The PLAN (starkly stated; justification and explanation of parameters and assumptions will be developed over time and posted here. Names and numbers are for discussion purposes only.) [Yes, it is completely autocratic and draconian. But, hey--this is my log and desperate times call for desperate measures. This is probably a lead zeppelin, but it is what I would do if I were king. In lieu of that, it is a merely thought experiment.]
Objective: to restore quality standards in DVOA orienteering events.
Course setting and event directing will be clearly segmented. There will be no overlap between event directors and course setters. Course setters will be drawn from a pre-qualified pool of individuals (the "Pool.") The Pool will initially be comprised of roughly 12 people. The Pool will be selected by an initial committee consisting of Sandy Fillebrown, Tom Overbaugh (the Technical Director--the "Director"), and Clem McGrath (collectively, the "Committee.")
The DVOA event schedule will be finalized during January. Event directors, dates, and venues will be selected by Ed Scott (or other person who fills this role--the "Scheduler"). Course setters will be selected by the Scheduler in consultation with the Director or the Committee as necessary. The completed schedule will be posted online and distributed by mail in January.
All members of the Pool who will be setting courses during the spring season, including members of the Committee, will attend a mandatory review meeting at the winter meeting or at an alternative venue around the same time. The curriculum will be standardized, and the gathering intended to reaffirm best practices.
This process will be repeated in June for the fall season, including the mandatory meeting.
The system will allow for roughly 18 events per year. Other events can take place outside the system, but they will not be counted in the rankings, or have any courses beyond white and yellow. This will require the average Pool member to set 1.5 courses per year.
It is expected that the requisite supporting course staff (vetters, etc.) can be sourced from the Pool, but other volunteers could be recruited based upon the discretion of a given course setter. Such recruitment and attendant apprenticeship will eventually lead to admission of other qualified individuals to the Pool.
*notes on parameters/assumptions:
--The Committee could have a different composition, I suppose, but it should not be larger. It could be smaller if the Committee==Eric.
--The twelve person Pool: Really this is just off the top of my head. I haven't even counted the people in the club that "get it" already, but luckily there are enough. It is easier to count the people that don't get it. I don't want to write those people off, but I have no problem writing them off from setting courses. [this is a point to be expanded.]
--18 events: Again, a jumping off point. Maybe too many. Given our current skill base it may be ambitious. Too few events is better than too many [another point for additional discussion.] In any case, if a qualified person is not committed to an event by January/June, that event doesn't happen. The printed schedule is our bond.
--The Scheduler needs to buy in to the system and have fortitude and diplomatic skill. Fortitude to hold the line, and diplomatic skill to disarm criticism and avoid affronts. (Certainly not a job for me as I could care less about affronts.) The key notion to subscribe to here is that there are good course setters and there are bad ones, who due to lack of judgment, skill, knowledge, or what I can only identify as willful contrariness, will set bad courses. Some of these deficiencies can be cured. Some cannot and I will have nothing to do with trying to cure them. I know Eric came to the same conclusion.
Some people just aren't good at certain things. They may not realize this, but it is the case. That doesn't mean that they can't add significant value in other ways. To me, my last major course setting involvement for DVOA exemplified this. I set courses and Steve did the event administration. What was wrong with that?
[What will I contribute?] I hope to be more than all talk and no action. If there was committment to my scheme, I would conduct/organize the symposia, be a sounding board for the TD, and be a member of the initial twelve, meaning I would do courses for one or two events a year and serve as a resource for the rest. If there was a pronounced, earnest, and widespread committment to technical excellence, to be achieved in some way aside from my scheme, I would strongly consider getting involved in that. However, if the notion is to get a course consultant, or similiar crap solutions, I will continue to offer no volunteer labor to DVOA. I'll still go to events, because after all, even after the fall of the Empire, Rome still had nice architecture. DVOA, thanks to Eric, still has nice maps. They will decay, of course, but for the forseeable future, they are still worthwhile.
Prolegomena to future course setting tractatus. Current version assumes slightly less than A event standard diligence, but likely enough to shock some of our recent local event setters. A little art and a little science. Much more to come if there is an audience. Very schematic to start.
* Select the area
* Hike/run/walk around the area (no map required), to assess the "grain" , texture, topography, and feel of the terrain. Where is it feature rich? Does it feel opaque? Areas of convexity/concavity. Open, tight? How is the footing? How does it sound? Is it remote? Heavy use or wilderness?
* At home, look at the map. How do your impressions agree with what the map shows?
* Assess the map. Age, mapper, style, terrain. Identify weaknesses and pitfalls.
* [Some silly course setting stuff]
* Go back into the terrain to see control areas. Streamer some features. What works, what doesn't? Is there a "hang?"
* Go home. Play with some features. Winnow down.
* Go back into the terrain, if necessary, to streamer more features.
* Get your vetter (#1) into the terrain. He/she will vet streamers and give feedback on aesthetics, visibility, suitability, and vet descriptions.
* Repeat with vetter #2 if possible/necessary.
* "Finalize" courses.
* Print courses & descriptions
* Do paper vetting; include another set of eyes
* T-1: Place as many controls as possible. Have a vetter confirm number, correspondence with streamer number, control description, punch existence, etc.
* T-0: Place remainder of controls (ideally not many), along with same vetting process from yesterday. Do existence checks (flag + punch(es)) by vetters #1 and #2 and course setter.
As with any set of rules, judgment and experience influence interpretation and implementation. But, we start with precepts. De jure.
An earlier lead zeppelin idea was to have an online, systematic feedback mechanism for course/event feedback. I think that it is highly important. Of course, that idea was stillborn about a year ago.
I guess it is still DOA.
Anyway, the top-down Pool construction doesn't obviate the need for it, but I hope it will sidestep the objections to it. To me, receptiveness of feedback is essential to anyone in the Pool. If courses are too long, they are too long. If too short, they are too short. If controls are inappropriate, they are inappropriate. Etcetera. We can't mandate that people have a thick skin, but I won't deal with people with a thick head.
Bike 1:00:00  16.25 mi (3:42 / mi)
Level 8 hills. Noticeably tougher than level 6.
Spent the first 15 minutes reading NNT. I do have to admit this book is more tolerable that the earlier one. He seems to have toned down the arrogance, and like the anecdote he includes about his Italian friend, this is a book that I would have written myself.
Or, as his friend Popper might say (and I paraphrase): to predict the wheel is to invent it.