What happens next and FAQs

Exemplar Wave 2 is now closed. In total, 2077 recognitions have been submitted in this wave (meaning that about 60% of all available slots were used), so thank you to everyone who took the time to write a message for judges who they had seen demonstrating inspiring or exemplary behaviour.

The next stage in this wave is a closed review period. A small group of level 3+ judges will be looking through a random selection of the submitted recognitions over the next two weeks, making sure that they conform to the basic requirements of not appearing to just be rewards. If any problems are raised with a recognition that you have submitted, we will contact you to discuss it. No recognitions will be rejected without first talking to the submitting judge. Once this review period is over, we will send the full list of approved recognitions to Wizards of the Coast and simultaneously publish them through judge apps so that everyone is able to view them. I’ll have more details to give you all about the public viewing interface when we move into that phase.

A few weeks ago, we solicited people on this blog to send in any questions about Exemplar the exemplarprogram@gmail.com. I’ve grouped the questions received so far under some main themes and will attempt to answer them here. The mailbox is always open, so if you have more questions, don’t hesitate to send them in – we’ll do another FAQ article in the future if we receive enough.

Q. “Can I recognize somebody I worked with a few months ago? Or should all recognitions be more recent?”

A. You can definitely recognise people for things that happened before the current recognition window opened! I would recommend that you don’t go more than a few months back, however, as the recipient’s memory of the event may have started to fade and the recognition, while welcome, might be a bit confusing. However, you could use older examples to support a more general recognised behaviour.

Q. “Can I recognise a non-judge with an ‘any level’ slot?”

A. The Exemplar program is intended to be a peer-to-peer recognition system within the judge program. It is designed for certified judges to call out other certified judges who have shown inspiring or exemplary behaviour. There are a lot of variables and moving parts in this program, and it is simply not designed with the bandwidth to allow for any member of the Magic community to be recognised. Additionally in terms of infrastructure, it just isn’t workable. There was a huge amount of admin involved in the first wave with just the L3s using a google form because of errors in data entry by people submitting recognitions, and we don’t have the ability to go through recognitions in such detail when we have added so many more slots to the system with the level 2s. The only way that we can make this system workable is by tying it to judge apps accounts and certification level, as this does a lot of the error control for us and so dramatically reduces the required work load. As such, it is not the appropriate method to use in order to highlight the behaviour of people who are not certified – though I encourage you strongly to tell those people that you find their behaviour to be exemplary, and to hold them up as role models through social media.

Q. “What happens if I recognise a judge with a slot for a level 1, and that judge is promoted before the window closes?”

A. Recognition subject level is only verified by the system at the point that a recognition is submitted. As such, if you were able to submit a recognition for a judge in a level-bounded slot, you do not need to worry about that recognition later being invalidated by the judge’s promotion. However, you cannot retroactively recognise someone recently promoted to L2 in your L1 slot – if their level has been updated on judge apps, the system will not allow you to submit a recognition for them as their previous level.

Q. “What happens if I put in my recognitions early in the window, but have changed my mind before the window closes?”

A. The system allows you to go back in and edit recognitions, including deleting them. This can allow you to change the recipients, the recognition messages or both. This capacity is available up to the point that the window closes; when the window is closed, your recognitions are locked in.

Q. “Why don’t TOs have recognition slots?”

A. Repetition as it is important: The Exemplar program is intended to be a peer-to-peer recognition system within the judge program. It is designed for certified judges to call out other certified judges who have shown inspiring or exemplary behaviour. There are some additional problems with allowing non-judge TOs to make recognitions through this program. One is education; it is already a difficult task to reach all of the judges in the program in order to make them understand the difference between recognition and reward, despite having many ready communication channels. We have no way of communicating with the majority of TOs, and so it is likely that this message would not be transmitted. This is compounded by the limited exposure that many TOs have to judges. Aside from a small number of mega-TOs like SCG, most TOs will only ever interact with a very small number of judges, and only in the scope of those judges judging on the events that they run. This runs a very high risk of a recognition from a TO becoming an expected part of the compensation for working that TO’s events, which runs counter to the base principles of this program.

There is nothing to stop you reaching out to TOs in order to see if they have noticed someone who has done something worthy of recognition. This is likely to be particularly beneficial in terms of highlighting exemplary behaviour from L1 judges.

Q. “What proportion of recognitions were for tournament interactions versus translations, reviews or community work?”

A. That’s a great question! It turns out that we have a large number of data nerds in the judge program who cannot wait to get their hands on the Wave 2 data in order to look at patterns in recognition over the two waves. I’ll pass this one onto them and see if they can work it out, and I’ll make sure to publish any of their findings in this blog later.

A few people have also raised concerns that, as so few people have access to reviews (for example), exemplary reviews might go unnoticed and unrecognised – especially valuable mentoring reviews of L1s. Due to concerns about protecting the privacy of reviews and also the way that judge centre permissions work, there are no plans to give a wider group (such as all L3 judges) access to reviews. As such, if you think you’ve received a review that merits recognition and cannot give that recognition yourself, talk about it! Show it to people who do have slots and tell them why you think that this review was so valuable. The same thing goes for any other kinds of behaviours you see that might go overlooked, especially in terms of judges who put large efforts into mentoring or into looking after their communities.

Q. “How does the foil allocation work?”

A. This is entirely in the hands of Wizards of the Coast. After we give them the list of approved recognitions (which will be all recognitions that are not deemed to look more like rewards), they make all decisions concerning how judge foils are distributed. This includes how many foils are sent, what the identity of the foils are, and whether people receive the same foils or different foils. I would encourage people to bear in mind that the judge foils are not the main point of this program, and are not where the main value of this program lies. Just because someone else received a physical object that you might consider more desirable than those that you received should not in any way devalue the sentiments that led another judge to publically hold you up as an example of exemplary or inspiring behaviour.

Q. “Can we get personalised recogntion letters that include the recognition messages?”

A. Unfortunately, due to logistical concerns, it is not possible for us to get personalised letters sent out to each judge who is recognised through this program. To give you an idea of scale, the Wave 1 mailout went to more than 500 different judges, and we have added another 2000 recognition slots to the second wave with the L2s. I appreciate that the recognition messages from the first wave were not the easiest to locate, especially a long time after the fact. The new judge apps implementation makes recognition messages that you have received much easier to find through the ‘My recognitions’ tab, which should help to get over this problem. The letter included in future mail outs will include directions on how to get to these messages.

Q. “There’s a problem with my mailing!” (Compilation)

A. Due to the logisitical challenges associated with the scale of the Exemplar mailouts, there are some services which could not be provided. For example, there is no tracking of these mailings and no ability to replace lost or damaged cards. We are working with Wizards of the Coast at the moment in order to find an economical solution in order to reduce the risk of cards becoming damaged in transit, and it is possible that future mailings will have all cards in toploaders in order to better protect them. Similarly, we are aware that there are particular problems with the postal service in certain regions which dramatically diminishes the chances of judges receiving these mailings, and we are working with the Regional Coordinators in those regions in order to find ways around this.

There are currently some challenges associated with changing your street address with Wizards. Again, we are working on solutions, but for the time being I would recommend ensuring that your email address is valid and up to date in case attempts are made to contact you about potential issues with your address. Additionally, this is worth bearing in mind if you move house, so that you can ensure you have some mail forwarding system set up until a longer term solution can be found.

Q. “Why was the Exemplar Wave 1 mailout so delayed?”

A. I keep coming back to the scale of this operation, but it is key to this point. There were delays to the Wave 1 mailing for two primary reasons. One was that the Google From submission system that we used in that wave allowed a lot of scope for people to make data entry errors, and we lost a lot of time in trying to track these down and correct them – a problem which should no longer exist in the JudgeApps implementation. The other was that we needed some time to get the systems in place for handling the mail out, while running into the American holidays period with Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the likely hugely increased scale of the Wave 2 mailing, it is probable that we will again encounter some substantial delays as we get all of the logistics in place – but rest assured that we will get it out eventually.

Q. “How will Exemplar interact with judge suspensions?”

A. The Exemplar program aims to recognise specific exemplary behaviour from judges. A judge can be exemplary in one aspect while falling short of the expected standards in another. A judge being suspended does not automatically invalidate all the good things that they do or have done. As such, if a suspended judge has been recognised and that recognition is completely disconnected from the reason that they were suspended, that recognition will still be approved. Similarly, any recognitions that a judge made during a window before getting suspended will be evaluated and approved as long as there are no obvious concerns with them. Judges will not be able to participate further in Exemplar during their suspension from the point that it is issued.

We expect the eventuality of a suspended judge being recognised to be quite rare. We are currently discussing exactly how we will handle it, and will update the Code of Conduct with this information when it has been decided.