Exemplar Nomination Criteria Highlight: Representation

Written by Bryan Prillaman
Level 3, United States, Florida

Hello all,

Welcome to what will be the first in a 4 part Mega-Cycle where we look at each of the four categories the Exemplar Team uses to evaluate nominations. The goal of this series is spend some time highlighting each criteria separately and help people understand how we evaluate your nominations, so your nominations can be the best they possibly can be. This is doubly important as we are physically printing nominations and the timeline does not allow for even minor edits.

The four Criteria we use for evaluation are:

  • Specificity
  • Relevance
  • Praiseworthiness
  • Representation

Today, we are going to start at the bottom of the list, with ‘Representation’, because, out of the four criteria, Representation, is very different than the others. Whereas the other criteria (Specificity, Relevance, Praiseworthiness) are looking for something, Representation is looking for the absence of certain things. It originally wasn’t even a category, but rather grew organically over time.

By representation, we mean: Does the nomination represent and reflect positively on the author, the recipient, other individuals, or the Judge Program as a whole. Exemplar is about recognizing and celebrating the good and the positive, and we want nominations that enforce that positive recognition.

As such, we do not accept nominations that fall into the following categories:

  • Excessive copy/paste of nominations within the wave or across waves
  • Excessive in-jokes
  • Profanity or slurs
  • Insults or divisive topics

Excessive copy/paste of nominations

This category is the one we deal with the most and is probably the most contentious. Nominations that are copy/paste nominations from previous waves, or to different judges within the same wave are deferred. We don’t pick one to keep and defer the rest.

In the early Waves, we saw a lot of copy/paste nominations. There were many instances where a Judge would write a single nomination and then copy it up to six times, or try and use the same nomination text across multiple waves.

We want nominations to be personal and meaningful. When you get a nomination that shares the same text with others, (or is for the exact same thing as last time) its both less personal and less meaningful. It means the author didn’t take the time to recognize you as an individual, and instead just made a common recognition for several people.
Now it is possible that two judges collaborate on an activity and you want to recognize both of them. In that case, please focus on their individual and unique contributions.

Excessive in-jokes

These types of nominations are very rare, but happened enough in the early days of Exemplar to merit inclusion in this category. When writing nominations to someone you know, its fine to include a bit of humor to make them smile. However, there is a point where excessive in-jokes makes the nomination about the jokes and not about the positive actions of your fellow judges. It also makes it harder for other judges to read the nomination and pull from it what the praiseworthy actions are.

Profanity and slurs

While in my personal life, I tend to use profanity liberally and creatively, it doesn’t have any place in a public setting. This is doubly important now that we are printing nomination text on tokens.  If it uses language stronger than a PG-rated movie, it doesn’t belong in Exemplar.

There hasn’t yet been an ‘intentional’ slur, but we are dealing with a global program, and not everyone speaks the same language or assigns the same meaning to words. This has led to a few unfortunate word choices in nominations.

Insults or divisive topics

Exemplar focuses on the good in the program. In the past we have received nominations that contain things like “Jimmy did a great job taking over the PPTQ when it became clear that the Head Judge was incompetent.” In this case, the insult towards the Head Judge pulls focus away from the positive things the recipient did. We do not allow a nomination’s author to sneak their displeasure at one person into the praise for another. I feel this particular reminder is important for this specific wave.

‘Divisive topics’ is a bit harder to explain. So far, the two predominate ones that have come up are the “Southeast Judge Suspensions”, and the “Judge/WoTC Lawsuit”, but there could always be others. At the time of both of these events, there were a lot of Judges on the ‘for’ and ‘against’ sides, and they were extremely controversial.  These are topics that can enrage and divide us as Judges. Exemplar isn’t the place for controversy; that’s why we have Twitter and Facebook. While these type of nominations aren’t rejected outright, we take a closer look at them, and hold them to a higher standard in the other categories to make sure that the nomination is irreproachably for positive actions of the judges.


I hope this explains one of the categories.  Problems with ‘Representation’ are often the easiest to get corrections for, however, we have been moving away from asking for edits of nominations.  Now that we are adding nominations printed on tokens, it virtually eliminates our ability to edit anything.

Alright, that’s all for this wave.  Join us next time as I discuss how we determine if a nomination is ‘Praiseworthy’

As a reminder, Wave 12 is currently open and ends Feb 12th at 23:59 PST

Till next time.