Author Topic: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?  (Read 39062 times)

Offline narvin

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #135 on: February 28, 2013, 02:05:52 PM »

I'm all about some of the proposed changes, but blaming Geoff for this is not entirely fair. He's right - nearly everyone uses this software for their competitions. And with how many complaints? The AHA should have known that this would have been a high demand time and required (paid) for server space to accommodate.


All I can go by is this experience and what I've read in the other thread:

The software is problematic. I run the UK National Homebrew Competition, have helped with the Irish National Homebrew Competition and we have similar problems with hosting on a server I own. Multiple registrations at the same time seem to shut the database down.


It seems obvious that this was not ready for prime time.  I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that serious consideration is taken before using this system again for an organization as large as the AHA.  This is not a knock on your effort, just a reality of production-ready software.

I didn't realize this was open source software, so I do apologize for my initial reaction.  I expected someone to be making a quick buck while everyone else suffered.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 02:48:46 PM by narvin »
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Offline brewmanator

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #136 on: February 28, 2013, 02:35:01 PM »

 how many entries (1-82) you would like to enter. 


i still have a problem with huge number of entries per competitor, though i know that there are probably only a few who do that.  decide which type of dark lager you brewed and enter it once, it doesn't need to be in all three categories

I don’t like the idea either, but the AHA has allowed this to happen in the past, and I wanted to at least make it theoretically possible to enter the maximum number.   I think we all know that the days of getting 50+ entries into this competition are over.
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Offline Bruce B

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #137 on: February 28, 2013, 03:59:35 PM »
As the "random guy in Colorado" I don't feel any need to defend myself or the software. The 100s of competitions that are using or have used this OPEN SOURCE and FREE software are more testament to its success than the issues experienced with the NHC registration on Tuesday.

I was honored that the AHA wanted to use the software for the NHC. I stand by it and welcome anyone's input into its continued development - like I said, it's open source. Admittedly, I am a self-taught php "programmer" - however, I saw a need for a particular product and filled that need for my own uses initially. I've put literally 1000s of hours into the continued development and happily dove into helping the AHA, modifying it to fit their needs.

It's true that the events of the 26th necessitate some serious consideration and remediation. Believe me, I've been in constant contact with the folks at the AHA since 1:05 PM on Tuesday. They are working long hours at 110% to make things right, analyze what went wrong, and figure our what to do about.

At least this "random guy in Colorado" did something about helping the homebrewing community in a way he feels reasonably competent instead of complaining about it in some forum.

That's all I am going to say about the subject.

Thanks,

Geoff

I've been using BCOE&M on all four competitions I'm involved with since 2008 (then just BCOE) and will continue to do so as long as I stay involved with those competitions and the product remains available.  It provides a great service and I can't imagine doing a competition without it. 
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Offline thetooth

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #138 on: February 28, 2013, 10:58:17 PM »
I know plenty of people with more money than skill, and they wouldn't not balk at throwing a bunch of money at $40 entries if they think it'll help them win some national awards.  Raising the entry fees to an abnormally high price would just encourage wealthier people to throw money at it while pushing out people with less means and quite possibly more skill and/or desire. 

If you want to limit the amount of entries per person, it would make more sense to just limit the number of entries per person rather than making it a question of your disposable income.

Offline phunhog

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #139 on: March 01, 2013, 12:25:19 AM »
I know plenty of people with more money than skill, and they wouldn't not balk at throwing a bunch of money at $40 entries if they think it'll help them win some national awards.  Raising the entry fees to an abnormally high price would just encourage wealthier people to throw money at it while pushing out people with less means and quite possibly more skill and/or desire. 

If you want to limit the amount of entries per person, it would make more sense to just limit the number of entries per person rather than making it a question of your disposable income.

I think limiting the number of entries is a good start but I still don't think that will be enough. It's limited to 15 right now and obviously that was still too many. I understand your point about disposable income.  Someone mentioned a few pages back that one of the years Gordon Strong won the Ninkasi he spent one weeks salary on entry fees and shipping.  That sounds completely crazy to me but I don't think he "bought" the contest.   In fact I think by raising the entry fee you are not going to eliminate the hardcore homebrewer just the casual one who enters the NHC on a whim( like me!!).  In fact maybe if they raised the fees the AHA could hire an extra staffer or two to help Janice out.....thus helping all of us out!!

Offline phillamb168

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #140 on: March 01, 2013, 04:30:38 AM »
I have two things to say about all this, the first is related to comps, and the second is technical and I need to do a bit more research first so I'll post that later. The first part:

TL;DR: Get rid of the current competition system. Replace it with two separate comps, one which is judging/feedback ONLY (no winning awards) and another which is ONLY awards, but with no categories. BOS-type stuff.

OK now long-form: It seems to me that there are two camps when it comes to these comps. Those who are looking for feedback on their beers, to help improve, and those who want to win awards. There is of course crossover between the two groups, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who only want feedback and don't care about awards (me, for example) and there are also plenty of people who only want to win awards and are confident in their brewing practices etc.

The problem as I see it is that not enough of either group are getting to do what they want to do. We can fix this by creating two separate judging events, one technical, one 'pleasure.'

The technical judging event would include all 38 flavors (or whatever) of BJCP categories. Each beer would be judged by a BJCP-certified judge, and scored according to BJCP guidelines. I would say a bit of 'you should try doing X to improve this beer' would be warranted in the feedback section. Anybody who wanted to get feedback on their beers would be able to do so, and you'd probably see MORE entries because you take away the competitive element that might scare some people away. Judged, but not JUDGED, as it were.

Now here's where I may get into toe-stepping-on-territory: The other event - the taste- and pleasure-oriented competition - would use exactly zero BJCP guidelines. None. You enter whatever beers you think are your best, regardless of style, perceived flaws, etc. Your beers will be judged along the lines of: "Is this a beer that I'd like to share with my friends?" "If I saw that a pub had this on draft, would I go out of my way to stop by and have a pint?" "Does this beer inspire me?" Judges would not need to have BJCP certification, and thus anybody could volunteer to judge. Obviously they would need to have an appreciation of beer, and would need to try to be open to any style of beer, but there's no reason why they'd have to have passed any test. This sort of competition could also potentially serve as a bit of evangelism for the BJCP program as a whole - you show people, who would never have normally considered doing BJCP, that judging can be fun, and get them interested, and get them on the BJCP exam track, and then eventually they can become technical judges.

I think that only allowing the 'pleasure' contest to be allowed to earn awards would actually do a lot for advancing our hobby. People would not feel bound to any specific category, and creating a new award for 'most innovative homebrew' would get people thinking about how they could approach the creation of interesting beer, as opposed to beer that matches an arbitrary style. This is NOT to say that I think BJCP guidelines are worthless, far from it. For people either exploring a style, or trying to increase their technical proficiency, fixed goals like that are excellent. I wouldn't have learned how to make lagers if it hadn't been for the CAP subcategory, nor would I have known what to have expected when drinking it afterwards, due to the lack of any examples out in my neck of the woods.

I have two anecdotes as pertains to the idea of dropping categories for award-eligible brews:

The first comes from my friend Laurent, who is the former president of the European Beer Consumers Union, and has judged in just about every contest known to man. We have gone back and forth over categories for about two years now, and he has always taken then anti-category stance. I used to be firmly in the categories4evah camp, but he's slowly warmed me up to the other side. So the other day, he told me about a horrific judging session he did (I think it was @ GABF) where it was time to judge category 21A. Everybody and their mother had decided to enter a Pumpkin beer. After the first sample, every beer tasted pretty much the same. A page came up with water & crackers during a break and said, "Hey guys, having fun?" and Laurent said he told the page that he'd be happy to trade places (or that he wanted to slap the guy in the face, I can't remember which one). After a while everything tasted like some mixture of cinnamon, clove, or allspice. There was just one beer that was truly interesting, an imperial stout with an aroma that was actually roast pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie. Just one beer like that, out of 35 or so. He told me that as he saw it, that was the problem with categories, that everybody eventually ends up submitting the same beer. Great for education, bad for competitions.

The second comes from Garrett Oliver, who told me about a time he was judging the grand final for GABF alongside Michael Jackson. Michael asked everybody to quiet down for a moment and told them he wanted to say something before they started judging.

He said (I paraphrase here): "I want to tell you a story about my very first beer experience. I lived in a little village in England and there was this pub that everyone absolutely adored. It seemed like the entire town would come out to drink their beer on Friday or Saturday nights.

The atmosphere was amazing, the people were wonderful, but of course the main reason everybody had come together and created this atmosphere was the beer. The bar, and the beer itself, had a smell that would stick to you, permeate your clothes, and the next morning the lingering smell could bring back smiles when you would remember the time you spent with friends the night before.

Now, once I started really getting into beer, and understanding things like 'styles' and 'faults' and 'off-flavors,' I discovered where that smell had come from - the smell that everyone in my village associated with a fun place to have a good pint and enjoy the company of friends. And that smell was diacetyl.

So I would just like to ask you, when you go to judge these world-calibre beers, to keep in mind that experience, and ask yourself a little more of, "is this a beer that I would go out of my way to share with friends?" and a little less of "this beer has 0.075 microns of ethyl acetate."

That's my $0.02 anyway.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #141 on: March 01, 2013, 06:18:05 AM »
I know plenty of people with more money than skill, and they wouldn't not balk at throwing a bunch of money at $40 entries if they think it'll help them win some national awards.  Raising the entry fees to an abnormally high price would just encourage wealthier people to throw money at it while pushing out people with less means and quite possibly more skill and/or desire. 

If you want to limit the amount of entries per person, it would make more sense to just limit the number of entries per person rather than making it a question of your disposable income.

I think limiting the number of entries is a good start but I still don't think that will be enough. It's limited to 15 right now and obviously that was still too many. I understand your point about disposable income.  Someone mentioned a few pages back that one of the years Gordon Strong won the Ninkasi he spent one weeks salary on entry fees and shipping.  That sounds completely crazy to me but I don't think he "bought" the contest.   In fact I think by raising the entry fee you are not going to eliminate the hardcore homebrewer just the casual one who enters the NHC on a whim( like me!!).  In fact maybe if they raised the fees the AHA could hire an extra staffer or two to help Janice out.....thus helping all of us out!!
If look into it, I think Gordon was between jobs in 2009 (after the meltdown) and used an unemployent check for his entries.
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Offline AleForce

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #142 on: March 01, 2013, 06:28:27 AM »
TL;DR: Get rid of the current competition system. Replace it with two separate comps, one which is judging/feedback ONLY (no winning awards) and another which is ONLY awards, but with no categories. BOS-type stuff.

Sounds like you might be due for a local brewclub meeting.... I doubt many people would invest any time to submit a beer or participate in that idea. 
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #143 on: March 01, 2013, 06:57:06 AM »
TL;DR: Get rid of the current competition system. Replace it with two separate comps, one which is judging/feedback ONLY (no winning awards) and another which is ONLY awards, but with no categories. BOS-type stuff.

Sounds like you might be due for a local brewclub meeting.... I doubt many people would invest any time to submit a beer or participate in that idea.

I'm founder & president of the Paris Homebrewers Club, so I attend every meeting. And funny enough, this is exactly the sort of comp structure we use.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #144 on: March 01, 2013, 06:58:03 AM »
If anything this thread has me not looking forward to the day that I move back to the US and have to join a club, if they're anything as competitive as the way some people are making them look. What ever happend to RDWHAHB?

...

That would be a pretty good name for the NHC comp: The RDWHAHB Grand Prize. For reals though, guys, I am not a fan of having a vocal minority sucking all the fun out of a hobby. Not saying there aren't problems that need to be corrected, but...
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 06:59:42 AM by phillamb168 »
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Offline bbkf

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #145 on: March 01, 2013, 07:14:48 AM »
this is how you fix the "problem" with this competition

1) BJCP judges that judge the previous years competition get unlimited entry into the next year.  Same with anyone who helped coordinate and helped run with the previous years competition and/or first round judging sites.

2) IF, there is any space left.....other AHA members get one entry per person

Everyone that b****es and doesn't help run the actual competition gets their $28 membership fee back and can feel free to start up their own national competition.  No lame excuses like....."i had to work" or "i'm to far away".....you all sound like a bunch to whining pussies when you complain about the hard work that others do FOR YOU!

Offline phillamb168

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #146 on: March 01, 2013, 07:17:38 AM »
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Offline AleForce

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #147 on: March 01, 2013, 07:29:40 AM »
TL;DR: Get rid of the current competition system. Replace it with two separate comps, one which is judging/feedback ONLY (no winning awards) and another which is ONLY awards, but with no categories. BOS-type stuff.

Sounds like you might be due for a local brewclub meeting.... I doubt many people would invest any time to submit a beer or participate in that idea.

I'm founder & president of the Paris Homebrewers Club, so I attend every meeting. And funny enough, this is exactly the sort of comp structure we use.

Under the homebrew club umbrella that's pretty typical thing to have going on - and hats off to your club for doing that.... Anyone who is/has been in a homebrew club usually grows tired of having their beer judged in that environment and wants something more. Nationally it won't work especially when you consider the costs and time for something like that.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #148 on: March 01, 2013, 07:38:06 AM »
TL;DR: Get rid of the current competition system. Replace it with two separate comps, one which is judging/feedback ONLY (no winning awards) and another which is ONLY awards, but with no categories. BOS-type stuff.

Sounds like you might be due for a local brewclub meeting.... I doubt many people would invest any time to submit a beer or participate in that idea.

I'm founder & president of the Paris Homebrewers Club, so I attend every meeting. And funny enough, this is exactly the sort of comp structure we use.

Under the homebrew club umbrella that's pretty typical thing to have going on - and hats off to your club for doing that.... Anyone who is/has been in a homebrew club usually grows tired of having their beer judged in that environment and wants something more. Nationally it won't work especially when you consider the costs and time for something like that.

I dunno - it sounds like, unless I misunderstood, that the real problem is the lack of judges overall. If you drop the BJCP requirement (and the categories), you could have anybody come in who had a reasonable knowledge of beer.

Going even futher I think it might be interesting to even have complete beer noobs do judging, as long as they're open to trying stuff that might be 'different' from what they are used to.

--

Well, hey, if you like technical comps so much, it would also perhaps work to have regionals be 100% bjcp with a 10-entry limit (or something), and then the national comp would be BOS. You could also have the option to skip regionals on the tech level and submit exactly 1 beer into the national BOS competition, that way regionals don't get crowded out with one-submission entries that may or may not be categorized correctly.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 07:44:28 AM by phillamb168 »
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Offline gsandel

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #149 on: March 01, 2013, 08:03:27 AM »
Quote
I'm founder & president of the Paris Homebrewers Club, so I attend every meeting. And funny enough, this is exactly the sort of comp structure we use.

American's don't collaborate very well (look at our government today).

I do think we need to revisit relaxing and having a homebrew.  If we look at even this thread, there are only 20 or so people having this conversation....maybe 1000 more are upset or concerned.

That leaves 30,000 others.  Perhaps they are relaxing, and having a homebrew?
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