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Tournament Operations » Post: Store specific dubious actions list

Store specific dubious actions list

Sept. 24, 2017 02:21:23 PM

Alex de Bruijne
Judge (Level 2)


Store specific dubious actions list

A little introduction:
For a time I've been the sole Judge at my local store.
Now there are two other judges at my store who divide the prereleases between them.
Today I've been running the store during my prerelease and a player makes a strange mistake in reporting his results. (writing down 0-2 instead of 2-0 and 5 minutes into the next round someone realises the mistake).

Now on to the subject:
Whilst discussing this with the head-judge he mentions some other strange mistakes that had been made by other players in previous prereleases. This in my turn led me to realise that previously I'd know each and every ‘dubious’ event happening. Now some (if not all) of these events get lost between the judges.
A player could get away with a dubious cheat as long as he pulls it with different judges.

We could make a store specific “dubious actions list” which is available only to the store-owner and the judges.
The purpose of this document would be to note dubious actions so the judges can be more aware of worrying patterns.
This would be similar to the penalty database in WER, but for local events at Regular REL.
What does the Judge community think of this idea? Has it been tried before?
One concern we've thought of would be ‘naming and shaming’ if this document would become public.

Thanks in advance for your insights!

Sept. 24, 2017 03:38:40 PM

Russell Deutsch
Judge (Uncertified)

USA - Northeast

Store specific dubious actions list

Ive thought about doing the same thing, but on an area-wide level.

While I don't think this is viable to do program-wide, I think it is more appropriate to take it up with your area rep.

Sept. 24, 2017 05:56:06 PM

Chris Wendelboe
Judge (Level 2)

USA - Northeast

Store specific dubious actions list

Originally posted by Alex de Bruijne:

One concern we've thought of would be ‘naming and shaming’ if this document would become public.

Couldn't you in theory track it by DCI number rather than name? If this is a legitimate concern, it would alleviate it somewhat for a slight amount of extra work while checking things.

I don't see an issue with doing this at a store level, so long as the store approves. I also don't see an issue with doing this on an area-wide level if it's felt there is a need for such a thing (again, that's a conversation to have with your area rep).

Sept. 24, 2017 08:32:55 PM

Olivier Wattel
Judge (Level 1), Scorekeeper


Store specific dubious actions list

I think it is a good idea but I would not necessarily limit it to area (using the judge meaning of area) only as for example: our area (and even or region) is small and easily left for another area/region where judges are unknowing about repeating patterns.

Sept. 24, 2017 09:22:39 PM

Milan Majerčík
Judge (Level 2), Scorekeeper

Europe - Central

Store specific dubious actions list

Hi guys,

This is an interesting and controversial topic which I have been pondering on for a long time. I will try to elaborate on it here.

First, there is an old legend being spoken among judges about the fact that all penalties which are recorded in WER are somehow processed by WotC and frequent policy violators are under scrutiny. This mythical process is completely nontransparent to public and I am also not aware of any such case being discussed.

Second, if such investigation process really exists, I believe it is not very effective:
- I doubt there is enough manpower to do it (among WotC employees or among high-level judges)
- It is almost impossible to automate, because I am afraid that many penalty records are just not descriptive enough to draw any conclusions from them (remember the great article by Kevin Desprez?)
- In the end, any suspicion on such player should be transferred to local judges who really judge in tournaments of the player (to confirm suspicions or at least inform the judge that the player is really sloppy…)

Third, the information about past behaviour of a player is a very sensitive data. Be VERY CAREFUL when using it in any way. It would seem that there would be a very elegant solution to our issue: Each time a tournament is started in WER, WER would try to download statistics of the enrolled players which are prepared in the cloud DB and such stats would be present to the judge. Based on implemented rules, WER would warn the judge team about any fishy players. WER would, for example, ask the team to perform some kind of deckcheck on the player…

However, in my opinion, all this is heading in a 1984-like way. Do we really want to create such system? Remember that we have the following sentence in our IPG, which outlines the philosophy for such cases a bit:

Knowledge of a player’s history or skill does not alter an infraction, but it may be taken into account during an

I am afraid that if we implement such system to “big brother” the players, we also implement a tool to unintentionally bully players. Me, as a judge from the country with history of 40 years of communist totalitarian regime, just feel uneasy about it.

Fourth, in case you decide to create such local database of players' infractions in “wild west style” you cannot use official exports from WER (which would otherwise be very convenient - just somehow process the .xml files). WPN policy forbids TOs to disclose such personal information to a 3rd party.

Sept. 24, 2017 10:46:51 PM

John Brian McCarthy
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Grand Prix Head Judge

USA - Midatlantic

Store specific dubious actions list

Alex brings up a good point about the importance of investigating each infraction carefully, including asking players if they've made that error before, and following up if you believe that there's a pattern (or if what the player tells you contradicts what a someone else has told you).

But it's inadvisable to create your own penalty database - in addition to the possibility for embarrassment if it becomes public (and it'll become public if it's widely used), you're using unverifiable information to corroborate a story that could lead to a disqualification.

If you're uncertain about a disqualification, you can contact the Player Investigation Committee with your concerns, and they can help you proceed from there.

I'm closing this thread.

Sept. 25, 2017 01:29:55 AM

Scott Marshall
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Regional Coordinator (USA - Northwest), Hall of Fame

USA - Northwest

Store specific dubious actions list

I have a few comments, but the most important one is the one I'll start with:

A player's Warning history is personal data, and tracking or sharing that - esp. with any sort of identifying information - may be violating a number of local and national statutes. (Obviously, that varies by country.)

While there are ways to anonymize that data, it defeats the entire purpose, unless you violate that privacy at some point. Players consent to a number of written and unwritten policies (MTR, just for starters) when they enter a private event, but concerns about personally sensitive information is fairly global and general, and probably overrules any such “user agreement” in most jurisdictions.

For all of those reasons, it's probably clear why Wizards can not and will not share that data. On a local scale, this is still a very bad idea, and hopefully I've helped y'all understand why.

Before preparing this response, I sought advice from various people; here's some great advice:
Originally posted by Sean Catanese:

The event you're judging matters more than these concerns. Ask good questions, make well-reasoned decisions, and follow the DQ guidelines (which should include “write a good statement”).
I'd add to that my personal skepticism that having access to a player's Warning history could help us conduct a fair and effective investigation.

Also, I want to expand on what John Brian said (OK, twist it for my own purposes): you can file an investigation in Judge Apps even if you didn't DQ someone. Perhaps you learn something a day or two later, or even just an hour later but after the suspect left, or maybe you just weren't certain enough to DQ (49% instead of 51%?); you can share your concerns with the people who actually can use that data in an effective (yet still impartial and fair manner). Furthermore, the Player Investigation Committee has the right to use that data, as part of their role on that committee - and most of us do not have that right.

As an aside, I want to correct one thing that Milan said, or at least implied - that the study of accumulated penalty data is “mythical” or a “legend”. In fact, more than one player has been suspended due to accumulated penalties. Yes, those are extreme examples - and I'll argue that's as it should be, accumulated penalties shouldn't be acted on unless it's extreme. I'd even venture that, in the much more limited scope of a local accumulation of such data, it should never be acted on.


Edited Scott Marshall (Sept. 25, 2017 01:30:21 AM)