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Unread 03-13-2005, 09:24 PM
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Exclamation AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

**PLEASE NOTE:**

We know it's too late to change anything; regionals ended yesterday, but we want to bring it to your attention that we don't think FIRST's scoring software is working correctly. Here's why:

**

As of Friday evening (the second day of the AZ Regional event), the FIRST Robotics scoring software was down, due to a program malfunction. The score board was back up on Saturday morning, and all was fine...or so we thought. Throughout the course of the day, our scores were messed up, including at one point on Friday as well. It was brought to our attention by one of our mentors that they had messed up on the win-loss-tie portion of our score, which subsequently misplaced us in the ranking. We spoke to the judges and the error was corrected, no problem. We had a running tally of our points and ranking on a huge white board at our pit, so we knew where we stood in the game at all times. On Saturday afternoon before it was time to choose alliances, we noticed that again, our score was messed up. We were posted as having won 6 matches, lost 6 matches. Instead, it should have said that we won 7 matches, and lost 5. So, a friend and I from the team went up and spoke with a judge, and we were told that due to software malfunctions, the scoring that was currently up was incorrect and considered void, and not to worry because it was going to be corrected.

Well, it came time to pick alliances, and in the whirl-wind of it all, I was chosen to represent my team on the field and we were, in turn, picked by Chandler High to be in alliance with them for the finals. I was under the impression that we were in 11th place at the time, because that was how we we were told that we finished...but during alliance picking, the top 8 teams became consolidated, and so #9 and #10 were called in to be alliance captains. I expected us to be #11, and when it came time to call in an 11th captain, there was a debate...the FIRST officials pulled off to the side and had a discussion for a few minutes as to who was to move up in the ranking list...and we weren't called. It struck me as odd, but I let it go. I guess my gut was right and I should have asked a judge what was going on. Thanks again to Chandler High though, we were picked and made it to finals, even though we didn't win.

Here's the catch: the final scored posted for the AZ regionals put us in 15th place, with 6 wins and 6 losses. Unless the judges changed something without my team's knowledge, we are all still under the impression that we won 7 matches and lost 5. If you check out this site of the final scoring positions: http://www2.usfirst.org/2005comp/Eve.../rankings.html , you will see that we should have come in 9th place, or even tied for 8th. That means that with the way alliance were chosen, we would have been team #8 or #9, making me, (as representative for my team #698), an alliance captain.

I've spoken to my mentor. He told me I could take this to FIRST (and I am) to at least find out why the scores are incorrect, or if they changed it for a valid reason. I know it's probably to late for any hope of nationals (we lost the final matches), but at least maybe this will be an effective word of warning to other teams about the scoring.

**IF YOUR SCORES COME UP INCORRECT, FIX IT IMMEDIATLY! YOU MIGHT EVEN CONSIDER TALKING TO AT LEAST TWO JUDGES TO BE SURE OF YOUR POSITION.**

Best of luck to all teams that are preparing to compete, and watch out for that scoring software!!!
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Unread 03-13-2005, 09:31 PM
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Cool Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

Oh wow, that is quite a mistake they made. You would think with FIRST they would have a programming error fixed immediately. It sounds like a simple program that can easily be fixed. I wonder what happened and why? Are you suggesting that FIRST find a better way to score and have a back up system in place? If so, I agree with you!

When it comes to scores and rankings, believe me, I don't want any mistakes to happen. 1 position is crucial to whom you may be allied with or competing against. I guess this is very valuable lesson for programmers at FIRST and hopefully the same mistakes won't happen next weekend at other Regionals.
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Unread 03-13-2005, 09:39 PM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

I do not know if the actual rankings at the end of regionals were off, but I do know the scores and rankings on FIRST right now are off, and that they were screwed up during the playoffs on Saturday (they looked correct at the end of qualifiers on Saturday, but for some reason changed during the playoffs despite the fact no new qualifying matches were played). At the end of competition, there were 5 teams that finished 9-3 and held rankings 1-5. Last check on the site (and on Sat.), 2 of the teams were listed as 10-2, two of them were listed as 9-3, and one was listed as 8-4.

We wrote our own program for our scouting team to keep track of records (as well as stats like caps, total points, autonomous caps, etc.), and relied on that the later part of Friday to determine the rankings as closely as we could. We do not have the qualifying points section set up in our program, but I might be able to check it and see how the records of your team as well as the team that moved up to #8 (team 64) compared.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 12:27 AM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donut
I do not know if the actual rankings at the end of regionals were off, but I do know the scores and rankings on FIRST right now are off, and that they were screwed up during the playoffs on Saturday (they looked correct at the end of qualifiers on Saturday, but for some reason changed during the playoffs despite the fact no new qualifying matches were played). At the end of competition, there were 5 teams that finished 9-3 and held rankings 1-5. Last check on the site (and on Sat.), 2 of the teams were listed as 10-2, two of them were listed as 9-3, and one was listed as 8-4.

We wrote our own program for our scouting team to keep track of records (as well as stats like caps, total points, autonomous caps, etc.), and relied on that the later part of Friday to determine the rankings as closely as we could. We do not have the qualifying points section set up in our program, but I might be able to check it and see how the records of your team as well as the team that moved up to #8 (team 64) compared.
Oh boy, you have NO IDEA how much I would appreciate it if you could check your records. If you can't, I'm totally fine with it, but it you have that availability, I would be so happy if you could. If you'd rather, you can email me personally at CaitlynMcH@aol.com.

Just to let you know...I am still going to contact FIRST personally and see if I can get any more information out of this dispute. I know our chances of nationals are over, but I would rest easier if I knew the judges made a scoring error or something and had legitimate reasons for changing our wins/losses tally.

Keep an eye out for any errors! We are obviously not the first teams here to have experienced problems!! Thank you all for your gracious support in these mess-ups, and best of luck to each and every team.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 03:31 AM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

We had ranking problems at the Pittsburg Regional. It wasn't a problem with wins and losses, but rather a problem with the rankings in the alliance selection program. During the first round of alliance selection, teams picked among the top eight seeded teams. The selection program needed to fill the voids with new alliance captains. Unfortunately, the program did not pick the next highest seeded teams to fill the voids as it should have. They went through both rounds of the selection process without noticing this.

During lunch, they had to hold a second draft, starting with the new alliance captains in the seventh and eighth spots. Everything worked out ok, and I commend the FIRST officials for holding a second draft to fix the problem.

FIRST still has to iron out the bugs in its new software (which runs on Windows ). If you are in a potential picking position (ranks 9-15) make sure you know your ranking and the rankings of other potential pickers so you will notice a problem as it arises.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 05:40 AM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

At the UTC semifinals, we lost our first match, but then in our second match, we won by two points. However, the judges didn't count one of the tetras, and even though we had the entire field on video, they didn't want to watch the video - we ended up losing by one point and falling out of the finals. We told them right after they put the score up! I guess that I can see where the judges are coming from in that they don't want to waste time reviewing every single play, but perhaps there should be some contingency for ties or 1 point differences in scores?

Then again, we were blue, so perhaps it was part of the communist scheme?
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Unread 03-14-2005, 05:56 AM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

If I recall correctly, the process at Lone Star Regional usually involves the Head Ref checking the score with the teams before it goes in, so we'll hopefully avoid most of these problems in Houston....
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Unread 03-14-2005, 10:37 AM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

There are some problems with that system. The major one we noticed at UTC is that we were up against ourselves a few times.. They would display the scores, and the red and blue alliances would be the same. They should fix the buzzers sounding in the middle of the match.. I can't see any reason why they should.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 11:36 AM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

I'm not 100% sure on this (but lets just say 99.9%) but FIRST isnt using TacOPs this year (as they have in previous years) ..

The sounds of Windows XP playing throughout the arena (TacOPs ran on freebsd), and the numberous problems they've had (Sac had trouble with finals selection also). When I was watching the FL regional, they also had a problem with the arena computer (kinda funny, caused like a 10 minute delay). Lets not forget the real time scoring. The only time I saw real time scoring was in the FL webcast, and it was only there for about 2 matches.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, we shold be respectful to FIRST, and allow them to deal with the scoring problems .. keeping in mind FIRST isnt just about robots. Getting mad at the officals for scoring problems probally wont help. If you're worried about your rank for the alliance selections, I wouldnt. The best robots will be picked for the final matches (1038 and 175 - 4th ranked alliance on Curie in the 04 CMP, picked us .. ranked 52 out of 73, and we went on to win the division) Pure evidence that ranks done matter.

With that said, I think it would be wise for FIRST to have the scoring system/arena computer fixed .. since they probally payed a pretty penny (and we dont see "Hatch Technologies" as a sponser) for that custom system, it might as well work right
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Unread 03-14-2005, 12:17 PM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhatMike
I guess the point I'm trying to make is, we shold be respectful to FIRST, and allow them to deal with the scoring problems .. keeping in mind FIRST isnt just about robots. Getting mad at the officals for scoring problems probally wont help. If you're worried about your rank for the alliance selections, I wouldnt. The best robots will be picked for the final matches (1038 and 175 - 4th ranked alliance on Curie in the 04 CMP, picked us .. ranked 52 out of 73, and we went on to win the division) Pure evidence that ranks done matter.

You are right, and I have the highest respect for FIRST and all that they do. FIRST isn't just about robots, but I still cannot just bypass all of this without just the slightest hint of dissappointment. I know we lost, and I am perfectly fine with that, but I do want to just express that my original post was more a word of advice to other teams to be careful and keep an eye on scores...as replying posts have proved, we aren't the only team experiencing scoring issues. Please, please don't misunderstand me. Without FIRST, we wouldn't have any of this...without FIRST, we wouldn't have these forums to post in, we wouldn't have that availability to build robots, and we wouldn't be able to compete. FIRST is the #1 best thing that has ever happened to me to help me advance my future and career, but I just want other teams to know that the scoring isn't perfect, so players beware. Please, enjoy your regional competitions, enjoy the nationals, and if you are involved in FIRST robotics, pat yourself on the back! You are one of a select group of us that have these opportunities, and we are the future of engineering. It makes me proud to stand beside each of you out there, knowing that my ideas count for something greater, and a better future for all of us. So, thanks is in order to FIRST, and we will continue to do our best to catch mistakes and errors, just as they have for us, whether it be in robot inspection, in competition, or just in working throughout build season.

Thank you to all the teams out there that have helped in any way, your support has already fixed so many issues!!
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Unread 03-14-2005, 02:09 PM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhatMike
I'm not 100% sure on this (but lets just say 99.9%) but FIRST isnt using TacOPs this year (as they have in previous years) ..

The sounds of Windows XP playing throughout the arena (TacOPs ran on freebsd), and the numberous problems they've had (Sac had trouble with finals selection also). When I was watching the FL regional, they also had a problem with the arena computer (kinda funny, caused like a 10 minute delay). Lets not forget the real time scoring. The only time I saw real time scoring was in the FL webcast, and it was only there for about 2 matches.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, we shold be respectful to FIRST, and allow them to deal with the scoring problems .. keeping in mind FIRST isnt just about robots. Getting mad at the officals for scoring problems probally wont help. If you're worried about your rank for the alliance selections, I wouldnt. The best robots will be picked for the final matches (1038 and 175 - 4th ranked alliance on Curie in the 04 CMP, picked us .. ranked 52 out of 73, and we went on to win the division) Pure evidence that ranks done matter.

With that said, I think it would be wise for FIRST to have the scoring system/arena computer fixed .. since they probally payed a pretty penny (and we dont see "Hatch Technologies" as a sponser) for that custom system, it might as well work right
Ranks most certainly do matter. If a team should be ranked #1 and they end up ranked #4 or something, then it's not a good thing. They even matter if you're not in the top ranks. When #14 or #15 ranked teams end up picking alliances, they often have poor scouting and end up picking the higher ranked team they can find. When it comes down to it, though, teams and their sponsors are also investing a pretty penny in this program. They deserve a well run event without all these glitches and problems.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 02:20 PM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Sevcik
When it comes down to it, though, teams and their sponsors are also investing a pretty penny in this program.
IMHO you hit the nail on the head here. I was reluctant to post at all at first, but now that I think more about it, I agree with Kevin here. We can sit back all day and say "oh it's new" or "their trying hard" or "it has some glitches" or "they'll get it fixed soon" but the bottom line is we are customers of FIRST The first rule of business is that the customer is always right. You can say FIRST is not a business but in the end we pay them money and they provide us product and/or service so it can be thought of as a business. We pay $6000 to attend one of these fine events and we expect better. If I order dinner at restaurant and it comes out wrong, I expect them to fix it and make it free. While I certainly don't expect FIRST to be reimbursing teams for the unfortunate mistakes, I do believe these mistakes are wrong, no matter what the cause. A formal investigation, appology, and correction should be made as soon as possible.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 02:33 PM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
A formal investigation, appology, and correction should be made as soon as possible.
Exactly. We were basically told "too bad, go pack up your robot and get out of the way", without any form of appology or GP. I don't demand that they fix the outcome of the match, but it would be nice to at least get an apology and some sort of assurance that such problems would be prevented in the future.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 02:49 PM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

I believe (hope) that FIRST is hearing all of this and understands how upset some teams are and is just too incredibly busy with regionals and fixing things to say anything at the moment. They handed the PNW regional mix up in a very admirable fashion. Hopefully they will handle this in the same way.
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Unread 03-14-2005, 05:46 PM
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Re: AZ Regionals: Incorrect Scoring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
...but the bottom line is we are customers of FIRST The first rule of business is that the customer is always right. You can say FIRST is not a business but in the end we pay them money and they provide us product and/or service so it can be thought of as a business. We pay $6000 to attend one of these fine events and we expect better. ....
YIKES!!! do a little checking before you explode. 35 teams at a regional paying $6k each come out to $210,000.

I think you would be shocked how much more than that it costs to put on a regional, and thats not counting the kit of parts, the year round work that has to be done

and the fact that almost every person working for FIRST at a regional is an UNPAID volunteer.

You are not even coming close to paying for what you get at a regional.

FIRST is a program designed to show students what a career in engineering and science is like. The robotics competition is only the platform, the bridge we cross, the project we take on in order to go through a quick engineering design/build/test cycle.

the competition is the 'test' phase - the chance to see how well your team did against the specifications of this years project.

What do you win if you win a regional? a trophy that is about 98¢ worth the plastic! If you goto the nationals and win, what do you win? 10 million dollars? full scholarships for all?

When you start thinking of FIRST as a robot building contest you have left the pavement and you are in deep weeds. That sort of thinking throws your whole perspective out of wack, and you end up in serious trouble.

Thats not what its all about.

That is not why thousands of people volunteer their time and their own money to be a part of FIRST.

That is not why sponsors give millions of dollars each year to host regionals, and to fund the nationals.

Last edited by KenWittlief : 03-14-2005 at 05:58 PM.
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