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Unread 02-14-2012, 01:56 PM   #1
bover
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Default Concern over KCBS comment card vote

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 bod@kcbs.us. 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.

Thanks.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Josh Bovee <xxx@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM
Subject: Regarding comment card votes during February meeting
To: bod@kcbs.us


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.

Regards,
Josh Bovee
CBJ #56828
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Unread 02-14-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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Mike, Josh and John, speaking strictly for myself and not the entire board, here's the comment cards story as I saw it - after looking at the quick notes, I also noticed that it was not completely clear as to when the comment cards would be suspended. I fully understand the difficulty in accomplishing what we're doing now with the new software. Unfortunately, I was not on the board when all of those decisions were made so I cannot speak to why or how all of the details of what would be in the reports were decided upon. But given where we are right now in the process, it would not be easy to continue to try to match up comment cards with score sheets. But knowing that a majority of the cooks I've talked to don't want to do away with comment cards, I didn't think it was a positive thing to suspend use of cards immediately when we aren't even using the new software yet. Nothing's changed there, so why change the comment card system until it has to be changed? I raised the issue to board members yesterday and the consensus of opinion as to when board members believed they were voting to SUSPEND (not end or do away with) comment cards was when the new software was released. We represent the members and my belief was that a majority of members want to keep comment cards, even if they believe the process needs to be better defined and so forth. As a result, comment cards will not be going away while the old software is in place and if a workable solution can be reached prior to release of the new software, MAYBE they won't even be suspended. That is my hope. Then the next logical step in my opinion is to look into how they're being used and see if we can formulate something makes them of greater value to those receiving them. I hope that answers your concern and as always, feel free to call or email me too. If anyone has ideas on how to approach use of comment cards when cards have (out of necessity) the alternate number and the score sheet has only the original team number, I would love to hear your thoughts. Twelve people in a meeting can't have all of the ideas. There are ideas and solutions out there that none of us might ever think of and I want to hear them from you! Thanks!
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Unread 02-14-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Jeff.

Alt numbers have been on team detail sheets since I started competing 6 years ago, why the sudden concern to conceal the alt number on the team detail sheet and use the original team number instead?
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Unread 02-14-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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I am one that certainly appreciates comment cards
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Unread 02-14-2012, 05:01 PM   #5
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As far as comment cards, if they contained any useful information I would be all for it, but we've received three comment cards over the past three seasons. One was actually for another team but our alternate number was on it (Had to go to the KCBS office to figure that one out. The scores on the card didn't match the scores I received), one complained about lighter fluid smell (I cook in a pellet cooker. No lighter fluid anywhere on my cook site) and the third said that my ribs tasted too much like molasses. No molasses used on the ribs.
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Unread 02-14-2012, 05:04 PM   #6
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im all for comment cardss,untill they hanging on our score sheets,just kidding,they can be very helpfull though....i guess well find out next wknd if there using them dennis
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Unread 02-14-2012, 05:37 PM   #7
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I've spoken to Mike but just so you know I'm answering your question here... in regards to why the concern over concealing the alt number, I was not a part of discussions in development of the software but I'm guessing that since the software was going to have new features, it was looked upon as a chance to take another step to help preserve the integrity of the double blind system. That's only my guess though.
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Unread 02-14-2012, 05:43 PM   #8
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And why would a stapler not be a decent work-around? Affix the comment card to the score sheet. Don't write the alt-id on it. When you input the numbers, write the id on the comment card and pull from score sheet. No sharpie issue. Surely I'm missing something, right?

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Unread 02-14-2012, 06:22 PM   #9
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A few more ideas....

If the stapler thing doesn't work, print off new cards where the alt-id portion is on a perforated section. Rep tears it off while entering scores, after writing the ID on it.

If that is too difficult, use a pair of scissors to cut the Alt-ID out.

If that's an issue, tear it.

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Unread 02-14-2012, 06:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmprantz View Post
And why would a stapler not be a decent work-around? Affix the comment card to the score sheet. Don't write the alt-id on it. When you input the numbers, write the id on the comment card and pull from score sheet. No sharpie issue. Surely I'm missing something, right?

dmp
We have a comment card with the alt number on it (because that's the only number a judge will see). When the reps enter the scores, they also only see the alt number. The software matches up the alt number with the correct team number. Now, it prints the alt number. On the new system, it will not, printing the original team number instead. No one sees the original number once the box number is replaced with the alt number so we still have the issue of how to match up a slip of paper (comment card) containing the alt number with a scoring detail sheet that contains the original number. I personally believe we need to put the brakes on things and take a look at resolving this issue within the development of the software (my opinion only).
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Unread 02-14-2012, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmprantz View Post
A few more ideas....

If the stapler thing doesn't work, print off new cards where the alt-id portion is on a perforated section. Rep tears it off while entering scores, after writing the ID on it.

If that is too difficult, use a pair of scissors to cut the Alt-ID out.

If that's an issue, tear it.

dmp
That solution (perforated tab) was suggested but I don't recall the issue with it. Forgive me on that... it was the first few minutes of my first board meeting. I was still a little in awe!
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Unread 02-14-2012, 06:46 PM   #12
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I see three solutions:

1) Come up with a way for the rep to translate from the Alt-ID to the ID and then remove the Alt-ID from the card (if it was ever there).

2) Come up with a way for the software to ingest the information on the comment card and perform the translation itself, printing out new comment cards. This can be done by either typing the contents of the card into the software or scanning the entire card.

3) Get rid of comment cards.

I hope some one finds a way to make (1) or (2) work.

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Unread 02-14-2012, 06:48 PM   #13
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btw, the stapler would work because the Alt-ID would never be on the comment card. It would be on the score sheet, and the comment card would temporarily be attached to it. Once the scores are entered and the software returns the ID, the comment card can have the ID written on it and be detached from the score sheet.

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Unread 02-14-2012, 08:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmprantz View Post
btw, the stapler would work because the Alt-ID would never be on the comment card. It would be on the score sheet, and the comment card would temporarily be attached to it. Once the scores are entered and the software returns the ID, the comment card can have the ID written on it and be detached from the score sheet.

dmp
Ugh! I would avoid any situation where the alt number wasn't written on the comment card... too many chances for it to somehow get stapled to the wrong score card or become detached and then we have nothing. Thing is, the software doesn't return the ID until they're printed out and then it's the regular number, not the alt number.

But all this is good... gets folks thinking about what we might try. I think simply telling the programmer what we're trying to accomplish and why would be a good start. I bet most programmers who are worth the money they're being paid could figure out a solution. I know this was a late issue and not even sure the programmers working on the new software know what we need done. I hope to find out soon.
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Unread 02-14-2012, 09:02 PM   #15
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An old adage comes to mind:
If it's not broke, don't fix it.

I have not heard of many issues with the double blind set up, so not sure why the need to bolster that end of it.

Software is a tool. A means to an end. I have worked for some big corporations, that have lousy software tools, and when asked: why was this done this way? It almost always goes back to software limitations.

Let's not let the software geeks tell s how the scoring needs to be run, just because it is within the capabilities of the software.
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