Dasha thinks that since I have come up with these ideas I should now champion them to the DVOA powers that be. I respectfully disagree.
First, there are people now aware of these ideas who have an official capacity in the club. There are also people aware of these ideas that have a more suitable temperament to communicate these ideas to the leadership. I know my limitations (part of this whole flight of fancy is motivated by acknowledgement of limitations, incidentally.) I am not really able to effectively ingratiate myself with the club leadership as well as some others may be. I also have some scars that flare up now and then.
Anyway, if this is going to fly, there have to be others at least as committed to it as I am. I will do work when it is time to do that, but I can't be the only one who believes in the idea. I think it should be championed by a team. A movement rather than a lonesome quest.
I want to reiterate my opposition to the idea of a course consultant/vetter as a panacea for DVOA's problems. It is a poorly considered bailout; a band-aid at best. It will get us back to where we are, or even further away from where we need to be. If that is what is decided, it is too bad.
Why? Well, I know how hard it is to personally take advice. I always showed my courses to Eric and he always had suggestions. When you get wrapped up in things and slave over your courses, it is hard to change things. I know. But, I would defer to his judgment. Even if I think I know a lot, he knows more. A lot more.
I have seen so many instances of people, and often experienced people, repelling or disregarding advice. Why would someone that has been doing this for 20 years need someone looking over their shoulder? Well, some don't want this oversight. And some of those are wedded to, let's just say, more "primitive" technical standards. This attitude is rife in the club. I am not interested in paying lip service to technical improvement.
Why would I need a course consultant? Why would I need an EXPERIENCED vetter or two? Because EVERYONE does.
So, it would seem that I am acknowledging the utility of this vetter/consultant. Yes and no. It only works when applied to people who are malleable. I think it is easier and better to deliberately select particular people who have a clue, follow the "rules", are amenable to advice, etc., than impose this on people who don't want or need it or don't have time for it.
An upcoming screed will be about the life cycle/development of orienteering clubs. It won't really be original, and it will hew very closely to feet's seemingly deterministic economic musings of a few weeks ago. Yes, neoclassical growth and reversion to the mean. Powerful forces, those. Maybe some Schumpeter and thermodynamics.
Also, I can tie in some of my unpublished investment management thoughts. NNT used his brush on everything. So will I.
Gregory makes an excellent point which bears repeating and additional development. Excellent navigators or a related group, elite orienteers, are not necessarily excellent course setters. However, being an elite orienteer provides an important, though not irreplaceable perspective. Conversely, so does being a strictly recreational orienteer. And being a good navigator in general really helps. Good course setters need to accommodate fast and slow, competitive and recreational, and provide appropriate technical challenges. And be fair. But, too often, course setters they see things through the same lens they use to orienteer. Eric is one of the best people I know at seeing both sides, despite the fact that he was always a competitive orienteer.
I fancy myself to be a competitive orienteer as well. That is all I really aspire to. However, I very much appreciate and respect recreational orienteers. One could have a cynical point of view and admit that we need recreational orienteers to support the sport at the top. This may be true, but is only a small part of the story. Recreational orienteers are doing our sport. Granted, with a different mindset and set of priorities, but sharing the affinity for navigation and love for the outdoors. We're the same family. (Then there is Trail-O, which is an entirely different can of worms.)
Having said that, I wonder which segment would place a higher priority on growing the sport? I'll have to think about this more, as I can't come up with a clear answer. If we stylized it and said there are two blocks of orienteers--the elite and everyone else--maybe this is easier. Not sure.
If you are competitive, I think your victories are sweeter if you defeat more people. I think anyone who is competitive would desire to leave no doubt that they are the best, and to best 100 rather than 10, and 1,000 rather than 100, and so forth. I would think that for this reason alone, they would want more participants. However, as they are trying to be the best, they won't do much to proactively develop the sport, aside from maybe moral support.
If you are a recreational orienteer, what will you do? Well, there is no longer the desire to defeat X number people. On the other hand, it is nice to share your experiences with friends so you might want more people for that reason. I do think that is a marginal effect. Orienteering is a solo sport and in practice tends to be kind of cliquish. That said, recreational orienteers won't be dedicating their life to training, and thus their orienteering hours could be directed towards organization and administration. I think that is the more important effect. Some may also simply be evangelists and want to spread the word. (Elites could have the same inclination, but because they have less bandwidth to devote, evangelistic tendencies probably have lesser impact, even if the motivation is indeed stronger.)
Where does this leave us? Well, I think elite orienteers need more competitors but don't do much to get them. Recreational orienteers don't especially need them, but do more to get them.
What is the point of all this rambling? This is my first stab at exploring the extent to which (stylized) recreational or competitive orienteers make better course setters. Or put differently, see the need to be better course setters. In general, it doesn't matter much and I can cite examples of both camps who are good and bad. It matters around the margin, however, and in terms of tendencies.
As a digression, I wonder about the tendency to hide controls. Obviously, this can be done by anyone. Empirically, I have no idea what camp does it more. But, I really don't like it and will explain why elsewhere. Dasha pointed out something that I hadn't really thought about. At the limit of slowness and deliberateness, concealing the actual bag is one of few tricks you have left. The flipside to this is the aphorism that "if the orienteering is too easy, you aren't running fast enough." If you aren't running at all, certain things become more important.