Magic the Gathering

Public View of Judges

I’m very disappointed with recent articles about judges. Terry Soh’s premium article on Star City Games seems to stand out. I have to admit that I haven’t read the article, since I don’t have SCG premium, but the comments about this article are enlightening. Also, Noah Weil’s article from today doesn’t portray judges in a good light, although I have the feeling that Noah intended it to do. It’s also full of miscomprehensions:

Why would someone become a judge? In my view, there are four reasons. They are: compensation, ensuring a good time, ensuring a fair time, or wielding a desperately needed pseudo-power to feel some kind of pitiful self worth on the backs and misery of others.

He goes on to explain that compensation is a good reason to become a judge. To become a judge just to grab the judge compensation is usually frowned upon by other judges. Also, let’s face it: the compensation is really not that great. For ten hours of hard (but fun!) work at a PTQ you usually get between half a box and a full box of product, depending on the TO. Now compare that to the money you would earn at a real job. Suddenly the comp doesn’t look that good anymore, does it?

Noah then goes on to explain that a judge that wants to ensure a good time is usually not good at his job. He argues with an example from by far the worst officiated tournament [he] had ever been to. Great!

Noah never discusses the other two of his reasons to become a judge, but that’s not really relevant, since he is missing the most important aspect of becoming and staying a judge: it is fun!

Anyways, I have decided to write an article about what it means to be a judge. I will do interviews with other judges, players, the WotC judge manager, and will then submit it to Magic sites. Maybe this will help players to understand judges better.

Update: I just learned from SCG’s editor that Noah’s article is a first part of a series and we will see part two shortly. Nevertheless I am not sure that he really understands what makes most judges tick. But we will see, I am already getting the first replies to the interview I sent out to multiple judges.

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