How To (Not) Write Reviews

The shadows deepen over Innistrad. Cathars cower as Avacyn and her flight of angels inflict their madness upon the world. But, not all is lost! Your friendly neighborhood Bearz is totally unaffected by this madness! Here is your weekly Bearz Repeating, which is just chock full of completely sane, 100% useful advice!

Your primary impetus for writing reviews should be when you see another judge make a mistake. Attempting to coordinate a review with a specific person ahead of time is a fool’s game. The true reviewer strikes when the iron is hot. Similarly foolish is making an effort to observe a particular subject over multiple interactions; a single observation is always enough to understand the full measure of a judge.

Don’t take any notes on things your subject is doing well.

Make sure to leave your notebook at home. It’s much better to take notes with your cell phone, as uploading your notes to “the cloud” ensures you do not lose them. When players and your fellow judges see you tapping on your phone, they will surely know that you are diligently taking notes, not just checking Facebook.

When the event is over, leave. There’s no need to give your subject your feedback in person. Instead, take a few weeks to reflect on your observations. Only after the event has largely faded from your subject’s mind (and yours) will you be ready to actually begin writing your review.

As you write your review, it’s perfectly okay to ignore the “Strengths” section of the review form and put everything under “Areas for Improvement.” As everyone knows, Judge Center’s interface is arbitrary and outdated. Don’t shackle yourself to the yoke of tradition!

Don’t discuss your review-in-progress with anybody. The sanctity of your individual observations is paramount to the review process; discussing them with others will only taint your unique and valuable perspective. Asking another judge to be your “accountabilibuddy” and make sure you finish the review is especially silly. That’s not even a real word!

When your review is ready, just hit submit! Don’t contact your subject ahead of time to let them know about the review. You obviously understood the full context of all your observations, so there’s no need to clarify anything. In fact, it’s ideal if your subject is totally blindsided by the review. That way, their reaction will be as authentic as possible.

Finally, with all the hard work finished, it’s time for your well-deserved reward: a self-congratulatory post on social media. After all, reviews aren’t really about your subject. They’re about you, so you need to make sure everyone knows how awesome your feedback is. This will also help you get accepted for that next big event, as judge managers are sure to be impressed by your prowess at delivering effective feedback.

If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master reviewer!