Many people have asked us how they can help us out with HEMA Ratings.

The most important thing everyone with an interest in the continued success of the project can do is help spread the word. If you are a long-time fan of HEMA Ratings it might surprise you that not everyone in HEMA is aware of our existence, but we quite regularly get messages or comments from people who've just found out about us or didn't know we have a Facebook page where we post updates. Simply inviting your HEMA friends to like our Facebook page , telling your clubmates about us and otherwise spreading the word will help us immensely.

For anyone willing to spend a few bucks a month, we are always happy for support on Patreon . The income from Patreon helps pay for server costs, domain and email, and to keep a "rainy day-fund" for expenses like software licenses and logo design.

If you're still looking for ways to help, please read on.

The perfect event

Before going into specifics about how you can help, here is how a "perfect event" would look from a HEMA Ratings perspective.

The aim of this list isn't to go into details like which divisions the event should offer, whether the organizers should pay judges or the myriad of other large and small decisions that need to be made for every event, but to put the spotlight on those decisions that directly affect the process of having your event's results added to HEMA Ratings.

Before the event

As early as possible in the process of organizing an event the organizers should decide whether they want the results submitted to HEMA Ratings. If they want the results to be submitted there are a few requirements that need to be met, which can all be found on our About page and organizers should read through the tournament rules with a focus on ensuring that the tournaments qualify.

In the information about the event and during the registration process, attendees should be informed that the results will be submitted to HEMA Ratings. This serves the dual purpose of spreading awareness of HEMA Ratings and being upfront that people's information will be submitted to HEMA Ratings, so that nobody feels "ambushed" when they learn that their data will be submitted to a third-party.

Some people have concerns about appearing in a public database like HEMA Ratings. They can contact us to request to have their data in HEMA Ratings anonymized, and ideally they should be informed about this and be able to choose this during the registration process.

During the registration process, ask that people sign up with their full name (or whatever name they are already registered under in HEMA Ratings) and that they only sign up with real clubs. We spend a fairly large amount of time trying to figure out whether the clubs people are registered with are actual clubs or just someone being clever when filling out the form.

If possible, organizers should consider using software to run their events. There is a lot of tournament software that can help you both during the event and make your life so much easier when submitting results to HEMA Ratings. While we currently don't maintain a full list of software, here are some suggestions:

We suggest you ask other event organizers what software they've been happy with.

When the organizing team has decided on what software to use, they should run a practice tournament at training to familiarize themselves with how it works and how to export the results to HEMA Ratings.

During the event

Organizers and staff should take note of any abnormalities that happen that may cause data issues when submitting the results. This can include, but is not limited to:

Make sure to take some photos of the event. We use these for verification and require photos (or screenshots from videos) to be submitted before we import the results.

After the event

Organizers export the results from the software or write them manually into our Excel template which can be found on our event submission portal , where you can also submit event results.

Once an event has been submitted along with photos from the event, the HEMA Ratings team will do our best to import the results as quickly as possible. Once the results are imported organizers must go through the results one last time and confirm that everything is correct. At this point it might be useful to ask a couple of attendees to have a look at the results as well, since they often have a better memory of exactly what happened "on the ground" in any given tournament than the organizers who had more of a "bird's eye view" during the event.

I'm an event organizer

Congratulations, you've taken on the sometimes-thankless job of ensuring that everyone has a great event. Surely, you will be well-compensated for all your effort!

Here is an informal checklist to help you ensure that the HEMA Ratings part of your event goes smoothly:

I'm an event participant

So, you're going to [insert awesome event here] and you're planning to return with multiple trophies and a very important Internet number that's higher than before the event. Here are a few things you can do (beyond actually training) to ensure that your number does indeed go up.

Ask the organizers if they are going to be submitting the results to HEMA Ratings. Ask politely and ask as early as possible because nobody is going to respond well to demands that they do even more work a week before the event kicks off.

If you have experience with organizing events and submitting results to HEMA Ratings, ask the organizers if they need any help in the weeks and months leading up to the event. Are you an expert user of the software they've decided to use and can help them get started? Can you help them export the results after the event and guide them through the submission process?

Write your full name and club when registering. Spell both correctly.

Take some photos or videos of people fighting, medal ceremonies, etc. that you can send to the organizers in case they ask for some that can be submitted to HEMA Ratings.

I'm an enthusiast

The first thing you can do is simply promote HEMA Ratings. Tell people about it, invite them to like our Facebook page , etc.

If you want to do even more, we would love to see people act as "evangelists" in the regional and national scenes. Ask event organizers, national federations, and others what it would take for them to submit tournament results to HEMA Ratings. If you could come to us with concrete issues such as "organizer X thinks it's hard to submit data" or "federation Y doesn't see the value of submitting tournament results" we have something much more actionable than just screaming "please send us results!" into the void.

One final thing you can do, which can be very time-consuming but also has very concrete results, is to gather and submit old data. There might be data somewhere on an old hard drive or in a binder. When HEMA Ratings got started back in 2015/2016 we transcribed entire tournaments from photos posted online and even from YouTube videos

I'm a software developer

We have plans to open-source some of the HEMA Ratings software in the future, but we haven't gotten that far yet. Please check back here later and follow our our Facebook page for announcements when we finally have the time to do the work required to onboard developers.