Instructions / Tips for New Judges
Q. Oh god, what do I do?
The very very very first thing you need to do is make a prompt. Most people usually make a new prompt within an hour after being notified of their win. The longer the particpants have to work on their stories, the better their stories will be, and the less shit you'll have to read.
Q. What do I do for a prompt?
Anything you want! Look through some of the previous weeks if you're unsure of what stuff is usually done for prompts. If you have absolutely no ideas, you can ask people for them, check out the list here, or let somebody else make the prompt for you. This third option is rarely done, and takes away literally the only good part of winning.
Q. What do I include in the prompt?
The number of the TD round. Usually in roman numerals to pretend we're fancy.
A signup deadline.(usually midnight Friday of your home timezone, but can be anything.)
A turn in deadline. (usually midnight Sunday of your home timezone, but can be anything within a week.)
A word limit. (usually around 1000, up to 2000 if you hate your life and want to read a novel in a day, or down to 500 if you want a shitload of vignettes.)
A list of entrants. When somebody signs up, you need to edit their name into your post. (This is how we find out who is a miserable failure.)
A list of judges. YOU CAN UPDATE THIS LATER. POST THE PROMPT ASAP, AND THEN FIND COJUDGES.
Q. What week is it?
You are the judge for Week #435
Q. How do I write that in roman numerals?
Omg, you're so lazy. Ugh, fine. CDXXXV . I hope you're happy.
STOP READING AND GO MAKE THE PROMPT RIGHT NOW.
Q. How do I find cojudges?
Come to IRC and badger people (SynIRC #thunderdome). Get on your knees and beg. Do what you must. Send PMs to people who judge a lot. Post in the thread begging for somebody to help.
Q. What are flash rules?
Flash rules are rules in addition to the prompt. Most usually handed out to a single person, but sometimes to the whole thread. Usually surrounded by :siren: to get people's attention. People will ask for flash rules, and it's the judges' responsibility to give them. They can be anything from "write about a dog" to "your main char has cancer" to "don't use any e's in your story." Just keep in mind that really restrictive flash rules will probably lead to a shitty story and aren't much fun, so vague rules are the best.
Additionally, a flash rule may be handed out for punishment to somebody who hasn't asked for one. Is somebody shitting up the thread? Give them a flash rule about a character that gets shot for never shutting up. Just don't like a person? Give them a flash rule. It's fun! (warning: may make people mad. Welcome to Thunderdome)
Q. What if [extenuating circumstance]?
You are the head judge. What you say goes, no matter what. This is the only hard and fast rule of Thunderdome. The lead judge is god for that week. Use your power wisely.
Q. What if somebody turns a story in past the deadline?
See above. You can DQ them, ignore them, or show them mercy.
Q. What if I disagree on the winner/loser with my cojudges?
see above. you can reach a consesus, or tell them to fuck off. nobody will fault you, but they may refuse to judge with you again, so keep that in mind. Generally there is arguing, bartering, making deals and so forth, but at the end of the day the results post is the official result, and only the head judge should make that post. Several brawls have been the result of judging conflicts.
Q. What are Honorable/Dishonorable Mentions?
Stories you really liked but didn't quite win, or stories you really hated but didn't quite lose. How many you hand out is up to you. you can give out 0 or 10. Average is around 3 for each.
How Do I Post Results?
Q. Can I see an example of a good results post?
Here's a good one.
Q. How do I handle the losertar?
Just link to the loser's story in your results post. Somebody else will take care of the rest.
Q. How should I format the results post?
It's up to you, but mention the winner, loser, any HMs/DMs/Disqualifications. Some people link to individual stories within the thread to help people who might be curious to see what you picked.