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Judges and Professionalism


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Despite a low post count I am a long time user of this site. As a fan of video game music I do appreciate the work and time that remixers put in to the songs they make.

So what this topic is going to be about is the respect a remixer should get from his peers when he submits it to the public to be listened to. Now I understand constructive criticism is the name of the game, but if the criticism is "you suck lol, your mix is garbage" that isn't constructive at all and helps no one.

As to the why of the topic we can start and have a look at the role of the judges. It is fair to assume that their first job is to decide what gets put onto the site and all that really entails is a yes or no and briefly why. The second job is to provide constructive criticism, I would assume to give the remixer a few ideas of how he can improve, what worked and what did not. That also doesn't have to be very long.

If a judge wants to be taken seriously at no point should the post be mocking or derisive towards the remixer who unless it is a joke submission, put hard work into his remix and presumably deserves some modicum of respect.

If the site is to be successful then the people who decide the content should act in a professional and appropriate manner (aka not like immature 13 year olds) lest it reflect negatively on this very site. Sure you can be immature all you want on this site at appropriate times, but it seems definitely out of place when you are doing so while reviewing someones hard work as an official representative of OCR. Unless you want to recruit your judges directly off of 4chan I suggest that there is some kind of code of conduct for them. Feel free to keep the contents internally but still there does need to be a standard set.

I dont know if there is a judges code of conduct or not, but it was most presumably broken during the judges decision of The Leviathans submission of Chrono Cross "Stars Frozen in Time"

The judge who shall not be nameless: BigGiantCircles posted not once, not twice but 5 times in this thread and its debatable whether any but the first were necessary or warranted at all. He definitely mocked the work of the remixer, acted like he had a vested interest in the mix not getting passed in order to prove himself right and otherwise acted like a total ass throughout the whole thread.

Some of the lowlights?

"Vig has single-handedly restored my faith in this panel."

Unnecessary, adds nothing to the conversation and portrays you as trying to influence others to vote no. Your opinion is not absolute if anything the panel should be lacking faith in you.
" Also, Larry, If I write a really stellar track, but record a 19 second series of flatulence in the middle, is that passable? :P"
Unfair, completely immature and rude to TheLeviathan, you owe the man an apology.
" Guys, may I reitterate that those chants are not just bad, they're downright awful."
This hardly needed its own post, was definitely rude and were hardly constructive. You had already made your point and opinion known on this previously.

In closing, feel free to act immature all you want on your own time and I am certain you will take me up on that offer. But when you do so as a judge, your job is not to be immature or rude to the remixer as that would reflect negatively upon your self and upon your fellow judges. I think BigGiantCircles should consider pming TheLeviathan with an apology for his conduct and should make an effort not to make the same mistakes in the future.

I dont believe this is a problem with other judges as I dont recall every seeing it before personally. But I believe that they should continue doing a fine job and helping this site be the be the best game music remix site on the internet. Thank you for your time.

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OK. First of all, all the judges are well-respected. If there were any serious question about any individual's ability to do the job, we would have brought it up privately with them. BGC is an excellent judge. Let's start with that.

Second, it's not uncommon for judges to post a lot in a given thread. Judging is not just posting your opinion and then letting it go. We discuss controversial mixes a LOT. Some threads have been several pages long, and this is VERY tame compared to what has gone on before. In many cases, we have changed each other's opinions, or at least clarified our own stances better, as a result of this extended discourse. There's nothing wrong with this in the least. None of us are going to get insulted if we call each other wrong.

Unnecessary, adds nothing to the conversation and portrays you as trying to influence others to vote no. Your opinion is not absolute if anything the panel should be lacking faith in you.

Notice the :< face? He was kidding around. We do it all the time. No big deal.

Unfair, completely immature and rude to TheLeviathan, you owe the man an apology.

Nothing wrong with this quote at all. He wasn't comparing TheLeviathan's mix to flatulence. He was saying that one bad section of a mix CAN bring the rest down, which is a valid point. Whether or not you believed this section was really bad is a good question. I personally agreed with Jimmy on it.

This hardly needed its own post, was definitely rude and were hardly constructive. You had already made your point and opinion known on this previously.

The "awful" quote was harsh, yes, but again this type of language is relatively common and ALL of the judges have done it at some point or another. We get passionate when we're discussing music. Most if not all of us have been rejected before so it's not like we don't know how it feels. We try to avoid getting too heated but it happens sometimes. We're only human.

Your concern is appreciated, but nothing needs to be done differently here. Granted the spirit of your post - that we should be as professional as possible - makes sense, but we don't go out of our way to be mean and Jimmy was very constructive in his evaluation of the track. Any further discussion was par for the course - us trying to convince each other of our opinions. Believe me when I say there have been much worse examples than this before. When you go through 500+ mixes a year it's bound to happen. ;)

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Well first thank you zircon for demonstrating wonderfully the other side of the argument.

I dont really want to get into whether the song should have passed or not (it should have) or whether the chants ruined the entire song or not (they didn't) because im not a judge and my opinion doesn't matter :P (ok im cheating here)

I just felt offended that this judge posted 3 times about how much he hates the chanting, which we can all agree was a very small part of the song. He already said the chants sucked in his first post... case closed right?

So in my mind if hes going to be a good judge the next posts should have been: well I dont like the chanting at all, but if you are going to keep it in, perhaps build up to it more so it doesn't seem out of place, or use a different sample that might work better with the rest of the song.

Rather than just saying they suck 3 times, come up with something actually useful you know? We already established he thinks that they suck the first time.

Also I disagree with you Zircon, no matter how you look at it the thread was about TheLeviathans remix, you cant compare the song being ruined by 19 seconds of chanting with another song being potentially ruined with 19 seconds of flatulence without it being massively offensive... just not possible.

If you were in theLeviathans shoes and someone said that about one of your mixes how would you not have been offended whether it was a valid debate or not (it wasn't and even if it was that is definitely belonging in its own thread of debate not the remixers submission)

Well thanks for the fast response. It was well put I will give you that much, I almost found myself believing it for a bit, but more importantly Id like to see BGC has to say for himself if anything. :P

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Well, to be honest, I thought it was out of line too back when I read it, and not just because I went YES in this case. I just thought it came off as needlessly harsh. Note "came off as", not "was". Besides being too "serious business" about it, I didn't disagree with the post, but only because the comments weren't tactful, so they were easily construed as crapping all over the track. zircon did a good job explaining the context. But I've made that mistake too, so from my experience I wouldn't have said those quotes in the first place, because it comes off as shitting on the track too hard and gets misconstrued.

Some of the comments the original poster made like BGC "looked like he had a vested interest in the mix not passing" or whatever it was, were just offbase. We don't play that game. But yeah, the 3 parts Jimmy wrote that were quoted, I thought were in bad taste and set himself up for a reaction like the original post. Again, to me it's not serious biz, or I would have taken it up with Jimmy had I felt more strongly, but I probably should have, anticipating a reaction like that. Otherwise, you get posts like this, where people THINK we're just hating on something beyond a level of reasonable criticism.

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Again, to me it's not serious biz, or I would have taken it up with Jimmy had I felt more strongly, but I probably should have, anticipating a reaction like that. Otherwise, you get posts like this, where people THINK we're just hating on something beyond a level of reasonable criticism.

Well to continue debate on this particular point, is there anything that should be done to try to prevent issues like this in the future? You said you saw the same issues as I when you read it as for it being perceived as too harsh and as we know perception = reality or it might as well anyway.

I guess what im getting at is there anything that can be done to prevent stuff like this on OCR's end? No im not suggesting a sensitivity class :P but certainly it wouldn't hurt for judges to be more aware of the issue and to consider how their comments might look before they post them. That can only be a good thing right?

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Well to continue debate on this particular point, is there anything that should be done to try to prevent issues like this in the future? You said you saw the same issues as I when you read it as for it being perceived as too harsh and as we know perception = reality or it might as well anyway.

I guess what im getting at is there anything that can be done to prevent stuff like this on OCR's end? No im not suggesting a sensitivity class :P but certainly it wouldn't hurt for judges to be more aware of the issue and to consider how their comments might look before they post them. That can only be a good thing right?

Well, honestly, I've been doing this for 4 years, others longer, and we tend to police ourselves. Vig took me to task on this mix of a racing game that escapes me right now, but man, I just blasted the shit out of it with harsh commentary. Once he said "WTF was that?", I tempered the comments, which originally looked like I was mad at the track or submitter, even though I wasn't. It definitely happens, but stuff that even potentially comes off as being overly harsh or hateful doesn't happen often. It's pretty isolated as it is. So it's not to be dismissive, but I just don't see it occurring on anything remotely resembling a regular basis, so I think we're OK.

I know for a fact that BGC's swamped at work next week, but if you had posted this maybe an hour earlier, he would have seen it. But he'll probably reply.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I actually sort of enjoy reading the harsh comments the same way I sometimes enjoy hearing the judges panel in American Idol (or equivalents thereof). But the panels are worlds apart. The OCR panel would never tell a remixer that he's the worst remixer there is and that he shouldn't be remixing at all (the equivalent of which the AI panel say all the time). I agree it's a little harsh sometimes, and I agree that to be 100% professional they wouldn't be saying the things you quoted above. But then again, if you're used to listening to music you like, and then you listen to something that sounds completely awful, how would you stop yourself from cringing?

Maybe to trained ears, a terrible sample has more or less the same effect as flatulence itself, only more painful? Whenever someone sings, and does it off-key, I find myself making the most tortured faces. I can't help it. I agree the judges aren't 100% professional in their comments, even though this has certainly improved over the years, but I wouldn't expect them to be. They're among friends, doing something they've been doing for a long time. They probably need to cheer themselves up somehow. In judgings of my mixes, I care a lot more about their ability to pinpoint what they think is wrong with my mix than the way they say it.

That said, I estimate the amount of very good mixes that don't pass the panel to be fairly large due to most remixers never resubmitting mixes that nearly pass and that the people here are missing out on good music because the bar is set too high. Having been passed by half the panel this remix was probably pretty good and now I'll most likely never hear it. And yes, this paragraph is intented to assure you I'm not "on the judges' side" or anything.

I hope this didn't come off as an attempt to butter up to the panel. I just think you're over-reacting.

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Haha, oh wow!

Haha, oh wow is right! Just wanted to post, saying that this original poster wasn't me pissed off over a rejection or anything.

To be honest, I was slightly offended at the way BGC kept trying to drive his point home. I'm not saying those were his intentions, but it is hard to tell online. No hate towards BGC because I've always respected him as a judge, and I was actually surprised it was him saying it when I read his comments. I wasn't really that upset over it, though, so no big worries.

Thanks to the original poster (whoever you are) for looking out for us remixers. I'm pretty busy but hopefully I'll get around to fixing up the song to resub sometime soon.

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Being Jake's friend and knowing how hard he worked on his song, I just wanna chime in and say that I was kinda offended too when I read the decision, and also saw how many YES votes the song got otherwise... But since I'm his friend, and know Jake's a mature cool dude about things, I knew he'd get over it and that he has the callous to move on, even if it sucks.

I think what probably sucked the most about this, is that it was the last post in that decision thread, by itself, and that probably made it sound even harsher. Sucks when you're the guy that worked on the song for six months, and that's the last thing you see about it. Judges get that final say, and you just deal with it, that's how it is here, but just pointing out the potential POV of a first time submitter seeing something like that. And why anyone would take issue at all. It might not have bothered him that much, but it did obviously bother at least one or two people, even if it was in passing (like it was for me until I saw it brought up in this thread).

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Good heavens.

First of all, I owe no one an apology.

Second, read my original vote. It's plenty *professional*.

Thirdly, and I'll elaborate on this one, stop taking my words out of context. Did you even read my original vote? It mentioned things that needed tweaking, and then asked Jake to resubmit. And I never once said his track was awful. I specifically cited a single component that is, quite frankly, excessively bad.

Your reaction to my quote about the fart suggests that you (or anyone else who is offended by it) do not have the capacity to understand the concept of an analogy. Well, I'll spell it out for you to aid with your apparent tendency to overthink things.

Seeing as the chants in and of themselves were the worst part of the track (they were choppy, rigid, awkwardly placed, and the decay was cut off by the attack of the next chant, thus obliterating any intended realism and turning it into something much more grating on the ears) and therefore, I felt was a hugely detrimental element that was not acceptable in my opinion. Therefore, when I said "If I record a really stellar track but have a bunch of fart noises in the mix, is it acceptable"? Obviously, you missed the subtle praise that I actually gave the track and ran straight to the "OMG THIS IS UNPROFESSIONAL AND IMMATURE" button.

Let's see. You also missed the part where I said

I promise I'm not trying to throw any hate on Jake, I'd be happy for a RESUB, but man, there's just some stuff that's gotta get changed first.

And as Zircon has already mentioned, anytime you see a :<, :tomatoface:, :P, etc, feel free to step back and take it easy in the future.

Judge status aside, I'm an established remixer. I don't flaunt it, but composing is my primary source of income. There are always going to be conflicting opinions, and I know you can't please everyone, no matter what the issue. If I wished for $100 bills to rain from the sky every Friday, someone would find a way to argue about why that's wrong, not to mention this is the internet, so the likelihood of argument is amplified. My point is, despite the fact that there are others who might disagree, even other judges, I have enough credentials to suggest that I can respectfully say I know what I'm talking about.

Again, feel free to NOT take that out of context and assume that I'm saying I never make mistakes, because obviously that is not true.

Fourthly, I hope you are satisfied with me taking valuable time out of my day to explain something that didn't need it.

Last of all, If my post seems un-necessarily rude or condescending, then it's for one or more of a few reasons:

1) Being human, you caught me in a less than chipper mood this morning.

2) I really DONT have time for this.

3) Granted the condescending/accusatory/judgemental/whatever light of your post, I felt it only natural to return the vibe.

*EDIT*

Looking back, I like what Dafydd posted.

Also, I was never trying to offend Jake. I'm sure it sucks for him to see that I pretty well scrutanized parts of his track. HOWEVER, I would only HOPE that he would ALSO realize that I'd LIKE for his track to get posted, and I gave him PLENTY of suggestions to push it above and beyond the bar.

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Damn, Jimmy done smack-down :D

Anyway, I'm reading "Judges and Professionalism", but I feel like the mentality here is much akin to a deviantart sonic fan art circle. First of all, as someone who is constantly seeking out and dealing with criticism on a day to day basis, I thought Jimmy's feedback was actually extremely direct. I hear from people I respect and admire things like "that part was just downright awful" on a regular basis. And of course, that bit of ego that comes with being human does feel bad each time. However, that bit of ego also gets the message and I spend the next two weeks fixing whatever was wrong. Perhaps I'm not speaking for everyone, but at least for me, a site like this is about showcasing work and improving as a musician--getting my ego stroked is a nice perk, but only comes as a reward to whatever hard work I have to put in first.

Second of all, when we talk about professionals in the real world, chances are the language you'll hear really wont get much nicer than Jimmy's post. If you get hired to make music/perform music for somebody else, if they don't like what they hear they're not going to let it go nicely because they don't want to hurt your feelings. Even worse, if they do like what they hear they might not even express any sort of satisfaction. What's important to them is that they get what they want.

So this is why in general, when dealing with feedback, I follow the "leave your ego at the door" philosophy. Take any criticism, no matter how it's worded, as only rational, literal feedback. Avoid attaching an emotional element to the feedback, as well as to your response. This way, it leaves the musician less vulnerable and allows him/her to accept the information more lucidly.

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Last of all, If my post seems un-necessarily rude or condescending, then it's for one or more of a few reasons:

1) Being human, you caught me in a less than chipper mood this morning.

2) I really DONT have time for this.

3) Granted the condescending/accusatory/judgemental/whatever light of your post, I felt it only natural to return the vibe.

Worst reasons ever. If you're in a bad mood and you have the mental clarity to know you're in a bad mood, then you should also have the sense to not post while you're in a bad mood.

I like you, Jimmy, you never fail to make me laugh, and I'm not wanting you to apologize or anything, but trying to *justify* a rebuttal you know is rude and unprofessional is just bad form.

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If I wished for $100 bills to rain from the sky every Friday, someone would find a way to argue about why that's wrong

Did you even THINK about the impact this would have on us?? Massive inflation, riots in the streets, money becomes worthless! Jeez, dude, what a stupid idea. :<

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Worst reasons ever. If you're in a bad mood and you have the mental clarity to know you're in a bad mood, then you should also have the sense to not post while you're in a bad mood.

I like you, Jimmy, you never fail to make me laugh, and I'm not wanting you to apologize or anything, but trying to *justify* a rebuttal you know is rude and unprofessional is just bad form.

Whether or not I was in a bad mood, the points I made are totally valid. I maintain that I have the right to be annoyed by a post that implies/suggests things about me that are not true, on top of having to allocate time to respond to it.

See:

but if the criticism is "you suck lol, your mix is garbage" that isn't constructive at all and helps no one.

If a judge wants to be taken seriously at no point should the post be mocking or derisive towards the remixer

That's just putting words in my mouth AND taking my words out of context. I have every right to be annoyed by that. I downright HATE when people do that, no matter who/what the occation. Mono and Roz, that's different than dealing with mere criticism. Now, as far as *justifying* a rebuttal, Dhsu, doesn't a response as long as it's valid and sensible (plainly addresses the issues) justify itself regardless of my mood? It's not like I threw in false implications or resorted to name-calling or anything.

And somehow, things have been blown way out of proportion for this entire thread. On the whole topic of *professionalism* and *rebuttals*, you guys act like I should be responding like I'm a presidential candidate or something. I'm not trying to get elected to office, I'm trying to explain things simply. If my directness offends you, then that's something you'll just have to come to terms with. If someone asks me what 2 + 2 is, and I'm in a bad mood when I say "4", what's the problem?

For the most part, I'm a nice guy. I can say I've made more friends than enemies not only on OCR but in real life. It's true it can be said that I had a vested interest in Jake's song not getting passed in it's current form but there seem to be some folks out there who think it was my soul intention to crap on a track that was worked on for six months or whatever. I never once and never will have a vested interest in his track never getting posted. If anything, I like his track enough to bother showing so much interest as I did. It has a lot of potential. However, it could also be a lot better, and I think it be better for everyone (including Jake) when it gets posted after those quirks have been remedied.

And I also really like Doug's input, because he's pretty well on the money. If someone saying some part of a song is awful gets you all balled up and ready to go to war, then you need to do something else. Since Jake's already expressed that he's going to hit the track up and improve it, that assures me that he's in the right mind-set. And I GUARANTEE he'll be happier with the newer version. What I find funny is how others seem to be trying to find a way to be indignant for him. He doesn't need it. He's a talented guy, and I think he knows that. It's a noble intention for someone to stand up and demand that I distribute sunshine and hugs and candy to every submitting remixer, but that's not going to happen. Instead, I can only promise to give the most valid, and if called for, direct appraisal I can.

As an *official* representative for OCR, I can say that it is my job to review music and provide feedback as to whether or not it meets the site's criteria. I often choose to go a step further and throw in advice about what could be done differently/better to improve the track, whether it's above the bar or not. But let me just remind everyone that this is a volunteer thing, and there's yet to be a written handbook for us. And until that time, when I have read and signed that it is my job to sugar-coat all my feedback, what you see is what you'll get.

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