Judging 101

Written by Weedmonkey on November 10, 2009

Judging 101

Another 90 days has come and gone and the judge test reset is imminent. Soon judges are going to have their trays flooded with the judge tests of hundreds of eager applicants, all hoping that they get the magical email that says they passed the judge test.

This article has two aims: The first is to enlighten prospective judges as to the first steps they will take as judges so they have a better understanding of the journey they will take. The second is to give the general public a window into the workings of the judge department so that they better understand where judges are coming from.

The Judges

Like with the DCI, Magic-League has five judge levels:

Level 1 Judges are voiced (+) in league channels and half-opped (%) in #judges4you. Level 1 judges have a responsibility for running tournaments as well as answering questions in #judges4you.

Level 2 Judges are opped (@) in all league channels and #judges4you. In addition to the responsibilities of level 1 judges, Level 2s also handle appeals, handle single match protests, assist level 1 judges in rulings and fix tournament-related issues.

Level 3 (and above) Judges have admin (&) in all league channels and #judges4you. In addition to the responsibilities of lower level judges, judge admins oversee the judge team, develop and refine current Magic-League policies and maintain the site.

Level 4 Judges are judges that have proven themselves in their dedication to Magic-League and it's development as a league and community.

There is one level 5 Judge on Magic-League - the Judge Director. Our current Judge Director is CMA-Flippi. The Judge Director's roles include reviewing and approving changes to both policies and the judge test, approving judges who have passed the judge test, and coordinating the training of newly approved judges.

The Judge Test

The first step for any prospective judge is the judge test. Every reset Laplie or another admin provides the same announcement that the judge test has been reset, along with some pointers for taking the test.

Every reset, we recieve questions from players asking what to study for in the judge test. The answer: everything. We constantly revise and refine the judge test as both the rules and judges' knowledge and understandings change. Also, if it isn't covered in the judge test it will be covered during training.

The judge test usually takes up to 72 hours to grade, depending on the availability of judges to grade the tests. Contrary to the belief of many players, there are few judges with the ability to grade judge tests. If there is an issue with the submission of your judge test, an admin will contact you via PM so that it can be resolved.

If you receive a passing grade for your judge test (8/10 or higher), then you can sit back and wait for the second email. The second email will tell you whether or not you have been approved by the judge director. If you have, then we move on to the next step - training.

Judge Training

Your first couple of weeks spent as a judge are in training, alongside a mentor. The purpose of training is to hone your ability to apply knowledge in a real-world context. Training is also used to gauge your suitability as a judge. Your mentor is there to guide you - your mentor is there to answer any questions you have, make pointers for improving your rulings and make sure you are on track to completing your training successfully.

Training can vary in length depending on the trainee's progress, from a couple of weeks to a month (and possibly longer). Once your mentor is satisfied that you can stand alone as a judge without requiring support, your training will be considered complete and you will be welcomed in as a full level 1 judge.

The Mentor's Perspective

I have trained many of this year's new judges. As a mentor, I don't have any indicator of my success as one - I can only do the best I can in making sure trainees develop the skills they need as insightful judges. As a mentor, I aim to:

- Make trainees think about rulings they have just made by asking them questions about why they ruled it that way
- Provide trainees with their 'next steps' to further both their training and their overall development as a judge.
- Provide progress reports to the judge director concerning the progress of my trainees

As for completing their training, I'm happy to pass trainees when they:

- Demonstrate proficiency in both running tournaments and making rulings (and yes, I have nudged trainees to run more tournaments if I haven't seen them run enough)
- Demonstrated behaviour appropriate as a role-model for the Magic-League community (I have failed trainees because their behaviour has been inappropriate for a judge before)
- Shown sufficient insight that they can grow as a judge independently.

And...that's it! I hope this article's provided some help for any prospective judges looking to become a judge. Keep an eye out for the reset too :)


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by Truth- on 2009-11-10 19:30 CET

I <3 U Roo

by derflippi on 2009-11-10 19:51 CET

Nice article. It explains that being a magic-league judge is more than just clicking a few clicks to create a tournament.

by Super_Prep on 2009-11-11 05:07 CET


by Steveman on 2009-11-11 06:10 CET

Am I stilled banned for life?

by Glull on 2009-11-12 15:46 CET

<@CMA-Flippi> your official mentor is Gerradfo
<&Gerrardfo> Follow judge guidelines on site -.-
<@Pekken> now that's some quality mentoring

i just cant not post this :p

by Lynolf on 2009-11-12 21:39 CET

Gerrardfo is getting too old to deal with new judges. XD

by Mr_DoomZ on 2009-11-12 22:47 CET

Great article roo!

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