Abstain versus recuse: what's the difference?

Sometimes a judge may wish to be excused from judging a particular entry if, for example, there's a conflict of interest, they are 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.


A judge can choose to remove themselves from judging a particular entry provided this option is enabled in the score set.

  1. Go to Settings > Judging > Score sets
  2. From the Display tab, select the Judges may abstain checkbox
  3. Save

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


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 > Assignments view. When a judge is recused from one or more entries, they are completely unaware and are not notified in any way. 

Recusal via an entry:

  1. Go to Entries > Manage entires
  2. Click on an entry name to view its info page
  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

Recusal via Assignments:

  1. Go to Settings > Judging > 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. Click the Recuse button from the top of the page to recuse in bulk

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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