2020 Magic Judge Online Seminars

Hello Judges,

Last April 23, 2020, an announcement was made by the Coaching Sphere. 28 days of online conference that would start on May 4, 2020. An incredible project that would definitely unite and engage us as a community. The series is sponsored by Judge Academy, CFB Events and tournamentcenter.eu.

We had the opportunity to ask the man who initiated it a few quick questions but before the interview, let me introduce the judges behind this project.

Allow me to introduce the members of this project:

 L3 Jurgen Baert

L3 Jurgen Baert

L2 Michael Arrowsmith

L2 Michael Arrowsmith

L2 Sashi Balakrishnan

L2 Sashi Balakrishnan

 L2 Klaus Lassacher

L2 Klaus Lassacher

Now, join me as we learn a bit more about the project.

1)What is the inspiration behind the project?

I’m actually really happy that you ask this specific question! I could tell you how I felt like this would be a great thing to do with our time, getting mentoring and knowledge sharing to the Magic Judge community in these times where real life conferences aren’t a thing. But (while that’s true), I can’t take credit for the idea. You likely won’t know the people who gave me inspiration to launch this. In no particular order, they are: Jen Badamo, Anthony Caspanello, Thomas De Oliveira, Karin Siehs, Arthur Reznik, Becca Mander, Will Post (and more, who will have to forgive me for not mentioning them). They’re all Pokémon TCG judges and they have been doing pretty much this exact thing for about four weeks now. The whole project as we’re doing it for Magic is modeled after what they’re doing. In fact, when I pitched it to Judge Academy when asking for their support, a full description of Pokémon project was the very first slide of my presentation.

2) What are the goals of the project?

The goal is bringing seminars and learning to your living room. In these times, we can’t meet each other at events or conferences, and that’s sad. But it also offers an opportunity to make the best of that time, and we need to grab that opportunity: if people have time on their hands, let’s use that time to do something worthwhile. In this case, as we’re all Magic judges: let’s share our knowledge and experience with people that may be half a world away and who we rarely get to meet. It’ll bring us together, and it’ll help us grow.

3) What are the challenges that the team is anticipating at the moment?

Right now, we’re finishing up on all the tooling for doing scheduling. This is an ambitious project on a global scale. With more than 100 seminars to plan (there are 112 slots, let’s see if we can fill them all!) over three timeslots serving all the major Magic geo-regions at various times, that’s quite a puzzle. And we need to solve it a couple of times! Each seminar has its presenter and topic that needs to be fitted into a nice timing matrix. each seminar has its admins who take care of the channel, audio testing, attendance tracking, collecting and sharing feedback with our presenters.

And each seminar has attendees that need to get selected in a fair way, etc etc. That is just too much work to just do off of several hundred applications (we have 60+ people applying for admin roles at the time of writing, and there are over 80 seminar topics by over 30 presenters)… let alone every week for four weeks. So we’re working on tooling that will make life a little easier when making all of these selections and completing the puzzle. Next up: finishing the Discord server details, creating briefings, ensuring the seminars run well from a technical point of view… these are things where we feel a bit more confident, thanks to the leading example of our Pokémon colleagues.

4) Do you think an online conference would be a permanent conference type in the future?

We’ll have to see. Interaction in online seminars is definitely going to be different. I think that in the long run, there is no way they can ever replace the direct contact that presenters have with their audience or the flexibility in running activities, or get tangible audience input. But they certainly have different strengths: the ease of presenting or attending from the comfort of your house, the ability to connect with people who live far away, …

5) Your message for the judge community:
Not much … we did a thing. Hope you all like it 🙂
In the meanwhile, stay healthy, stay positive, stay home and attend the seminars!
And don’t forget how awesome you are.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and let’s all look forward to future announcements 🙂

Also,if you haven’t, here’s a link to join the Judge Academy discord server. 🙂