Author Topic: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System  (Read 18767 times)

Offline Mr News Bot

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Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« on: August 08, 2008, 07:05:47 PM »
Michael Sommer wrote an open letter to the flatland community including his thoughts about the contest scene, the "f*cking internet" (haha) and a couple of other things. Itīs a very personal piece of text but it includes some interesting points of view.

Furthermore he made an attempt to developed a simple judging system called "Format C" or at least a base for further discussions.

Take a look - Open Letter to Flatland + Format C

For sure Michael will happy to read your comments in the forum ;-)

Offline RafaelVargas

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2008, 07:30:00 PM »
That was an eye-opener, even though i constantly hear pros talk about the horrible floors. its been for a while too. Heck, Adam Kun said it about the floor at Masters this year...

Offline Bamalama

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2008, 07:32:30 PM »
Amazing article first of all. I don't think many serious flatlanders come on global, global I feel is more for the rider who does it just for fun and is not aiming to go professional. Flatland is QUICKLY gaining in media coverage, I've heard there is a chance for it to be in a big US event next year (Not sure if I'm allowed to say the name). I think there needs to be a standard for riding surfaces but not only a single one. Not all riders can find a perfectly flat patch of asphalt that is not in heavy use. I personally ride on a 5m X 5m plywood platform and a 3m X 5m indoor concrete surface.

Your format I feel if tweaked a bit could be very good. There should be a spot for style. Scuffing should also be allowed if it's used for style like O'brien uses. For copying a trick does that mean copying a combo trick for trick exactly? If so then that's fair.

katobmx

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 08:21:56 PM »
This article had many good points, and some I don't totally agree with. Floor surface as I've heard , and from common sense can change results.I still don't understand what riders problems are with flatland being on the internet.Its not on TV or DVD so where else ?. I hear what your saying with GF , because its a very informative site for anything about flat, but just because someone an amature doesn't mean there not serious riders. scuffing factor should be removed how is someone going to spin it also plays into originality
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 08:24:23 PM by katobmx »

Offline Scott O

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2008, 09:27:22 PM »
Michael thanks for the report. I wish more riders would talk about these issues.

Anyway, here is my thoughts.
Floor:
Of course I have run Voodoo Jam successfully for 5 years now. We have had great results and one of the main reasons for that is the FLOOR. Riders that come love it and the results are great for the spectators.  Also some people have minimal budgets and they do what they can. But a BIG budget contest should NEVER slack on the floor and that should always be #1. It was crazy at The Masters how slippery that floor was and that there was no staff to help keep it clean. There is no excuse for that.

Judging system:
There are many ideas and I think you are close. I do not like the minus for scuffing. But the rest I can live with and tweak a bit.
I have a few ideas myself. I have been watching some other sports and taking mental notes as well. There are MANY ways to do this.

One Idea is for riders to turn there runs in before the contest. This way the judges and judges only know what to expect before there runs. The judge can have a score before the rider even goes out and deduct from there.
The rider would know his score before he goes out, if he pulls everything as turned in. No deductions for a rider adding to their run during but it does give the judge something to go by.

This pre system can also determine what class you enter as well. If your pre score is not high enough for PRO then you cannot even enter it.

Something like this and the things you talk about takes money. You have to pay judges but there is never enough money in our sport to have professional judges. This is the next step actually. Paying and determining Professional judges. People will be motivated and it will be there job to do well.


Also scoring systems can be tweaked. I do think its best to have a panel of riders discuss judging formats and then come up with something. Public forums can be a bit crazy for this as proven in the past.

Also, until real money is poured into this sport there will not be a opportunity for these things. Professional judges, organizations and governing bodies to watch over competing Flatland aspects. 
I am trying my best with the World Circuit on NO Budget at all. And it just doesn't seem like riders can travel to contest or even want to participate. Here is an opportunity with the Circuit to attract attention for OUTSIDE BMX sponsors and riders do not or can not participate. It sucks.

Internet :
This is just my opinion on this.
I hate internet contest videos. PERIOD! I don't even want Voodoo, if there is one next year, to be filmed. I want people to come for the vibe and leave the stinking camera's at home.

I mean do you go to a basketball, baseball , football , tennis match , soccer game, so on and so forth with a camera for filming? Maybe you do but, I dont . I go for the fun vibe and culture of the event. And I do not get anything from watching raw footage on the net.

If there is a highlight film than thats a bit different but those raw internet film do nothing for me. And the presentation just stinks. I think its crazy how people criticize a rider on the net. Its just not positive and they do not consider a lot of things that go down at contest. If your not there to feel the day and the event itself then you really can't understand.
Just my opinion on that. No biggie!

In this day of Flatland just riding your bike is not enough. We all have to do something to grow the sport. Clinics, youth involvement, media, participation and many other thing will grow the sport.

STAY POSITIVE and Push with all of our ideas!

Good Luck!
Scott


www.voodoojam.com
twitter @emceeob

Offline Dion

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2008, 09:37:15 PM »
Interesting, but this article speaks to those riders who are competetive. Many of us just work 8-5 jobs and like to blow a little steam a few days during the week - but that doesn't mean we don't take riding as serious as any other competetive rider.

apoirier

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2008, 10:03:23 PM »
Because I'm really stoke to go riding right now, I didn't read all of Scott O's post.  But I must say, the judging system at Voodoo was the best I've seen.  The only improvements to that I could see are have a couple more judges, and instead of them raising the flag at the end of all their runs, give each of the riders a three, one minute long run, and at the end each, have the judges say who won, so its a best of 3 one minute long runs type of thing.  That way, the last one minute long run say between Sam and York, Sam's first two runs go great, and Yorks are decent, but not great.  Then the last run Sam doesn't do well, and  York's goes great, the judges might be more apt to vote for York because of his last great run, while technically Sam maybe should have won for having two great runs.  I really enjoyed that system at Voodoo.

And I pretty much agreed with the majority of things said in the letter. 

Offline effraim

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2008, 10:29:09 PM »
Great letter Michael!!

I would have to agree about handing in the runs before the contest, 95 percent of the riders prepare like mad for the big contests, so would know exactly what they will be going for, of course the freestyle element of contest riding would be lost, but the gain would be that the judging was more professional.

I think Michael is looking at an idea of a "flatland utopia" something i always ask myself, what could possibly be the best run, originality? long combos? short hard combos? no filler? no scuffing? variety?
brakeless? one brake? two brakes? no cranks?

So Rider A  did a run with original hard long combos with no touches, brakeless style with no scuffing, and  rider B copied  rider A's run but with brakes, how would a judge mark that, this is where knowledge of the sport and artform comes into play, and also the judge has to be strong enough to make those decisions.

We for sure need some kind of professional guidelines, as Scott said money always comes into play. Sadly.

One thing that was briefly mentioned by Scott, was being a pro. At the masters, there were 45 riders, at least 15 riders were not of pro level, for me its a joke that riders can rock up and enter Pro totally ad hoc, could i rock up at Wimbledon and face Roger Federer first round? If there was some kind of regulation whereby there was a qualifying round before an event such as the masters, that would help, take it on name basis, its the masters, this should be the best riders. With others fighting to get in, it shouldnt be easy, that alone would make the sport more credible in my eyes.


Great post once again.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 10:49:57 PM by effraim »

Offline pulsar

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2008, 11:04:29 PM »
well this doesn't really concern me since i don't compete, but since it is addressed to the flatland community i will speak.

from what i hear there should be and needs to be a floor standard. i see no reason why that can't happen. the judging system is best left to you guys who are competeing and already makeing ammendment to the current systems.

the internet comments and general rider comments kind of rubbed me the wrong way. we're not all sitting at home in front of the TV analizing every frame of someones trick. i own two dvd which i've only watched a handfull of times. i can count how many youtube videos i've watched on one hand. i'd rather be riding cuz thats how you learn. sorry i own three videos, i just got ellusion not too long ago.

so be original.......but you cant' scuff? hhhhhhmmmmm?


i guess what i'm trying to say is don't be so hard on non-pro riders......be good to riders no matter what the skill........... or level of intrest.


good luck guys

Offline charlh5

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2008, 11:19:05 PM »
Luis Elias seria bueno que traducieras este articulo es realmente interesante..

This fortat is  cool but.... scuffin is necesary for few tricks... rest two points no sound good......

Offline wmalyna

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2008, 12:09:33 AM »
Mayby I don't understand the letter in 100% becouse of my language skill, but I agree with You in how important is the floor, and it's not even only directed to a contest riders, a lot of riders even me have a problem with the riding spot, I my city there is only one good, really flat spot, it takes a 40 minutes by bike to go there, and sometimes i cannot ride there, this is a shoppin mall parking and if i don't have luck security throw me out od there. I'm not a pro of  but i understand a problem of too small or slicky spot for someone.

Media and internet. This a subject for bigger discusion. In my opinion internet give a a big and cheap promotion for contest and for whole flatland. Flatland it's not so popular as football or even a bmx vert, and it would be difficult for a kid to even know what flatland is. I started riding 3 years ago and internet was the reason, I saw Kimmo Hakkana on some site, it was filmed in russia if remember it good. If I understad it good, you don't like how media shows flatland but it must to take a time to show people what it is a teach them to show it well. But it's good that media are more interested in flatland year by year. In my country peoples who don't ride don't know what it's, when i ride on my spot sometimes some people are asking me about it, some people laught about a size of a "kid bike" some people think that i'm training some circus tricks but most of them like it, and year by year there is more articles in press and interesting of poeple who finnaly sit in "crowd" on jams. And I was happy when I saw a commercial with alex jumelin ( it was Suzukli Swift commercial)  in my country where people don't know flatland. Rumor on internet about flatland open eyes to other medias and finnaly it will open a sponsors pockets. But when I think about it harder, is it will good for us and for contests if there will be too much of money?? It could broke the whole magic of flatland.

Internet movies.
You think that it's bad that someone can watch a trick on computer and then learn it? This is almost my only way to know tricks now, I want to learn as much i can and then learn some own stuff, and movies is the only way i can see how some tricks, and i don't have a pro or even a master class rider in my city, that could tell me what i'm doing wrong or something so watching movies in slow motion in something like my teacher. I agree with you that raw footage from contest don't show the magic of flatland and I don't like to watch such of things. Highlights offcourse, but raw material not. I'm a student i'm living with my parents, and i if would go to work to earn money to go to watch international contest i wouldn't have time to ride so those highlights is my only occasion to watch pulled trick. I'm riding on contests in Poland so i know what is the difference you are talking about in being on contest or watching it on movies.

You got nice idea in judgeing but i don't like to make minus with scuffing

Sorry for my english and sorry michael if don't understand you good.

FLATLAND WILL NEVER DIE!!!! :)

andy_dubz

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2008, 12:41:20 AM »
Amazing article first of all. I don't think many serious flatlanders come on global, global I feel is more for the rider who does it just for fun and is not aiming to go professional. Flatland is QUICKLY gaining in media coverage, I've heard there is a chance for it to be in a big US event next year (Not sure if I'm allowed to say the name). I think there needs to be a standard for riding surfaces but not only a single one. Not all riders can find a perfectly flat patch of asphalt that is not in heavy use. I personally ride on a 5m X 5m plywood platform and a 3m X 5m indoor concrete surface.

Your format I feel if tweaked a bit could be very good. There should be a spot for style. Scuffing should also be allowed if it's used for style like O'brien uses. For copying a trick does that mean copying a combo trick for trick exactly? If so then that's fair.
a large percentage of pros and extremely talented riders post and lurk this forum pillock. at least one pro has even posted a reply in this thread so W T F are you talking about noob douche , theres so much sh*te in what you said i cant believe it  scuffing should be allowed? since when was it not ? but only used for style?  G T F OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOO
« Last Edit: August 09, 2008, 12:52:06 AM by andy_dubz »

Offline EZChris

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2008, 12:45:42 AM »
Proud member of the Spaff Cartel.

Offline Bamalama

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2008, 12:51:52 AM »
W T F are you talking about noob douche

You are the most worthless scum on this earth, I said that I don't think there are many serious riders. Even the pros on here post once every 100 days. You could have simply said, Alot of pros come on here even one posted in this thread. But no, you felt so inclined to prove to everyone here that you have no credibility and are simply a piece of sh*t and will never be anything else.

Offline bram

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Re: Michael Sommer: Open Letter + Judging System
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2008, 12:57:20 AM »
 -_-
RIP, TO(Y)