Properly Reporting a DQ

Posted in NEWS on December 7, 2009

By Wizards of the Coast

So you've made up your mind... You are now convinced that this guy did it, and in order to keep it fair for all other players in the tournament, you have decided to disqualify him. Here's how to proceed with the paperwork from now.

First of all, while it's still hot, you should get a statement from the player. That statement must include the player's name, DCI number, and email address (you can still get the first two from your scorekeeper). Experience shows that players who promise a statement for later generally don't write any, and that will just delay your paperwork and the investigation process.

The statement itself is generally the only tool that the player will have for his defense. Thus, he should be asked to mark down what he believes were the events leading to his disqualification. The statement is all his: it can be apologetic, threatening, he can even re-engineer the truth or blatantly lie... Don't forget that most players will be upset and frustrated when they are supposed to write the statement, so don't take anything personally, and feel free to have a judge stay with the player if needed.

In some cases, there will be witnesses: other judges, spectators, opponents. It is important that we get contact data for these people, too, names and email addresses especially. However, don't feel like everyone who was involved in the DQ needs to make a statement. As the head-judge of the tournament, you are the voice of your judges, and you don't need to ask each of them for a separate statement, just include the names of these people in your own statement as additional witnesses we can contact. Same goes for the opponent: your own statement is supposed to include all facts that lead to the DQ, so a statement from the opponent is generally quite redundant and not very useful for us. Don't forget to get the sanctioning number of the tournament from the TO or scorekeeper, especially if you are not entering your report in the judge center on the spot.

Now that you have all the data you need, you have to report the disqualification in the Judge Center. Go to the "Investigations" section, and then to the "Create" tab. Nothing's tricky on the first page, except "Tournament Role," which refers to your role, not the disqualified player's role. A quick tip: the "Subject of Investigation" field has an auto-complete feature, but you can also just type the subject's DCI number and then click the "Search" button. The "City" and "Country" fields refer to the tournament from which the subject was disqualified, not his or your hometown. Be careful while entering these, since some of them can't be changed once you've clicked on the "Next" button.

On the next screen, you have to specify one or more infractions that lead to the DQ. You don't have to add "Lying" when the only lie the subject made was to deny having done the infraction you've DQed him for. Indeed, we don't expect cheaters to admit everything. Also note that some infractions listed don't match the IPG categories. In this case, use the Judge Center's most appropriate infraction.

Then, you have to enter your statement. This is the tough one. Here are a few tips:

- This may or may not be obvious but: your statement has to be in English.
- Start with some indications of when the incident happened (which round of the tournament for instance).
- Use punctuation, spaces, and skip lines. If your statement is a huge block of text, it's very hard for us to read it.
- Go straight to the point. We don't really need to know all the details about the hours before the incident, all the cards in play, how many cards they had in hands, etc. Just mention the details that are relevant to your decision to disqualify the player.
- Don't get lost in details. It is sufficient to state that "his deck was almost perfectly sorted as 1 land/2 spells" rather than stating "his deck was: LSSLSSLSLSLSSLSSLLSLSSLSSLSSL"
- Include names of staff members who were a party to your investigation instead of writing separate statements. It's much better to state "judge X heard him offer a bribe" rather than having judge X make his own statement which is going to be redundant with some parts of yours.
- If you are willing to provide some extra data (pictures for instance), store it somewhere online and provide a link.
- It is fine to include any piece of background about the player's experience, behavior, previous DQs, reputation, etc. Also, if you believe that the player's statement includes some gross alteration of the facts, feel free to mention it (although we somehow tend to give more credit to the judge's statement when stories are conflicting anyway...).
- It is okay to provide a recommendation for a suspension length, but, please, do not tell the player about what you are suggesting, and be aware that generally for consistency purposes we can't always follow recommendations made by the judge who made the disqualification, so don't take anything personally.

If the player waived his right to provide a statement, or if you are reporting an incident that got noticed once the player you are reporting had left the venue, then just click the "Submit" button, and you're done.

In most cases though, you'll have a statement from the disqualified player. Whatever is in it, regardless of how spiteful, angry, or insulting the player was when he wrote it, you must keep the higher standard of integrity at this point and accurately enter that statement in the Judge Center (sorry, we do not accept faxed statements anymore). Again, this has to be entered in English, so if you have to translate it from another language, please do your best. And again, this is the only chance the player has to defend himself, and you don't want to find yourself in a position of being accused of having altered that right.

Once you have entered a paper statement from a player, please keep it until the investigation is closed. If the player gets suspended as a result of the investigation, please keep the statement for an extra month after the suspension is announced.

Once you have entered all statements, don't forget to submit the investigation by clicking the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page. Starting in 2010, investigations are expected to be resolved within a month. Although the person entering the investigation won't be personally informed when the decision is made, the investigation page will mention the result of the investigation as soon as it's decided.

To conclude, let me quote a few sentences from the IPG: "The recipient of a Disqualification does not need to be a player in the tournament. He or she may be a spectator or other bystander. If this happens, he or she must be entered into the tournament in DCI Reporter so that he or she may be disqualified and reported to the DCI.
Disqualification can occur without proof of action so long as the Head Judge determines sufficient information exists to believe the tournament's integrity may have been compromised. It is recommended that the Head Judge's report to the DCI reflect this fact.
For Competitive and Professional events the Head Judge must report all Disqualifications to the DCI Investigations Manager. At Regular events only Unsporting Conduct Disqualifications must be reported to the DCI Investigations Manager, though the Disqualification should be entered into DCI Reporter as usual."

David Vogin