Journey’s End

As I type this, I’m reminded of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode with the same title. No, it wasn’t the series finale. That one was titled All Good Things… which is a good one, both as a title and an episode. Just never try to explain Anti-Time to anyone. Ever.

Sadly, Journey’s End was that last Wesley Crusher episode where he discovers that he has a bunch of super powers and goes off with another super-powered being to explore those powers.

*record scratch


Was Wesley Crusher a Planeswalker? Is he…Jace?

Apparently a season of Doctor Who ended with an episode titled Journey’s End, but I’ve never watched that show, so I’ll set that aside.

The Semisonic song Closing Time includes the line “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Close, but no horseshoe.

Is that enough pop culture references for this week? Is it enough to last you…forever?

The City on the Edge of Forever is one of the best episodes of science fiction ever. “Edith Keeler must die” is a phrase that shows up every once in awhile in songs, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to base an article on. No, not just as a throwaway reference, but as the central thesis. If only I had a time machine to go back and rewrite my article on backups. How meta.

What was I talking about?

Ah, Journey’s End. If you hadn’t already gathered from its title, this apocalychryphal blog post signals an end to my journey as your host here on The Feedback Loop, and perhaps my visibility as a champion of the cause of feedback and reviews in the Judge Program’s front lines.

What’s important here is that this is not the end of The Feedback Loop, nor does it mean the end of my contributions to the blog. That begs the question, “What’s changing?”

I will be stepping down as the leader of The Feedback Loop to be one of its content writers. I’m looking forward to this change, as the thing I love most is writing. I don’t love all the other parts of managing the blog, like soliciting and promoting content and setting the vision for the direction of the ship. That leadership will now fall to someone else.

But before passing the shield, I’d like to share my personal story getting here.

I received my first review (from Jeff Morrow) on August 19, 2007. I had been an L1 for a few years, but I basically judged only once a season at a big Regional Prerelease and/or PTQ. I thought that review was a super cool thing and immediately turned around and wrote one for him. A few weeks later, I judged my first Grand Prix, wrote 3 reviews from that event, and fell in love with GPs, writing reviews, and judging in general. As I advanced to L2, then to L3, I went on a warpath of review-writing.

At the time, there were three L3s in California who had all written 100+ reviews: Jeff Morrow, Toby Elliott, and George Michelogiannakis. My personality has always been focused on numerical milestones, and passing these three was an early goal of mine. There was actually a point when all four of us had the exact same number of reviews written.

Once I passed my California cohorts, I targeted an even bigger milestone, which at the time was Eric Shukan with over 200 reviews. Somewhere along this path, I must have crossed that mythical 10,000 hours threshold. As a writer by hobby, I’ve always been wordy. But my reviews went from meaninglessly wordy to really hitting home on core issues (and still being wordy). People started to say things like “this is the best review I’ve ever gotten,” and judges would seek me out asking for a review.

I became more outspoken about reviews and also transitioned the messaging to talk about feedback in general. People started to look to me not just as an expert in the field, but also as a spokesperson. I started this blog as a way to share more of my thoughts with a broad audience.

Writing is one of my passions in life, but managing the blog and its increasing cadre of writers decreased the time I had left for writing. Over the months, I’ve enlisted a number of people to help with the blog, and as with many aspects of the Judge Program, I am truly grateful for the overall willingness to help. Still, the more people I brought in, the more complicated the blog’s organization became. More and more often, my writing was aimed internally rather than to the audience. It was time for a changing of the guard.

Personally, I welcome the chance to return to writing. But from a broader perspective, I see an important and necessary shift for the Judge Program. I’ve been one voice for the culture of feedback in the judge community. But we need more voices to cultivate that culture and to ensure that there’s someone here to carry on if I disappear.

Meet Eric Dustin Brown, the new leader of The Feedback Loop. Over the past four years, EDB has found his spark as his leadership in the Mid-Atlantic Region has expanded. He is the bedrock of the Richmond judge community and a specialist in Side Event management at SCG Tour and Grand Prix events. EDB has served as interim Regional Coordinator. And he has built himself into a paragon of feedback both in practical execution and as a voice for it in the community.

EDB himself will have much more to say about his big plans when he re-introduces the blog and his team at the end of the summer. Until then, follow him on Facebook and Twitter for news and feedback must-reads all summer long.

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