Exemplar Wave 3 Published. And Wave 2 and Wave 4 updates!

Written by Bryan Prillaman
Level 3, United States, Florida

Thanks for joining us for the latest update for the Exemplar Program. In this update we will:

  • Release the Wave 3 Nominations and begin collecting addresses.
  • Provide an update to Wave 2.
  • Announce updates to Wave 4.

Exemplar Wave 3 Nominations published!

Several years ago, I was Judge Manager for a PTO, and was responsible for the staffing of GPs among many other tasks.  The part of the job I enjoyed the most was publishing the acceptances. Seeing people get excited, watching people start to make plans on Facebook to get together with friends they hadn’t seen for a while carried with it an energy that really motivated me. So it’s not any surprise I’ve been looking forward to today. For me and the Exemplar team, today is the payoff; it’s the reason we do this. The public recognitions, the heartfelt thanks, and shared stories make all the effort worthwhile. We want to highlight the best the program has to offer, and there are a lot of exceptional things judges are doing.

Image Credit to Ron Thompson

Right now, all the nominations can be viewed through JudgeApps; in the menu bar on the left of the screen, the Exemplar submenu includes ‘My Recognitions’ (which should show the ones you have written and received) as well as the option ‘All Recognitions’. This takes you to a page containing a number of convenient filtering options to allow you to browse the recognitions in any way you choose. I encourage you to take a look, both to see the great things judges are doing in their communities and to see the kinds of behaviors judges value and want to highlight as exemplary.

The next steps are pretty straight forward. We have already packaged up the recognitions in an excel file, put a figurative bow on it, and sent it to Wizards. So in the next day or two, an email will be sent to everyone who received a nomination in Wave 3. This email will contain a timeframe and instructions on how to provide your address. It is very important that you read and follow those instructions. Do not assume that you know what it says. Do not assume that your address is on file. Make sure your email address is up to date in JudgeApps.

In the weeks and months to come there will be a few articles about what makes a good nomination, and some will expand on certain nominations. Another metrics article will come out as well. Everyone loves metrics.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to recognize their peers in this wave.  There are a lot of well thought out and specific recognitions.  It’s one thing to say “This person is a good judge!” or “She did a great job!”, it’s another entirely to identify what makes them a good judge, or why that job was great. So, assuming you haven’t already, go enjoy looking over the latest Exemplar recognitions!

…I said something about Wave 2, didn’t I?

Wave 2 mailings had some issues. Several addresses weren’t provided. As a result, those addresses weren’t included in the list sent to Wizards and therefore nothing was mailed.  Additionally, some judges who did provide their address did not receive a mailing for various reasons. Considering both issues, Wizards has decided to do a second mailing for those who were recognized in Wave 2 but did not receive anything in the mail. To help facilitate this, we will be sending out instructions like before with a link to a form to provide your address. This mailing will be separate from the Wave 3 mailing and have separate instructions. It will also be coming out in the next few days, so please make sure your email address is current in JudgeApps. Notice a theme?

I do want to be clear on one point though. This mailing is *NOT* intended to set a precedent for future waves, and there will not be a make-up wave for anyone we miss in this additional set of mailings.

Wave 4 Update

When we started Wave 4, we were in a period of transition. The previous Community Manager for the Judge Network had just left,and a new one, even an interim one hadn’t been chosen yet. On the judge side, this project also had a new lead, so we didn’t have a lot of time or opportunity to make changes. However, we did agree that we needed to start Wave 4, so it was started using the exact same rules as Wave 3. Now we have an interim Judge Community Manager, and a new project lead, and we both have plans for where we want the program to go. We collaborated, reviewed feedback and concerns, and arrived at a plan for the program which will result in a few changes.

The first change is a slight philosophical shift in the Exemplar Program. We still want nominations of awesome judges doing awesome things, but we aren’t going to worry so much about the line between ‘recognition’ and ‘reward’.  It’s a blurry line that’s a little hard to define, especially when some consider recognition in itself a reward.  This change makes it simple: We want to hear about the excellent things judges do, and what makes them excellent while worrying less about the specific phrasing.

A judge helped you through a difficult time? What did they say?

You watched someone single-handedly saved ODEs from burning down at a GP? How did they do it?

The HJ kept their cool when the fire alarm went off at an event? What did they do? 

How does this judge go above and beyond?
Yes, sometimes ‘above and beyond’ can be straight-forward and direct, but it is always specific and describable.

Another point of discussions was increasing the number of nominations for L2+ judges. One repeating piece of feedback we received was that the participating L2s felt constrained by the number of slots they had and couldn’t recognize all the judges they felt deserved some recognition.  At the same time, in the opposite direction, we kept noticing some judges attempting to solicit nominations in an attempt to use them all.  We also noticed a fair number of nominations in this wave for things that are ‘expected’ rather than ‘above and beyond’ for a particular level. Neither is what we want. But it created an interesting situation where we seemed to simultaneously have both too many, and too few nomination slots.

We want you to be able to recognize other judges for the amazing things they do, but we also want the things they are recognized for to actually be amazing and not just filling a quota.  You shouldn’t feel compelled to use all your nomination slots, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for not using them all.  Furthermore, other judges shouldn’t try to make you feel guilty for not using them all or for using them on judges outside your region. They are yours to use or not use.

This did open up the discussion regarding slot usage. After a bit of debate, we decided to shift some numbers around and increase the number of ‘any level’ slots across the board.  The goal is both to give more slots to people who want to make use of them and to push the number of slots up to a point where it is unrealistic to use them all.  This way people will use the slots where they are deserved, and not worry about any obligation to use them all.  You also no longer have to wait till the last minute to figure out which judge is worth one of your limited slots. You can now nominate someone as soon as they do something of note and still have lots of slots left over for the weeks to come.

We will be watching the usage of these slots to see if these changes are doing what we hope to accomplish. If they don’t, they will change for wave 5.  For now, effective immediately, the Wave 4 slot allocations are as follows:

Recognizing Judge’s Level Max L1 Nominations Max L2 Nominations Max L3+ Nominations Additional “any level” Nominations
Level 2 2 1 5
Level 3 3 3 1 6
Level 4 4 3 8
Level 5 5 4 8
RC Extra 6 6 1


Furthermore, with the delays in the release of Wave 3 data, and the additional slots for Wave 4, we have decided to extend the Wave 4 deadline by two weeks.

The new end date for Wave 4 is January 31st at midnight PST.

Finally, as a bit of a spoiler, ‘Exemplar’ is going to expand somewhat in the months to come. This bit, the peer-to-peer recognition bit, is going to stay largely the same as it is now, at the center of the Exemplar program. However, Wizards is working with the senior judges on ways to recognize judges in addition to the Exemplar Program. More information will be coming in the months to come.

Well, that’s all I have for this update. Check back in the next few weeks when I talk about foils.

Yes, I said ‘foils’.