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  #181   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-01-2012, 04:55 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

Guys, I just got off the phone with the dead horse. He's wondering why we're still beating him.

Seriously, this debate will never die. If you're a have-not, you just have to deal with it and try to make more money. I, a student, have spent hours and days writing grants for sponsorships, I've made over a dozen presentations and sent a bunch of letters. I've gone to sponsors and asked for more mentors, I've gone to colleges and asked for students... if you want your team to be better, go ahead and work for it. I don't want it to sound like I'm thrusting myself onto this pedestal of sorts, I'm just saying that I have seen teams at competitions and on Chief Delphi have what I don't, and I want it.

No one is giving these students engineering careers, so why are we supposed to be giving them victories out of a desperate plea for "fairness"?

Sure, whining is easier than working, but what's more rewarding?
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Unread 02-01-2012, 05:01 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

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Originally Posted by 2544HCRC View Post
I see the same sort of thing happening in FRC. Our kids aren't that into robots or robotics. The dozen or so kids that are part of the team will commit (kind of) to a 6 week build season and do a little fundraising, but overall it's a side thing. For most, everything else comes first. I've had kids miss practice because of the swim team, tennis, the school play, bowling, and even because they had an opportunity to go to a friends party or just because they wanted to sleep in and take it easy on a Saturday. I end up (thank god) with 1 or 2 kids that are into it and commit more time than they should. I have no help outside of a couple of parents. The local engineers have been burnt out by the other local teams (both in the double or tripple digit range). They aren't interested in commiting to being away from their family multiple nights a week and the weekend. FRC is becoming more and more competative. Practice bots, multiple regionals, etc, etc, are all leaving the casual teams further and further behind. I'm sure in some minds that's a good thing but if the goal is to expose kids to STEM in an engaging way I see it as very limiting.
Definitely read IKE's response to this.

As he said, it's perfectly fine if you have kids who don't want to commit because they are doing other things. That's awesome that they're doing other things, and if that's what they want to do, they should keep at it. But people have to realize that you only get what you work for. And if there are students who want to do robots day in/day out, why "level the playing field" to make it impossible for them to excel? Your team may not have a student commitment to win on Einstein, but you can still get a lot out of this program. And if you do end up with students who decide that's what they want to pursue, let's keep it enough of a challenge that they can really be proud of it.
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Unread 02-01-2012, 05:01 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
This is completely wrong.
[snip]
359 says ham and pineapple is where its at.
.
Akash, you and I both know why I used that example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2544HCRC View Post
?? I don't think anyone said it was cheating.
I don't think I said anyone did. I was making a general statement about FIRST (and to me, life in general).

And if you think FIRST is hard now imagine back in the day when you didn't have AndyMark or Team221 or WCP or even Banebots. Back when the kitbot either didn't exist or required a handful of doctoral degrees and a full machine shop to build. Back when there was very little sample code. Remember how fickle the tetrix motors were? Now imagine that your drive motors for FRC were like that. And ran significantly differently in one direction than the other.

(Warning, the following has very little applicability to the thread at hand but I felt it fits here so deal with it.)

FIRST is not supposed to be easy. It is made to be hard. Made to emulate real working conditions where you don't have enough time, money, or manpower to achieve the goal but you have to. This is the hardest fun you will ever have. And that's why gracious professionalism is so very important. We will be stressed, we will be angry. But we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard, we need to be role models and inspirations to students.
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Unread 02-01-2012, 05:43 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

The only unfair part about FIRST robotics is that some teams choose not to work hard, thus making for less exciting regionals.

Seriously though, how is the fact that some teams work harder than others unfair? I could see people complaining that it is unfair that they(an individual person) are put on a team that has less immediate sponsors than others, but not that the first robotics program itself is unfair.

If FIRST said in the rules that team X was allowed to build a practice bot and team Y was not, then it would be unfair. But NO, FIRST gives EVERY TEAM an EQUAL opportunity to work hard/build multiple robots/have mechanical engineering mentors/etc.

Take team 973 for example, from 2002-2007 973 was a mediocre team, and like many others looked at the big name teams(60, 254, 294, 968, (from that era, in CA)) and said "WOW, they are just unbeatable, we will never preform as good as them"(taken from a 2003-2006 team parent).
In 2008 members of team 973 decided they wanted to work harder and build higher quality robots. Since then the team has been moderately successful and aims every year at being the best in the world knowing that that is an achievable goal. If you don't believe me just look at 973's record from 2002-2007 vs their record from 2008-2011(and so on). This was all done with HARD WORK. That is why our motto is 'OUTWORK US'. If you don't agree with that motto then simply work harder. A team is only as good as the work they put in. If nothing else, the one thing I have recieved most out of being a member of team 973 is that anything is possible if put your mind to it, and work at it.
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Unread 02-01-2012, 07:00 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

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Originally Posted by Marc S. View Post
The only unfair part about FIRST robotics is that some teams choose not to work hard, thus making for less exciting regionals.
Ouch.

I am to understand that FIRST is unfair because regionals are less exciting because some teams choose not to work hard. Have I got that right? Who are the people that determine that teams are not working hard?

Jane
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Last edited by JaneYoung : 02-01-2012 at 07:01 PM. Reason: typo, sorry
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Unread 02-01-2012, 07:21 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

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Originally Posted by Marc S. View Post
The only unfair part about FIRST robotics is that some teams choose not to work hard, thus making for less exciting regionals.

<SNIP>


Such a blanket statement about the work ethics of others. Remember, that your words not only reflect on you, but also on your team ... and to me your words seem arrogant.
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Unread 02-01-2012, 11:32 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

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Originally Posted by Daniel_LaFleur View Post
Such a blanket statement about the work ethics of others. Remember, that your words not only reflect on you, but also on your team ... and to me your words seem arrogant.
I'm sorry if that came out as arrogant, I was only trying to provide a counter example to the original post. If you read further in my post you might have found out why. Also I hope that people will not reflect my personal opinions with the general attitude of a team that I work with.
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Unread 02-02-2012, 10:14 AM
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Re: Practice bot morality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc S. View Post
I'm sorry if that came out as arrogant, I was only trying to provide a counter example to the original post. If you read further in my post you might have found out why. Also I hope that people will not reflect my personal opinions with the general attitude of a team that I work with.
When you make blanket statements about other teams work ethic, it tends to reflect negatively.

I did read further on in your original post. I also noted that your rookie date coincided with your statement that you 'decided' to work harder. In other words, it sounded like "since I've joined, we've worked harder than everyone else". Hence my 'arrogant' remark. Personally, I don't let 1 statement form an opinion of a team ... but it does go into the 'collective' persona of my opinion.

I know GRR is a great team (from those I've talked to). I know that GRR works very hard (again, from those I've talked to). However, I believe that it is the height of huberis if you believe that the reason GRR has been successful and others have not is because you are working harder than they are.

There are many factors that go into success, And yes, hard work is one of the big ones. That being said, there are many more variables that need to be considered. Population density, Availability of skilled mentors, Availability of corporate sponsorships, Support level of the local school (board), the teams machining capability ... these are just a few of the variables that go into a teams success on the field, nevermind the teams success in inspiring the students to go on and do great things.

I guess, in the end, it's better to be humble and try to help than use yourself as an example of being better than others.

JM(NS)HO
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Unread 02-02-2012, 05:07 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

The playing field will never be even. Life is not 'even'.

Some teams just have more resources (and I don't mean money) available to them. No matter HOW hard we work, we will never have the pool of possible mentors that a team in or near a big city has. Our whole island has only 60,000 people, many of whom are working 2 or 3 jobs just to survive. Do they have time to mentor a robotics team? Not likely. Take out the kids, frail elderly, and others who are not realistically in the 'mentor pool', and it's pretty small. We can get all the grants and money possible but if the people aren't here, they aren't here. Maybe one could be convinced to move to Kauai just to mentor a robotics team... doubtful.

The hurdles of the cost and DELAY of shipping, limited local shopping resources, logistical hurdles of getting to even one regional, etc. can be dealt with, but will never go away. We could, I guess, all move to Oahu (better) or the mainland, but that's pretty unrealistic.

But look at 359 - they have almost all of the hurdles we have. And they are doing just fine. Do we begrudge them their practice bot or multiple regionals? Heck no, we aspire to get there some day.

Anyway, geography and demographics will ensure that all teams are never equal. You do the best with what you have. We will have a better practice field this year than ever before. We will have a practice bot. We have better mentors and more focused students. We will never say "we can't win Einstein because we are from a poor little rural island". We just keep on doing the best we can with what we got, and more of our kids are discovering engineering, going into science and engineering careers, getting scholarships, etc., and that's what it's all about.
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Unread 02-02-2012, 05:35 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

I don't even know how to respond to this post. If you have a problem with a member on your team, please talk to them in person before you attempt to ruin their reputation on the internet.
From what I have seen Mark post here on CD he has been very professional and knowledgeable. I hate to see that someone created an account just to call out a specific person so that he/she could ruin their reputation.
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Unread 02-03-2012, 06:51 AM
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Re: Practice bot morality

All -

This thread is so done I can almost smell the burnt.

Please be civil. Don't attack individuals or individual teams.

Be civil or this will be locked.

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Unread 02-03-2012, 08:13 AM
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Re: Practice bot morality

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Originally Posted by Chris Fultz View Post
All -

This thread is so done I can almost smell the burnt.

Please be civil. Don't attack individuals or individual teams.

Be civil or this will be locked.

(Emphasis mine)

Chris, I've never quite heard it stated that way before. I just ate some burned peanut butter toast so it drove the point home.

I would just like to share one more thought... as I've said before, we aren't to the point where we are building a practice 'bot but - we have a 'mule' that the programmers can use to work with while our robot is coming together. Yesterday, I stopped by the shop and the robot had spent some of the build time getting its weight lightened in preparation for the the programmers. The programmers were chatty, excited, and busy, working with the 'mule'. I have a great appreciation for our 'mule'. It's not a practice 'bot but it is an amazing tool that has helped our team.

Jane
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Unread 02-03-2012, 08:36 AM
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Re: Practice bot morality

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Originally Posted by JaneYoung View Post
(Emphasis mine)

Chris, I've never quite heard it stated that way before. I just ate some burned peanut butter toast so it drove the point home.

I would just like to share one more thought... as I've said before, we aren't to the point where we are building a practice 'bot but - we have a 'mule' that the programmers can use to work with while our robot is coming together. Yesterday, I stopped by the shop and the robot had spent some of the build time getting its weight lightened in preparation for the the programmers. The programmers were chatty, excited, and busy, working with the 'mule'. I have a great appreciation for our 'mule'. It's not a practice 'bot but it is an amazing tool that has helped our team.

Jane
I call the 'mule' a 'protobot' -- same idea, though.
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Unread 02-03-2012, 07:01 PM
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Re: Practice bot morality

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Originally Posted by Peter Matteson View Post
Actually the odds are even worse than that...

Since FIRST went to the current divisional format in 2001 52.4% (74) of all Einstein slots (140 total) have been filled by just 24 teams with 2 or more Einstein trips!

35.7% of the total slots are taken up by just 12 teams with 3 or more trips.

42.9% (15) of all Championship Winner spots (35) in the same time frame were won by just 6 teams that have won 2 or more championships in divisional era!

The highest number team of the 24 is 1218.

The highest number team of the 12 is 968.

The highest number team of the 6 is 294.

All this said I'm willing to bet a coffee that with a list of 12 teams I can hit on 4 of the 12 Einstein competitors this year before I even know what anyone's robot looks like.

Edit: I forgot to cite my source, Jim Zondag's wonderful championship history white paper that he has published the last 2 years.
Sounds like it's a good year for FIRST to take on basketball since only 9 teams have won the NBA championship in the last three decades (and almost half of them were by the Celtics and Lakers combined) and that's with a salary cap.
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