Tuesday Update – 8/18 Conference Policies and Call-Outs

Hey all! We’ve got a lot to go through this week update wise:

First off: L2 Content. We have another 3 modules ready this week:

  • Deck Checks
  • Appeals
  • Draft Calling

We still have a few classes to go, but I just wanted to say that I’ve really appreciated the feedback we’ve received on this most recent wave of content. I know these are all getting out much later than we originally intended, but that patience has allowed us to work with judges whose lives were turned upside down with Covid instead of just replacing those most qualified because they fell behind in such a tumultuous time. It also meant that we were able to address errors, issues, or even recent rules changes prior to releasing those videos.

Once we are finished with getting out new content, we will be going back through Modules for New L1 Candidates to fix errors and make the videos more consistent in their quality and appearance. Currently while we can correct scripts/quizzes or make editor’s notes, editing the video is extremely difficult, and we need to ensure that this next pass through, we set them up to more easily be updated and fixed as we move forward in a world of ever-changing rules, policies, etc.

I’ve been asked why we moved forward with L2 Content prior to making the second pass at L1 material, and while I’ve addressed it before, I wanted to share our reasoning. A VERY high majority of our JA Judges were already existing judges, and when those judges transferred in their Level, they automatically received credit for the modules already covered in the previous L1 test (CR, MTR, and JAR). That meant that New L1 content would be dis-proportionally focused on acquiring new members, instead of taking care of the L1 and L2 Judges that we already have in our community, which make up the bulk of our members. I’m still not 100% sure it was the correct choice, but that was our thought when we started this wave of content, and I wanted to make our reasoning (and the fact that we acknowledge that they need to be updated) was out there.

That brings us to our next point, which is a Call-Out for some additional help from a Judge Test Specialist! We need a little help to deliver classes and tests to our members. As Judge Academy continues to push towards serving our members in a social distancing context, we need help with correctly formatting and publishing judge quizzes and online Level 2 Exam on JudgeAcademy.com using WordPress. If you have some time in the next few months to help us push out modules, please take a look at the description and email me at Nicolette@JudgeAcademy.com. Applications will close next Tuesday evening and we’ll be making a selection on Wednesday morning!

We are ALSO looking for some Level 3s to help push through Pre-Event Interviews and possible Panels for those L3 Candidates following the old checklist process. If you have experience with either of those (and especially anyone with experience running remote/digital panels) please email me! I’d love to get you contracted and get PEIs assigned as soon as possible!

Conference Policies – These will be updated on the site and request form tomorrow, but I wanted to give you a heads up on what’s changing for the 4th Quarter. Digital Conferences – Yes, they are still a thing. We do understand that over the last 3 months, different areas have dealt with Covid-19 in difference ways, and we discussed re-evaluating our policies for Sept-December. After talking to conference organizers, Community Consultants around the globe, and our advisors, here’s where we fell with this.

  1. All Judge Academy supported conferences must be digitally run. This means judges organizing conferences or seminars will need to use WebEx, Zoom, Discord, GoogleMeet, TeamViewer, Skype, or any other digital method to organize and execute their event. In areas where local laws, regulations, or guidelines have permitted, Judges attending an online conference may gather together or in smaller hubs as long as they are following their local guidelines around social distancing. However, in addition to being safe and smart around social distancing, those who are able to safely gather are still expected to fully participate digitally, so consider technical limitations and requirements. If you are unsure if it’s safe to gather, don’t. It is important to us that even in areas where local laws have allowed small gatherings, those attending online are going to be receiving the same level of experience, and that no one feels obligated or pressured to attend anything in-person.
  2. Since all conferences must be digital, we are creating an additional role that organizers can choose to use, and codifying another.
    • In addition to an organizer and presenters, an event can have one Back-Up Presenter. This is an experienced person who is ready to jump in to help present if technical issues arise or a presenter loses connection. This person should be separate from the organizer, and should either have a relevant presentation of their own prepared, and/or have access to the other presenters’ presentations prior to the conference. Regardless of whether or not this person ends up presenting, they will be counted as a Presenter when determining support.
    • Additionally I want to be clarify that for an online conference, there should only be 1 primary organizer, and at-most one additional organizer/event assistant. While I understand and acknowledge that setting up a viewing hub can take some time and forethought, we did not feel comfortable setting up a system that encourages and incentivizes Judges to go out of their way convince others to gather together.
  3. There will still be two support packages:
    • One package includes conference promos for JUST the organizers/presenters, and is intended for those without the ability to distribute promos easily or monitor participation/attendance in a way that they are comfortable with. For this, the primary organizer will receive a single package with 3 conference promo packets for them, and enough promos for each additional presenter to receive 2 packs, and each L3 at the conference to receive 1 additional promo packet.
    • The other option includes promotional support for all JA Judges that attend the conference, in addition to the organizers and presenters. For this, the primary organizer will receive a single package with 4 conference promo packets for them, and enough promos for each additional presenter to receive 2 packs, each basic attendee to receive one, and each L3 at the conference to receive 1 additional promo packet.
    In both options, the primary organizer is responsible for the distribution of conference promos after the event. If an organizer chooses to take a presenter slot, that is permitted but they will not receive additional packs for doing so. At the moment, we don’t have a good approved solution for distributing out JA Playmats, as that could be a HUGE burden on organizers to be responsible for mailing out. For now, we are still looking into solutions, but know that we are extending the length of time they will be available once in-person events are back and standard.
  4. A change above you may have noticed: We are extending support for conferences out to all JA Certified Judges, as opposed to just those in-region. HOWEVER, an organizer is always free to (and encouraged to) prioritize in-region judges in situations where there is limited space. Additionally, organizers are never required to accept every application that submits an application in. This means that if you apply to a small local mini-conference across the globe, I would not be surprised if the organizer does not accept your application. At the moment, we are not setting a hard cap on the number of conferences you are allowed to attend, but we will be monitoring numbers in case we DO need to begin setting a limit.
  5. Because of this, and the need for organizers to report attendance for promo pack numbers, all judges will need to apply to the event or be added by the organizer via the Judge Academy Events Portal. That is the source we will use to verify numbers, roles, and level.


  1. Chriga

    I can’t use Zoom for security and privacy reasons. As this is the only tool that I’m explicitly not allowed to use (Company policy and I’m using company laptop/phone), would it be possible to encourage organisers to use the other tools?

    1. Nicolette Apraez Post author

      Absolutely worth asking your local organizer (or working with people to organize your own)! The sooner you get involved in a conference, the earlier in the process they will be and you’ll be able to find out what they intend to use, and point them towards whatever options work!