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This judging thing
Posted on: May 26, 2017, at 11:17:46am

It's actually a fair bit of work.

I've only judged 2 (and a half) sets so far, but I totally have a new respect for the judges that came before me.

I estimate that each file takes me at least 3-4 hours to look at thoroughly. Depending on length. And quality.

First I get a general feel of the file just by looking at it in DDReam. Let it play straight through. Usually any glaring errors will jump out at me here. Make note of them. Is there any part that looks weird? Make note of it. I also get a general idea of whether or not the chart will be remotely viable for FFR. By this point I usually have a rating in mind for the file.

Next is the most time consuming part. Go through the file with a fine tooth comb. What is being layered? Is that consistent? You step this here, why not there? This is a ghost note. You don't have notes for the melody you've been following. This part is neat. This part is silly. Making notes as I go. For each. And. Every. Thing. Usually I get distracted, simply because I'm at my computer. That makes things take a bit longer. (I had to ascend in Clicker Heroes, okay? I'm sorry.)

Finally, I sit on the reviews for a day or two. I go back over them, making doubly sure that that is a ghost note. The layering is inconsistent there. And so on. Also time to touch up some grammar, even though it's all in point form. A sentence or two at the end to sum up the review and give a general feel on the file as a whole. Continue to agonize over it forever. Then send the message to Dossar, "hey, set whatever is done."

The hardest chart to review is one which seems good on the surface. When you get to the break down the errors start to pile up. Acceptance becomes less and less likely the more I look at such a chart. Which is heartbreaking. I had decided beforehand that this was a decent file. I really want that file to succeed, but now I have to make a decision as to whether just a handful of tweaks will improve it or not. If so, CQ for you, and extra effort necessary to identify which are the most important fixes. If it's more than minor, hard reject, but lots of notes for the stepartist. Looking back, this is the category that a number of my old submissions to FFR likely fit in.

It's pretty neat to be able to see submissions sent to FFR before they get in the game. Both the great and the not-so-great files are, well, great to see. It's my goal as a judge to spur at least a bit of activity on this old site. I remember that the most frustrating thing about sending in files was the slow turn-around time on judgements. "Notes when?" became more meme than legitimate question. I want to encourage new stepartists as much as I can, and keep the old ones going. I want to give the kind of reviews that I sometimes wish I had gotten when I was starting out. The problem is that those take a lot of time to make.

Perhaps my reviews are too verbose, but I understand the delays now. There's a real person on the other end of those reviews. Someone who spent a good deal of time looking at your chart, and coming to a decision on it. Someone with a real job, a real life outside of FFR. This is one of possibly many hobbies for them just as it is for you. So to sum up,


  1. Do you see a progression already with the first and the second set you've looked at in terms of comfort/time with judging?

  2. It still takes a fair bit of effort to be thorough enough. I also second guess myself a lot, so that takes extra time.