happyponyland.net / Mahjong / Referee calls

When to make referee calls

How strictly should you enforce rules and when should you call a referee? I'm usually all for letting tiny mistakes slip in favour of keeping the pace of the game up (especially in MCR which can often be a bit of a grind).

Here are a couple of situations I have been involved in:

In both cases I did make mistakes, but neither actually disturbed the game or provided an unfair advantage to any single player. However, the problem I see with this is that while technically the other players were right to complain, their motives were questionable. It left me wondering if they did it out of principle, or just tried to pin it on me because it benefited their own game at that point?

The MCR situation in particular created ripples of tricky side-effects; whatever the intention of the player to complain, the referee call disrupted the game much more than my mistake ever did. A better way to handle it would have been to just point out the mistake; I would have apologized and tried not to do it again. In this case the player insisted on getting a referee involved and penalizing me.

If you're going to invoke rules, make sure you know your shit. The purpose should be to curb bad behaviour in the future, not to impose disadvantages on other players because it suits you. The long-term effect of the latter is that you come off as a whiny, sore loser and people will be less willing to play with you (tournaments and professional gambling aside, mahjong is still supposed to be a pastime). Also, I'm a mediocre player at best; you shouldn't need to grasp at technicalities to beat me.

Then there are of course situations where it is entirely appropriate to correct players or, as a last resort, call a referee: