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ChuckS Mon Jun 08, 2020 08:11am

ZebraWeb
 
I have read some poor reviews of ZebraWeb here. In New Jersey we just changed to ZebraWeb from Arbiter - no idea why, since Arbiter was fine, and everyone was used to it. (Well, I do have a suspicion, I would guess there is some incestuous relationship between someone at NJSIAA and ZebraWeb).

The change happened a few months ago, and every email from ZebraWeb has been filled with typos and horrible grammar. The system is very clunky.

And today, I go to see my first two assignments for the upcoming season, and I have to accept or decline without seeing the teams or game location. Maybe that was just a preference set by my assignor?

Just not filled with confidence with this new system - and I don't mind change at all, as long it is productive.

Anybody with recent experience with ZebraWeb?

JRutledge Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:04am

Never heard of it, but it appears that many places are not happy with the cost of Arbiter. Indiana is going to Everlink which is not designed for official scheduling but an educational scheduling program and many of the same concerns you just mentioned are not always easy to access. It is also clucky but does not sound as bad as the system you referenced.

Peace

ChuckS Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:13am

Out of six assignors, two charged me $10, no charge from others. Maybe it was built in to my annual association dues? Seemed a reasonable cost.

Mark T. DeNucci, Sr. Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:14pm

Two of the Div. I softball conferences in which Mark, Jr., umpires use it for scheduling and he has never complained about it. He is not charged any thing.

MTD, Sr.

Nevadaref Mon Jun 08, 2020 08:29pm

The fees charged by Arbiter are way too high for the service provided and they continue to raise them. Any alternative or competitor to Arbiter is a positive.

Arbiter was also sneaky and went to the various state offices and pushed their product along with a cheap background check provided by an affiliated company. The administrators of several states jumped at the chance to cover their backsides on the liability front and now the system is entrenched in many areas.

Personally, Iím glad to hear that NJ changed because it at least demonstrates that some state associations may be willing to dump Arbiter if presented with another option.

Freddy Tue Jun 09, 2020 03:19am

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRutledge (Post 1038860)
Never heard of it, but it appears that many places are not happy with the cost of Arbiter. Indiana is going to Everlink which is not designed for official scheduling but an educational scheduling program and many of the same concerns you just mentioned are not always easy to access. It is also clucky but does not sound as bad as the system you referenced.

Peace

Two different assigning programs (Arbiter, Eventlink) that aren't compatible with each other used by two different states. Really stinks. Too much time necessary to coordinate the blocks in the two systems to avoid double booking. Too many headaches apologizing to assigners for inadvertent double bookings in spite of best efforts. Ugh.

JRutledge Tue Jun 09, 2020 08:27am

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freddy (Post 1038872)
Two different assigning programs (Arbiter, Eventlink) that aren't compatible with each other used by two different states. Really stinks. Too much time necessary to coordinate the blocks in the two systems to avoid double booking. Too many headaches apologizing to assigners for inadvertent double bookings in spite of best efforts. Ugh.

It is certainly a nightmare. Now at least Indiana is going away from using Arbiter, so at least in Indiana I do not have this conflict within the system. But with all the games I am getting from multiple platforms, it reminds me of what it was like 20 years ago when I started. I have to keep track of 4 or 5 different platforms so that I can make sure I do not double book something. Thank God for Google Calendar or I would really be in trouble.

Peace

Altor Tue Jun 09, 2020 09:47am

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRutledge (Post 1038873)
Thank God for Google Calendar or I would really be in trouble.

I only have to work within the Arbiter system and I still make sure all my contests are on my Google calendar. When I get a contract offer, I check Google first to make sure I'm open before I accept. Then I immediately add the contest to the Goog.

I've caught a couple of issues doing this:
1. I've had contracts disappear from Arbiter with no notification that they were cancelled. I checked my e-mail for the confirmation when I accepted and I definitely had the correct date on the calendar. Upon contacting the AD/assignor, he's confirmed that he did not cancel it and asked me to keep the date for him. Luckily, the other AD/assignor understood when I had to decline because he's experienced similar weirdness.
2. I had an AD send me a HS contest and then a few months later assign me a JH contest at the same date/time and location. Don't know how that happened or how Arbiter allowed it.

Mark T. DeNucci, Sr. Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:50am

The OhioHSAA uses Arbiter for the assigning of all sports; MichiganHSAA also uses Arbiter.

Mark, Jr., receives his college regular season softball assignments (NAIA, NCAA Div. I, II, and III) through either Arbiter, OfficialHub, and ZebraWeb, and one Div. I school does its non-league assignments by email. The NCAA uses Arbiter for its post-season assignments.

One has to stay in top of things to keep "blocks" up-to-date.

MTD, Sr.

ChuckS Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:46pm

Just noticed this on ZebraWeb:

Explanation of block:
(required)
For example: Wedding, Game at ABC site


:eek:

JRutledge Sat Jun 20, 2020 01:57pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChuckS (Post 1038937)
Just noticed this on ZebraWeb:

Explanation of block:
(required)
For example: Wedding, Game at ABC site


:eek:

Is that a problem?

Peace

ChuckS Sat Jun 20, 2020 05:01pm

I am an adult, not a middle-schooler. I shouldn't have to give a reason for a block, I am either available or not. I realize being assigned a game is a private matter, and if I refuse to give a reason for a block I may not games. I will gladly take that chance, rather than subject myself to the whims of an assignor to judge the suitability of the reason for a block.

LRZ Sat Jun 20, 2020 06:29pm

Chuck, can you indicate as a reason "unavailable" and leave it at that?

But I agree with you--it's no one's business why I block a date, especially if you have to deal with vindictive assigners. Thankfully, my assigners are understanding, but a former assigner was unforgiving if you worked for other people. If you told him (let's call him Assigner A) you had a previous assignment from Assigner B, you might find your entire A schedule retracted.

I've always thought that Arbiter considers officials an afterthought. This "reason requirement" seems to me a similar dismissive attitude by ZebraWeb: it may be of use to assigners, but offers no benefit to officials.

ChuckS Sun Jun 21, 2020 06:51am

This upcoming season will be my first with ZebraWeb, so "unavailable" sounds like a good option!

JRutledge Sun Jun 21, 2020 09:23am

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChuckS (Post 1038939)
I am an adult, not a middle-schooler. I shouldn't have to give a reason for a block, I am either available or not. I realize being assigned a game is a private matter, and if I refuse to give a reason for a block I may not games. I will gladly take that chance, rather than subject myself to the whims of an assignor to judge the suitability of the reason for a block.

Wouldn't this depend on who you work for? Now you are right, you are an adult. But if let us say an assignor wants to know on a Saturday if you are available at 1:00 pm and they want to know if your game is at a time or location, then that information might help them to offer you a game. I guess you do not have to list that information, but I know for a fact that happens. So if you are blocked only at a certain time but want to work later in the day, the information is for them. Now on Arbiter, we were asked to do similar things if we wanted to, but if I did not want to work I would just put down closed and give no reason.

Now with BlueZebra which is used by college assignors, they are asking us to list game time and location so they can do things to accommodate changes. So if I am in a specific location and is right around the corner from another situation, I might get asked if I want to make even more money later in the day. Or they might ask you to move to another location at a different time. I never have issues with this, but then again those are much bigger checks.

Peace

Camron Rust Sun Jun 21, 2020 01:43pm

I have a similar field in RefTown. It is entirely optional, however. It serves two purposes. First, you can put something in there to remind you what you put it in. Second, it gives your assignor info that they may be able to use if your unavailability is conditional.

You could perhaps be available but only if the game were both at a certain time AND close to some specific area. You could be blocking because your assignor has a policy of not wanting you to work another game before his/hers but may choose to use you if really needed. If you list that you're have another game at XYZ at 1pm, they may still choose to waive their policy and still use you at 7pm if they're in a bind.

SC Official Sun Jun 21, 2020 04:59pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChuckS (Post 1038939)
I am an adult, not a middle-schooler. I shouldn't have to give a reason for a block, I am either available or not. I realize being assigned a game is a private matter, and if I refuse to give a reason for a block I may not games. I will gladly take that chance, rather than subject myself to the whims of an assignor to judge the suitability of the reason for a block.

I agree. I once worked for an assigner who was known for calling folks who were blocked and asking why, for no apparent reason other than to see if they were blocking for other assigners.

If an assigner is only requesting an explanation so that he could "use" you later in the day, I understand that.

But I agree with your overall complaint. If assigners don't have to give you a reason for their actions, then we don't have to give them a reason why we're blocked.

Mark T. DeNucci, Sr. Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:13pm

I retired from officiating college basketball after the 2007-08 which was before the use of online officiating assigning was the norm.

Mark, Jr., has been umpiring college softball since Spring 2015 and Div. I since Spring 2018. He has two assigners who both assign NCAA Div. I, II, and III conferences and they use Arbiter. He has a third assigner that uses OfficialHub for two Div. I conferences and uses ZebraWeb for two other Div. I conferences. Only OfficialHub and ZebraWeb require an explanation for a "block".

Why does OfficialHub and ZebraWeb have such a requirement? Who knows! But the guys and gals here that officiate Div. I basketball or officiate/umpire any Div. I sport know that assigners at that level can be very persnickety. They may want to know if you are blocking them to take a H.S. game or a game in another conference. Some do care that your are taking a H.S. game or a game in another conference and some do! That it just how it is in the big city. But at the Div. I level, no matter what the sport, an official's assigners know which Div. I conferences from which he receives assignments and 99% of the time the official has declared a primary Div. I conference.

MTD, Sr.

Nevadaref Mon Jun 22, 2020 02:14am

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark T. DeNucci, Sr. (Post 1038945)
I retired from officiating college basketball after the 2007-08 which was before the use of online officiating assigning was the norm.

Mark, Jr., has been umpiring college softball since Spring 2015 and Div. I since Spring 2018. He has two assigners who both assign NCAA Div. I, II, and III conferences and they use Arbiter. He has a third assigner that uses OfficialHub for two Div. I conferences and uses ZebraWeb for two other Div. I conferences. Only OfficialHub and ZebraWeb require an explanation for a "block".

Why does OfficialHub and ZebraWeb have such a requirement? Who knows! But the guys and gals here that officiate Div. I basketball or officiate/umpire any Div. I sport know that assigners at that level can be very persnickety. They may want to know if you are blocking them to take a H.S. game or a game in another conference. Some do care that your are taking a H.S. game or a game in another conference and some do! That it just how it is in the big city. But at the Div. I level, no matter what the sport, an official's assigners know which Div. I conferences from which he receives assignments and 99% of the time the official has declared a primary Div. I conference.

MTD, Sr.

Arbiter can be set by the group admin to require a reason for a block or decline as well. It is merely a programming feature which the group admin can opt to turn on or not. There is nothing about this feature that is proprietary which would only permit certain assigning systems to have it. The only reason you are not familiar with it through Arbiter is that those running Mark Jr.ís groups have not enabled it.

It isnít sophisticated though. At least it wasnít when I was on in one of the Arbiter groups which I used in the past. One could enter any text into the reason box, including gibberish, and the system would accept the block.

It all comes down to how nosy the individual assignor is and whether he cares about why you block or who else you officiate for. The computer assigning systems are just tools that the assignors use for convenience and to aide in tracking their assignments. The positives or negatives that is done with whatever information is requested or input into those systems is up to the person using it and totally dependent upon the values of that individual.

ChuckS Mon Jun 22, 2020 04:47am

I agree with the possibility of assignors possibly needing to see info on the time and location of your other games, to see if you could help out. So in Arbiter, it was suggested to me when I started 5 years ago, to choose the option to "share" my schedule with my other assignors. Which I have always done, with no issues.

My issue here was giving a reason for a block, if it wasn't another game. I should have clarified.

JRutledge Mon Jun 22, 2020 09:17am

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChuckS (Post 1038947)
I agree with the possibility of assignors possibly needing to see info on the time and location of your other games, to see if you could help out. So in Arbiter, it was suggested to me when I started 5 years ago, to choose the option to "share" my schedule with my other assignors. Which I have always done, with no issues.

My issue here was giving a reason for a block, if it wasn't another game. I should have clarified.

I understand what you are saying, I think what some of us are saying or at least what I am saying is really up to the people that use the program. So if the assignor is not asking for you to put in a specific game, put in whatever you want to. Usually, these things are up to the person that is assigning. If they want to know what the reason is specifically, I would think they would tell you. Even on Arbiter there was a reason if we declined a game. Only certain people cared what the reason actually was.

Peace


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