Monday, July 20, 2009

Why I judge

This is a little off topic, but as I look toward the nomination deadline for judging next year and think about whether or not I should try again it passes through my mind a lot. Iappologize if it goes a little off the track, or pushes back the other, more important stuff I'm working on, but I feel the need to get it out.

Please feel free to skip it. There's no great insight into the award, just my own ramblings and random thought process.

I judge first and foremost because I am a fan of the elements of roleplaying games. I love rules, I like mechanics that make me think, ones that solve problems in interesting or elegant ways, or ones that simplify overly-complex process. I love setting design. I love worlds that are interesting, unique, or that hook into me. I love to share that little piece of someone else's creativity, and maybe make it my own in some small way

I judge because I love being introduced to products and people I wouldn't otherwise see, and spreading them around to make sure everyone see what I've discovered. There's a certain, simple joy in introducing someone else to something cool. It's a little akin to having made the thing yourself.

I judge because I love the process. As much as I whine or complain about those nights sitting on the floor of my livingroom, surrounded by books, with a spreadsheet out, lists in hand, a pen and highlighter clenched between my teeth, and dozens of pages of notes scattered about, it feels absolutely amazzing. It's a sort of high, being completely in the zone like that.

I judge because I like the questions. I love being challanged on the reasons I chose what I did. I like discussing the process and what can be done to make it better. I love the immedaite and constant feedback, for better or worse.

I judge because I think I'm good at it. I don't know that there have ever been any major complaints over the choices I've made, but I stand behind them. I stand by my process, and I stand by the work that I do. I feel like I do my best to keep people informed, and I think I do it better than most who have come before. I have the time, I put in the effort, and I do my best to do it right. I feel like I have a lot to contribute, and I think I've done at least some good for the awards, for the people who submit, and for the public's perception in my time here.

I judge because I value the ability to contribute something to the hobby that has given me so much. I'm no great shakes as a writer, I'll never be the kind of guy who can put out consistant content for a blog or podcast, I don't have the drive or desire to publish anything myself. I feel like this way however, I have skills when I can point people toward places where they can find others that are the best at doing just that, and in that way, I have something to offer.

I judge because the arguments don't really bother me. The frustrating moments are fewer and further between than most acknowledge (and are more often than not built around real points). I feel like I'm less likely to take it personally. I know that opinions are not attacks, and most people will be calm and rational if you just listen, acknowledge their points, answer their questions, and stay calm and reasonable yourself.

Last, but not least, I judge because it is fun. No gaming geek could tell me that the idea of sitting around, surrounded by a mountain of the best products that rpgs have to offer and trying to figure out in which way, which one is the best.

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