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Unread 03-14-2004, 03:48 PM
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Public apology from myself (Team 830)

This thread is in response to my actions at the GLR.

I just want to apologize to my team and all the other teams for my actions on Thursday at the GLR.

I have been to three FIRST events before this one. Last year I attended the Buckeye Regional and Great Lakes Regional with Team 830, and this year I attended the BAE regional in NH on my own.

At all of these events I noticed a great number of practice robots in the pits next to the shipped robots. Even great veteran teams had their practice bots sitting there. I thought this was a common thing to bring them and use them during the practice rounds while the shipped robot was being brought up to working condition.

So, when our practice round came up Thursday morning and our shipped robot wasn't ready, I didn't think twice about telling our students to use the practice robot. This is my error and I sincerely apologize to everyone including my kids. To all the other teams...I can see now how this would be an advantage, but I thought it was ok. I should have known this was wrong. And to my students...I apologize for all the ill feelings that other teams will have against them now due to my error. This can never be repaired.

As soon as we were confronted by the judges about our practice robot, we immediately removed it. It was outside the building within 2 minutes of asking.

However, I can say one thing. Not a single part was taken from our practice robot (which is a copy of our shipped robot) and put on our shipped robot except for the RC (which did not have to be shipped with the robot) and some PWM cables.

Also, absolutely no part of our practice robot was used to get us through qualification/inspection on Thursday.

The fact that our practice robot didn't even move several of the practice rounds and the fact that we didn't use any parts from our practice robot on our real robot doesn't correct my actions and repair any damage I have done to the reputation of Team 830 and my students. For this, I am truly sorry. I just hope that everyone can understand and blame me and not my students. And I hope my students can forgive me as well.

Please feel free to contact me or post here if you would like to discuss my actions. I will also be at the West Michigan Regional and Atlanta if you would like to discuss anything in person.

I'm sorry.

Sincerely,
Donald Wright
Project Engineer and Manager for Team 830 "The Rat Pack"
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Unread 03-14-2004, 03:53 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

I, for one, have no ill feelings toward your team what so ever. You made a mistake, and took actions to correct it, I think of it as some what comendable. Ridding yourself of the practice robot when asked was the right thing to do, and in my eye, is an apology all in its own.
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Unread 03-14-2004, 04:05 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

You may have made a mistake...but the fact that you're willing to publicly admit it more than makes up for it.

Gracious Professionalism in action...
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Unread 03-14-2004, 05:02 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000vfr800
I just want to apologize to my team and all the other teams for my actions on Thursday at the GLR.
I thought this was a common thing to bring them and use them during the practice rounds while the shipped robot was being brought up to working condition.
So, when our practice round came up Thursday morning and our shipped robot wasn't ready, I didn't think twice about telling our students to use the practice robot. This is my error and I sincerely apologize to everyone including my kids. As soon as we were confronted by the judges about our practice robot, we immediately removed it. It was outside the building within 2 minutes of asking.
The fact that our practice robot didn't even move several of the practice rounds and the fact that we didn't use any parts from our practice robot on our real robot doesn't correct my actions and repair any damage I have done to the reputation of Team 830 and my students.
Bravo! I remember hearing many years ago that what makes us humans unique is the ability to make amends - something like that. It's human to perceive things differently than each other, and human to sometimes make mistakes and thank goodness we have as humans the ability to communicate, work thru issues, and make amends. You've just modeled that kind of appropriate behavior. Thank you!
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Unread 03-14-2004, 05:38 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000vfr800
As soon as we were confronted by the judges about our practice robot, we immediately removed it. It was outside the building within 2 minutes of asking.

However, I can say one thing. Not a single part was taken from our practice robot (which is a copy of our shipped robot) and put on our shipped robot except for the RC (which did not have to be shipped with the robot) and some PWM cables.

Also, absolutely no part of our practice robot was used to get us through qualification/inspection on Thursday.
I am confused. Part of your apology implies that parts from a practice robot are not allowed to be used on your real robot as spares. I thought it was OK to use individual parts (not assemblies) from your practice robot if it was built during the 6 week build period. For example, if you take a drill motor (or even an angle bracket made during the 6 weeks) from your practice robot to replace a bad one on your real robot, what is wrong with that?
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Unread 03-14-2004, 07:13 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

2 Quick things:
First:
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000vfr800
And to my students...I apologize for all the ill feelings that other teams will have against them now due to my error.
I think that this apology should rectify any ill feelings towards your team. However, I think that it may also increase everyones scrutiny of teams which choose to build a second bot for practice. The fact that the term "Back-Up Bot" has ever been used on this board is grounds for not being surprised at your error.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raul
I am confused. Part of your apology implies that parts from a practice robot are not allowed to be used on your real robot as spares. I thought it was OK to use individual parts (not assemblies) from your practice robot if it was built during the 6 week build period. For example, if you take a drill motor (or even an angle bracket made during the 6 weeks) from your practice robot to replace a bad one on your real robot, what is wrong with that?
If you had an assembly which you wanted spare parts for, they needed to be in the form of spare parts.
If a gear strips out, disassmble the gearbox and replace the gear. You can't swap out gearboxes, disassemble the broken one, go compete, replace the gear, swap back to original gearbox. A motor is considered to the rules as a part, not an assembly. Swapping a motor seems to be allowed.
The problem is that teams with a spare robot have the opportunity (whether the illegally use it or not) to swap out any full assembly in order to stay competitive.
The above apology by 2000vfr800 is in response to this thread. Take a look at that for some more information.
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Unread 03-14-2004, 07:16 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

Making a mistake is human but admitting to it is rare. I would like to commend you on the gracious way the you and your team has handled yourselves. As I have said before, many teams push the rules to their max. Sometimes a team goes past the limit. When this happens and they are confronted, 3 things can happen. One is denial and fighting for their precieved right. Second is ignore others and continue on. The third is to face up and right the situation. The last is the most honorable and I congratulate you and your team for this.
Continue the good work and good luck for the rest of the season. I for one will make every effort to stop by and shake your hand at Championships.
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Unread 03-14-2004, 07:29 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

Quote:
I am confused. Part of your apology implies that parts from a practice robot are not allowed to be used on your real robot as spares. I thought it was OK to use individual parts (not assemblies) from your practice robot if it was built during the 6 week build period. For example, if you take a drill motor (or even an angle bracket made during the 6 weeks) from your practice robot to replace a bad one on your real robot, what is wrong with that?
i agree with raul.....using practice bot parts is fine as long as you built them during the six weeks and brought them unassembled to the competition. i think.
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Unread 03-14-2004, 07:33 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

That's not what this is about. 830 did bring their fully assembled practice bot to the competition and placed it on the field (during practice round[s] only).
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Unread 03-14-2004, 08:21 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

personally, i dont find anything wrong with using a practice robot during practice rounds. i believe that practice matches give u a feel to who ur going up against and give ur driver, operator, and human player the chance to practice. some teams may not have the resources for their robot which could cause them to fall behind. they had a robot, it was the same as their shipped, they didnt use it as a way to cheat, they fixed their "mistake", and they didnt try to hide it. the last thing i want to see is a fellow FIRST team unable to compete because their robot wasnt ready. from what i recall at BAE, a rookie team had to quit because they blew their drive ( i think they mounted it wrong, and it was unfixable ) when i heard about it, i felt bad for them. i wouldnt mind if they used it, and i think most other teams wouldnt either. in any case, i think that a practice/back-up bot should be allowed during practice rounds in order to get ur shipped bot ready to kick some...
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Unread 03-14-2004, 09:11 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

My name is Janna Hutz, and Ive been involved with FIRST for six years and a mentor with team 830 for three years. Id like to first say that I have always held gracious professionalism to be extremely important, and I am willing to stake my FIRST reputation as well as my personal reputation on everything I post, including the following. I am writing this with my co-mentor Julie Pannuto, also involved with FIRST for six years and for three years as a mentor. She is also one of the most honest and well-meaning people that I know, and countless people in FIRST can account for her gracious professionalism to date.

First, wed like to thank Don Wright, one of our engineers, for posting a clarification/apology on these forums. Hopefully many of you have read what he wrote, all of which is completely honest. However, we refuse to let him accept all of the responsibility for the situation. We are mentors, and we feel that we should accept at least as much responsibility (if not more, due to the extent of our FIRST experience.)

The reason were writing now is to clarify further some of the things he wrote and to correct some of the incorrect assumptions people made when they first posted.

We think there are three issues involved in this situation, which are:
1. Is it OK to bring another robot to the competition site?
2. Is it OK to use this robot for replacement parts for your competing robot?
3. Is it OK to play a robot in practice rounds that will not be played in seeding/finals rounds?

-----------------------------
Issue #1:
We cannot see how anyone considers this illegal. To our knowledge, you can bring anything you want to the competition site (with the exception of outside food and beverage!) Many teams did bring second robots, and some were required to remove them. However, we cannot see how the act of bringing the robot into the site is illegal, and we are curious to see if anyone disagrees. This brings us to

Issue #2:
Rule R09: During the six week period following Kickoff: You may fabricate spare parts for replacement purposes of items on your robot as long as they are exact replacements for parts on the robot you shipped to the event. They must be brought to the event in a completely disassembled state as individual components (no bolt-on assemblies).
We think this rule is very clear. My interpretation is that a practice robot cannot be brought to the competition and used for replacement purposes. I have read other posts where other people have different, more liberal, interpretations, and obviously FIRST needs to clarify this. However, we would like to refer people to Dons post, which stated that the only items removed from our practice robot and added to the competing robot were the RC and a few PWM cables. This is completely true; we did not intend to use our practice robot to replace any of our parts, and we did not do so. Additionally, Don failed to mention something else. Many people seem to think that our practice robot was an improved version of our final robot. In reality, we finished our practice robot first and fabricated and made the final robot in the last few weeks before we shipped, taking into consideration problems we noted on the practice robot. Team 469 worked at our facility the weekend before ship date, and if you happen to talk to any of them, Im sure they could tell you that we were testing mechanisms on our practice robot while the final was still in pieces.

Issue #3:
Apparently this is where most of the gray area is, since there is no official rule on the subject. Our personal opinion is that the answer to this question is yes it is ok to play a robot in practice rounds that will not be played in seeding/finals.

Obviously it is allowed to build a practice robot and to keep it and work on it after youve shipped your competing robot. So, if teams can work on and practice with a practice robot for 2 weeks before competing, why cant they practice with it for 30 minutes on Thursday? Honestly, wed been working on our programming after ship with the practice robot, and the only thing we were still working on on Thursday was our autonomous code, and we could have gladly done so in the pit all day.
-----------------------------

If anyone had approached our team and questioned our using the practice robot at any point during the day on Thursday, we gladly would have abstained from using it until we got a ruling. It is unfortunate that people went through the process of filing a complaint with FIRST on Thursday, the outcome of which did not reach us until Thursday night, when the practice robot was on its way out of the building. It is also unfortunate that people who obviously think we were in the wrong did not approach us at any point during the entire competition and waited until now to post their opinions on a public forum. We believe that the atmosphere of cooperation in FIRST would dictate that teams attempt to resolve situations amongst themselves before approaching FIRST.

We are sorry that we upset other people with this situation; it was not our intention. However, it has obviously raised good discussion that I'm sure FIRST will take note of when creating the rules in future years.

Best of luck to everyone in your upcoming competitions, and we look forward to working with you all in the future.

Janna Hutz & Julie Pannuto
Mentors, Team #830, AVL North America & Huron High School
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Unread 03-14-2004, 09:18 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

Since I started the previous thread that caused this unrelated one... I guess I'd just like to clear the air that my original thread had nothing to do with team 830's actions... and though they made great strides in improving their robot over the course of the competition, I didn't witness anything that had me second guessing their practices or gracious professionalism.

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Unread 03-14-2004, 09:34 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

As a measure of gracious professionalism, even though we were not the direct team discussed in the original post, we feel that because our actions were questioned, during the competition, we should let everyone know what happened and our intent, as to dispel any rumors about dishonesty on the part of Team 830. We feel that even if part of our behavior is questionable, our disclosure was indeed waranted about our part in the situation. We thank Matt for clearing the air about his original post, but as professionals, there need not be any questions as to the professionalism of Team 830.
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Unread 03-14-2004, 10:02 PM
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Re: Public apology from myself (Team 830)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Adams
Since I started the previous thread that caused this unrelated one... I guess I'd just like to clear the air that my original thread had nothing to do with team 830's actions... and though they made great strides in improving their robot over the course of the competition, I didn't witness anything that had me second guessing their practices or gracious professionalism.

Matt
Thank you for clarifying that. Since 830 quickly called themselves out on the point in the other thread, I has assumed they were the team in question -- clearly not. Perhaps a similar statement from you in the other thread would be appropriate for the record? I wouldn't want anyone in the future to confuse 830's experience with your more serious concern.
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