Yes, it is just gymnastics. It still makes no sense to me. Like I said it’s one thing being a few tenths, but we are talking over half a point. Either way it is done and will continue to happen apparently.
Honestly, until/unless they allow judges to look at and re-watch a video recording of the routine, the inconsistencies will continue. Some things to consider:
-Judging takes a lot of practice, can be expensive to get into, and doesn't pay well.
-As mentioned above, the "up to" deductions can make a huge difference in the scores because it's subjective and some people will just always be harsher than others. People will up-to a different amount depending on who taught them and their own personal preference. As long as they're consistently applying this with every gymnast then it doesn't really matter.
-Judges are taught when, in doubt, to give the benefit of the doubt to the gymnast and not take a deduction. This means that at a competition with less experienced judges, you may have less deductions being taken simply because they aren't able to judge as quickly/efficiently as someone who has a lot of experience. There are other reasons why some judges may catch more deductions than other judges, this is just one possible example.
This isn't a judging problem, it's just how the system is set up. The only way to change that is to change the system with more rigid explanations of deductions and being able to re-watch routines. Or, I guess someday AI judges but we're definitely not going to see that implemented any time soon.
If the JO scoring is bothering you that much I would just say, take some time to mentally prepare yourself for NCAA scoring because there is well known bias in scoring there and it's not going away any time soon.
Were the competitions where the same vault got scored significantly different, in the same city/state? I'm from New Mexico and we would always get scored higher at home than when we went to big gymnastics states like California and Texas. Like, a LOT different. The standard of gymnastics and number of competitors is just WAY higher in those states so they have to judge more harshly to really distinguish the order.