Abstain versus recuse: what's the difference?

Sometimes a judge may wish to be excused from judging a particular entry. For example, there may be a conflict of interest, the judge is associated with the entrant in some capacity, or they are also an entrant and you don't want them judging their own entries.

There are two options for a judge to not score an entry: they can abstain or be recused. Abstaining requires action from the judge while recusal requires action from the program manager.


When a VIP judging score set is in use, a judge can choose to remove themselves from evaluating a particular entry provided this option is enabled in the score set.

  1. In the Manage workspace, go to Judging > Settings > Score sets
  2. From the 'Display' tab, select the Judges may abstain checkbox
    Judges may abstain checkbox
  3. Click Save at the bottom of the page

When this is enabled, judges will see an option to Abstain from judging with each entry:

Abstain from judging checkboxe for judges.png

Ticking the box will disable inputting scores in the scoring criteria. If a judge abstains from scoring, they are not taken into account when calculating the average score (since they have not actually scored).


A program manager may want to remove a judge from judging a particular entry or a series of entries. This can be done, by the program manager, from each individual entry or via the Judging > Settings > Assignments view. When a judge is recused from one or more entries, they are completely unaware and are not notified in any way. 

Important: recusing a judge does not prevent manual or random assignments from being created. Assignments created between a judge and a recused entry will display as 'Recused' in Judging > Settings > Assignments, but will not show to the judge in their list view. 

Recusal via an entry:

  1. In the Manage workspace, go to Entries 
  2. Click on an entry name and then navigate to the 'Judging' tab of the manager's view
  3. From the score set matrix, click on the overflow menu to the right of the judge you want to recuse and then click the Recuse button
    Recuse option in judge matrix.png
Note: this method only recuses the judge in the selected score set. 

Recusal via assignments:

  1. Go to Judging > Settings > Assignments
  2. Search for the judge you wish to recuse
    Tip: use your Advanced search options on this page to filter by category, judge, tag, etc. to more easily recuse judges in bulk.
  3. Select the checkbox associated with the entry/entries where you want to recuse the judge
  4. Open the Action drop-down and select Recuse
    Recuse in Action drop-down.png

Global recusal

  1. From the Manage workspace, go to Entries
  2. Locate and click on the entry you wish to recuse the judge from
  3. Open the 'Judging' tab and, in the 'Recusals' area, click Recuse a judgeRecuse a judge button
  4. Key in the name of the judge you wish to recuse
  5. Click Recuse

These actions will only affect the entries from which the judge has been recused. They can continue judging other entries that have been assigned to them. 

If a judge is recused after scoring an entry, their score becomes stray and is no longer counted towards the average score.


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