Program Coordinator Travel Diary – Issue #5

Dear judges, welcome to the fifth chapter of our “Travel Diary”. You can find the links to the previous chapters at the end of this page. Today, we will continue reading about the projects overseen or directly managed by the Program Coordinator dedicated to the area of Maintenance and Quality

Today we have three connected projects, that are dedicated to Level 3, the highest level of certification of Magic judges.

PROJECTS: Level 3 Maintenance, Evaluation, and Demotion
Have you ever heard that being a Magic Judge is not an achievement, a medal, a badge, a certificate to display? Instead, it’s a role in the world of Magic that each judge has. The Magic judge certification, at any level, is something that projects the future, not something that is based on the past. Yes, without a doubt, passing a test and obtaining a certification is the result of past effort and hard work, but the judge test is not the final step; on the contrary, it’s the first step.

“I demonstrated I could do it, goodbye” is not the approach of Magic judges; if you really only want to demonstrate your rules knowledge with a test, there are tests available online. Getting the certification and stopping working on yourself sounds like getting into a sports team and not training anymore because you “made it”. It sounds like graduating university and not utilizing those skills.

I think the message is clear. We can agree that Magic Judges are active (somehow, somewhere) and also that they are skilled, and keep their knowledge updated. Nobody is expected to give up sleep, be active all day, and be perfect. However, everyone is expected to have a baseline level of activity, and have a baseline of skills. The question remains — “how can this activity and these skills be measured?”

The term maintenance means that there are measurable parameters that describe both activity and skills. Some examples are:

  • Number of events as Head Judge in the past 12 months.
  • Score on the renewal/update exams.
  • Judge articles written.
  • Judge conference seminars presented.

These parameters are objective criteria, they are measurable numbers. It is easy to see (at a glance) if a judge has met these criteria or not.

Evaluation is a term that shows that some parameters are harder to measure, like contribution to the local community, or the global judge program. Some examples:

  • Players in the judge’s city trust her.
  • Two tournament organizers don’t want to work with them anymore.
  • His online presence is an example for all the judges in his region.
  • They regularly receive Exemplar nominations.

These parameters are subjective; they are based on personal opinions (good and bad) regarding the quality of judges.

In this context, demotion is issuing (or accepting) a decrease in judge level, to represent the appropriate level in the program.

Judges and judge candidates take tests to get their certifications and their levels, so they accept the evaluation of their evaluator, head judge, or panel. This should work the opposite way as well — if a judge is evaluated by a panel of peers to be underperforming — if their activity and skills have decreased to a level where the judge would no longer be able to pass a test for their actual level — then a demotion can be issued.

These activity assessments, quality evaluations, and sometimes demotions, happen at each of the judge levels. Level 1 and Level 2 are regional levels, and the Regional Coordinator (RC) is the person in charge of taking care of evaluating those judges, normally with annual regional judge maintenance.

Level 3, however, is an international judge level, and the responsibility of ensuring each Level 3 judge has the appropriate activity and skills belongs to the Program Coordinators (PCs). The PCs delegate the specific operations to a team of “senior Level 3 judges, with diversity in geography, experience, and role” in order to have the evaluation on the broadest range of aspects as possible.

Information about Level 1 and Level 2 maintenance procedures are available on the Official Resources blog. Further information, if required, can be provided by your Regional Coordinator.

If you want to have information about Level 3 procedures, the people to contact (list updated in 2018) are:

L3 advancement and qualities: Matteo Callegari

L3 maintenance: CJ Crooks

L3 evaluation: John Brian McCarthy

L3 demotion: Sergio Perez

Level 3 is the highest level of certification for Magic judges, and those who achieve it are expected to demonstrate both subjective (skills) and objective (activity and behavior) characteristics as examples to follow for all the other judges. A higher level of certification corresponds to a higher responsibility, which is associated to higher standards that have to be maintained. Any Level 3 judge who is, for any reason, struggling to maintain the appropriate level of activity or the appropriate skills is helped by their peers to regain them.

Each case is evaluated individually, each situation may have different and personalized solutions, and extreme cases are handled with common sense (“I had a baby and I couldn’t judge any tournament or stay updated” is a very valid reason for even a total absence of more than a year, and is not necessarily a reason for the removal of the level 3 certification!).

… and here ends our fifth reading of the travel diary.

We peeked at the next pages, and it seems like our next article will be about the qualities that are considered more important for judges.

Previous chapters of the Travel Diary:

Chapter 1 – Pirates!

Chapter 2 – Santa Claus!

Chapter 3 – Star Wars!

Chapter 4 – Two types of judges!