Written by Weedmonkey on September 05, 2010
State of the League Address
This time last year, the shoes of Coverage Director were filled by our goat-loving administrator and former Man Upstairs ™ Gerrardfo. His regular grab-bag articles were both enjoyable to read and contained a lot of useful information. While I don’t intend to try and reproduce those articles exactly (both because I write differently to Gfo and because he is far more awesome than me), I will do my best to try and provide some insight into how Magic-League is operating. Will this become a periodical article? Perhaps. We’ll see how the reception is.
The Judge Test
The change that will most likely be felt by most players is the lowering of the passing grade on the judge test from 8/10 to 7/10.
Okay, now you’ve picked your jaws back off the ground I’ll provide my point of view on as to why this has been made. Earlier in the year the judge department had a significant culling made. All inactive judges within the ranks were dejudged. This naturally carried with it a slight decline in the number of tournaments run, as there were judges dejudged who would run the occasional tournament but were otherwise inactive. Additionally, there have been new judges who haven’t been infected with the “New Judge Virus”, where they run an absurdly large amount of tournaments in the first couple of months after becoming a judge before dropping off to normal levels. In the past this was a significant factor that contributed towards the number of tournaments run. Additionally, summer in the northern hemisphere carries with it a natural decrease in activity due to players actually getting off their computers and doing other things.
Having seen the decrease in the activity and the subsequent issues that come with it (such as the delayed start time for trial tournaments), it has been determined that the passing grade be reduced to 7. For me, I see personally a number of benefits from this:
• More judges in the judge ranks. This has a lovely flow on effect characterized by the following formula:
More judges = More tournaments = More rulings = More activity = Better experience for the Magic-League community
• Better cohesion amongst judges. One issue that I’ve seen since I first became a judge is that there are some judges that have little to do with the judge collective beyond running tournaments and handling rulings. For me, I feel that judges as a whole grow and improve when they’re regularly interacting with other judges.
• Better communication between judges and the wider Magic-League community. One concern I have had for a while is that regular players feel a certain…distance between judges and the wider community. With the passing grade being reduced I hope that it encourages both players and judges to interact more with each other, as players can feel that it isn’t so difficult to become a judge.
So, what does this mean for present judges?
For the current judges, it means that there will need to be greater consideration given during training to make sure judges are still reaching the standards that the Magic-League community wants from its judges. There is no use in reducing the passing grade if there is a reduction in judge quality that comes along with it. Therefore, the challenge for present judges is to improve the quality of training to make sure that there is no reduction in the quality of judges.
For those who are looking to take the judge test, my recommendation would be to first read the judge test preparation articles ( http://www.magic-league.com/article/549/preparing_for_the_judge_test_part_2.html ) and find out what plan works best for you. There are a lot of resources out there to help people wishing to become a judge both here and with the DCI. There is no reason a person should not pass with the appropriate study and attitude.
The final thing I have to say is this: You don’t have to worry about a Humility + Opalescence + Chains of Mephistopheles + Plagiarize + Reprocess question being added to the judge test. It’s not one that anyone other than me likes :(
The Site, Host and Sealed
As people are well aware, these three issues are ones that have been on the agenda for a while.
The first thing I want to say is this: The admins are well aware that this is an elephant in the room. Personally I would liked to have seen these issues resolved by now, but ultimately this is a volunteer effort and we all can only do what we are capable of doing.
Regarding the site’s continual crashes, for those who haven’t been here for as long the issue is related to the number of database connections being unreasonably limited by our host. It has caused many frustrations for the league as a whole where the site has gone down, and it is one that has gone on far longer than anyone has wanted. However, Koen and nico as co-owners are the only two people who are capable of reaching a decision on deciding on a new host and moving the site. Until they arrive at a decision at moving to a new host that they are comfortable with, we will do the best with what we have.
Regarding sealed, we are well aware that this has been out of action for a long time now. I made a thread (http://www.magic-league.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=14384) regarding the creation of a provisional sealed generator until we can get a more permanent solution online, and the more input I get from that the better the quality for everyone.
The final thing I want to say on this is that every single element of the community shares the same frustrations. However, this league’s strengths are directly tied to those of the community. If you see something and want to do something about it, we’ll point you in the right direction.
View from the Top
I want to share some insights I’ve had into the league as a whole since becoming an administrator to help people understand what goes on behind the scenes and as to why there are stances on certain issues that people disagree with.
I’ve now been an administrator for nine months. In that time I’ve taken some steps forward, and I’ve taken some steps back. There have been times where I have done things that have made people happy, and others where I’ve frustrated people. I’ve made my share of mistakes, but overall I feel that I’ve settled into the role that I’ve been given.
The most important thing that I feel I’ve learned is the importance of explaining the reasoning behind decisions to community members. There are a number of decisions that are taken that the community may not understand, whether it be bans, rulings in the judge channel or why certain elements of the league are the way they are. If people understand why we accept or reject certain things, then it contributes to the openness of the community and improves the quality of interaction in its entirety.
The biggest mistake I feel I’ve made up to this point is not taking the time to settle into things before making a move. As an administrator, there were times where I was too proactive in trying to get things done and I had forgotten that this was a voluntary effort. The other side of the coin though is that there were times where I hadn’t taken the appropriate time to pass things by other people (and not just other administrators) and because of that have missed things that have needed fixing.
I am only human. It’s only recently that I’ve considered myself as a level 3 judge rather than a level 2 who showed the capability to fulfil a role that was needed. While I have made both positive and negative impacts on the league, I always do my best to learn from my mistakes and to help make the league the best it can be. And that I feel, is one of the most important qualities that administrators have.
There have been some people who have noticed that in the past couple of months the state of coverage has effectively stagnated. With the people I had working with me stepping down due to real-life issues and my own issues that I’ve needed to take time to address, there has been a definite decline in the activity level.
What I have learned since taking the coverage helm is that coverage is something that requires a significant investment in time and energy. It isn’t something that can be run by one person, nor is it something that you can expect consistent energy from. What I feel having been in this position for nine months now is that the ‘traditional’ coverage elements of tournament coverage and articles is something that requires a paradigm shift in order to create effective and good-quality coverage.
To this end, there is a major project that I will be undertaking over the next year or so. I’m not going to divulge the details yet, but to me there are significant possibilities with further development of this project that can be explored once the initial creation is live.
Other than that, I will continue to edit and publish articles that are submitted to me. As for tournament coverage, I will have to think on what is the best plan to continue running tournament coverage for people that want to. Over the past nine months contributions to tournament coverage have been largely made by people on an availability basis. For coverage to continue I’m going to have to figure out a structure for coverage that allows people to contribute in a way different to how it’s currently done.
That’s All She Wrote
Where to from here? Well, I’ll continue to make any efforts to improve the league that I can, and hopefully inspire others to help the community move forward also. And with that, I’ll leave you with five pieces of wisdom:
- Respect is a two-way street. Understand that and a community flourishes.
- People like coverage. Look out for what I do for GP Sydney.
- Magic-League is better than Grands Prix and National Championships.
- If Magic-League and Hasbro worked together we could take over the world.
- The way to an administrator’s heart is through their stomach.
Back to Magic: the Gathering Articles
by Djinn on 2010-09-05 01:37 CET
Great article. I wonder why didn't you include some criticism on l2 new promotions, but still it's good to hear from staff members coming down to earth and sharing their feelings and inner thoughts
by GoneBananas on 2010-09-05 02:46 CET
a problem i see is for a lot of people is there is no incentive to write coverage. maybe give some type of reward or something, i tried to revive it for abit but gave up without any help =/
by P_P4E on 2010-09-05 06:08 CET
I'd be glad to write coverage if I get to do my own thing. I'm not the type of person to be mindlessly edited.
Also, 80% of the questions and additions proposed by people are met with TERRIBLE reasoning. How often can I dismiss a terrible reasoning and get told that it doesn't matter? 90% of the judges in this league simply DO NOT CARE about anything but what they're doing. I'm certainly not exaggerating the percentage on that either.
I get it... Some things simply are not possible. That's the only explanation I really need. But to tell me it "won't work because..." is simply an idiotic power trip.
If an 8 person sealed que breaks the site... I can't imagine how trials and the like are run. I don't really understand that side of things, but I really can't fathom an 8-man sealed crashing the site when a 75 player constructed tournament does not.
Why can't there be some sort of system for minibegging? When I was a judge appox. 6 years ago or however long ago it was, I always just had a bit of free time... asked people what they wanted... AND GAVE IT TO THEM. Either the judges aren't told to do that, don't think of it, or DO WHAT THEY WANT FOR THEMSELVES.
I think the only spontaneous minis should be formats that will fill quickly. I hate seeing RFT's filling up for over an hour. It discourages other people from making tournaments, if only slightly.
by Weedmonkey on 2010-09-05 06:26 CET
On the sealed queues, it's because it takes an absurdly large number of database queries to generate each sealed deck. This is due to the godawful coding.
On the minibegging system, I'd be happy to code something simple if i had my laptop.
by Ffancrzy on 2010-09-05 09:51 CET
I feel bad for not being more active lately. I think I've just been a bit burnt out of Magic lately since I literally played non-stop all summer, both IRL and here. I had aspirations for a lot of different projects between writing articles, doing coverage, and continuing to add things to the MagicLeagueTutorials Youtube page. I still want to do these things but I just have to wait for me to not be so burnt out, and not have a ton of stuff, both school/work related, and other personal recreational projects I have, in "real life" as it were.
As for sealed, I tried (past tense since I've been inactive for a bit) to run as many draft minis as I could stand. I do hope it is/was appreciated because draft mini's take the most time and patience of any type of mini, but I know players (including myself) love limited so its important for the league to have.
I can tell you now, that unless another judge plays in an RFT, it won't stop them from making their own minis and doesn't take away much of anything unless its late at night in the Americas(where a good number of judges are from, Europe, Asia and friends can only do so much :P
by daedalus96 on 2010-09-05 13:41 CET
...due to players actually getting off their computers and doing other things.
by Chefy on 2010-09-05 15:39 CET
I only make Minis that I want to play in for simple fact that once I start a mini I am committing to a 3 hour endeavor (possibly 4 due to rulings). I don't also mind running the occasional event for the sake of others, but if I run multiple events it can be difficult. I have to keep track of timers and extensions, deal with rulings, and play at the same time. That said, I passed the test so I can make a mini when I want to not because I thought it would make the world a better place.
by Sebas_ on 2010-09-05 18:08 CET
we need more judges, the rumor about a DCI Pro tour qualifier its confirmed
by magicrichi on 2010-09-06 00:59 CET
by EmoNinjaSuck on 2010-09-05 16:39 GMT "i think myself"
because these behauviours ml is going down
by derflippi on 2010-09-06 10:21 CET
then why aren't you a judge yet, magicrichi ?.. emoninjasuck makes m-l work. you dont.
by darkwizard42 on 2010-09-06 15:03 CET
Sorry guys, I am entering Junior Year of college and at this point Magic is slowly slipping off the table of important things to be really awesome at, and investment banking and econometrics are kind of taking over my life...
Can't promise minispamming like in the past, but I'm sure my trainee EmoninjaSuck/Chefy will do a great job!
by Kurtgrunge on 2010-09-06 19:04 CET
I have a suggestion to solve the coverage difficulties,well it may be stupid but instead of getting coverages from logs,isn't there any program that FILMS what happen on the monitor of the player?If the answer is yes and it's an easy program to run before master t8 a judge could friendly ask players to use it in order to make the coverage easier for writers.(Sorry for the bad english :D )
by Weedmonkey on 2010-09-06 22:08 CET
Kurtgrunge: Thanks for the suggestion :)
We've tested that in the past. The problem is that due to the shocking coding of certain play applications the quality is far too poor to broadcast.
I'm working on an alternative :)
by TacoMaster on 2010-09-06 22:53 CET
I could do coverage, as I started it anyway. :P
by Nantuko on 2010-09-07 02:35 CET
Weedmonkey is a dick-toucher. That is all.
by Mizukage on 2010-09-07 03:12 CET
I think this is the proper forum to voice out my appreciation for all the people responsible for making m-l such a happy place because I can imagine the amount of effort and occasional headache it gives.
And as to my fellow m-lers, we are not in any position to demand let alone harass these hardworking people into giving us what we want,
All we can do is request or marginally coerce them to give in to our commands.
Long live the queen!
by TacoMaster on 2010-09-07 06:29 CET
Stop kissing ass.
by RiQuSP on 2010-09-07 12:25 CET
Weedmonkey lieks men!
by Lynolf on 2010-09-08 12:00 CET
You're just jealous because he doesn't like you.
by RiQuSP on 2010-09-08 15:42 CET
Oh he does, too bad that (unlike you) I don't love the cock (
by Chefy on 2010-09-09 09:31 CET
Richi, I became a judge because I wanted to run my events instead of waiting for hours hoping one that I enjoyed would show up. I was explicit that this was my desire when I applied. I assume the authority of M-L finds that practice fine.