JudgeApps is the primary method for communication between judges and the primary tool for soliciting and communicating with event staff. This guide will give you an understanding of the features found on the website.
The first step to getting involved with all of that awesome stuff is signing up for an account! There is a registration form where you need to fill in the requested information (sample here). Note that your DCI number will be verified manually, and this process will take a short period of time. Usually, new accounts are approved within 24 hours. This does not mean that you must be a judge already to sign up, there are actually very good reasons to sign up if you are not certified (judge candidate looking for a mentor, store owner looking for judges).
The Home screen in Judge Apps gives you quick access to many useful things.
- First is a list of upcoming events you are staffed for or have applied to
- Second is a list of any Judge Projects you’re involved in
- Third there is a list of events with upcoming application deadlines (Note: Only Pro Tours, Grand Prix events, and events within your region whose application deadline is within the next 2 weeks will appear here)
- Fourth we have the ten most recently active forum topics
- Finally we have recently active forum topics for any Judge Project you’re involved in
Managing Your Profile and Notifications
By clicking your name you will move into your profile. The most important function for you here is the ability to update your profile and settings, your photo, and the ability to set up your notifications. The screen also shows you the recent forum posts you have been active in, any public projects you are in, any recent Exemplar recognitions you have received, any future events you are on staff for, and a list of your past events. Your profile settings is primarily contact information, and you likely want an accurate judge shirt size (which is used when you apply to events and request a judge shirt) and must have an up to date email address. Updating your image is a step we strongly suggest as it lets others attach a face to your name and makes you much more recognizable.
By clicking “Notifications” it will bring you to a page with any unread notifications. If you have any you will have the option to “Mark All as Read” and “View Unread Notifications Only”. If you don’t have any you will get the option to “View All Notifications” (in case you want to see your most recent ones).
On both your edit profile page and notifications page there is a link at the top that will bring you to your notifications settings page. This gives you the option to be notified under any of the specified conditions and gives you the option for each condition to be either not notified, notified using email only, notified using site only, or notified using email and site. If you select to get notified by email messages will be automatically sent to your inbox with your notifications, while if you select to get them on the website they will show up in the “Notifications” tab. Farther down you can set up your event notification settings. You can choose an event type from the drop down box, then a region, and click the “Add” button (please note that these drop down boxes don’t default to “all” and you must select something in each).
Managing Your Events
Clicking “All Events” will bring up a list of all events posted in Judge Apps that have not yet occurred. The top section includes the filters for event type and region, the next section is events open for applications, and the third section is events closed for applications. Below that is a link to the full list of past events, including events imported from older websites going back over a decade. At the top there is also a link to “Create New Event”, which is beyond the scope of this introductory guide.
By clicking on an event it will bring you to that event’s specific page, which details the organizer, and event information the creator included, as well as the current staff list. If the event is open for applications it will say as much at the top, as well as include a link to “Apply Now”. Once you’ve found an event you have a desire to work and click to apply, the next screen will have a varying number of fields to fill out prior to pressing the “Apply” button at the bottom. Almost all events require a cover letter to be submitted and for you to select the sponsorship level you are requesting. Some will also have some short questions before the cover letter that will need to be answered. The process of writing your cover letter is beyond the scope of this guide, but there was a great article written by Paul Baranay and Evan Cherry called Writing Effective Cover Letters.
Clicking “My Events” will give you a list of all events you have applied to. The top section includes the filters, which include options for region, application status, type, sponsorship, and role. The next section lists any future events you have applied to. The third section is all of your past events. A nice feature here is the inclusion of a link to your application to each of these events, in case you want to copy/paste portions of it or just remind yourself of how you’ve written cover letters in the past.
At the bottom of “My Events” is a button to “Add to Event History”. This will allow you to create an event that will show up on your event history even though it was not created through Judge Apps originally. Most small events (GPTs and PPTQs are prime examples) never get posted on Judge Apps, and this gives you the option to add them to your history. It is important that you not add events that are already on Judge Apps through this function.
Forums and Direct Communication
The forums on Judge Apps is the primary tool for judges from around the world to communicate and discuss policy. Before using the forums you should read up on the forum protocols, which goes over the rules and etiquette needed for this form of communication. Peter Richmond also wrote a great forum article that helps explain why the forums are our best tool for communication as well as discusses some of the pitfalls.
The next section is for finding individual judges and gives you the opportunity to directly message them. By clicking on “Judges” you will get a list of everybody currently in the database, with a bar at the top for searching (by name, location, or any profile field) as well as filters (by level and/or by region). By clicking on a judge’s name it will bring you to their profile. This page will look very similar to when you click on your name in the menu, but instead of the buttons to update settings you will have buttons to send an email to that judge or view their Judge Center profile.
Clicking “Contact a Judge” gives you a form that will email a message to your recipient. To send a judge an email, start typing their name in the recipient field and select the name from the drop-down list. Once you are finished with your message click the “Send” button and the system will handle the rest. A copy of your message will be sent to your email address as well as to the recipient’s email address, and any replies will be returned to you directly through email.
“Map” gives you a visual representation of where in the world judges are located. At the top of the page is a number of filters allowing you to update the map based on the level of the judges you wish to be displayed, as well as to change the map to show a distance around a specified location. This is a very neat feature for giving perspective on just how large and spread out the judge program is, and can often be used to try to find the closest judge to you of any given level (such as if you are looking for the nearest L2).
“Regions” provides first the information for your region (region name, regional coordinator, countries included in the region, and if applicable any states included) and then provides the same information for all regions in the world.
The Exemplar Program and Projects
“Exemplar Program” is different than the other links in Judge Apps, in that rather than bringing you to a page it opens up a sub-menu. If you click on “Recognition Windows” you will get a list of the dates for each window (past and current) as well as the option to export all recognitions from a closed window as a .csv file. Clicking on “All Recognitions” gives you a filterable list of every recognition submitted so far (note that, for L2+ judges, it will also display any of your pending recognitions from the current window). Filters allow you to narrow the list by message text, window name, after date, author name, author region, recipient name, or recipient region.
Clicking “My Recognitions” shows you the time left in the current window, a list of available recognitions to use, a list of your pending recognitions from the current window, a list of the past recognitions you have authored, and a list of past recognitions you have received. A number of these do not display for L1 judges, as only L2+ judges can nominate a Judge for an Exemplar recognition.
Clicking “Projects” gives you a list of any projects you are currently part of first, then a list of “Public Projects Looking for Help”, and finally a list of “Other Public Projects”. At the very bottom is a button to “Create New Project”, if that is something you are looking to do. If you click on the name of a project you will be able to see that project’s description, any project news (the most recent 5 posts from an RSS feed), and list of members. If you are interested in more details about a specific project, your best bet is to contact one of the admins for that project and ask for more details.