Master at Arms Report 5


A number of reminders and policy statements this week – mostly related to the way we grade (or in some cases, don’t grade) competitions in the DB.

  • I am running another puzzle competition. Click the puzzle!. It runs for about a week!

Competition organizing, credits, and failures to grade

As mentioned in my previous report, one of the things we’ve been kicking around lately is the idea incentivizing closing out of the competitions that you host (or in some cases, incentivizing letting them languish and remain unclosed). To that, I have amended the Master at Arms Policies page to reflect the following policy change:

"Organizers who fail to grade their competitions within the required 45 days will not receive any credit for their competition organization, and the person that did the judging will receive credit. For auto-graded competitions (i.e. most gaming competitions), the Dark Councillor or summit member that closed the competition will not receive credit.”

From my perspective, and the perspective of the Dark Council (and the members that spoke up), it does not seem fair to credit people (either monetarily, or through hosting a competition credit) for not completing the work – and requiring someone else to do it.

Along the same lines, I will continue to strive towards better competitions, more in line with the fact that nobody should be padding their competition with extra organizers – and the higher level of scrutiny will continue.

Competitions and ties

Ties happen in hosting competitions. Sometimes people will have the same time in completing a puzzle ( although, generally, that’s why we encourage tie breakers – such as first to submit, or quickest submission). The best example where a tie can and does and should happen? Cluster races – two members earn the same number of Clusters of Earth and Fire over the period of a competition – that’s a perfect scenario for a tie.

That said, subjectively graded competitions (fiction, poetry, caption contests, what have you) should not ever have ties – even when there’s a grading rubric. Grading criteria such as creativity, humour, all those? They’re sufficiently broad enough that there shouldn’t be a tie – and in fact, cannot be. It’s your responsibility as a grader to pick a favourite. To that end, I’ve added another policy point on the Master at Arms Policies page:

“Subjectively graded competitions (including but not limited to: fiction, graphics, poetry, caption contests, and other forms of creative activities) should not have ties when finalized, as there is always a method of discerning appropriate placements.”

Cluster of Ice update

Please see the Cluster of Ice page for an update on submissions to your own competition. Competition organizers are allowed to submit to their own competition, but cannot place. Self-submissions: Competition organizers must make their self-entered entries public/viewable for transparency to the other participants. Failure to do so will result in remands, and any attempt to game this system is subject to intervention from the Voice and possible CoJ action.

Ask the Master at Arms

Little Atra asks: #AskTheMAA do you have any advice for members with masochistic tendencies that feel like getting involved and one day, perhaps, joining the MAA staff?

Sure! Read everything. Pull a Howie or a Halc and read not just all the stuff on the wiki (insert plug for MAA Policies here) or MAA reports, but the awarded medals and earned promotions that show up on the right hand side of the DB website. That tells you what people are awarding and promoting for.

Turel Sorenn asks: #asktheMAA It seems like the gap between a GC and an SB is the hardest for young leaders to wrap their heads around. Do you have any general, totally not precedent setting, advice for young leaders on what is Sac-worthy?

Okay, so from my perspective, I'd prefer not to see the sapphire blade awarded as frequently for general activity (regular member stuff - doing competitions, gaming, fiction, that kind of thing) much. Can it? Yes. Will it? Yes. Should it be a goal for people? I'm not so sure.

So a regular member that has done an ass load of regular member things plus ...something else, leadership, administration, tearing apart the wiki, screaming at Mav for a while, is where I'd prefer to see it - but obviously that's not always going to be the case. Especially when you have someone that's got a number of Dark, Anteian, Steel and Grand Crosses already - it just makes sense that the Sapphire Blade is where you go next

There's been a distressing tendency in the past few years for people to want to save up for Sapphire Blade....without looking at things like Steel Crosses and Grand Crosses. People just jump to the first stabby thing and I don't think that's the greatest idea.

Does that ...actually answer it or did I just give you a governmenty non answer? :P (Turel said yes).

Medals and Promotions of Note

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Posted on May 30, 2017 at 1:36 AM
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I'm still waiting on my SB for screaming at Mav.

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 1:42 AM

It takes time. Great report, Howie. Thanks for including the CoI update and all your other help with new policy and procedure updates.

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 2:25 AM
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But what about #trashpandas

Nice note on SBs and GCs.

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 2:26 AM

Locke: Some day. Not today. Or tomorrow. Some day.

Trash Panda is so much worse.

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 10:17 PM
Teylas av

The MAA staff is gr8.

Posted on May 31, 2017 at 12:01 AM

Good stuff. Appreciate the clarification on SB vs. GC and the competition closing timelines.