Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the planet, many orchid societies have started offering photo contests of orchid plants. These initiatives were all very different but in all cases, the plants were not judged individually for their own merits, but instead the best specimens were selected from a large group of participants. In essence, these experiments were not true judging sessions, but rather something comparable to a show judging, or sometimes to a popular vote competition through various social networks.
But is it possible to properly judge a plant online? This was the question that Alejandro Capriles, the SFO Training Coordinator, and his student judges have been pondering for a long time; a question that generated long brain-storming sessions (online) on the concrete feasibility of a new judging format; thus a new judging program was born - one which does not (and must not) replace the in-person judging program, but rather to complement it in order to enrich and strengthen it.
All the members of the judging program contributed to the creation of new criteria and detailed guidelines, allowing for the collection of all the necessary data so that, through the use of photos and videos, it is now possible to judge the plants presented by the participants!