Judge Center is up again, after five months being down. I feel like I can actually hear everyone saying ‘Finally!’. I want to do a couple of things today. First, I want to address some shortcomings and secondly, talk about the new platform and current features.
Judge Center has been a multi-department project here at Wizards, from my knowledge of the Judge program to the technology department’s knowledge of our servers and the OP department’s knowledge of Oracle text.
When we took Judge Center down in March, it was due to the retiring of our old systems. There was no avoiding it, and so a few months prior to shutdown of our old servers, we started on the project to replace Judge Center, which as you all know has long been in need of an update.
Recommendations from team members lead us to Moodle as the platform. It’s flexible because it’s open source, so it’s completely customizable. The Judge Program will be able to add all sorts of awesome content to assist in becoming a judge in addition to the exams that are there. Total flexibility means that making something that works the way you want is completely possible, but can also be time consuming.
When I made the initial estimate of a couple of weeks of downtime, that estimate was based on when the technology team said they would be able to put it back up, and the OP Digital Project Manager’s estimate of when they would be able to do the customization. It was a very ambitious estimate, and was based on absolutely nothing going wrong.
And then it did! Of course!
The reasons that things went wrong are unimportant. What is important is that I did not, at that point, immediately let the entire community know. I told the Judge Leadership, and while I think it was important to keep them updated, I failed at the transparency we value as a community. Though it is not always possible to be completely transparent, there was no reason to not be transparent then. I have learned a lot from this project about places I need to grow as your community manager.
Thank you for your words of encouragement, your words of frustration, and thank you most of all for letting me know how you felt about what was happening. It’s important that I hear from you so that I can do better moving forward. Though I’m not a Judge anymore, the feedback provided during this time has been immensely important to my development.
In the spirit of transparency, let’s discuss where Judge Center is today. Right now, there are no non-English tests. All of the content that exists is being re-localized, and I hope to have that content soon. Once I have a better estimate on the length of this project, I will keep an update on judge.wizards.com in the announcement sections of each course, so you can see estimated content updates when you log in.
You’ll also notice that the practice exam course is currently hidden. Our fearless Judge Center content editor Brian Schenck decided that with the timing of this release, we wanted to make sure that practice content is totally up to date. With Ixalan about to launch, we want to sync the return of Easy/Hard/Policy practice exams with that release.
As a final note, you may notice that you don’t see Judge Center up at the same time as others. With all deployments like these, the change takes a while to propagate. I apologize for the inconvenience.
That’s it! Here is a quick FAQ to get you started with Judge Center. On each course, you will notice there is a feedback button. Please make good use of it! Let us know what you think should be different or if you find something that isn’t working correctly, whether it be a feature or a question in an exam.
Thank you everyone. You all are a huge part of what makes Magic the best community in gaming.