Australian Facetors' Guild Limited

Competition Etiquette

By Paul Sabolta Judging and Rules Chairman, AFG

This is just a reminder about competition etiquette.  Not everyone can be the winner.  Not everyone is perfect, we all make mistakes at some time, have differing opinions and various skill levels. Entering Competitions is a comparison against an established “Standard” - any points scored are intended to inform Competitors how nearly they achieved this “Standard”. Each entry is NOT judged against other Competitors, but is individually compared to the established “Standard”.  The resulting score is the measurement of excellence achieved.  The “Standard” being the features on the Judging Sheet. A Lapidary Judge is trained to carefully examine an entry to observe how close these features meet the necessary quality to not deduct points.  All Lapidary Judges give their time freely to Judge entries when requested for whichever section they are trained in.  Most Judges have been judging for a number of years.  Some new Judges may lack judging experience but must be respected for what they do.  Most Judges are experienced cutters in their own particular field and use this knowledge to help Competitors better their work by writing encouraging comments and drawings on the Judging Sheet.  These comments should not belittle a Competitor due to inferior workmanship, they should be prompting the Competitor into thinking about where and why they lost points and offer suggestions as to how to improve.  Now, that is not to say it doesn’t happen, because I know it does, and is very disappointing to hear of such occurrences.  Judges must respect Competitors, Competitors must respect Judges.  Judges must also respect other Judges and everyone must respect Committees for theirs is a thankless task. There are avenues to complain about such behaviour.  If Competitors are not satisfied with how an entry was judged or commented on, or they’re not happy with the rules, they can write to the Judging & Rules Representative for their State/Organisation stating what the complaint is.  It may be necessary to forward the entry & Judging Sheet to the J&R Representative for examination to make an unbiased decision. Likewise, if a Judge is aware of another Judge’s shortcomings they may report these to their J&R Rep.  This may result in a Judge repeating their training course or partaking in a refresher course.  Hearsay, rumours, personal opinions or differences are not sufficient for action to proceed.  Proper evidence is required. There are particular rules in place to follow, which deal with Protests & Arbitration.  Refer to page 9 item B7 through to item C1.7 on page 13 of the current Judging & Rules Manual No.8, April 2015.
Another important rule to consider is stated on page 5 item B2.7. “All entries must be entrants’ own work except where otherwise specified in this Manual.”  This also extrapolates out into seeking advice on interpreting faceting diagrams and how a faceted stone should be cut.  There are ways to ask for advice without going into specifics and from whom the advice is sought.  That is why we have Competition Committees and a Coordinator. There is also a process for changing rules, see page 10 item B8.  This is the only way rules can be changed or modified. It is important for Competitors, Judges and Committees to fully understand the rules and what is stated in the Competition Schedule.  All parties must abide by the same rules.  Any innuendo about a Competitor or Judge’s ability, a Committee or anybody else involved in the competition arena is strongly frowned upon.  We are in this hobby to enjoy ourselves, meet new and interesting like-minded people and create something beautiful along the way.  So, if you have a gripe about something you’re not happy about, there are rules and processes to follow - put it in writing and send it to your J&R Representative. What constitutes Cheating? There are no definitions for cheating other than an AFLACA ruling from 2016.  It specifically indicates that entries must be the entrants own physical work.  Ringing a Judge or experienced cutter and asking for advice is not classed as cheating.   However competitors need to be careful about what material they enter, for example, knowingly entering a CitrineZ looking CZ instead of Citrine is against the rules and would be disqualified.  Proving deliberate cheating took place is the stumbling block.  Definite proof is needed before total banishment from competitions.  It is a bit like GOLF which has certain etiquettes which are not always clearly defined.  At least we don’t have to walk as far when faceting!

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