We've added this new category to the Forums so as to be able to discuss questions, issues and/or suggestions for the RacingRulesOfSailing.org's Jury Management System. If you're not famaliar with it, the jury management system is intended to fix many of the inefficiencies of running the protest committee for any event. The system deals with the three most troublesome parts of an event.
First, it provides an electronic interface for the competitors to communicate with the protest committee/jury. They can submit a protest electronically from their mobile phone, or initiate a question for the jury. They can see the real time protest time limits from wherever they are and watch the hearing schedule on their mobile phone to see the progress of the hearings as they are happening (allowing them to go to dinner while they wait) . And they can find all the protest decisons in one place and have access to an electronic copy of the decision so they don't have to wait for the protest committee to print a copy. Additionally, there are live pages for the hearing schedule, protest decision, rule 42 penalties (and others) for large electronic displays to be used behind the protest desk (and in the bar). This does away with the static paper notice boards and the reduces the confusion competitors feel around the protest process. For the events that have used this interface, and the electronic displays, we see that there are fewer late protests, the hearings finish much earlier in the evening and the competitors feel that the protest process is much more transparent, so there if less frustration over how the protest committee is functioning. In short, it makes the protest committee look more professional.
Secondly, the application makes working as a team more efficient. The protest committee event panel allows for collecting all documents in one place. You don't need access to drop box or to email all the documents to every judge. You simply add them to the event panel and all the judges can find the latest version of the document there. It also includes a list of all the officials for the event with all their contact information. And by adding an official to the event, you give access to that official to the repository. For example, if you add the PRO, that person has the ability to add documents, and thus can keep the documents current by adding any amendments or notices (and the documents can be published as the official notice board if OA so chooses). Or you can add a scorer, and when you indicate that a decision requires a scoring change, it sends an SMS message to that person with a link to the pdf of the decision. Or just add a jury secretary, which gives them the ability to see the site and help with entering data or giving information to competitors. There are also a few other components that make managing the jury more simple. For example, you can quickly set up jury assignments based on suggested tasks. And there is a quick messaging system that quickly emails all the members of the jury of any internal jury notice.
And finally, RRS.org provides some tools for the individual judge. Even if an event uses none of the above features, an individual judge can create an entry for an event an use it to manage their own documents. And it is especially useful for generating protest decsions. As a scribe, you can fill out all the basic elements of the decision in seconds, and then focus on the facts found. Then, when you are ready for conclusions, click on the Suggested Conclusion for a particular rule and it inserts the specific language that fits that rule. You merely need to edit the parties in the conclusion and you're finished. It even provides suggested language for the decision, so you can insert the proper language for a decision regarding redress with the click of a button. A scribe can provide a complete decision in just the time it takes to write the facts found.
But, as for the purpose of this post, after two weeks and two kiteboard events, we've added some features that I think will be really useful. Thanks especially to Markus Schwendtner for some very helpful suggestions and constructive criticism...
Embedded Real Time Widgets.
RRS.org is not intended to be the primary website for an event. It is intended to integrate into the event's website. And to that end we've created a couple widgets which can be embedded in your event's website that display real time information. For example, there is a Protest Time Limit widget that displays today's protest time limit in real time. Simply embed the code provided into your website and it will display the protest time limits for that day and automatically update (you do not need to refresh the page).
There are also buttons that indicate a change in status. For example, the Protest Schedule button links to the Hearing Schedule page. It changes to red and indicates how many protests are pending when any protests are pending. Again, this works in real time - no need to refresh the page, it just works automatically. After setting up an event on RRS.org, click on Public Pages link on the left hand menu, then select Public Links. On that page you will find all the current widgets (more in development) and the code necessary for your event's website. The page is open to everyone so you can email a link to the page to your event's web developer and they can simply copy and paste the code right off the page.
You can still just link the Hearing Schedule and other pages through static links (they are provided on the same page), but these widgets add some real time activity to your event's website.
SMS Notice of Protest Time Limit.
Now when you create a new protest time limit, you cannot publish it until you have finished editing. But when you click on the publish checkbox, the application will send an SMS notice of the Protest Time Limit to all competitors via the phone numbers provided in the competitor list. Each competitor will get notice of the Protest Time Limit wherever they are (on-the-water, the boat yard, the beach, the bar) without having to rush to the notice board. And the notice is updated if the time limit changes (for whatever reason), so you can be confident that the competitors are aware of an event's protest time limit.