Welcome to a special edition of Judge of the Week! This is the Project Edition, where I choose a project, and ask the project’s creator/leader to nominate a member to be featured. Our first project featured is the Judge of the Week project, and I’ve nominated Stephan Classen, L2 from Hilo, Hawaii! Here’s why:
I first met Stephan at GP Atlantic City in 2013. He was eager to join the project, but we couldn’t think of anything specific for him to do. He correctly pointed out that updates were a bit sporadic, so I asked him to be “Executive in charge of getting Jason’s butt in gear.” And what a job he’s done! It started with weekly reminder e-mails, and has expanded to include creating a publishing schedule for our editors, and managing the nominations folder. He’s one of the main forces that drives this project forward!
Tell us about your project.
I’m part of Judge of the Week, this very blog you’re reading. 😛 It’s a project that features judges around the world, showing small parts of their lives and honoring them among the judge community, usually for being awesome and having been nominated by a player or fellow judge. The project shows a little of the judge’s personality, highlights some of their past experiences, and basically shows other judges the motivation and enjoyment of judging from others out in the world.
What is your role within the project?
I’m an editor, so I help contact nominated judges, send them the interview and format it all up for the post. I’m also really just here to bug people to keep on schedule!
Why did you decide to join the project?
I like community, and I really am impressed how the judge community has come together in the last few years. I kind of stuck to myself and didn’t have much contact with other judges for a while, being just L1 for several years. Being isolated in Hawaii was part of it, and being generally satisfied as just a player in events was another. But then leading my community here, running events, and pushing to L2 let me see more and more of the judge community, and I knew I’d like to help and get involved, and this project just feels right so far!
Tell us a fun story about your participation in this project.
I’m actually starting to worry that I’m bugging our lead too much. I have a lot of ideas, and I’m terribly efficient (it’s a curse): so I’m thinking about the next three posts I want to put up, and worrying about the other editors getting their interviews in on time, and how to get enough coverage, and ways to expand… this isn’t so much funny as sad, isn’t it?
If you could change one thing about the project, what would it be?
I’d like to add in more content about a Judge’s individual store or region and what they do there. Maybe some special thing about their area. We feature judges from all over the world, but I’d like to add in fun things they do in their location, or that their store does, that makes player and judge experiences in their environment unique or awesome. Not to mention, I’m always curious about other parts of the world, so I’d like to hear more first hand accounts of even little things, like, say, the best food in their area or something.
How has this project helped your judging?
I know more judges, or at least, I feel like I do. Having worked on, helped edit, or write up different judge’s interviews, I feel like I know a bit more about various judges I might encounter. For example, I feel like now I could go up to Kevin Binswanger and ask him which states he’s missing to have judged in all 50, or Ben McDole, and ask him about his Silver-Inlaid Dagger.
Have you met other judges in your project in real life? What was that meeting like?
Only Jason Wong, our lead, so far, when I asked to join. It’s kinda awesome to meet people you’ve worked with online, so I’m hoping to meet others soon. I know Alaric will be at GP Vegas, so I’ll see him there!
What do you like best about the project?
That it really shows the best of people. Judges often put in long hours, sometimes voluntarily without compensation, to make sure players have fun, a place to play, or things to do with time off. It really shows a love of game, community, and small nit-picky rules.
What do you want people to know about this project, and what’s important for other judges, in your opinion?
Please nominate people. Especially from weird locations, or L1s who you see doing some great work at your local store. To be able to build this sort of community is a nice thing to have, even just through small interviews since many of us will never meet each other, except at GPs or other larger events. I hope other people can make good friends or meet people to hang out with through the judge program, as I have recently, and through which this project has really helped.
Thanks, Stephan, for all the work you’ve put into this project!