What is it all about?
Here’s a description straight from the The Level Three Advancement Process:
Regional Judges can describe the roles of Level 1, 2, and 3 judges and the qualities that make good judges at those levels. They have expectations for judges at each level that are consistent with the philosophies of the Judge Program. They are aware of and understand recent developments and changes within the program. A deficient judge has expectations and views of the Judge Program’s structure that are incorrect or inconsistent with the program’s philosophies. The judge may have expectations for other judges that are significantly out of step for one or more of the judge levels. The judge may be unaware of or misapplying recent developments in the Judge Program. An exemplary judge is one who, in addition to understanding the structure and philosophy of the Judge Program, is also able to offer constructive opinions on how to improve the program going forward. His or her views reflect an understanding of the current needs of the program and areas where deficiencies or areas for improvement may be worth exploring.
Let’s break this down into individual points:
1. Can describe the roles of Level 1, 2, and 3 judges
The first item is probably the easiest one. Studying the Judge Level Requirements should give you a very good idea what is expected from the different levels and what roles they play within the global judge program. Knowing the organized play program helps to understand the roles the different levels play there.
2. Can describe the qualities of good Level 1, 2, and 3 judges
Understanding the qualities of good level 1, 2, and 3s is probably the most difficult thing to master, but as soon as you understand the roles it gets much easier. What are these “qualities” that are required here? The ones that are listed in the guidelines for writing reviews in the judge centre (completes assigned tasks, DCI policy & penalty guide, diplomacy with players, educates fellow judges, explains rulings clearly, game rules knowledge, hard working, leadership, professional appearance, professionalism, reliability & punctuality, shows initiative, and teamwork) are a starting point. Additionally, the qualities that are listed as necessary for Level 3 judges can be useful, as some of them are already necessary for Level 1 judges (for example “Rules and Policy Knowledge”). A key in understanding the differences between the levels is to find out the qualities that are important for each level, and the ones that need to be acquired before being able to advance to the next level. For example “leadership” is not necessary for a good level 2, but a necessity for a level 3. So a level 3 candidate needs to acquire that skill.
3. Expectations for each level that are consistent with the philosophies
Managing the expectations for each level gets easier when you compare beginning judges at a level (or candidates for this level) only to the published judge level requirements. As soon as you start to compare them to the very best judges at that level, things start to get complicated. This can happen inadvertently when you are in a very developed area where everyone is above average compared to the minimum requirements. It is important to compare candidates for a certain level to the published requirements for that level, not to the other (probably already advanced) judges of that level in your region.
4. Awareness and understanding of recent developments and changes within the program
The judge program undergoes changes from time to time. Some major changes during the last couple of years were the redefinition of Regular REL, and the corresponding changes to the requirements for starting Level 1 judges. This also impacted the Level 2 and even the Level 3 definition. A more recent example is the change in the types of tournaments for which various judge levels are eligible.
How to be a deficient candidate
So far we have analyzed the individual points of this quality and what to do to become proficient. In the following section we take a look at what not to do, aka “how to be a deficient candidate.”
1. Have expectations and views of the structure that are incorrect or inconsistent with the philosophies
Having the wrong expectations of the structure is an easy trap to fall into. The most common wrong assumption is that you “level up” automatically. This is definitely not the case – each level is a different job and requires additional skills that need to be acquired and practiced before advancement. Quite often special roles like Regional Coordinator, Rules Advisor, and Judge Manager at an event are sometimes seen as part of the level structure. This is also not the case. For example, while the Judge Manager role at a Grand Prix is often an L4 role in Europe, it is frequently an L2 role in the United States. It is important for L3 judges to understand the jobs that are linked to a particular level, and those that are not.
2. Have expectations for judges that are significantly out of step for one or more of the judge levels
Wrong expectations for the individual levels are also quite common—especially in well developed areas of the world where judges have lots of opportunities to hone their skills and are more experienced than judges of the same level from other areas of the world. Also, within the levels the range of experience and skills varies wildly. But the minimum requirements are the same everywhere. To avoid “level creep” it is important to evaluate the candidate based on the official minimum requirements.
3. Be unaware of or misapply recent developments in the judge program
Not following the news in real life doesn’t have many consequences. Not following the news in the judge program can put a judge in a bad spot when s/he tries to apply old knowledge or—even worse—passes on old knowledge. Regional judges are expected to keep up-to-date on the judge program and its structure so that they can explain that structure to less-experienced judges.
I Want to Be Exceptional
Finally, here’s a list of things to do to become an exceptional candidate.
- Understand the structure and philosophy of the judge program.
- Be able to offer constructive opinions on how to improve the program.
- Understand the current needs of the program.
- Understand areas where deficiencies or areas for improvement may be worth exploring.
That’s the master class. Not only do you know what it takes to become strong in this area, you also see things that could be improved. You are able to analyze the current situation, you have ideas for improvements, you understand the consequences of potential changes and you can communicate everything in a constructive way. What could be such a topic? For example, the question of whether another judge level should be introduced, how it should be defined and what consequences such a new level would have. Easy! 😉
To sum it up
This quality is about understanding what defines the different levels, how to progress from one to the next, and what roles they each play within the community.