Hey all. The quick notes from the latest KCBS BoD meeting regarding the suspension of comment cards really hit me the wrong way. I have written the following email and sent it to firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you feel the same way, I'd strongly recommend you do the same. If you like what I've written, feel free to copy/paste any or all of it. If you think I'm off my rocker, please feel free to continue on with your day.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Josh Bovee
Date: Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM
Subject: Regarding comment card votes during February meeting
To whom it may concern:
I'm writing to express concern over the following entry from the quick notes for the February 10-11 BOD meeting:
"The other issue has to do with the comment cards. In KCBScore, all reports only list the Team Number by design and board approval. The only Alt number references used are the label and turn-in table reports. Comment cards use the Alt number. They get attached to the Team Detail report that only lists Team Number. So far, the only suggestion is to Sharpie out the Alt number, reverse look-up the team number (error prone), and attach to the Detail report. In testing, If a ball point or the judge presses firmly with a pencil, the Sharpie covers the Alt number but the indentation is still visible and readable. Mike Lake made a motion that we suspend the use of comment cards until a solution is found for use of them with KCBScore program. Seconded by Randy Bigler, there was then a call for the vote by Mike Lake. Seconded by Paul Kirk, the motion passed unanimously. The motion to suspend use of the comment cards also passed unanimously."
As the head cook for a fledgling competition team and as a CBJ entering my third year of service, I have to say that the recent vote to suspend the use of comment cards is incredibly disappointing and frustrating. As a cook I would welcome any input I could get from a judge as to why they put down the score they did (good or bad), and as a judge I feel obligated to explain my score in certain situations. By suspending the use of comment cards due to limitations in the new software, and from the looks of the last sentence in the above meeting notes entry suspending them completely, a very valuable form of communication between judges and cooks is being cut off completely. This is, in my opinion, a direct contradiction to the KCBS mission statement that vows to "...celebrate, teach
, preserve, and promote barbecue as a culinary technique, sport and art form". A comment card in the hands of a judge that provides information to a team that makes their end product better is a form of teaching and should be encouraged and promoted...not suspended.
I have been following the meeting notes regarding this subject for the past year or so, and from the outside it seems that quite a few members of the Board either do not like comment cards or they do not fully appreciate the potential value they bring to competition teams. As this debate has progressed, the public appearance is that the inability of KCBScore to efficiently accommodate comment cards was the justification that was needed to finally put the argument to rest. For the benefit of the vast majority of the KCBS membership, I strongly urge you to reconsider this action and work together to finalize a plan to not only reinstate the use of comment cards but also to develop a plan that encourages their use going forward.
I have read and understand the limitation introduced by KCBScore, but I have to question its origin. What was the reasoning behind the elimination of alternate numbers from the Team Detail Report that was approved by the Board? One can only assume it was done in an attempt to strengthen the double-blind aspect of judging by not providing a teams alternate number to them on the report, as that would then expose the system in use by that contest's Rep for team number obfuscation. Let's be honest here...the decoder ring in a box of Cracker Jacks is more complex than the team/alt number conversions that happen at most contests. The real weakness in the double-blind system is this predictable mapping system, not that the team's alt number shows up on their report. The logical solution to this issue would be to implement a randomizing team number obfuscation component to the KCBScore system, then restore the alt number to the report so that comment cards could easily be paired up and presented to the teams as they are today.
I realize that it is certainly not my place to recommend solutions when the only information I have available is that which has been provided through the meeting notes, but these are the types of issues that I work with every day so the temptation to suggest a solution is too great to resist. I am also of the mindset that unless you can provide a solution or provide a means to come up with a solution, then you should not complain in the first place. This comment card issue is one that is going to impact a lot of KCBS members in a negative fashion if left as-is, so a concern needed to be raised. Hopefully my suggestions will trigger some discussions that ultimately lead to a solution that satisfies all of us.
Thank you for your time and if you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to reply to this email.