View from the Top
Written by Weedmonkey on January 03, 2010
It has only been four weeks since CMA-Flippi offered me the position of Coverage Director. I have spent them building my department from the ground up, with my two dedicated administrators (with which we wouldn't be where we are today) as well as juggling my duties as a level three judge and site administrator.
However, since I have become an administrator it seems that it means that my integrity has become moot. I have been slandered, I have been told that I am incompetent, I have been told that I am power hungry, and above all I have been told that I have gained and am using this position for anything other than doing the best I can to improve this league.
This article will address three things: the slander and defamatory comments directed at the Magic-League administration, the apparent belief that that the administration is corrupt and doesn't do anything, and the people on this league who seemingly have nothing better to do but bitch and complain incessantly.
Yes, this is a soapbox article. Yes this, is going to be long, and no I'm not the least bit ashamed of it. This is how I see things, and it's up to you whether to take it or leave it.
The Path to the Upstairs Office
I first joined this league many many years ago (the exact date of which I cannot remember, but it was at the beginning of a year). The league was much smaller then. Koen, nico, Dirkjan- and the other admins regularly played on the league (which led to some spectacular Master matches). The 'characters' of the league were more pronounced. You had people like stalin (resident troll), Silvia (resident floozy), JulienN (who later went on to become world champion), pG (resident cheater)...the list goes on. Early on i became a j1 (when it was held in #j1test), and was dejudged six months later or so for inactivity. In the interceding years, I ended up going on semi-hiatus, and decided against going for the judge test again.
Fast forward to 2007. Six months have passed since Magic-League shifted their support from Apprentice to MWS (and my subsequent bans for trying to incite a mutiny), and nico had a gutful and stepped down as Judge Director. I considered this to be a great loss. While I wasn't buddy-buddy with nico, having been on the league as long as I saw it as a great loss to the league. And while I did not see it then, I do understand where he was coming from.
Fast forward to 2008. In the interceding months, i saw two good (in my eyes) dejudged for inactivity. With Gerrardfo at the Judge Director helm, I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the league. I saw him as a brick wall that stuck to the rules like James Blunt to bad music. I was openly attacking him where I thought I could gain traction since I didn't believe anyone could make him see reason (and I do regret now never approaching him about it then). It was around this time that LordHawk approached me about MTG-Temple. He intended to start his own league, and offered me an administrative position on there. Having given up on being able to do anything about Magic-League, I took it.
Over the next few months I worked hard to get Temple set up. Officially, my positon was Decks Administrator. Unofficially, I was a jack-of-all-trades. I wrote well over 90% of their judge test. I ran tournaments. I handled complaints. I worked on refining various site features. However, it seemed that we were continuously hitting brick walls. With every former member of Magic-League in its administration banned except for me, it was difficult to find sound methods of advertisement. We were trying to build against a fully-standing league with a reputation. When LordHawk attacked me for being lazy in January 2009 (whether or not it was in jest I still don't know to this day), I left.
While I had never really 'left' Magic-League so to speak, I did return my focus to trying to change the league. At the beginning of the year i wrote Steve the Helper Monkey (which i am still more than happy to continue developing) as players were asking if there ways to know when a mini was open or when a round had ended. In February, Phantomal approached me and offered me a position as a global operator of the network. Two weeks later, the judge test was reset, and I passed it.
I took the advantage of my new position to try and make changes where I had the ability to. The first one was to write a new version of the judge script. The current script that judges use has a number of limitations that I wanted to improve upon. The first build that was completed was functional, but was difficult to set up, so i started from scratch (and currently only needs documentation completed). In the middle of the year, I teamed up with neosystems to begin to bring back coverage. He had ideas about coverage the he wanted to get going. We began to do unofficial Magic-League podcasts. We brought back master coverage in a big way. neosystems wrote site profiles, while I was given coverage administrator access to provide the ability to publish coverage without requiring an admin present (and to my knowledge, no other J1 has had any administrative functions on the site beyond judging).
In September, shortly after I wrote an article on things every Magic-League player should know Flippi offered me a position as a J2. Seeing this as a bigger platform at which to yell at the people upstairs, I took it. At this point in time I was far more mature than I was when i was staffing on Temple. While I did my best to help people and funnel through their concerns to the admins, I also had a better understanding of the philosophies behind many aspects of the league. While my time spent at J2 was short, my most significant contribution to the league was the floor rules document. One issue that many players had was that the rules behind issues such as disconnects weren't clearly laid out. I took this to Gerrardfo, who passed me along to niknight (he was informally in charge of policy at the time). I was given the green light when it was brought up at the next admin meeting, and over the next few weeks I developed the document.
At the beginning of December, Flippi again approached me. It was only a few days before that the judges were informed of a staff restructure being imminent. In the restructure, there were two positions that were available. The first was ratings director, which was offered to brimstone due to his efforts behind the scenes handling ratings protests. The second was coverage director. Having done a lot to bring coverage back over the year and having gained a sort of autonomy over posting my own articles, the offer was given to me.
View from the Top
Having been disillusioned with the league and now having the ability to have a significant influence on it, I dived into my position with fervor. Having worked with neosystems and EarthPunk over the year, I opted to work with both of them again in developing a fully-fledged coverage department. In the four weeks since I've taken the steering wheel, we've created a coverage site, we've recruited writers and we actively work with the members of our department.
But Roo, why are you saying this?
There are two points I want to make abundantly clear to people. The first is that only ten months ago I was just a regular player, like anyone else on the league. In many ways I still am - the only difference is that I've chosen to take on a responsibility to the league. Many people seem disillusioned with the fact that there is no chance for change. I have proven otherwise. No, I haven't made any big sweeping changes - it has been small changes that over time add up. If you think there's an area that can be improved in the league, do something about it! If you don't think you can do it alone, contact an admin. We're all more than happy to hear you out.
The second is far more disconcerting. I know over the years the activity of several administrators has come into question - I know that I've acted on this belief. The fact is that we admins do what we do entirely on a volunteer basis - we don't get paid for this and it isn't our job. Any intensive work on the league (such as the new website being developed) is done as a side project. By and large, we know when we don't have the resources available to do the job to the best of our ability. Gerrardfo stepped back from first judge and then coverage director for that reason.
Which leads me to my next point...
The Secret Administrator's Club
In the four weeks since I became a director, some people seem to think that my integrity has gone out the window. Last time i checked, just because I wanted to improve things and have been given the ability to do so doesn't mean that overnight I become a sheep. Some people hold the belief that because I am an administrator I will use politics and wordplay to provide an answer that effectively says nothing. Myself and every other administrator have to endure this, and I for one have had a gutful. For those of us who have been here longer (such as Shyft- and niknight), I truly do feel sorry for them.
Everyone has their concerns about how things are run - i'm no different. One thing i'm concerned about is transparency. Currently, I will only tell the public about things that are known publicly (that is, said in a league channel that not all people may know about). Between admins, there are things that are said that can't be said publicly - that I know. What I don't know is what precedent there is for transparency, and that is what I want to find out.
There are however, some people who aren't willing to actively pursue an issue. Instead, any problems they see are a trigger to go on a tirade about how this league sucks, how the admins are unprofessional, and how the league is dying. Some of these people often go so far as to say they are here for a long time and for some reason, that gives them a golden microphone to criticize however they wish. No, let's not try to make the league better. No, let's not see changes as opportunities to start anew. No, let's not give a damn about how poor our own behaviour is - let's put the blame where it's easiest.
The fact of the matter is that often people will rant without giving all the facts. When other people go on a tirade by presenting only one side of the story, some people will inevitably believe what they say - because of a skewed view. I'm going to take MistyFatDog's vocal and public walk-out as an example, since he was more than happy to make noise. He was dejudged for a year for failure to fulfill judge responsibilities. In a thread on the forums, he put it down to too many power hungry people, administrators not listening to his side of the story and this site going to hell.
Whether or not people believed him I don't know. However, he only presented his opinion and tried to pass it across as fact, which is completely incorrect. His dejudging was due to a repeated failure to fulfill judge responsibilities. He has a history of poor behaviour, including a permanent dejudging wherein he was permitted to return if he changed his nickname. He gave his side of the story, we saw it as an excuse based on his history and dejudged him. As for the power hungry, that was a comment directed at me. I openly dressed him down in #magic-league repeatedly for minibegging, something that is strictly against channel rules. Judges are to act as role-models for the Magic-League community, and therefore are held more strictly to the rules compared to regular players. He then tried to pass it off as mere discussion and accused me of being too uptight.
Unfortunately, this behaviour is not uncommon. Whenever a person isnt happy with something (especially with a ban or a ruling they feel was unfair), they go to the forums and rant. It is these people that by and large incite such dislike towards the administration, and almost always it is misguided. These people do not take any responsibility for their own behaviour and believe that they can behave however they wish. The fact is that slander achieves nothing and only makes you look like an ass.
Slander vs Criticism
There is a definite line between slander and criticism. Criticism, when constructive, only serves to improve something. For example, upon publishing of my second round feature match writeup, Djinn contacted me with feedback. He felt that while it was well written, I missed the dialogue of the match. Additionally, he felt that I didn't summarize the end of match properly and missed several key points. This is constructive criticism - it provides points of weakness, but also shows paths towards improvement. This is something that the coverage department tries to do with all its writers if possible - working with them personally if it is necessary.
Slander is openly attacking something or someone, and it serves no other purpose. Last week, a user in Magic-League defamed me based on my Rogue Deckbuilder's Tookit article. And while eventually some points were pulled from which I could work with, he made some very offensive comments - including one where I shouldn't write. While I do know that I'm not perfect, I am doing the best I can. Trying to knock down something that is being worked on doesn't serve any purpose.
There is too much slander and not enough criticism. When something goes wrong, people would rather grab the pitchforks. Hell, with all this disapproval of the administration department I have only once been approached by a person about my ability as an administrator - Craze. We discussed in-depth my plans for the coverage department, where I wanted to go and how I was to go about it. Some people would consider it an interrogation. From my perspective, I saw it as an opportunity to make sure that all my plans were completely thought through. While I cannot speak for every other administrator, I am sure they would agree with my point here.
Oh no, not the power! I must not strive to improve!
The final point I want to address is the fact that my intentions of gaining a directorship are for everything but the reason I have it. I will more than happily admit that I have desired an administrator position on here for a while now. However, it is not for the power, or for the glory. I have for a long time desired to improve this league, and the drive comes from the times that the staff have gradually become inactive (which is not the case anymore).
When I first rejoined the judge ranks, my plan was to try and hook in under Azania as a tech assistant, and gradually become Tech Director. I wasn't aware then that there was a new site in development (and granted, the reason the public don't know about it is because although there is a lot of work that has been done on it, many of the features can be subject to modification) and thought that the only reason Azania remained in that position was because there wasn't a suitable replacement.
Why should I be content with a J1 or J2 when I can achieve more as a J3? Some people take it as a lust for power. I see it as an opportunity. Am I still the same person I was? No. I have matured, I have gained insight, but I don't believe I have become power-hungry.
Nobody is above reproach, not even administrators. If i was doing a poor job, I would certainly want to hear about it. If you've got a serious gripe with an administrator (and not just a rant about how unfairly you've been treated unless it is well thought out), contact another administrator. CMA-Flippi is the judge director. niknight is the conduct director. I am the coverage director. If you have an issue with anybody in the league, whether they are a member of a league department or not, you have paths to have your voice heard. Don't believe that just because we are administrators that we are invincible, or that we only want power.
All I want to do is help this league become the best it can.
Famous Last Words
Yes, this article is long. Very, very long. However, I feel that it was necessary so that people understand all perspectives, just not that of the whiners.
If you have any questions or concerns about what I have said, please, contact me or another admin. Don't sink down to the level of the flamer and have a go at me in the comments or the forums.
The next article in the Rogue Deckbuilder's Toolkit and the opening article for my column will be coming soon. Until then, I have these two things to say.
To the people who will see this article as an attempt to save face or as administrative propaganda, i say this: I truly feel sorry for the lives you must lead, where you cannot take a person's word at face value and must look for ulterior motives in everything. It must be a sad life to not be able to see opportunities to improve and start things afresh.
And to the people who believe they cannot do anything to improve this league, that there is a brick wall stopping you from having your say, I say this:
Ten months ago, I was without judge status, like most players in this league.
Look where I am now.
by Craze on 2010-01-03 05:57 CET
<%Ehri> dont complain :/
by Truth- on 2010-01-03 06:11 CET
by Lunari_ on 2010-01-03 09:25 CET
by brimstone on 2010-01-03 09:35 CET
Roo: You suck, diaf please. Thanks.
by Xarls on 2010-01-03 15:07 CET
by DaWorm on 2010-01-03 15:11 CET
by Steveman on 2010-01-03 16:59 CET
Dammit Weedmonkey, you sold out to the man
by Femt on 2010-01-03 17:01 CET
Roo, dont listen to these people. They are jealous of your position. You are a great person and a great writter!!!! Keep up the good work man!!! ;D
by kburts on 2010-01-03 19:56 CET
by mishimakaz on 2010-01-03 20:22 CET
I agree with this article.
by combomaster on 2010-01-03 21:23 CET
nice article man i especially like the part with the constructive feed back i feel that those lines are miss interpreted all the time...i hope you do get somewhere in fixing the league..for the normal people that just want to play magic's sake.at the moment judges are almost unapprochable and there is no emphisis on improvement its good to hear someone in a higher positition say that they want constructive crit most judges and the like wouldnt say that because they would see it as an attack on them....GL man hopefully you can be the one to close the gapping rift between players and judges..
by Ffancrzy on 2010-01-03 21:36 CET
<3 Roo. I think you have done a lot for this league in terms of relating to the common player, its possible that because you went up the ladder to a position where the common player associates that position with something negative, at no particular fault of your own.
by Sandro on 2010-01-03 23:31 CET
You're incompetent and power hungry! <3
by Kaesh on 2010-01-04 01:32 CET
Would've been nice if you uploaded the missing stuff for the master coverage, or at least edited the top8 interviews properly before writing/posting this.
by DS_McWerp on 2010-01-04 02:08 CET
by Esibnitsud on 2010-01-04 03:02 CET
this is bullshit. first of all, no1 cares.
by Esibnitsud on 2010-01-04 03:03 CET
also, fuck off calling pg the resident cheater. pg is like the coolest person in the league that isnt dead.
by Weedmonkey on 2010-01-04 05:46 CET
^ Proving my points.
by rickyJ on 2010-01-04 06:46 CET
great job my freind........Esibnitsud you should chill what you said was pointless not what weed said
by RiQuSP on 2010-01-04 13:24 CET
Why would you care about these people anyway?
by Araeliz on 2010-01-04 23:38 CET
Sigh, and that is when the cookie crumbles...
by Buffalo_Wing on 2010-01-04 23:42 CET
For some of us, the negative implications of your "rise to power" are summed up by your decision to use it to push this lengthy personal rant to front-page article status.
by darkgoyfidnt on 2010-01-05 03:56 CET
Completely pointless. It served no real purpose other than for you to spotlight yourself. This is M-L, not People Magazine.
by Craze on 2010-01-05 05:10 CET
by Esibnitsud on 2010-01-03 22:03 EST
by boeda on 2010-01-05 11:46 CET
I felt a little bit of Obama in that speech!
by Chefy on 2010-01-05 15:07 CET
This article is bullshit and shouldn't be on the front page.
by OldBear on 2010-01-05 18:34 CET
I hope you do a good job, the article clearly tried to debunk a couple of myths and secondly tried to teach people how to constructivly criticise something. Something most of magic-league can not do, its a very useful life skill.
by RiQuSP on 2010-01-05 21:08 CET
I bet sarcasticrat is writing an article as we speak ))
by Drayen on 2010-01-06 10:53 CET
by DeBenito on 2010-01-06 16:49 CET
One of the few things Ive noticed on this league is that there are problems, but the amount of people bitching about the problems are more prevalent than the problems themselves. If people had such a problem with this league they would stop playing on it. They don't though, they just keep coming back citing idiotic reasons for not leaving and never returning. I think anyone who has the balls to basically pour their heart out and speak about their views in an educated calm manner deserves more respect than not. I am sure you have your own views on what to do with the league and i am sure u believe that they will improve the league as a whole and for that i imagine you leave yourself open to attacks from the lowest echelon(trolls). "Stay golden pony boy" lol XD props to weedmonkey forever.
by Avata on 2010-01-06 21:38 CET
Aww, I had a long and thought out post here, but it got lost.
by Manipul8r on 2010-01-07 18:42 CET
You deal with problems in the league quickly and clearly, according to the rules, and with a good attitude. People who screw up get mad, and random scrubs eat up the yellow journalism.
by Zeph on 2010-01-07 19:53 CET
Nice article Weed. I know the league has problems and always try to express my disconformism in a polite way. Now, I do it from an structural view and nothing else as I am not logged here often. That may sound as a disadvantage -well, maybe it is- but gives me some advantages too: I can be a lot more obbjective than most of the people here because of that.
by schlock on 2010-01-08 01:53 CET
congrats on the article monkey, sits in lap and licks face, the part about criticism and slander is heavily needed, and yeah thanx for yeer werk
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