answers by John Grant, Andy Heckt, Gijsbert Hoogendijk, and Sheldon Menery
transcribed by Tom Fowler and Daniel Wong
Q: Why is there often a delay in posting judge review forms from high-level events online?
A: Review forms are currently not being posted online due to legal and privacy concerns about making evaluations of judges' performance openly available to the public. In the future, one possibility may be to make these reviews available through the password-protected DCI Personal Information Center. Judges are encouraged to proactively give feedback to and seek evaluations from their peers in person at all events. Andy Heckt still reviews these forms and as available provides edited and anonymous feedback directly to judges.
Q: There have been rumors of a new system to track judge activity. What details are available about this system?
A: A new system to track judge activity is under development. Its features include online recertification tests, automatic notification when a candidate is eligible to retest or a judge needs to recertify, promotional cards (e.g. textless spells) based on number of tournaments judged, and enforcement of the minimum requirements for each judge level.
Details about these changes have been deliberately vague. Andy prefers not to publicly announce changes too far in advance, especially in light of previous upgrades for the judge program that were prematurely announced and then not implemented.
Q: Other CCG judge programs offer online judge certification, but there are concerns that an online-only judge certification option has fundamental flaws. How does the DCI Judge Program plan to address these concerns?
A: Online tests will be used to renew certification and to recognize rules knowledge for uncertified candidates; the standard judge certification process will still be offered only in person. Also, the online test will have time limits and higher score cutoffs than the current written tests, since candidates will be able to consult references during the test.
Q: What languages will be used for the online tests?
A: Online tests will be released in English only at first; translations into other languages will follow.
Q: Will it be possible for Regional Judge candidates to take their advancement tests at events other than Pro Tours and select National Championships?
A: Although there is no objection in principle, the demands of keeping the event running smoothly and the higher player-to-judge ratio make this infeasible at most other tournaments. A Regional Judge certification interview is generally conducted by at least three Regional (or higher-level) Judges, including one Professional Judge or a pair of International Judges. Note that Professional Judges are now empowered to test Regional Judge candidates at their own discretion.
Q: Will there be new judge foils released on a regular basis?
A: Yes. The plan is for new sets of judge foils to be released on an annual basis, beginning in 2005.
Q: I have concerns about a certified judge’s performance, or his behavior at events when he is playing rather than judging. What steps should I take to address these concerns?
A: The first step should be a private discussion with that judge. Make sure that he is aware of your concerns and has every opportunity to correct his behavior. As a last resort, Regional Judges can require Local or Area Judges to take a recertification exam and interview, and can make a recommendation for demotion or decertification based on these results.
Certified judges “rules-cheesing" or otherwise behaving in an unsuitable manner as players in tournaments give the judge program a bad name. All judges should be aware of their responsibility to the DCI regardless of their role in a tournament and should actively approach colleagues who fail to respect this responsibility. In extreme cases, a certified judge may lose his certification due to misconduct as a player or spectator at an event.
Q: Who is responsible for scheduling staff for an event, the tournament organizer or the head judge?
A: Staffing events is always the responsibility of the tournament organizer, although it is not uncommon for the organizer to consult with experienced judges when making these decisions.
Q: Why was the three-judge system removed? Will it return in the future?
A: The three-judge system was removed due to fraud concerns, such as tournaments where the secondary and tertiary judges played negligible roles. At this time, there are no plans to reinstate the three-judge system.