Very well put...I believe the answer to the OP's question has been answered...TRY to run the blind as best you can..#3...Steve S....PS:same for HT...Judging is part objective, part subjective. The latter will always play a large role in judging and is by its nature difficult to express in precise terms. In defense of the diagram, I would say
1. The diagram equalizes information. In the Open, pros are looking over your shoulder, trying to get a peek of your judging book, so that they can see the reference points you consider important. They try to overhear conversations between judges. They note when a judge closes his/her book. They are sharing this information with one another. Through this process, they are able to glean a great deal about what the judges consider important. Pity the poor Amateur who comes to the Open after running his dog - maybe is given a chance to watch one or two dogs run - and then is sent into the maelstrom.
Why not make the critical information about your blind available to everyone?
2. If you want to see something, why not improve your chances of seeing it? If I want a dog to the right of that weed clump, why not tell the handlers - instead of whispering to my co- judge "Why aren't they casting inside of that bush?". "Or why are they getting on the tip of the point on this water blind instead of on the fat of the point?" If it's important to you, ask for it!
In one trial that I judged, my co-judge and I wrote something to the effect of "The judge believe that the shoulders of both mounds are on line". That was placed in the holding blind. A handler who had a very stylish dog elected to make no effort to hit either shoulder. I heard people in the gallery say "Didn't he read the note in the holding blind?" I like that. I like that the contestants know what is important to me.
3. As I mentioned earlier, the diagram only shows the "ideal" line to the blind, it does not replace judging. A dog may hit all the markers, but if it is stopped 20 times in route, exhibits poor style, and/or had poor marks, it is gone - because judging in a FT is both relative and cumulative. I realize that there will be complaining from the gallery because dogs that hit all the markers are dropped, and those that do not are carried. But, as Greg mentioned, a lot goes into judging a dog that you never truly appreciate until you sit in the chair.
I have yet to judge the field trial where everyone approved of my work. I doubt it will ever happen. I do believe that over the course of a judging career, you establish your own book. My goal is to be known for having tough tests, generous callbacks, and consistent placements. Time will tell whether I am successful. Being popular is not important to me. But, I don't want to be known - as some judges are - for having mystery criteria.
I think the diagram eliminates mystery.
4. I think that the diagram can make the blind harder. Any experienced judge has a story about an Open where the pros decided to make their own criteria for the blind. When I put a diagram out - I am telling you what I want. If a handler makes no effort to abide by my diagram, I can only infer that he/she is incapable of controlling the dog as requested, or the dog is incapable of carrying the necessary casts. A blind is a test of control and if a handler makes no effort to demonstrate the control requested - there will be consequences. Sometimes this means a dog is dropped, sometimes it means that a dog's scores are diminished. But, like Bill, I make note when handlers make no effort to run my blind - as illustrated.
Because I believe that the line to the blind is not always obvious, when I give you my diagram - it is obvious. There is no excuse for the handler not to attempt to run my blind.
5. I don't think it requires too much work to draw the diagram. I am going to put the critical markers on my master diagram anyway. I simply draw over my master diagram and leave the copy in the holding blind.