Judging Problems During Bouts

Posted: January 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

Hi folks!

At the festival this year I promised I would open up  discussion about a very ‘non-clear-cut’ topic – what to do about judging problems DURING a bout.

The specific question is, what if a judge acts in a way that goes against the standards of slam… what can you do about it?

Not asking them to judge again is obvious, but what about DURING the bout?

If we change a judge mid-bout, the poets are not facing the same set of judges as others in the competition, which could be the deciding factor in who gets a higher score.

YES there are things more important than scores, but it is my job to try and maintain the integrity of the competition, in whatever way that entails…. so, what do you do?

Let’s go for a couple of extreme examples:

A judge openly proclaims a bias towards or against a poet that has not yet performed.

A judge acts in an openly racist / sexist / homophobic / transphobic manner.

What would you do?

  1. Dan(AKA Dan Murray(AKA Dan)) says:

    Remove the judge. Don’t replace them. Have a 4 judge running for the rest of the bout. Remove either the lowest or the highest score from what remains. If the judge has scored on previous poems already, remove those scores and adjust the new totals. This way, everyone still has an even representation from the judges in the room.

  2. Or…if a local bout and not a major show? Mistrial? All scores cancelled for the evening to discourage repeat of behaviour from judges, and that judge not invited to judge again? Performers get to deliver their pieces afresh another night.

  3. Andy Kerr-Wilson says:

    Remove the judge immediately. The integrity of the bout includes the conditions under which the poet’s perform. Continue with four judges. Drop highest AND lowest as usual. Score out of 20, then ‘prorate’ to score out of 30. Recalculate earlier scores in the bout removing the ejected judges scores. Not perfect but salvages some fairness.

  4. Tammy MacKenzie says:

    Absolutely the judge should be removed.
    Perhaps we should have numbers on the score cards so that if such a problem arises, this would enable that judge’s score from previous poets to be scratched.
    Flip a coin to determine if the highest or lowest score is removed? Combine the highest and lowest score and divide by two? Something can be determined to figure regarding which 3 scores make the tally..

  5. Bassam says:

    Page 35 of the PSi handbook states the following:

    “Replacing a Judge.
    In the event that a judge leaves the bout, a replacement judge will be found and a sorbet poet will be selected to share a poem, which will not be scored, and the bout will continue normally. If there are any judging pairs, the pair will be split to replace the missing judge. The poet affected by the judge’s leaving will have the option to repeat their current poem or use a different one, and the poet will have the ability to repeat the initial poem if they advance to Finals or semi-Finals.”

  6. Sean says:

    a) replace the poet by hopefully splitting up a team of poets or have a volunteer who has seen the whole show judge in the biased person’s place.
    b) pull the judge in between poems and speak to them outside/away from the audience/poets while one of your volunteers takes over judging. Confirm what the person said. If they are unrepentant and unapologetic, refund their money (less possibility of drama) and get them out the door.

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