Page 29

The Majority Rule

W h y T h e A I P P ’s J u d g i n g S y s t e m I s I n c r e d i b l y Fa i r Can a judge control the judging panel by scor-

other four judges from giving the print a Silver

ing very high or very low?

Award.

At the Canon Australian Professional Photog-

This is where the Majority Rule kicks in. Be-

raphy Awards and the various Epson State Pho-

cause three or four of the judges (the majority)

tography Awards, there are five judges. When

are in the Silver award range (over 80), the mini-

you listen to the comments or watch the scores,

mum the print will score is 80, no matter what

it can appear that one judge is unduly affecting

the average is. Let’s look at another example:

the overall score, either by judging incredibly high or way too low.

70 70 85 86 85 Average: 79 The print will score a Silver with Distinction be-

Majority Rule

cause the majority of the judges are above the

One of the many safeguards in the complex

85 score range. Of course, the Majority Rule

judging system is the majority rule. It states that

works the other way too:

if three or more judges have scored a print in a particular score range, then at the very least the

95 93 79 78 79 Average 85

print will sit in that score range.

However, this print will not score a Silver with

The score range dividers are at 80 (Silver), 85

Distinction or even a Silver Award because the

(Silver with Distinction), 90 (Gold) and 95 (Gold

majority of the judges scored it below Silver.

with Distinction). Let’s look at a score of 80 and

The score will default to 79, just below the Silver

see how this works. A print receives the follow-

Award standard.

ing scores:

When you watch the scores at the judging,

or listen to the panel chair call out the score, 81 81 81 80 72 Average: 79

this might explain why the final result is differ-

In this situation, four judges feel the print is

ent to the average.

worth a Silver Award, but one judge scores it

In fact, if the score is changed due to the

very low. Although all five judges may be scor-

majority rule, the panel chair will usually state so

ing the print fairly from their personal point of

e.g. “This print has scored 80 by majority and is a

view, as a panel, one judge is preventing the

Silver Award”.

29

Working Pro 213  

The official journal of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography

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