craftsmanship is good craftsmanship, and a good performance is a good performance. Size of the convention shouldn't matter if you're intent on creating and using a standardized system.
When I'm speaking of standards, I'm talking about actual judging, NOT divisions. I'd like to clarify that.

The divisions would be the same regardless of size, however some smaller events select to have open divisions that are simply split into Youth and Adult. There just may not be enough people competing to have all four major divisions.

When it comes to actual judging...

At Ohayocon (since I'm familiar with it's size), I would require participants in Craftsmanship competition to have references. This is because we'd be judging Technical, Artistry, and Presentation (formerly known as Personal Opinion...we're re-developing our judging standards currently). In order to judge for accuracy (which falls under Technical), we would need references to compare the costume to.

Now, at something like Animarathon (again, I'm familiar with the size), I would not require participants to have references...most wouldn't even think to bring them. Why? Because it's a 1-day mini-convention...it's a small event. Most people are expecting a non-formal competition. We would leave the accuracy part out of the Techncial judging and focus more on just the workmanship part itself in Technical as well as Artistry and Presentation.

From the people I have talked to, they really don't want a formal competition at these small events, but they want something more than a Hallway contest. I feel leaving the accuracy out brings it down to that mid-level.

If a smaller event can "get away" with doing an all out formal competition, then heck yeah, go for it! However, it's been my experience that it just doesn't fly well with these smaller events. People want some standard way of judging, but they don't want to have to worry about dragging references to a small event. It's a bonus if they do, but there'll be no 0 in Technical if they don't.

I hope that clears things up. It is hard at times for me to completely get across what we are doing as it would take forever to type everything out. I do apologize if some things are unclear or confusing, but please continue to ask questions and I will clarify where I can when I have time.
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Unread 02-08-2006, 10:23 PM   #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traeonna
I know we chatted about this privately, but for the benefit of the community, I'll post basically what I learned from our discussion.

The issue comes when we try to factor in WorldCon (and other similar conventions with really high standards of competition) award winners. Since their level of competition is SO much higher than our competitons, it would be unfair for a WorldCon award winner to compete in anything less than Master division. I will be factoring this into our divisions as per our conversation. I was unaware that WorldCon was that much higher than our competitions (mainly because I had not been to a WorldCon or similar con).
.
I forgot to add something regarding this post. Most people who compete at Worldcon in other divisions, are aware of this. For instance Sarcasm Hime and I previously competed in the journeyman division at Worldcon although we are Regional Masters. Many of our friends who are Regional Masters or Artisans competed as Novices at Worldcon. (we were the only two who were placed up a division.) Generally we do not worry about these things locally as people coming from an experience background that includes Worldcon will already be aware of the difference and will not sandbag because they are by and large honourable people.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Traeonna

I don't think standardization in cosplay ends just at defining divisions. I feel it goes further into HOW cosplayers are judged. It is also important to understand the type of competition and the "size" of it. Obviously someone would expect to be judged more strictly at larger conventions than smaller events.
Actually this HAS all be covered in many ways by the ICG. There are several handbooks that cover everything from staff selections, to divisions, to what kind of information to provide competetors with beforehand. It's the masquerade directors job to be smart enough to use the guidelines as befitting thier particular situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traeonna
I could go on forever. I'm not saying ICG doesn't have some form of this already, but it seems it's not completely apparent to the majority of cosplayers I've spoken to.
So the problem is EDUCATION of the masses, NOT the system itself. Just because the old world belived the world was flat, and the sun flew around the earth didn't make it so.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Traeonna
What I'm saying is that ICG has a great idea, but I feel more development would need to be done if ICG really wants to have any type of "say" in standards of competition when it comes specifically to cosplay.
LMAO. The ICG ALREADY has a say in the standards of cosplay insomuch as competitions in many places have adopted the ICG guidelines with much success. ^_^;

There really isn't anything different about "cosplay" moreso than it's bent towards Anime and Manga, rather than Sci fi or literary, or any other popular genre of the moment. It's not a DIFFERENT THING. It's just the NEW THING.
-_-;



Quote:
Originally Posted by Traeonna
I suppose I feel from ICG supporters it's always, "well just use our guidelines even though you think they're flawed, but it's just because you don't know anything" instead of trying to get feedback about why they think it's flawed and try to further develop those guidelines and related information in order to promote standardization of cosplay competition.
And conversley most people who tell us they're flawed either can't explain why, feel the need for an overly complicated system, or in most cases don't understand, or make an effort to understand the system in the first place. (Or have had any experience with it).

Anyhow it's obvious that your mind is made up that you are right and you cannot possibly use the system, or a close varient of it. I'm not going to argue the point any longer, unless you insist on telling us all the things the ICG guidelines and Masquerade running guidelings have covered without knowing about it.
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Unread 02-08-2006, 11:42 PM   #180
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I can always count on Saeto for information! ^-^

I suppose I wasn't as clear as I thought I was. (Isn't that always the case?)

It's good for conventions to clarify in their guidelines like in Saeto's example above to make it more clear for the costumers entering the masquerades, since there's always problems as people don't know where to rank one convention's awards above anothers.

Do any of these conventions follow the same basic guidelines as one another or as Anime LA?

Do you know if the reasons behind that are because the smaller conventions are more "lax" with their judging (more lenient because the number of entrants is small)? Or are there other factors I am not aware of (which is most likely the case)?

~~~

GAH, I am so confused. I confused myself. I cannot explain myself...if any of you can make sense of what I've written, bravo! I don't think I understand it anymore. I may be overthinking what I wanted to say since I am looking for clarification.

It seems to me that if you're setting a standard for judging criteria and you want it to be a standard it has to be used at all the conventions the same way or it's not a standard. If the base standard (for receiving an award) is lowered for smaller cons (i.e. judging workmanship is more lenient) then there's no real reason to actually develop and try to enforce a standard, is there? I suppose this is only important if you want to unify conventions and their judging practices.

I guess one could use the example I'd seen elsewhere when people were discussing how they judge. Out of 10 (perfect everything), a novice has to score above 5-6 to get an award; a journeyman 7-8, and a master 9-10. Each level is compared to an ultimate standard, which I understand (but what is the standard? I dunno, it might vary a bit from person to person, but I guess it's the "ultimate perfection" standard or something).

I suppose at a smaller convention where there's fewer entries one could lower the standards - so that a novice needs only 3-4, a journeyman 5-6, and a master 7-8.

But then those awards don't count as much since the overall standard was lowered. An award isn't worth as much from the smaller con. But is there any reason why the smaller convention cannot use the same standard as the bigger one? Just because there are fewer entries does not mean that the costumers are any less skilled.

Although, now that I think about it, perhaps that's what those "regional cons" the ICG talks about are doing? Or are "big regional cons" supposed to have high standards and be more on par with the rest of the ICG judging standard (even though the standard is not written down anywhere). Unless Worldcon and Costumecon are considered different entities on their own since they are different; with international costumers, I can see why they have to clarify between regional cons and otherwise...but that's only for them.

Could all other conventions in the US and Canada be run on the same system, with awards all having the same weight (assuming they all used the same guidelines)? If not, we'd need that flowchart again...

I think I may just be getting myself really confused. *sigh*
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Last edited by Eleryth : 02-08-2006 at 11:45 PM.
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