About recommendations

Hi all,

I have a couple topics for you today. Checklist changes are on the way, I know you’re waiting, they’re still being worked out and won’t be that big.

L3 Maintenance

The New World Order said about maintaining L3, among others:

  • Judge at least four Premier Events (RPTQ, WMCQ, Grand Prix, Pro Tour, World Magic Cup) per calendar year. Not doing so will create a flag for this level status to be reviewed.

There’s been some concern about what will happen in remote regions, which either don’t get many Premier Events or where travel is so expensive that reaching four such tournaments a year is too much. The idea here is not to put L3s there in a tough spot; rather, it’s to ensure a reasonable minimum amount of judging. We’d like L3s to stay in touch with large tournaments in order to maintain contact with judge communities, foster exchange of ideas, encourage policy discussion, and just keeping us sharp. The number 4 was chosen because 85% of L3s already reach that number through GPs alone, and adding the other event types should mean that only a handful of L3s would be flagged.

We do understand it’s quite hard in some regions to judge that much; in those cases we’ll make exceptions. So no need to worry excessively about this and if you have any question please contact me.

L3 Recommendations

This is a topic I frequently hear misconceptions about, so a refresher might be useful.

The most important part of the checklist is the two recommendations you must receive from L3 judges. This is very important because many aspects of L3 are subjective by nature and can’t be quantified – so we ask you to bring observations made by other judges to support your case. An L3 recommendation isn’t simply a collection of facts either – it’s an L3 vouching for you, demonstrating why they believe you should be L3.

When is it correct to ask for recommendations? The minimum you need is 12 months as L2 and an approved self-review, but having those doesn’t mean you should ask for recommendations yet. Ask yourself:

  • Is L3 something I want to pursue and commit time and effort towards?
  • Is there a need for L3s in my region/on my events that I’m willing to step up to fill?
  • Are people around me asking why I’m not L3?

There has to be some of these signs before you ask – writing recommendations is not a trivial process and significant effort will be spent by those you ask to observe you in that regard.

Most of the time a single event together is not sufficient to give rise to a recommendation. Several L3 Qualities make an appearance only occasionally or in extreme situations and may simply not have the chance to show up on one event. Maybe it’s the easiest event ever and the recommender won’t have anything to say about Stress and Conflict Management. Maybe all rulings were rules questions and there’s nothing for Investigations. Maybe everyone knew you and you didn’t need to show any Leadership, Presence and Charisma.

It’s best if a recommendation comes out of a longer-term working relationship. If the L3 is someone you regularly consult with after your events and ask for advice before the next ones, this increases the chances that you’ll have enough interesting situations to discuss and them to get an informed opinion about you.

When you need to pick an L3 you’re not close to, work together to synchronize GPs and talk in advance to be teamed together. Also supplement with lots of online discussion. These days video-conferencing software makes long-distance contact pretty easy.

Remember, the L3 can decline writing a recommendation – that shouldn’t be a tragedy in itself. It might mean that you still have lots to learn (and by all means ask them for all possible advice), but might simply mean that you asked too soon. Do build judging relationships first and foremost – recommendations will come when the time is right. A good rule of thumb is that you should get a Judge Center review from that L3 before seeking a recommendation.

Thanks for reading.

Daniel