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View Full Version : A different perspective on disrupting coopertition bridge balancing


bduddy
03-12-2012, 02:44 PM
So I, like all of you, saw the videos of teams attempting to prevent other teams from successfully balancing on the Coopertition Bridge. Like many of you, I'm sure, I was initially horrified that a team would do such a thing... but since then I've been thinking about it a little more.

In qualification matches, the "alliance" system creates temporary alliances between teams, but those teams are still expected to act, for the most part, in their own best interests (within the limits of gracious professionalism, of course). Most of the time, there is no conflict here: the team would like for the alliance to win, and so would every other team on the alliance. But the occasionally "interesting" way that FIRST handles tournament seeding and the like can disrupt this; recall the example of "6v0", or other examples of teams scoring on their own alliance. While it has occasionally made efforts to keep such strategies from getting out of hand, to my knowledge FIRST has never attempted to insist that teams should always avoid such strategies, or place the interests of their alliance or that of other teams above their own interests.
The coopertition bridge is another such example of a mechanism to shuffle around the seeding order. Although it may give each robot on the field an equal benefit in terms of points, the actual value of this benefit will be different to different teams. Some teams have apparently concluded that it would benefit them overall if that bonus was denied to everyone on the field, and have acted to try to deny it. How is that so different from scoring against your own alliance, for example? I find it interesting that FIRST made very strict rules against interfering with balancing on an alliance bridge, but none against interfering with balancing on the Coopertition bridge (this may change tomorrow, of course), so nothing that was done is against the rules. And although people can certainly disagree on whether denying a Coopertition balance is a good strategy or not, I don't see how it's so wrong for teams to try something that they believe will help themselves overall in the regional, even if it locks them too out of a benefit and goes against the temporary alliance system.

I'd like to see some discussion of this issue without the toxicity and other issues that were part of other threads about it.

P.S.: I don't approve in any way of the rumored behavior of certain teams in browbeating other teams, especially rookie teams, to not attempt to cooperate.

P.P.S: This is my personal opinion and I have not in any way consulted with my former team about it, so please put away your blacklists.

P.P.P.S.: When teams balance on the center bridge, they are "cooperating", not "coopertating" or whatever. "Coopertition" indicates the balance of cooperation and competition that is the entire game, while "cooperation" is what goes on on the center bridge. IMO, of course.

fox46
03-12-2012, 03:18 PM
Another strategy that has been theorized is the deliberate incursion of penalties. Say for example you are playing against an opposing team who have an exemplary robot and are in the top 8. Your team however has had some bad luck and aren't doing so hot. Theoretically you could make an agreement with one of the opposing teams that in exchange for incurring numerous penalties, they would choose you as their #3 team for eliminations. By racking up penalties and balancing the coopertition bridge you could skyrocket their ranking and allow them to have first or second pick of alliance partners. Your team, in return will look unfavorable as having incurred a pile of penalties but at the same time have secured a position in the eliminations on one of the top seeded alliances. You just have to hope someone else doesn't pick you first! - perhaps leave your robot sitting in the pit area with no wheels or something! A very devious but viable strategy.

Lil' Lavery
03-12-2012, 03:28 PM
In 2010, FIRST made it abundantly clear that 6v0 was not the way they wanted to see matches played. If that's your best analogy, I'm unswayed. Actively "sabotaging" the co-op bridge crosses the line, in my opinion. And I'm a proponent of using seeding strategy.

lemiant
03-12-2012, 03:31 PM
Another strategy that has been theorized is the deliberate incursion of penalties. Say for example you are playing against an opposing team who have an exemplary robot and are in the top 8. Your team however has had some bad luck and aren't doing so hot. Theoretically you could make an agreement with one of the opposing teams that in exchange for incurring numerous penalties, they would choose you as their #3 team for eliminations. By racking up penalties and balancing the coopertition bridge you could skyrocket their ranking and allow them to have first or second pick of alliance partners. Your team, in return will look unfavorable as having incurred a pile of penalties but at the same time have secured a position in the eliminations on one of the top seeded alliances. You just have to hope someone else doesn't pick you first! - perhaps leave your robot sitting in the pit area with no wheels or something! A very devious but viable strategy.

This is much harder to justify than the original statement. It is also less viable from a strategic point of view. You are giving another alliance everything they want from you and then hoping that they live up to their word, with no incentive for them except to avoid alienating you. Seeing as you are dealing with an alliance who clearly have few qualms about alienating teams, I'm not sure I'd trust them.

You could also look at a simpler form of this strategy where you don't have to play with the high ranked team at all. Instead three or four games from the end powerhouse team X goes to team Y and says:

"Hey, we really want you as our third, but we are sure someone else will pick you before we get a chance. Can you pretend you are having problems to drop your ranking and desirability?"
Then team Y does exactly that and everyone skips over them in selection assuming they are broken until we get to team X who gets a magically repaired awesome third pick.

That strategy has been open to teams for many years, but it has not been used to my knowledge. The fact that the community opposes this suggests you will have a hard time finding people who agree with throwing a match and pretending your robot is broken at the same time :P

In 2010, FIRST made it abundantly clear that 6v0 was not the way they wanted to see matches played. If that's your best analogy, I'm unswayed. Actively "sabotaging" the co-op bridge crosses the line, in my opinion. And I'm a proponent of using seeding strategy.

When did they do that? I thought 1114 and 469 did it anyways...

EricH
03-12-2012, 03:37 PM
When did they do that? I thought 1114 and 469 did it anyways...
They issued a VERY rare change to seeding rules after Week 1, adding 5 qual points to the match winner's qual score, in addition to the coopertition score, after seeing 6v0 all over the place. 6V0 became a much tougher decision after that.

Chris86
03-12-2012, 06:48 PM
I was under the impression that the change to the scoring system was because of how many lower quality robots were ending up in the top 8 that resulted from the original ranking system.

EricH
03-12-2012, 07:03 PM
I was under the impression that the change to the scoring system was because of how many lower quality robots were ending up in the top 8 that resulted from the original ranking system.
That too--partially. But the original ranking system didn't care if you won or lost. 6v0 + a robot that didn't pass inspection/take the field landing in the top 8, and they added the 5 points to eliminate both.

bduddy
03-12-2012, 09:51 PM
I think Mr. Lim provided a great perspective on all of the issues involved here, even more than I realized.

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1143253&postcount=171

I understand that FIRST eventually came out against 6v0, but they have never taken action to prevent teams from scoring on their own alliance while (in the past) maintaining systems to encourage it. I guess we'll learn their intentions for this year tomorrow... at least, I hope so!

MisterG
03-12-2012, 10:05 PM
I was under the impression that the change to the scoring system was because of how many lower quality robots were ending up in the top 8 that resulted from the original ranking system.

Whew, good thing *that* isn't happening in 2012 ;)

dellagd
03-12-2012, 10:17 PM
I think Mr. Lim provided a great perspective on all of the issues involved here, even more than I realized.

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1143253&postcount=171

I understand that FIRST eventually came out against 6v0, but they have never taken action to prevent teams from scoring on their own alliance while (in the past) maintaining systems to encourage it. I guess we'll learn their intentions for this year tomorrow... at least, I hope so!

I have never thought of that! Not only is that a very thought provocative post, but I have never even thought of FRC games in such a way.

Are you trying to have your alliance win, or just ultimately you win in the end? You are only with your alliance (in qualifying matches) for one match, so why feel some grave obligation to win as an alliance as long as you do well in then end?

Then the morals of FIRST come in, and it is a whole jumble of opinions and strategies. Man!

Mind = Blown

MisterG
03-12-2012, 10:20 PM
Seriously though; there are plenty of gray areas but there are some areas that are not gray. Some may be:


I cannot see any situation where collusion between alliances can be excused or condoned.
I cannot see any situation where putting robots at unnecessary risk can be condoned


Probably an oversimplification but if you think its a bad strategy to balance don't do it.

I think balancing at the expense of winning (e.g. you are down by 5 pts and you balance on the middle bridge rather than on your own) is about the dumbest idea ever but that is just me.

Grim Tuesday
03-12-2012, 10:22 PM
Mr. Lims post is easily one of the defining posts of this season. I shall ruminate further upon my opinions on it, but I would just like to get that out there.

bduddy
03-12-2012, 10:30 PM
Seriously though; there are plenty of gray areas but there are some areas that are not gray. Some may be:


I cannot see any situation where collusion between alliances can be excused or condoned.

Really? How do you plan out a strategy to balance on the coopertition bridge then? Or do you mean something else by "collusion"?

Lil' Lavery
03-12-2012, 11:18 PM
I was under the impression that the change to the scoring system was because of how many lower quality robots were ending up in the top 8 that resulted from the original ranking system.
Unfortunately Team Update #16 from 2010 is no longer online, but if I recall correctly, the wording of it specifically described that the intent of the game was to be played to win.


I understand that FIRST eventually came out against 6v0, but they have never taken action to prevent teams from scoring on their own alliance while (in the past) maintaining systems to encourage it. I guess we'll learn their intentions for this year tomorrow... at least, I hope so!

You mean, aside of 2007, 2008, and 2011 where it was illegal to score for your opponent? Can't recall if you were allowed to in 2005.

Bill_B
03-12-2012, 11:37 PM
Mr. Lims post is easily one of the defining posts of this season. I shall ruminate further upon my opinions on it, but I would just like to get that out there.
I must be getting tired. It took me a search of this thread to realize that Mr Lim's post is in a different thread. As detailed as his outline is, I believe that it only begins to scratch the surface of the scoring/ranking/win/loss situation in FRC in general and this season in particular. There is at least one other thread on the topic besides this one and the one containing Lim's post.

He mentions imagining if 36 teams have different answers for the questions he raises. For Hartford the number climbs to 64 teams. I also submit that merely counting teams greatly oversimplifies the opinion situation vis-a-vis coopertition (my spell checker still does not like this word, Mr. Kamen.) If team A is approached by team Z, what actually happens is a member of team A is approached by a member of team Z. How can either of them be assured that any of team A, Team Z, the alliance containing team A, or the alliance containing team Z, is authentically being represented by these guys in their conversation. Add to that, the possibility that there are more than two central nervous systems in the conversation, and even if no other team is represented, yet another dimension is created. Now go and multiply that by 36 or 64 and you begin to have an appreciation for the chaotic potential of this process.

Mr Lim is right to mention the highly charged environment. It accurately serves to predict that a team that comes to a tournament without knowing this situation and without having formed a comprehensive consensus about all of the ramifications, will be at a great disadvantage in whatever negotiations in which it engages during the tournament itself. At the very least a team must establish a coopertition liaison leader for the purpose of carrying on a more or less cogent representation of the team's position on the matter. If you're talking with a member of another team about this, how will you assure yourself that you understand that team's intentions as a result? Is it too late to make 64 badges for the coopertition liaison from each team? (after the manner of the safety captain?)

EricH
03-12-2012, 11:44 PM
You mean, aside of 2007, 2008, and 2011 where it was illegal to score for your opponent? Can't recall if you were allowed to in 2005.
Loading from your opponent's loading zones was a penalty in 2005, IIRC. I don't remember a penalty for picking up dropped tetras and scoring them, but there was the risk that you'd ruin rows, which could have a potentially disastrous (to you) point swing. (Depending where exactly you placed a single tetra, you could easily gain 13 points while depriving your opponent of 10. The 2005 Championship was won at least partially by just such a 23-point swing from a tetra landing on a row, breaking it up, while creating a row for the other alliance.)

I don't recall any rule for this year saying that you can't score in your opponent's hoops; however, the bridge bonuses make such a strategy risky in the extreme.

MisterG
03-13-2012, 09:06 AM
Really? How do you plan out a strategy to balance on the coopertition bridge then? Or do you mean something else by "collusion"?

I meant this:

col·lu·sion/kəˈlo͞oZHən/
Noun:
Secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, esp. in order to cheat or deceive others.
Such cooperation or conspiracy, esp. between ostensible opponents in a lawsuit.
(source Google dictionary feature)

If two companies get together and agree that they should work together cooperatively to reduce air pollution in their industry that is cooperation.

If the same companies agree that they are going to artificially lower prices for two years until they drive competitors out of business so that they can then raise prices, that is collusion.