If we haven’t met, I’m Eric Dustin Brown, a level 3 judge from Seattle and Judge Academy’s Strategy Champion (Which is a really cool title Samma gave me because I like spreadsheets). Recently I have taken on the responsibility of approving sponsorship applications for judge conferences, which includes oversight of the kinds of conference structures Judge Academy wants to support.
In 2023 Judge Academy members will see some changes to our conference support structure. The judge community showed an incredible amount of interest in 2022, supporting nearly 500 conferences around the world. Looking at our data from last year we believe a number of regions, especially in parts of the United States, were over-served compared to other parts of the globe. The result of which will be that some historically over-served regions may see a decrease in their total number of conferences while other regions see an increase. We would like to support a higher quality of conferences for our judges. A higher standard for sponsorship application acceptance is going to have organizers in certain areas competing or working together for a more limited number of spots in their region, resulting in higher quality conferences across the board.
Digital conferences have been an integral part of our community’s ability to stay connected and educate one another over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as in more remote parts of the globe. Digital conferences are certainly not going away, but their volume in over-served regions is going to be reduced as we strive for better educational content for our judges.
Additionally we are making some adjustments to the assortment of promos we are shipping out to conferences. These changes will in part help streamline the process of packing and shipping to and from our organizers as well as reduce fulfillment time overall. However, this does mean that digital conferences will be moving from a 2-card up to a 4-card pack! Going forward Judge Academy members can expect to receive the following promos from a supported conference, digital or physical:
These are additive, not restrictive. For example: an L3 presenter will receive one four-card promo pack for attending, one for presenting, and one for being an L3, plus they will receive one bonus promo for presenting. Organizers will still receive a number of extra promos to replace damages as necessary, and as a thank you for handling promo distribution logistics. Organizers will still receive a four card pack to give the venue as a thank you as well.
Conference package sizes for attendees will see some adjustments. We’ve received feedback from folks that 25 attendees as the smallest offering is simply too large of an expectation for some parts of the world. The packages listed below include the four card packs to give to the venue as a thank you, along with packs to thank organizers handling shipping for digital conferences. The conference packages are changing as follows:
I believe that right now as a community our average conference quality is below the greatness we are all capable of. I am making the call for potential organizers to think about who their conference is for as they are preparing it and to explore ways to keep things interesting, engaging, and educational. (Also fun! There is no reason to not bring some levity to a conference. After all, it is a community event.)
Regarding event-attached or event-specific conferences, I have certainly made my thoughts on those known to folks who’ve talked to me over the years: I feel the logistical challenges of event-attached conferences can put a serious strain on not just the organizers but also the overall quality of presentations.
I understand that event-attached conferences are the only way many judges get to attend judge conferences and interact with their local, or global community. I have no intention of removing this kind of conference. I want to take time to talk with tournament and conference organizers to explore our options for making these kinds of conferences valuable experiences for our judges. With any future changes, the Conference Information Page will be updated along with a supporting blog post when/if that time comes.
Conferences received changes in 2022, but getting things right is an ongoing process. I believe in taking an agile approach to adjusting our conference support strategies. Going into Magic 30 I had felt ready to launch for 2023 with a set of new changes; after spending the event talking to judges, tournament organizers, and conference organizers I’ve made even more adjustments to that plan. I’ll be keeping eyes and ears open for people’s thoughts about conferences and as always, I welcome their feedback. I am ready to make adjustments when something is not resulting how we hoped or intended.
Some changes are far less spooky than others (this line was a lot better with a projected Halloween launch, eh?), with a new year also comes new promos! New to the four-card packs in Q1 2023 are Painter’s Servant and Mycosynth Lattice, joining them as our first bonus promo of the year is Sword of War and Peace! I am personally very excited about this year’s offering of promos and I hope that you will all enjoy them as well.
As this article goes live so will the 2023 Conference Support Application Form and Conference Feedback Form on the Judge Academy website. Please direct any questions to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.