Welcome Back to the Feedback Loop – Self-Reviews

We’re back! Or most of the way. I know things have been quiet here at the Feedback Loop, but we are gearing up for brand new content with an exciting line up of writers.

Of course, you’re already familiar with me, Riki Hayashi. My primary focus over the next few months will be self-reviews, first as a broad topic, then narrowing things down until we get to the mother lode of self-reviews, THE Self-Review that you need to submit to be considered for Level 3 Advancement.

Joining me in a regular rotation of featured writers will be our old friend Justin Turner who will focus on face-to-face feedback, because the process isn’t just about writing Judge Center reviews, who doesn’t love seeing Turner’s face?

Justin Turner

Justin Turner

Stelios Christos Kargotis from England will cover the topic of notes. How to take them, how to use them, and how to keep the decay of time and memory at bay.

Stelios Christos Kargotis

Stelios Christos Kargotis

Next up we have Sara Smith. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of her. She’s new to judging, and her contribution to the blog will be to follow her beginner’s journey.

Sara Smith

Sara Smith

Last but not least will be Joe Wiesenberg. He’s going to be handling our mailbag column. You can ask him for general advice on feedback or send your review drafts to “The Feedbag” at jiwiesenberg at the google mails or use the Judgeapps contact page (http://apps.magicjudges.org/contact/) Write to him today and you could be featured in his first column.

Joe Wiesenberg

Joe Wiesenberg

Interspersed in all of this will be guest blogs (we already have several lined up). Some of these will be on one-shot topics, while others might fit into the themes of our various featured writers. Keep in mind that our featured writers are not tied to their subjects. If you ever have any feedback-related subject that you want us to write about, you can contact any of us via the above contact form, or comment on an individual blog post to start a dialogue with us.

And with that let’s dive into the first entry for my Self-Review series.

The Self-Review is an item on the L3 Advancement Process that confounds and frustrates the best and brightest in the Judge Program. The premise is so simple–write about yourself–and yet this step has torpedoed more than one up-and-coming L3 candidate. Originally my plan was to write about the specifics of writing an L3 Self-Review, but Joe Wiesenberg convinced me to start with a broader brush.

In order to keep the L3 Self-Review from being a point of anxiety, it has been suggested that you should be writing self-reviews (lowercase) earlier in your judging career. In fact, I advocate a self-review being one of the earliest reviews (maybe even the first) that a judge writes. It won’t count towards the 3 reviews needed to advance to Level 2 (those need to be of other judges), but it’s a fine way to get practice with the web interface for entering a review, without the need to be critical of someone else. And yet it has been said that we are often most critical of ourselves. So what’s the best way to go about writing a self-review?

Take the long view – When writing a review of another judge, we most often base it off of a single event worked together. You don’t have to do that here. You have your own entire judging career up until that point to use as your canvas, which means that you can write about growth over multiple events, or persistent issues that you keep running into. These are things that others might have a hard time seeing in you from the their limited perspective, and it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself when writing a self-review.

Keep it balanced – With a review of other judges, we are often subject to the variances of our subject and the circumstances under which we observe them. Based on those circumstances, your review may be all Strengths or all Areas for Improvement (or with a forced entry in the other box). Since you spend all of time with yourself, you don’t miss anything. You see all of the good and all of the bad, and that should be reflected in your self-review. If you’re skewing one way or the other, that’s probably your own mental bias. Try to get out of your own headspace. If you’re such a bad judge, why do you keep getting accepted for events, or vice versa?

Record feedback from others – A self-review doesn’t just have to be what you think about yourself. It’s quite possible that through the course of judging other people provide you with feedback in person, but they don’t enter it as a Judge Center review. This often happens with “micro-feedback” that is deemed too short for a full review (btw you shouldn’t let that stop you). It could also be feedback from someone who isn’t a certified judge, like your TO or a player. Listen to feedback from others, write it down, and if it so happens that you do not receive a review from them, record it yourself in a self-review, noting who gave you that feedback in person.

2 thoughts on “Welcome Back to the Feedback Loop – Self-Reviews

  1. I look forward to seeing all the fun articles and topics you have planned for us. Thanks for all the hard work you do making sure that we learn to grow together as judges.

  2. BAM! This article is like the best intro to all SR seminars, ever.

    1. Don’t let the L3 one be the first. Deal with a Spawn before the Eldrazi Twin.
    2. You’ll see you’re not that bad after all.
    3. Write to yourself what others told you. Of course you can!

    So simple, so true.

    Thank you for making my job so much easier,

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