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Second robots being used for higher levels

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  • #16
    Since this is the 'share your thought' section, I wish to urge the GDC to reconsider their answer in the forum and re-state the rule as teams have generally interpreted it: one robot at a tournament and one tournament per weekend.
    Unless teams tattle on each other, there is no way to enforce the rule, so we would be penalizing the teams that follow the rule as stated in the forum. Since we are not supposed to erase the engineering notebook and delete CAD drawings, I don't see how the judges should follow Alec's scenario and start DQ'ing teams. (And really, judges do not have time to study each team's engineering notebook in such detail.) Each round competing with an illegal robot earns an egregious which quickly escalates to a DQ from the whole event.
    Leap-frog development is a best practice followed by the best teams (think World Champions) for years. This rule as interpreted in the forum makes that illegal. Shall we put an asterisk next to the name of all our former World Champions.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by NEOFTC View Post
      Since this is the 'share your thought' section, I wish to urge the GDC to reconsider their answer in the forum and re-state the rule as teams have generally interpreted it: one robot at a tournament and one tournament per weekend.
      Unless teams tattle on each other, there is no way to enforce the rule, so we would be penalizing the teams that follow the rule as stated in the forum. Since we are not supposed to erase the engineering notebook and delete CAD drawings, I don't see how the judges should follow Alec's scenario and start DQ'ing teams. (And really, judges do not have time to study each team's engineering notebook in such detail.) Each round competing with an illegal robot earns an egregious which quickly escalates to a DQ from the whole event.
      Leap-frog development is a best practice followed by the best teams (think World Champions) for years. This rule as interpreted in the forum makes that illegal. Shall we put an asterisk next to the name of all our former World Champions.
      More than likely a lot of teams that faithfully followed the rule got knocked out of this season by teams that violated the rule. Also, teams that violated the rule now have a HUGE competitive advantage in the remainder of the season over teams that faithfully adhered to the rule. For these reasons, and considering how late it is in the season, unfortunately I can't see how the rule can possibly be changed for this season.

      Also, I was mistaken when I stated that the rule is unenforceable. I neglected to take GP into consideration in formulating my opinion. In virtue of GP the rule is self-enforcing. Teams that violated the rule are compelled by GP to withdraw from the season.

      For the remainder of the season, teams will be reminded of the rule at the drivers' meeting, at winch time teams that violated the rule will be compelled by GP to withdraw from the tournament. Failing to to withdraw from the tournament will likely be considered doubly egregious.

      Next season starts May 1, which is less than three months away. Until then, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for teams that violated the rule.

      As you know, I disagree with the rule, but that doesn't change anything.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Alec View Post

        More than likely a lot of teams that faithfully followed the rule got knocked out of this season by teams that violated the rule. Also, teams that violated the rule now have a HUGE competitive advantage in the remainder of the season over teams that faithfully adhered to the rule. For these reasons, and considering how late it is in the season, unfortunately I can't see how the rule can possibly be changed for this season.
        I'm sorry but I must disagree with your phrasing.
        The "rule" is not new at all.
        However it is clear that 99+% of people's interpretation of the rule is different from that of the GDC... in fact we have not seen evidence of even that 1% here or on the FTC forum yet.
        What we have is a "ruling" (not a new rule) by the GDC that is in fact very new, very late-breaking in the season which, as mentioned, goes against what virtually everyone, to date, has interpenetrated it as, as essentially makes it a new "rule" because it now prohibits SUBSEQUENT robots (one after the other) when before it prohibited only CONCURRENT robots (two simultaneous). These are very different things.
        So when you say "it cannot possibly be changed", the problem is that in fact the GDC has just made a major change, with their ruling that changes the rule, and we are asking for it to be UN-changed for exactly the reasons mentioned.

        Also, I was mistaken when I stated that the rule is unenforceable. I neglected to take GP into consideration in formulating my opinion. In virtue of GP the rule is self-enforcing. Teams that violated the rule are compelled by GP to withdraw from the season.

        For the remainder of the season, teams will be reminded of the rule at the drivers' meeting, at winch time teams that violated the rule will be compelled by GP to withdraw from the tournament. Failing to to withdraw from the tournament will likely be considered doubly egregious.

        Next season starts May 1, which is less than three months away. Until then, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for teams that violated the rule.

        As you know, I disagree with the rule, but that doesn't change anything.
        Wow, this is an incredibly draconian response.
        I cannot imagine the fury and disappointment experienced by any team who would find themselves in this position, and it pains my gut just to think to look into the eyes of a team of teenagers and tell them such a thing.
        We are talking about a situation where teams could have been completely within the prior rule, and suddenly are now in violation with no warning. Keep in mind this ruling is, unlike most others, retroactive in nature - one's prior actions matter, not just what they do from this point forward. This is literally retroactively convicting someone of something that was not a crime at the time it was committed.

        Also - I would contend that it still remains very difficult to enforce, not because most teams ignore GP - I believe in fact almost all do to the fullest extent - but rather that the interpretation of "one robot undergoing iterative change" remains so vague and open ended, that virtually any team could come up with a justification for why it would not apply to them. Hence the GDC needs follow up on this with more detail to make the ruling actually useful.
        Last edited by RatLabGuy; 02-09-2019, 09:53 PM.

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        • #19
          RatLabGuy, according to the GDC's ruling, the one-robot-per-season rule has been in effect since the beginning of the season. Therefore, teams that have been adhering to the rule since the beginning of the season are at a huge disadvantage.

          I agree with you that it is absolutely horrifying to know that the GDC is capable of conceiving a rule such as the one-robot-per-season rule AT ANY TIME. So, with great respect, I suggest you are barking up the wrong tree here.
          Last edited by Alec; 02-10-2019, 09:17 AM.

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          • #20
            I mentor a large team. We roster 15 at every meet and tournament. At the beginning of the season, I floated the idea of building two robots. The first would be for early-season meets. One that could hang, push minerals on the floor, and serve as a test platform for autonomous development. It would be built by the junior members and could be pretty simple. Meanwhile, a late-season robot, capable of the more difficult tasks like collecting from the crater and scoring in the cargo hold would be developed by the more experienced designers and builders. This would keep twice as many builders busy! It's a challenge to keep 15 kids engaged when there is only one 18" robot to work on.

            Fortunately for us, with respect to this new ruling, the early-season robot evolved and was able to take on the late-season assemblies, so a second fully-separate robot never materialized. However, I felt the approach had merit, and would appreciate the freedom to operate this way in future seasons.

            For large teams, two concurrent builds allow more hands robots and more advanced designs to flourish. By my original reading of <T7>, this was OK as long as only one robot was present at a given event.

            I do hope the GDC will reconsider their interpretation of <T7> to mean what it clearly says. If not, rewrite the rule to say exactly what is intended. But please don't do the latter for the many reasons enumerated here and these other posts.

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            • #21
              In the league system in which we participate, many of the teams in our league build new robots in between leagues to do things like upgrade their drivetrain, while still having a fall back plan. With usually 3 or so weeks between competitions, rebuilding an existing robot in a fundamental way becomes very hard and risky. At least 3 of the 7 teams who advanced from our league qualifier competed with a different robot in their first or second league then they used in the qualifier.

              If the teams take Alic's suggestion of graciously and professionally withdrawing from competition, almost half the teams advancing from our qualifier would need to abstain from competing in the state championship. If we assume a similar ratio of robot rebuilds state wide, that would mean almost half of the teams at states would be compelled to drop out. This would be hugely problematic, since the competition is less than two weeks away. Worse, more of the better teams than the worse teams would probably be weeded out, since building a second robot is a fairly common thing to do to improve robot performance. In practice, if all the teams who had used multiple robots throughout the season just dropped out because of a retroactive forum clarification, future competitions would be very wacky.

              Just think about all the teams who have followed good design practice of iterative design. These teams in good faith interpreted <T7> as meaning that they shouldn't have multiple robots at a single competition, rather than it forbiting them from using multiple robots at all. Now, they are being asked to forgo their plans for competitions, and abort their session 2 months early. (If they had gotten to FIRST championship)

              If <T7> is going to be interpreted as the recent forum post suggests, at very least make it illegal for teams to build another robot after this. I would prefer that <T7> be interpreted as everyone I know has ever interpreted it as, that you cannot have two robots at a single competition. However, if the game design community decides to uphold their decision to limit a team to one robot per season, then at least grandfather in the teams who in good faith built a second robot to improve their robot. It doesn't seem fair, sensible, or frankly graciously professional to disqualify teams for in the past, breaking a rule that they couldn't know meant what it did until recently.

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              • #22
                Hi Jonathan. We are just sharing thoughts here. I am sharing my interpretation of the ruling and worst case scenario fallout so that teams can be prepared (teams helping other teams).

                If your team is affected by any rule or ruling, then my only suggestion would be to reach out to the tournament director of your next tournament beforehand and explain your situation. Ultimately, the tournament director and/or her officials are the folks that will be deciding whether or not your team can compete in their tournament:

                In this case the ruling says "Teams should use one robot during the season and make changes to the robot during the season as needed/appropriate." (Emphasis added on the word "should") I have a feeling that the word "should" in the ruling will mean different things to different tournaments.

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                • #23
                  Hurrah! The interpretation was officially edited today.
                  EDIT 2-13-2019
                  We would like to apologize for the previous response to the proposed question. Although the rule can be interpreted as not using a second robot whatsoever, FIRSThas reviewed the ruling and would like to revise the answer previously posted. This edit serves as the official answer, and the previous response will remain as a reference.

                  Rule <T7> was created to ensure that teams entered a single robot into a tournament and to compete with that robot throughout the entire tournament. Teams cannot use a second robot at a tournament, nor can they use two different robots at concurrent tournaments. However, if a team were to build a secondary robot that was to be used at a different competition on a different date, this would be considered a legal and allowed strategy.

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                  • #24
                    +1 Huzzah!

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                    • #25
                      Thank you GDC for the clarification and wise edit.

                      Hey look, the system works ;-)

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                      • #26
                        Thank you from me and the team. The clarification makes perfect sense. Cheers!

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