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Discussion: Australian Easter Carrnival Survey

in: Orienteering; General;

May 19, 2016 3:17 AM # 
Its interesting watching the survey responses grow rapidly after just one email. If only all survey exercises had such a willing group of responders.
But this is a digression. The nub of the survey seems to be whether to change the Easter 3-Day format to include a sprint and to move the other three days to a Middle-Long-Relay length format. There was no option to provide a comment on the survey form so I am making a comment here.
I do not really care over either format if the terrain suits. For example, there is discussion of holding all three days of 2018 at Kooyoora. Either would work fine. But if you don't have any good technical terrain for a Middle Distance, the Saturday event would be a long drive for a race of little interest. If you have only one good Middle Distance terrain then the current elite format sees this being used on the Easter Saturday. The result of this is that after the Long on Sunday, Monday's race is academic for the placings of many classes. If there is a move towards a Middle-Long-Relay format for all classes, I would suggest the following guidelines-
1. Only use this format if there is a quality technical terrain for the Middle. Otherwise the existing Easter format would be better.
2. If there are two good technical terrains, use one for a relay distance on the Monday. This would leave interest in the results for many more classes. Gone are the days when the placings are decided by superior technical navigation on Monday.
3 If there is only one good technical terrain, use the Middle terrain on the Monday, not Saturday. A shorter race would also allow for earlier presentations and an earlier start for the journey home.

Another idea I like if we were to move to a S-M-L-R format is to stop using combined times and to instead use combined % of winners time. This would ensure that the sprint is no longer irrelevant and the Sunday long does not decide the results before the last race.
May 19, 2016 3:46 AM # 
WTF? Neil, how do you have access to the responses when they're nothing to do with you?
May 19, 2016 3:50 AM # 
I had the option of viewing other results (in summary, they were anonymous) after I'd submitted my survey, which I of course did :-)

Regarding the use of middle distance terrain, well given there is always a middle distance event on the Saturday anyway (for elite classes), then presumably it could be incorporated into the other classes without much difficulty.
May 19, 2016 4:35 AM # 

Many on line surveys give you the option to read the results when you finish them. This one came up with the same option. I made the reasonable assumption that this was how it was planned and clicked the button offering results. There was no button saying it was nothing to do with me. I was the sixth response so a little later I refreshed the screen and there were 30+ responses. I wish I had that response rate in my work. So please don't blame me if you didn't test the system before it went live. Perhaps you could thank me for inadvertently alerting you to an aspect of your survey that you did not intend. And as tRicky says, it was aggregated data.

My comments still stand and I would have made them without seeing results. The survey made many assumptions about my answers and did not allow any explanation of these problems by its insistence on only forced choice answers.

BTW, its normally considered ethical behaviour to share the results of a survey with the respondents. This implementation is not an uncommon method.
May 19, 2016 4:43 AM # 
The plan is to share the results once the survey is completed - doing it while in progress has the potential to bias later responses.
May 19, 2016 4:46 AM # 
Well, in that case it might have been best to check the implementation. I feel a little like a shot messenger
May 19, 2016 5:13 AM # 
Sorry, Neil - it's good that you were the canary in the coal mine, because I didn't implement the setup so had no idea that was going to happen. The results will of course be made public through the technical committee. My concern is just that plenty of people aren't as rational in their dealings with potentially-controversial subject matter as you are :)
May 19, 2016 5:14 AM # 
I must have completed the survey right after Neil because I was #7.
May 19, 2016 5:52 AM # 
Hey, I beat you in something tRicky!
Jenny- I have spent the day trying to understand the intricate coding for the Australian Survey of Income and Housing. I need to do this because NATSEM has built us a synthetic dataset that links data from the SIH with data from the Australian Rural Wellbeing Survey. The purpose of all this is to better understand financial security on farms. I tell you this so that you will understand how results from a survey about orienteering will be so much more interesting than the alternative. ;-)
And for the record, I doubt the early viewing of results will bias your survey. My main concern was whether I could respond multiple times. I didn't test that, but I didn't see any reason why not, unless it was checking dynamic IP addresses. But that wouldn't really have solved that problem, just delayed the multiple response. Survey rigging would be an issue in an ideological subject matter. But i doubt this would be the case here. I was truly impressed by the rapid response to the survey. I refreshed about four times and the numbers kept climbing. It tells me something about the enthusiasm for the sport and its governance.
May 19, 2016 5:56 AM # 
It tells me something about the enthusiasm for the sport and its governance.

Opinions are like compasses. Every orienteer has at least four, one of which will be completely contradictory to the others.
May 19, 2016 5:58 AM # 
Juffy I disagree with your assessment however I also agree with it.

Neil, I have a house but no income. Does that preclude me from your survey?
May 19, 2016 6:07 AM # 
+1 for the compass analogy. Put 4 compasses together and do they tell you where truth is?
May 19, 2016 6:14 AM # 
Put 4 compasses together and do they tell you where truth is?

Yes. No. South-west. Pants.
May 19, 2016 6:27 AM # 
Uncle JiM:
Can you fill the survey out more than once?

I wanted to see what Neil looked at, but had to fill in the survey for me to get to the last page, then it accepted? my response, for the 2nd time?
May 19, 2016 7:02 AM # 
I believe the option of seeing what's happening behind the scenes has now been turned off. Will check with Craig whether there's any feature which prevents anyone from submitting twice (maybe someone else could do mine for me)!
May 19, 2016 7:22 AM # 
Sorry for being a problem Craig.
May 19, 2016 9:02 AM # 
Uncle JiM:
Ditto ^^
May 19, 2016 9:07 AM # 
Do whatever for elites. Keep Easter the same for other classes.

I can't say I've noticed that for other classes Saturday is middle and Sunday long, that certainly wasn't the case this year.

I'm happy with the prologue as a warm-up for other classes, I'll enter it or not as the case may be depending on my travel arrangements.

Three days cumulative is my preference, Easter is the only multi-day (ie 3+ days cumulative) in Australia, and I'd want to keep it that way. No relay please.
May 19, 2016 9:37 AM # 
May 19, 2016 9:40 AM # 
simmo - I think the reference to Relay was in length not format. NSW has an annual 3 day cumulative event which in a year or 2 will be the scheduled Aus 3 day because of a clash at Easter with NZ hosting Masters???
May 19, 2016 9:41 AM # 
* Tash - love it!
May 19, 2016 10:51 AM # 
Simmo, this page isn't the survey.

The relay was with reference to the prologue day.
May 20, 2016 5:39 AM # 
"For example, there is discussion of holding all three days of 2018 at Kooyoora"

The 2018 3-Day will be in Tasmania.
May 20, 2016 5:47 AM # 
I hear they're renaming St Helens to Kooyoora so that people think they're going to a new area.
May 20, 2016 6:16 AM # 
What survey?
May 20, 2016 6:28 AM # 
To allay St Helens withdrawal syndrome, there will in fact be two competitions, the 3 (or 4) Day over Easter (southern Tasmania), and a 3-Day at St Helens after Easter.
May 20, 2016 6:52 AM # 
Sorry Cath, you had to be a competitor to get it.
May 20, 2016 7:34 AM # 
Preaching to the converted?
May 20, 2016 7:40 AM # 
Wrong year. 2019 I think.
May 20, 2016 7:49 AM # 
Isn't 2019 Blair's comeback year to Easter Elites?
May 20, 2016 7:56 AM # 
2019 is WA
May 20, 2016 7:57 AM # 
how about Oceania 2019?
May 20, 2016 8:54 AM # 
3 Days
2016 ACT
2017 NSW (QB III)
2018 Tas
2019 WA
2020 NSW

Aus Champs
2016 Qld
2017 NSW
2018 SA
2019 ACT
2020 Tas

2017 NZ
2019 Vic
May 20, 2016 9:25 AM # 
So 2019 WA goes up against Auckland for east coast Australian orienteers. Had it been a year earlier it would have been WA vs South Island, a much better proposition for WA. At least 2019 Easter is April 21 rather than 2018 April 1, so a better chance of favourable weather.

And why no forseeable WA Aus Champs with wildflowers??? The October date is much better for WA than Easter.
May 20, 2016 11:00 AM # 
Coz we had Oz champs in 2014 and Easter in 2011. Without any confirmation from anywhere, I'd assume WA next gets Oz champs in 2022.
May 20, 2016 11:17 AM # 
Coz? Coz that's the rules?
May 21, 2016 2:03 AM # 
We'd probably feel more inspired to hold more carnivals if we got attendances like the eastern states ones do.
May 21, 2016 3:16 AM # 
That's precisely why you shouldn't go up against Auckland.
May 21, 2016 3:18 AM # 
Re the "survey", which we didn't get - the terrain and the prospect of a meaningless sprint plus 3 same old same old days is why we didn't go to Oz Easter this year.
We went instead to NZ (!); nice sprint to warm up; a fun middle; and an epic Long.
May 21, 2016 3:29 AM # 
With all due respect, I suspect the difference between the number of people who would go to WA if NZ Champs were in Auckland and the number of people who would go to WA if NZ Champs were in the South Island could be counted without requiring the removal of shoes.

Although it's being mucked around with a bit because of WMOC/Oceania 2017, the standard rotation is that WA (and SA, Queensland and Tasmania) host an Easter and an Australian Championships week every 8 years.

In 2019, the Easter week in WA is also expected to contain the Australian Middle and Sprint Championships (partly to clear some space in the program for Oceania Championships in September).
May 21, 2016 3:31 AM # 
It doesn't bother me whether the 3 days are run on different or similar terrains. Similar gives you an opportunity to try to improve each day, but variety is also a challenge.

I think NZ should be towed a lot further West.
May 21, 2016 5:14 AM # 
The prospect of Easter in 2019 already has me wondering if I'll be able to find the motivation to train for Elites or not. I know I wouldn't for Oz champs, as that would involve training properly through winter.
May 21, 2016 6:57 AM # 
(Blair's response wasn't up when I wrote the above.)

There you go O-ing, surely you don't want to compete against Kiwis twice in the same year, so come to WA for Easter!

Fletch - you could train for M40 at Easter and elites in the Sprint.
May 21, 2016 9:52 AM # 
Simmo - that's the fallback option.
May 21, 2016 11:44 AM # 
The main point of my opening post was as follows-
Seems to me you can have a three/four day event and plan it to work as an aggregate time competition, or you can have a series of different separate events over three/four days. Running a sprint/middle/long/relay series may well be more interesting orienteering, but I can't see how it works as a multi-day race with aggregate timing. The first day has next to no bearing on the overall result and the last day will be a pointless procession in most carnivals. If the consensus is for S/M/L/C race format, then I think it best to consign the multi-day aggregate result format into the bin where we dumped the Family Relay.
But I made a mistake about the carnival fixture in passing, and most of the subsequent debate has followed that side track.
May 21, 2016 12:28 PM # 
IL there have been plenty of Easters (and lots of European multi-day events) where positions have changed on the last day in many classes - even to the extent that the leader before the final day drops out of the placings altogether. There will always be some classes where one person can dominate, but even the best of the best can have an off day. At this year's Easter the winner in M21E (and quite a few other classes) came through on the final day.

I agree the first day (for elites) has little bearing, but that's because margins are smaller in a sprint.

If we make Easter a series of separate events, it will be little different from the Spring Championships carnival. Elites would still turn up because of NOL, but I'd be pretty sure that other classes (particularly veterans) would think twice about going interstate to Easter if it is not a multi-day event. This would particularly affect the more remote states like Qld, SA, Tas and WA.
May 21, 2016 11:38 PM # 
> I agree the first day (for elites) has little bearing, but that's because margins are
> smaller in a sprint.
That is my point. The sprint is about not being dnfed. Thats a lot of organisational work for not much carnival outcome.
And if the Saturday is a Middle it gets the most technical map. If the Sunday is a long it gets the largest margins between places. Before the S/M/L/R format the last day was often the most technical. It made a difference to the interest in many classes. I look back on our event in 2012 (I think) at Bendigo. The Middle day got the technical gold mining map. That caused some M21 upsets. The long day had massive margins (steep granite). Most classes were won on that day. The last day was on the remaining map which was fast benign spur gully. The place margins were miniscule. Blair's write up commented that the last day was going to make few differences to the placings. If we hadn't been constrained by the elite S/M/L/R format, we would have had the spur gully day on the Saturday and perhaps used the granite on the last day.
If it remains a multi day event but with a SMLR format, then at least change the aggregation of scores from raw times to % behind winner. Then the sprint becomes important, the long doesn't skew results and perhaps the last day will mean something in most classes.
May 22, 2016 12:57 AM # 
So why not have the long on Saturday and the middle on Sunday or Monday?

At Easters where the same map is used for all 3 days, one would expect them to be equally technical, so it doesn't really matter which order things are in.

The sprint/M/L/R format appears to have come about for WOC selection reasons. In fact, the present qualifying regime for WOC negates this, and the future alternate forest/urban WOCs will see the need for an entirely different selection process.

For JWOC the current format doesn't matter because the whole team runs all the JWOC races.

Therefore I have to ask why Easter needs to be spoiled for the majority.

In 2019, WA will run all 3 days on technical terrain. The following weekend are the Oz Middle and Sprint champs, so the S/M/L/R format for Easter would be irrelevant from a selection point of view, even supposing WOC is not changing.
May 22, 2016 3:33 AM # 
I don't like the idea of a % behind the winner score. It just make is easier for people to rely on the other distances to get them through.

Let's look at the Tour de France. Everyone knows it's won in the mountains. Prologue has little bearing on the final overall but you still have to do well. The non mountain stages you just have to make sure you don't do anything stupid. Easter is similar. Everyone knows that if you win the long day your probably going to win. But You still have to make sure you do well/ not do anything stupid in all the others.

An % behind the winner would just make it easier for others to get closer without doing the hard yards in the training.

How we make sure that the last day is exciting could be like it has been said. Just up to changing the order of the days.
May 22, 2016 3:54 AM # 
Some of the survey questions were specifically about 2017 when the 3 days will not be at Easter but on the June Long Weekend, because Oceania and the Masters are in NZ on and after Easter.
May 22, 2016 4:21 AM # 
Currently NOL points are awarded for each day of Easter, this was ok when there were fewer NOLs in the annual calendar. Nowadays there are several more NOL events of all types, and one format the NOL lacks is multi-day, so why not keep Easter as it traditionally was (the Prologue can remain a separate NOL, but not count towards overall Easter time) and award just one lot of NOL points for the overall result, rewarding the consistent multi-day runners. Possibly give these points a loading, say double value.

Agree with Toph on %, unnecessary complication that in my view mars some well-known international multi-day events.
May 22, 2016 4:23 AM # 
I can't imagine anything worse than running the long day on Saturday, but that's probably because I'm never fit enough to race 4 days in a row, and fronting up for 2 more days after destroying myself on the Long day sounds like torture.

Do the current elite regulation specify anything about the last day other than 'relay length'? If so, there's nothing to suggest it couldn't be as technically challenging as the middle day / Saturday - might just depend on the range of terrains you have available. It doesn't have to be a relay style (easier running and nav in general).
May 22, 2016 5:12 AM # 
Simmo, do we have a venue for Easter 2019? You must know more than I do! Mind you, I get excluded from all the Easter discussion on Council much like the rest of Council forgets about the MTBO Nationals this year.
May 22, 2016 8:22 AM # 
The current rules (16.10) only specify winning times for the four separate days for the elite and A classes 20 and 21, but these are pretty clearly based on S/M/L/R. There's nothing about technical difficulty in that section, but elsewhere in the rules (Appendix 8) explains the differences in event format. Worth reading, because it does state that the relay 'is more similar to the middle than long distance' and the long 'may in parts include elements characteristic of the middle'.

For other classes at Easter 16.9 states 'Winning times should be 20% shorter than' for long distance.

tRicky - ask Sandyknoll.

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