Where's the love?

Discussion in 'TCG News & Gossip Discussion' started by PokeDad, Jul 3, 2010.

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  1. PokeDad

    PokeDad Forum Moderator

    From the "I'd like to know…." thread in the National Championships folder and the "Judge Quality" thread in TCG News & Gossip Discussion:

    I appreciate that these are open forums, and in no way do i want to stifle free and thoughtful speech; but reading over some of the comments left in some of the threads created after the US National championship, I have found a considerable measure of judge bashing, and almost what seemed to be piling on, in what I imagine is a disproportionate sentiment to that held by most of the players who played at this year's tournament.

    I was a judge in the Junior division this year, and bounced nearly every ruling off another judge before sharing it with the players involved. I had one ruling that I could see did not sit well with one of the players involved and asked him if he would like to appeal my ruling. I referred to the penalty guidelines, without exception, to determine the correct penalty any player earned during play, and I had access to the compendium at all times. My goal is to afford each player a fair and equal opportunity and have little to no impact on the game. I can say, with absolute knowledge, that every judge I served with in the Junior division had the same commitment to excellence, skill, and passion for the game and their role in it as judges. I am proud to have been included in this group of consummate professional quality solicited volunteers. I am certain that the quality in the Senior and Master division matched that in the Junior division, knowing and greatly respecting a good number of these judges from previous events worked together. I sat in meetings and listened to deliberations as penalties were discussed, and know the caliber of the people who others see fit to denigrate.

    Personally, I find a number of the comments left by some to be insulting to the judges as a whole.

    If you have a specific problem with a judge, a ruling, an attitude, a behavior, then write the powers that be and be as specific as you can; Customerservice@pokemon.com is where you send your message. While I am sure that TPCi gives every message sent complete consideration, sending a message intending to improve the game, as opposed to dripping with bitter complaint, will probably assure a more thorough complete consideration of your message.

    I am creating this thread as a counterpoint to the other threads that already exist. If you had a good interaction with a volunteer, staff, judge, or TPCi personnel, go ahead and leave a quick note here in the thread. I'm just trying to get a little positivity for those who gave up their week so that so many could have a great time playing this kid's game we all love so much.

    Thank you in advance for keeping this thread positive. Just a line or two, or a quick sharing, if someone helped make your tournament a little better.
  2. Bolt

    Bolt New Member

    criticism that isn't constructive will get nothing done, imo.

    one thing i overheard at nats was a pace of play warning (possibly prize penalty) given without a complaint from any player. shouldn't there be at least a complaint from a player before a prize penalty?
  3. ApachePrime

    ApachePrime New Member

    I will be the first judge to come out and say it:

    I judge because it is necessary. I prefer to play, and Judging is work. I would still judge if the "pay" were lower. To be honest, I would judge Battle Roads and Pre-releases for next to nothing. My PTO is an extension of my family, and if she asked I would gladly help for free. I greatly appreciate that my PTO puts forth the effort to make sure our Judging staff feels appreciated.

    At the same time, because I feel this is working, I put in a lot of extra hours "off the clock". I check the Gym twice daily and read almost every thread in Ask the Masters just to make sure I'm at the top of my game. When I'm wrong I call another friend of mine who judges and we discuss why I was wrong. I feel that this extra bit is important to me as a player and as a judge.

    Even with all of that extra time and research I put into my "job", I still often check with my HJ and if there is a dispute our local policy is to provide the compendium as proof. If I am AT ALL unsure, I will include another Judge. I think a huge part of judging is an attitude that I am not infallible. If a player has a dispute, I will get them rock solid proof of the correct answer. I would like to see more judges adopt this attitude. Too many bad situations come from stubborn decision-making.

    Most importantly, like the OP is saying here: I appreciate any and all constructive feedback, and would like to do my job as a Judge to the best of my ability.

    On to my contribution to this thread as a player: I had little interaction with Judges this year at Nats, but I have to say Lawman had his staff working their butts off. The Judges were actively judging, and keeping track of a surprisingly large number of games. I had a judge catch my opponent attach a second energy in one match, after a nearly 5 minute turn. My opponent and I were both baffled and got a good laugh that the Judge caught it and neither of us did.

    Also, Bolt, a pace of play warning does not require a player complaint. If you are taking super long turns, you are violating the rules. If a judge notices a player attach twice in a turn, and corrects the issue with a warning, how is that different? Both situations are breaking the rules, and require judge intervention.
  4. nnaann

    nnaann New Member

    Isn't it possible for there to be a mix of good and bad judges? I know judges who have never made a wrong ruling, give alot to the game and are definately appreciated by the player base. Others can make wrong rulings, not keep up to date with the Pokegym/new rulings etc.
  5. Bolt

    Bolt New Member

    Ahhh, I can understand that. But I also feel like 'pace of play' is more subjective than energy attachments. There are some situations that require more thought than usual and no rulebook can account for that. I get the letter of the law idea...but I'm wondering if people feel that there are times where leniency should be given. I certainly do.
  6. P_A

    P_A New Member

    I'll admit it's almost impossible to not make a wrong ruling. In my 8 year history, I remember 2 that I've made, but perhaps I've made more. It's not because I don't care to keep up with the latest rulings. It's not because I don't care about the outcome of any particular match. It's not because I don't care about the players, and making sure the tournament results aren't fair and accurate. Not to toot my own horn, but when it comes to judging, ask anyone in our area about who the best judges are, and my name is on a very short list. I DO care about all those things posted above. And any judge worth his/her salt cares about those things as well. Good judges utilize all the resources that are available, care about the players concerns, is a good listener (has a good tableside manner - instead of what the doctors have), is looked up to as someone you can get answers from, and is willing to admit when they are wrong. There are a few like that here in Ontario, and I'm supremely happy that's the case, since at Canadian Nationals coming up next weekend, I'm finally gonna get the chance to give up judging to be a player. Mistakes happen. I know I've made them in the past. I also know I'll sooner or later make others. I hope I'll be forgiven for making them, but I'll always try my best. That's all we can do. Someone has to give up their ability to play to help judge so others can play. I'm glad I had the opportunity to help out. I guarantee those who haven't experienced judging, if given the chance to do so at both large and small events, would find it is not quite as easy as they imagined. I hope you all get the chance to do so at least once in your time as a pokemon player. As to the contributions of the judges at any Nats, I'm sure they tried to do their best. They don't always see everything, nor do they always remember all the rulings. Sooner or later the rulings will go against any one person, whether we like it or not - I've ruled impartially against my son often enough to know. Good luck to all you judges out there. Keep trying your best. It will definitely show. Good sportsmanship is something that can be exhibited by all - both players and judges.

    EDIT: Oh, and BTW, I don't judge because of the pay, otherwise I would have had a few scholarships, and invitations and trips to worlds, and large trophies, and great numbers of boxes given to me. Hmmm, that sounds funny somehow. Oh yeah, maybe it's because that isn't the case - we don't get "paid" like the players do. I'll have to try and remember that somehow.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  7. Prime

    Prime Content Developer<br>Blog Admin<br>Contest Host

    There are guidelines, but I don't think any judge issues slow play penalties after one slow action. The way I did it was watch the match and see if the player takes more time than expected over multiple actions. If you think about it, 10 seconds more on one action isn't much, but on 6 actions in a role, that adds a whole extra minute to the turn. That's when a judge steps in.

    And again, slow play has nothing to do with stalling. Well, they are similar, but they are not the same thing. Slow play is just playing slow, for good reasons or not. We issue penalties for slow play just so the game gets back on track and so both players have a fair and equal amount of time in the round.
  8. hueglin

    hueglin New Member

    I wasn't at Nats, so I can't give any feedback about that. I can say that I have never had a problem with any of the judges, at any of the tournaments I have been to. It's kind of unfortunate to read the first response post, in this thread that is supposed to be about positive experiences, has yet another complaint about judging. I guess it is just a thankless job.
  9. Trican

    Trican New Member

    I've had great experiences with judges in my area. As a player I've been under the Judging eyes of Totoro and (I think) R_A, and both were quick and accurate in their rulings. Even their Judglings(?) were good at calls. None of them were rude and all were open to hearing the side of the players out.

    As a judge I worked with again R_A and Totoro. R_A is a fun judge and knows his stuff. I will say in my first judging assignment Totoro had to get on me about paying closer attention to time (not having a stop watch handy ftl) so that tells me he doesn't take slack from his judges.

    I know people will have a bad taste about things in their mouth for different reasons. I remember playing in a STS and missing Top Cut by 1 coin flip. In turn I don't rely on any cards that rely on coin flips. Someone lost a cut due to a judge call against them, they'll complain about judges.

    That is not to say that some judges don't just make a bad call, but I do feel part of it is sometimes players looking for a source of blame. Heck I still tell that coin flip story to this day haha
  10. Bolt

    Bolt New Member

    Slow play and stalling, I feel, are best separated by judges who also play competitively (so I appreciate the judges who do play as many tournaments as possible) - and I know there's for sure a difference.

    What I'm getting at is when two great players face off, especially in some match-ups, the turns are sometimes going to end up longer. You make what feels like a strong play, then your opponent drops a vicious counter. Then what? This is a game of strategy and some turns require more thought than others. One turn might require 10 seconds of thought, while another requires 40. The next may require 5.

    I completely understand that it is a judge's job to make sure the game carries on at a regular pace...but if a player's opponent has no objection to that pace, I feel that a judge shouldn't directly interfere.
  11. amphyrules

    amphyrules New Member

    What do you know, you cost me worlds!
  12. Drew Holton

    Drew Holton New Member

    The main problem is that none of the judges have any idea how to play at a high level and therefore are completely unqualified to tell when someone is playing slow. I haven't seen the guidelines for slow play, but based upon how the penalty was called at Nationals, they are horrible and honestly need to be completely redone. The amount of time it takes to do a move changes significantly depending on what the game situation is and any set time limit guideline is utter BS as a result.

    For example, a prize penalty was called on me during top 128 after I did a thirty-five second Cyrus's Conspiracy. The game was incredibly close (3-3 on prizes) and my decisions for the Cyrus's would have an incredible impact on how the game would carry out. First off, thirty-five seconds isn't even long for a Cyrus's in my opinion since a player has to make three significant choices. In my deck alone I played three different types of basic energy, five different supporters and four different TGI cards. The numbers of possible combinations is vast and combined with state of the game at that moment, I probably could have justified taking a much longer time in making the decisions. The judge however thought differently, and when I appealed to the Head Judge it didn't seem like they cared about my side of the story at all. The said something along the lines of "Well its been a prize penalty all day, so I'm not going to make any exceptions." Also for the record, my opponent had not complained once and had nothing to offer when asked about the situation. Now, I don't know if any of the judges involved in the situation have any high level play experience, but I highly doubt it considering how completely justifiable my play was considering the card and game situation.

    The number of complaints against judges, particularly about how slow play is handled, would dramatically decrease if they had any idea how to actually recognize improper slow play. The player reaction, as noted by the OP, has been almost universally horrible so clearly something needs to be done by POP to rectify the situation. I would suggest better guidelines as a start and probably better judge training. The head judge in my situation had clearly already made up his mind to support his judge before he even reached the table. This should obviously not always be the case. I know this judge will probably come and share his thoughts (Lawman, I believe) but I'm just calling it like I see it.
  13. Prime

    Prime Content Developer<br>Blog Admin<br>Contest Host

    The guidelines are just that, guidelines. I can't speak for all the judges, but I don't follow them to a tee. I understand some situations require more thought and time. I think many judges do also.

    One reason for a slow play penalty is to get the penalty in the system. Even if it's just a warning and the slow play doesn't decide the game, having the person's name in the system allows for the other judges to watch for the person in the future for any future signs of slow play.

    I can't speak on individual rulings, as I didn't have a hand in them myself.
  14. The_Lurb

    The_Lurb New Member

    Way to put every valid post together. Oh and thanks for chopping many of them up so they sound worse. Although I don't have a problem with supporting the GOOD judges because they obviously deserve it there are many flaws in the judging system that need attention to be brought to them. Not nerfed by some "omg every judge is so amaaaazing 1!11!1!!!" thread. Like was also said in the other thread, we appreciate the judges who care and are good, not the ones that make mistakes constantly or large mistakes.
  15. hueglin

    hueglin New Member

    If there are specific judges who consistently make bad decisions (which I am not denying there are), then players should make a private complaint to Pokemon International. If enough people make separate and private complaints about a particular judge's credibility, then I am sure they will look into it. The problem with posting complaints in a thread is that it just becomes one big gripe session with very little focus.

    The problems you see with the judging guidelines are a different matter. I think making a thread about how the judging guidlines could be improved would be a very good idea.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  16. Box of Fail

    Box of Fail New Member

    Why are there always 'appreciation' threads/ posts in defense of POP and judges, or frankly, whatever people are complaining about? They're really unnerving, People should whine and complain incessantly even if whatever is being complained about is of high quality... I NEVER cease complaining, because regardless of how outstanding something is, it can be improved, and negativity leads to more improvement than positive feedback.
  17. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    I guess your name is more literal than I thought.
    How often do they let you out of the box?
  18. Leaf

    Leaf New Member

    I don't think these discussions should be used to say that judges as a whole are bad, but as we can see, there seems to be a consensus that judge quality could be improved. I don't think that judges should take these posts offensively, I think they should see them as a constructive criticism.
  19. NoPoke

    NoPoke New Member

    Improper slow play? Slow play can never be anything other than improper. Your whole argument is based upon some sort of idea that there is such a thing as proper slow play. SLOW PLAY is always wrong. Which is why you wont find me at the top tables, but that absence doesn't mean I'm not aware of slow play. I'm acutely aware that under pressure I am unable to maintain adequate pace. That I need time to analyse a complex situation. Time that I am not allowed if I am to maintain adequate pace.

    nothing wrong with calling it like you see it, but when you put in that you "haven't seen the guidelines" that really weakens your case.
  20. DarthPika

    DarthPika New Member

    But is the slow play always a fair call? I got a warning for slow play this year at states because the judge thought I was taking too long on my Cyrus. It was about 95 degrees in the venue, I wasn't using the greatest quality of sleeves and they were sticking. My pace of play with everything else was well above average. I had JUST told my opponent that I was having trouble looking through my deck, and he had no problem with it at all. Even after we both told the judge that the pace of play was fine, I still got the warning. Are your really going to say that it's necessary to give a slow play warning so I can be watched for slow play later on when I was playing at a perfectly acceptable pace?
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