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Steven Donow
10-31-2013, 03:00 PM
http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/blog-New-FRC-Standard-District-Points-Ranking-System-2014

As some of you are aware, we have had a team working on developing a standard points ranking system for use in all four of the Districts we will have in 2014. Members of the team in addition to me included:

Jessica Boucher – New England District Representative, FRC Chief Volunteer Coordinator, Team 237 “Black Magic” Student Alumna
Patrick Felty – Regional Director for Central and South Texas (Alamo Region)
Chris Fultz – Woodie Flowers Award Winner, Team 234 “Cyber Blue” Mentor
Jon Jack – Chairman’s Award winning Team 1538 “The Holy Cows” Mentor, Woodie Flowers Finalist Award Winner
Ed Petrillo – Mid-Atlantic Robotics District Representative, Woodie Flowers Finalist Award Winner, Team 293 “S.P.I.K.E.” Mentor
Kevin Ross – Pacific Northwest District Representative, Founder of Washington FIRST Robotics, Woodie Flowers Finalist Award Winner, Team 4089 “Stealth Robotics” Mentor
Jim Zondag – Michigan District Representative, Woodie Flowers Finalist Award Winner, Team 33 “Killer Bees” Mentor

I want to thank this team for the many hours of work they’ve put in over the last few months to develop this new system. Our discussions weren’t always easy; but they were always honest, and every team member came to the table with the intention to work together to develop the best possible system for FRC. It was a wonderful experience – individuals with sometimes strongly differing views listening carefully to each other and eventually coming to consensus – a great example of Gracious Professionalism in action.

While this system will be used by all Districts in 2014, it is not set in stone. Our intention is to periodically review the system, making improvements for later years as we see the need. It’s our additional intent that every year, all Districts will use the standard points ranking system that is in place for that year. This will help facilitate the potential introduction of inter-District play, which we intend to develop for the 2015 season.

You may find the details of the system, along with some explanation of the various components, here.

I recognize this system may generate some feedback. Please put your comments below, or if you prefer, you may email them to frcteams@usfirst.org . If we get a sufficient number of common questions or comments, We’ll address them at a later time.

I’ll blog again soon.

Frank


Points system here (http://www.usfirst.org/sites/default/files/uploadedFiles/Robotics_Programs/FRC/Resources/FRC_District_Standard_Points_Ranking_System.pdf)

Some changes from MAR/FiM of year's past:
The way Elim points are given out; it's basically the same as the past, however it seems to be worded differently so that if a backup is called in, you get points for what you play. Also, IIRC 2nd picks/backups got different points based off finish; this is now eliminated
10 points for Chairmans, 8 for EI/RAS, 5 for judged awards. Interestingly with this, Chairman's still grants auto-bid
Age-based points, 10 for Rookies, 5 for second-years

Ian Curtis
10-31-2013, 03:10 PM
I would love to hear Jim Zondag (or any of the Michigan district folks) chime in on the merit of the Rookie and 2nd year team points. I know they have done a lot of work in showing what makes the point structure good, and am curious how that moves things. I would imagine this probably has its largest effect in teams near the make-it cut off.

EDIT: Or perhaps there is a "valley of death" in rookie and 2nd year team goodness where they either have already made it on their own merit or are out of contention.

Chris is me
10-31-2013, 03:13 PM
Wow, rookies get extra points for being rookies. I understand the desire to get rookies into district championships, but there already was a mechanism to give rookies extra help in rookie awards. Being a rookie is now just as important as winning the Chairman's Award, winning 5 qualifying matches, or winning an extra round in elims; at least in terms of qualifying for DCMP.

Does anyone know where this idea came from? I've never seen it suggested or implemented at any particular region before. I'm interested in hearing the rationale, I imagine it will make more sense to me then.

I'm also a little bugged by this line:
if a District Team does earn a slot at the FIRST Championship while attending a Regional event, that slot does count against the total Championship allocation the District is receiving for the season

Thus, any regional won by a team in a District system results in a Championship qualification spot that just disappears. The team then takes two slots for Champs, both the regional winner slot and one of the district slots.

Steven Donow
10-31-2013, 03:19 PM
Wow, rookies get extra points for being rookies. I understand the desire to get rookies into district championships, but there already was a mechanism to give rookies extra help in rookie awards. Being a rookie is now just as important as winning the Chairman's Award, winning 5 qualifying matches, or winning both the quarter and semifinals; at least in terms of qualifying for DCMP.

Does anyone know where this idea came from? I've never seen it suggested or implemented at any particular region before.

I'm also a little bugged by this line:


Thus, any regional won by a team in a District system results in a Championship qualification spot that just disappears. The team then takes two slots for Champs, both the regional winner slot and one of the district slots.

1. The justification for Rookie/2nd year points is:
Extra points are awarded to Rookie and second year Teams in recognition of the special challenges Teams face in those
early years, and to increase the chance that they will make it to the District Championship to compete with their robots.
Like our dedicated Rookie awards, these additional points are intended to recognize and motivate newer participants in
FRC
I'm kinda undecided how I feel about that/Chairman's now getting points; on one hand, Chairman's still gives an autobid(so being a rookie isn't exactly equal to a Chairman's), but I think it's kind of a stretch to give that many points...Something like 5 for Rookies/3 for 2nd year sounds a little better.

2. Wow. I missed that in my initial skim. On one hand, it seems kind of wrong for it to count against the district in the case of a team not going to the District Championship, and still technically getting one of that District's spots. On the other hand, I'm sure the FIRST justification for that is to at least somewhat mitigate the "more bids than spots" issues.

Caleb Sykes
10-31-2013, 03:20 PM
I knew that they were going to value all awards the same. FIRST values culture change as much as they do robot performance.

I was also pretty sure that they would give the same points to all teams in the elimination alliance. Honestly I don't know how I feel about that.

EDIT: my math was wrong (I was so excited that I read through it too fast!)

AdamHeard
10-31-2013, 03:22 PM
Also the points given to alliance captains goes from 17 down to 10 instead of 16 down to 9, and the selected teams get points from 17 down to 2 instead of 16 down to 1.

I knew that they were going to value all awards the same. FIRST values culture change as much as they do robot performance.

I was also pretty sure that they would give the same points to all teams in the elimination alliance. Honestly I don't know how I feel about that.

Check your math on that one...

dag0620
10-31-2013, 03:26 PM
I'm mostly okay with this system, and glad to see we have a uniformed system. I'm still going through and analyzing, however there is one thing I am strongly against that did pop out.

 Regional Participation
District Teams do not earn points for their actions at any Regionals they may attend, but are still eligible for Team
awards at those events, and any benefits that may go along with winning those awards, such as earning their way to the
FIRST Championship. However, if a District Team does earn a slot at the FIRST Championship while attending a Regional
event, that slot does count against the total Championship allocation the District is receiving for the season.
(Emphasis Mine.)

I don't think this is exactly a fair system. I personally believe that a District's allotment of teams should not be affected by it's teams earning slots at events outside of that District's competition structure.

I hope FIRST might consider changing that policy going forward.

Edit: Chris most of wrote his post while I was working on mine as I didn't see it before posting. Never the less I hope me brining this up adds to the point that this particular policy should be revisited.

Caleb Sykes
10-31-2013, 03:27 PM
2. Wow. I missed that in my initial skim. On one hand, it seems kind of wrong for it to count against the district in the case of a team not going to the District Championship, and still technically getting one of that District's spots. On the other hand, I'm sure the FIRST justification for that is to at least somewhat mitigate the "more bids than spots" issues.

We also have to remember that many of the district teams that travel to regionals and qualify for Champs there are almost certainly going to qualify for Champs in their home region anyway, so this statement really desn't change anything for them. The only way it would come into play is if a team qualifies in a regional but does not qualify via the point system in their home region.

EricDrost
10-31-2013, 03:28 PM
However, if a District Team does earn a slot at the FIRST Championship while attending a Regional event, that slot does count against the total Championship allocation the District is receiving for the season.


This is extremely disappointing. Until FIRST allows cross-district registration, this vilifies successful district teams that want to travel. The teams at the regional they attend will be upset with them for eating up a spot, and the teams in their district will be upset with them for eating up a spot. This just seems like a lose-lose way of limiting the number of teams per district that qualify for champs.

Basel A
10-31-2013, 03:32 PM
I'm also a little bugged by this line:


Thus, any regional won by a team in a District system results in a Championship qualification spot that just disappears. The team then takes two slots for Champs, both the regional winner slot and one of the district slots.

This will just encourage teams to skip their district CMPs if they've qualified elsewhere. Watering down district championships is not the way to go, for outside qualifications or HoF teams or whatever qualification method.


Edit: I'm not wild about the large bonus for rookies and 2nd year teams, but I can see where it's coming from. Allotting points for the Chairman's Award is also questionable, but I definitely approve. It doesn't make a difference in district CMP qualification, but it does grant District (but not district cmp) Chairman's Awardees a preference in FRC Championship qualification. If a team has a better shot at going to the Championship if they won a team spirit award at a district, the same should be true for district Chairman's Awardees.

MikeE
10-31-2013, 03:33 PM
From an initial reading of the system this seems a good compromise on some of the change proposals I'd heard.
Congratulations to all the people who worked on this and to FIRST for identifying and heading off the risk that different point systems could have on the coherence of FRC. I'm looking forward to seeing how the unified points system plays out in 2014 and to opportunities for inter-district play in future seasons.

Now on to my quibbles:
I am a little disappointed that points in Elimination matches only go to the winning Alliance for each series. One idea originating on CD was to reward alliances that push a series to a third match. It's a small benefit but would help a strong alliance that meets the ultimate winning alliance in the quarter finals.

But the issue that concerns me most is that it seems there are no further points for a team that withdraws during elimination matches. This would mean that there are potentially divergent motives between individual teams within an alliance. Does team X continue with a barely functional robot and possibly keep scoring points or call for backup and get nothing?

Steven Donow
10-31-2013, 03:35 PM
We also have to remember that many of the district teams that travel to regionals and qualify for Champs there are almost certainly going to qualify for Champs in their home region anyway, so this statement really desn't change anything for them. The only way it would come into play is if a team qualifies in a regional but does not qualify via the point system in their home region.

Last year, four MAR teams eligible for MAR CMP did not go due to competing at outside regionals. One of these was due to having won a slot via Chairman's at an outside regional, and they did not (primarily due to not competing at MAR CMP) win a MAR point slot. This would have taken one slot away in MAR last year. The other two teams competed Week 6 (logistics prevented competing Week 7/they had Championship slots anyway) and the other was competing Week 7(and already had a Championship slot). Let's say the team competing Week 7 (365 at Chesapeake, HoF team) won that weekend, would this have taken a MAR slot away?

On one hand, I think this is a negative change. On the other, I completely understand FIRST's intentions (at least, what I'm assuming to be their intentions), of trying to mitigate the "more bids than slots" issue as much as possible, but on the other hand, I'm sure this would affect <10 teams, meaning the only real impact this would have is in regards to less waitlist teams being able to go to Championships, something which is already extremely limited.

brennonbrimhall
10-31-2013, 03:43 PM
Regardless of the inevitable merits or faults of a points system (let's face it, nothing is going to make everyone happy), I'm particularly encouraged by the promise of inter-district play. The concept of teams like 469, 67, 341, 195, and the rest playing on the same field, pre-Champs, is absolutely thrilling.

Just about as thrilling as Waterloo 2014...

MikeE
10-31-2013, 03:47 PM
...I'm particularly encouraged by the promise of inter-district play

^^ This!

MamaSpoldi
10-31-2013, 03:47 PM
I noticed that they did not state the number of championship slots that would be allocated at each of the regionals. Did I miss that somewhere else?

BrendanB
10-31-2013, 03:50 PM
While this may not be the best system to some people, thank you to the individuals who worked long and hard on this project to bring together so many ideas regarding a standard point system! I can't wait to see where this leads with inter-district play!

I too am confused as to why Rookies are held point wise on the same level as a Chairman's award winning team. I agree there are challenges and hurdles to jump through but considering some rookies bring home 1-2 rookie awards before even considering their robot performance, standing, and elimination results the system does seem uneven. Only time will tell, let's give it a season and see how it goes.

PVCpirate
10-31-2013, 04:12 PM
While this may not be the best system to some people, thank you to the individuals who worked long and hard on this project to bring together so many ideas regarding a standard point system! I can't wait to see where this leads with inter-district play!

I too am confused as to why Rookies are held point wise on the same level as a Chairman's award winning team. I agree there are challenges and hurdles to jump through but considering some rookies bring home 1-2 rookie awards before even considering their robot performance, standing, and elimination results the system does seem uneven. Only time will tell, let's give it a season and see how it goes.

Ah, but we have a time machine! It's called...last year's results from Michigan and MAR! All we need is to apply the new system to last year's results and we can see how it might affect things. It won't be perfect but could be close.

Kims Robot
10-31-2013, 04:14 PM
Let's say the team competing Week 7 (365 at Chesapeake, HoF team) won that weekend, would this have taken a MAR slot away?
What I heard (though this doesnt appear to be documented in this post & writeup) is that Legacy & HoF teams don't count towards the number of teams a District can send. Now I don't know exactly what that means (or if it is the final word) in the case that a District HoF team wins an outside regional. Are they considered prequalified and thus don't affect this particular case? or does their win still take away a slot (thus deincentivizing HoF teams to win outside regionals??)

As it is, I know many Legacy & HoF teams decide not to attend their DCMP because it would eat up one of the spots for a cusp team allowed at that event in the current model. Im not sure this new model does anything to change that.

Rosiebotboss
10-31-2013, 04:14 PM
While this may not be the best system to some people, thank you to the individuals who worked long and hard on this project to bring together so many ideas regarding a standard point system! I can't wait to see where this leads with inter-district play!

I too am confused as to why Rookies are held point wise on the same level as a Chairman's award winning team. I agree there are challenges and hurdles to jump through but considering some rookies bring home 1-2 rookie awards before even considering their robot performance, standing, and elimination results the system does seem uneven. Only time will tell, let's give it a season and see how it goes.

I would imagine the discussion around giving rookie and second year a "bonus" is to give them a little better opportunity to see, smell, taste, feel the "Wow!" factor of FIRST and get to the "Big Dance".

Robotmmm
10-31-2013, 04:23 PM
While I appreciate the motivation of FIRST to inspire rookie teams, I feel that the Rookie awards already in place are sufficient. Making rookie status the equivalent value of points that a Chairman's award carries is sending the wrong message. Rookies need to be inspired, yes, but do they not also need to have a goal to work toward? The biggest fall off of rookie teams is not in year one or two, but in year 3 or 4. Something needs to be done to MAINTAIN teams, not simply bring in new teams that will only dwindle and drop out after all the initial "rookie status" benefits go away.

magnets
10-31-2013, 04:24 PM
I can't say I'm too happy about the point system.

It builds on my opinion that the culture of FIRST has changed drastically over the past 5-10 years. It's less about robots/engineering/competitions, and more about education, spreading the word, and getting more teams involved. While this may get FIRST out to the public, it's making sacrifices to competitive teams.

This means that when you go to your district championship, you're going to have a rookie team, that's gotten lucky, and they have the rookie team bonus of winning an extra five matches, but they can't really play, so they end up on the winning alliance. Then, at championships, you'll have teams who can't really play either. Right now, with the current flawed system (this new one will only be worse), you have about 6 matches per championship division where an alliance scores less than 10 points. That means that there are enough non-scoring teams playing in eliminations, that in 140 matches there are multiple matches where 3 non-scoring teams are put together.

For instance, in 2011, the championship was (in my humble opinion) ruined by the whole will.i.am thing. They sacrificed the fun that some teams would have in order to spread FIRST. Again, in 2013, we had a pathetic 8 matches per team at CMP. Why? So that many teams could come, not to compete and to be the 400 or so most competitive teams there are, but to be inspired.

In pretty much every event, there are a handful of competitive teams that will be playing in elims for sure, and are usually alliance captains. My way of judging the competitiveness of robots at an event is the competitiveness of the last few picks. We're getting to a point where the cmp elims 1st seeded alliance's second pick is a below average robot, and worse than 100's of robots that didn't qualify

It's also possible to build a competitive robot without any engineering at all. Just put together the kitbot, wire together the control system (both of which have detailed manuals), and download an already written piece of software, no understanding of computers required. Bolt a tray on top of the robot, and drive in a straight line to the low goal, hit it, and the discs fly in. Make a passive ten point climber, and you're already in the top 50% for weeks 1, 2, and 3, all without writing a single piece of code, without adding a single motor, and only doing one thing (hanging) in teleop.

It all comes down to the balance of competition vs. spreading FIRST/inspiring new teams. For some people, the engineering/competing/innovation aspect is most important.

PVCpirate
10-31-2013, 04:36 PM
The rookie bonus does not apply to the rankings within an event, so rookies will not advance to eliminations based on this bonus.

Chris Fultz
10-31-2013, 04:37 PM
If you have specific issues or questions, please send them to the link in the blog, so that they can be reviewed and addressed.

I will make a few comments that might help.

Every change that was made was modeled to see how it would have impacted previous years results. The FiM database and MAR databases of results are exceptional and helped us significantly.

Just about every comment made in the posts so far was also discussed by the team while we worked through this. The panel was diverse in experience, philosophy, approach to each point. We tried every angle.

While there might be a specific item you don't like or agree with, step back and look at the total system and what it accomplishes.

MechEng83
10-31-2013, 04:38 PM
This will likely be an unpopular opinion, but I'm ok with a district slot being taken when a team wins at a regional. I'm in Indiana, sitting on the outside of districts, but we're possibly headed for district play in 2015. Here's my reasoning:

The number of bids a district gets to the championship is supposed to be proportional to the number of teams it has within the district. District teams are allowed to play outside their district in a regional. Non-district teams are not permitted to play in a district event. Essentially, the opportunity exists for a district team to "steal" a non-district slot and in the past there was no reciprocal arrangement. This method ensures a more even distribution of teams. Note: teams from districts are still be eligible for the Championship through the waitlist, just like non-district teams. It is practially impossible to create a completely "fair" system, but I feel like this system is more fair than the previous policy.

Justin Montois
10-31-2013, 04:44 PM
It's also possible to build a competitive robot without any engineering at all. Just put together the kitbot, wire together the control system (both of which have detailed manuals), and download an already written piece of software, no understanding of computers required. Bolt a tray on top of the robot, and drive in a straight line to the low goal, hit it, and the discs fly in. Make a passive ten point climber, and you're already in the top 50% for weeks 1, 2, and 3, all without writing a single piece of code, without adding a single motor, and only doing one thing (hanging) in teleop.



You wrote quite a bit that I know other people will disagree with so I'm just going to focus on what I've quoted from you above.

I am frustrated that you feel the above scenario is a detriment to FIRST and how some teams build their robots. There is nothing wrong with teams with very limited resources doing exactly what you described. In fact, there are many many teams that couldn't score the 14-16 points you mentioned in your scenario. And yet you make it seem like if they followed the plan you outlined they are somehow learning less, and not getting a true appreciation for engineering or getting a positive FIRST experience.

The figuring out the kitbot, control system wiring, and some pre-written code is asking a TON for most rookie teams and even rookie team members of veteran teams. The resources in place to help them hit the ground running are fantastic resources to relive that early burden. If these resources were not in place many teams would be so lost and frustrated early on that many would not make it to their events with a functioning robot and may not even bother trying again the next year.

It's terrible that you feel teams that utilize these resources are not getting a full experience.

EricDrost
10-31-2013, 04:47 PM
While there might be a specific item you don't like or agree with, step back and look at the total system and what it accomplishes.

It's much easier to criticize something than stand in somebody else's shoes and understand their decisions. Many of the people voicing concerns (myself included) probably do view this as a great step forward. With the number of regions in districts increasing, it was necessary to unify a points system so cross-district play is an option.

Although there are a few things I would have done differently, I'm very excited by this update.

Jared
10-31-2013, 04:49 PM
If you have specific issues or questions, please send them to the link in the blog, so that they can be reviewed and addressed.

I will make a few comments that might help.

Every change that was made was modeled to see how it would have impacted previous years results. The FiM database and MAR databases of results are exceptional and helped us significantly.

Just about every comment made in the posts so far was also discussed by the team while we worked through this. The panel was diverse in experience, philosophy, approach to each point. We tried every angle.

While there might be a specific item you don't like or agree with, step back and look at the total system and what it accomplishes.

I really agree with this. There are a few things I'm not a fan of, but it's really important to look at the big picture. Coming from a team that's been to a ton of competitions, we realize how confusing and difficult it must be for a rookie team to be competitive. There are so many little things to make sure that the team does right (like charging batteries/quick bumper mounts) that rookie teams won't know about.

Some of the points that magnets brings up are true, but FIRST wouldn't really be FIRST if we didn't spread the word and end up with all the awesome sponsors who make everything possible.

I'm excited for districts in 2013!
Does anybody know if the NE districts will be getting the robot access period that FiM and MAR got last year?

PVCpirate
10-31-2013, 05:01 PM
I already posted this to the blog, but wondering if anyone here knows: When are the team age points applied? Each event, after both district events, or at some other time?

scottandme
10-31-2013, 05:10 PM
It would be helpful to share the MAR/FiM databases. I ran (an extremely fast) model of MAR from last year here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqCax1FanfCIdDRLM19SNWQ1Q3VtWkcza3pzcDIxb 0E&usp=sharing

(I know we're gaining more slots this year, but.....)

Team 11 and 2016 would "eat" two of MAR's slots (winner in Palmetto and RCA at Buckeye)

Compared to actual results:
Teams 303, 193, and 293 no longer qualify for World CMP
Rookie team 4460 attends in their place - buoyed by (edit:45) award points at MAR CMP (Entrepreneurship, 10pt rookie).

Seems like it's taking a few step away from what the Michigan point model was designed to encourage (best performing robots earning the most points), at least from what I understood via the excellent EWCP cast with Jim Zondag.

Caleb Sykes
10-31-2013, 05:11 PM
Originally Posted by magnets View Post We're getting to a point where the cmp elims 1st seeded alliance's second pick is a below average robot

I'm sorry, but this is about as ridiculous as it gets. My only possible thought is that you were watching Newton this year and didn't understand 1538's reasoning, here are some numbers:
2013 Championships second picks by #1 seeded alliance:
Archimedes: 2959, OPR = 72.3
Curie: 862(I think) OPR = 67.8
Galileo: 4039, OPR = 55.7
Newton: 217, OPR = 23.2

Average 2013 OPR: 17.4

Akash Rastogi
10-31-2013, 05:22 PM
I'll share my perspective on the Rookie/2nd year team points bonus; however, my experience may not be the same as the majority of rookie teams in FRC.

While on 3929, our team focused on creating a competitive robot to play in eliminations, but we also focused most of our energy on the rookie awards. We happened to get lucky and win a district with 25 and 222, but I don't think I would have minded if we did not qualify for MAR Champs. What my team experienced was rookies who were way better than us, for example 3974 and 4342. What our 3 rookie teams showed is that you can still earn a spot at your Regional Championship without needing a special boost, even if it does take luck and hard work. 3929 focused on awards, and the other two earned their way through better robots. I just don't see the need for an added bonus.

By just giving us points to get ahead, it would have discouraged veteran teams who aren't as lucky to have experienced mentors. A team's age doesn't mean that people on that team have been members for a long period of time, so age in FRC does not inherently equal experience. I think this would be pretty discouraging for both the rookies and weak veterans.

Adding a bonus for the age of the team makes sense from the perspective of someone on the outside-looking-in, but I think some rookie teams might take it as a sign of pity, I believe many of my students would have. They worked hard to earn their rookie awards, but if we happened to earn more points over a veteran who is stronger than us simply because we were a rookie, I would feel pretty bad about it.

These are just my thoughts based on my mentorship of 3929, not necessarily the views of 3929.

Allison K
10-31-2013, 05:24 PM
Preface: This is opinion ought to be taken with a grain of salt, as I've been in Michigan since the dawn of districts and am most likely suffering from resistance-to-change syndrome (rather prevalent at times here on CD).

I question the points for rookies and second year teams. As noted both earlier in this thread and in many other threads, the mark of a good system is not how it ranks the very top teams, but how it ranks teams at the cutoff. 10 points is a pretty big boost at that level. Michigan is currently sitting at 49 rookies, so we are infusing at least 490 points into the system before the season even starts (not counting the bonus for second year teams). I understand that it's important to keep rookies and second year teams inspired and coming back, but bonus points just on team age are sending them to states at the expense of some other team who has also worked hard, and quite possibly hasn't been to states in four years or more. I have stats I'll pull up later about the number of veteran teams in Michigan who either have never been to states, or haven't been in the past four years.

I'm glad that EI is worth points now, as previously it was neither worth points nor was it worth a bid.

It'll be interesting to see how the Chairman's auto bid affects the invite list for states. Barring a change in venue, the MI District Champs have capacity for 64 teams, so 20% of the teams there will be attending on an auto bid (13/64).

Overall it seems like the changes are somewhat diluting the value of robot performance in favor of cultural factors. Not necessarily good or bad, just an observation.

Allison

Jon Jack
10-31-2013, 05:25 PM
Rookie team 4460 attends in their place - buoyed by 60 award points at MAR CMP (Highest Rookie Seed, Entrepreneurship, 10pt rookie)

Highest Rookie Seed in the new system is worth 0 points:

Note that Teams only get points for judged Team awards. If an award is not judged, for example, Rookie Highest Seed,
or is not for a Team, for example, the Deanís List Award, no points are earned.

scottandme
10-31-2013, 05:41 PM
Highest Rookie Seed in the new system is worth 0 points:

Thanks for catching that - no change in CMP slots though, they slip from #1 in points to #2.

MARS_James
10-31-2013, 05:41 PM
I really hope that the 10 and 5 points are a one time thing for each team and not at each competition. Or else you are looking 20 points for rookie teams, and then since it says that all teams will earn x3 points at championship rookies who attend are at 50 points walking in to finals.

Zach O
10-31-2013, 05:52 PM
So along with have awards for only rookies, that only rookies can get points for, they get points for just showing up? Instead of giving rookies an easier pass to get in to the state championship or CMP, why don't we start working to make rookies more competitive?

Brandon_L
10-31-2013, 06:02 PM
Team 11 and 2016 would "eat" two of MAR's slots (winner in Palmetto and RCA at Buckeye)

Compared to actual results:
Teams 303, 193, and 293 no longer qualify for World CMP
Rookie team 4460 attends in their place - buoyed by (edit:45) award points at MAR CMP (Entrepreneurship, 10pt rookie).


It probably would have been pretty awkward on over at MORT when Beta can't attend CMP because 11 won Palmetto.

Or when you just blocked an Einstein team from attending CMP.

PayneTrain
10-31-2013, 06:13 PM
It probably would have been pretty awkward on over at MORT when Beta can't attend CMP because 11 won Palmetto.

Or when you just blocked an Einstein team from attending CMP.

I have a lot to comment on, but I feel like it's an obvious detriment to the quality of CMP when you are just eating slots for the sake of eating them.

shhrz
10-31-2013, 06:22 PM
This will likely be an unpopular opinion, but I'm ok with a district slot being taken when a team wins at a regional. I'm in Indiana, sitting on the outside of districts, but we're possibly headed for district play in 2015. Here's my reasoning:

The number of bids a district gets to the championship is supposed to be proportional to the number of teams it has within the district. District teams are allowed to play outside their district in a regional. Non-district teams are not permitted to play in a district event. Essentially, the opportunity exists for a district team to "steal" a non-district slot and in the past there was no reciprocal arrangement. This method ensures a more even distribution of teams. Note: teams from districts are still be eligible for the Championship through the waitlist, just like non-district teams. It is practially impossible to create a completely "fair" system, but I feel like this system is more fair than the previous policy.

This.

In truth, until everyone moves to Districts, I have to completely agree.

Joe G.
10-31-2013, 06:28 PM
I think we need a clarification of intent on the "outside of district eating a slot" thing. It seems to me that the intent was to keep the number of teams attending championships from each district region predictable, so that, for example, New England sends 30 teams, not "30 plus a few from regionals," especially since those extra few would come at the expense of non-district regions. However, I'm not seeing that a team that double-qualifies outside of their district, or even outside/inside their district, would eat two slots.

If a team qualifies for championships at a regional once, it makes sense to me that one less team will be able to qualify from the district.

If a team qualifies for championship at a regional, and then again at their district championship, it would make sense to me for the next team by points to qualify instead of double-counting a single team.

If a team qualifies twice outside of their district, it would make sense for only one district slot to go away, as taking away more would reduce the number of teams from the district that qualify.

DampRobot
10-31-2013, 06:30 PM
Before people keep freaking out about the auto-points for rookies and the regional CMP slot thing, remember that all in all, this is a very good FRC Blog for FRC in general. This panel just laid the foundations for inter-district competition in FRC, something very, very important for it's continued growth, sustainability and the level of competition. In five years, when anyone can play in any district and district CMP is the stepping stone to CMP for everybody, this will be seen as the plan that that started it all.

Yes, it does seem a little unfair to most people on CD (me included) that rookies and second year teams get points just for participating. There may have been a more graceful way to do this (rookies get 3 points instead of 2 for their first 10 match wins, overall points multiplied by 1.1, etc), but the goal is a still very good one. All in all, I think if it's a toss up for attending DCMP or CMP between a rookie and a veteran team, I'd much rather have a rookie go. They've almost certainly had a tough time getting off the ground. This rule isn't around to completely overhaul the system for awarding points, it's just to give rookie teams a bit of a boost.

Libby K
10-31-2013, 06:42 PM
So along with have awards for only rookies, that only rookies can get points for, they get points for just showing up? Instead of giving rookies an easier pass to get in to the state championship or CMP, why don't we start working to make rookies more competitive?

^^ This.

And while that's something that comes down to the teams in the community being willing to help out the rookies around them, and not something HQ or any district can decide -- it's a better solution long-term.

Yes, saying 'First-year-team advances to State Championship!' might help them get some attention in the community, it's better for their team in the long run to have the support and resources around them to help them learn and improve (and hey, maybe get to DCMP on their own merit!) than to get free points just so they can 'have the experience' of the DCMP - where they might just get stomped. Not very inspiring to me.

The fact that simply existing as a rookie holds the same value as a District Chairman's Award doesn't sit well with me.

Ernst
10-31-2013, 06:58 PM
I think that if a district team qualifies for CMP at a Regional, then eating one of the district's CMP tickets is better than earning an additional ticket for that district and throwing off the proportions. It seems like an improvement. I'm not sure if it's the best or most balanced compromise, though.

Are there any glaring flaws in implementing something like a local wildcard system? For example, if a district team becomes Regional Champion 2, then they earn a CMP ticket and eat one of the district's tickets, but that spot doesn't disappear from the Regional, and, instead, Finalist 1 gets a ticket as well, thus still awarding the 3 Regional Champion tickets but not giving district teams access to more opportunities to qualify.

Allison K
10-31-2013, 07:08 PM
... I have stats I'll pull up later about the number of veteran teams in Michigan who either have never been to states, or haven't been in the past four years.
...

I looked it up. This year in Michigan we have 170 teams that are 3rd year and older (not rookies or second year). Of that 170...

54 (32%) have NEVER been to District Championship
5 (3%) last attended in 2009
11 (6%) last attended in 2010
16 (9%) last attended in 2011
24 (14%) last attended in 2012
60 (35%) last attended in 2013

70 out of 170 (41%) 3rd year and above teams have zero students that have ever experienced states. These teams are arguably more in need of a culture boost than rookie and second year teams are, yet they don't have any special points allotted.

Allison

PS - I attached the spreadsheet with data if anybody else wants to play. Be forewarned that it's a bit messy.

thedries
10-31-2013, 07:24 PM
I think that if a district team qualifies for CMP at a Regional, then eating one of the district's CMP tickets is better than earning an additional ticket for that district and throwing off the proportions. It seems like an improvement. I'm not sure if it's the best or most balanced compromise, though. .

If you're worried about regional proportions, it's still being thrown out of whack. The out of district team is still taking a slot away from whatever region they compete at. Instead of giving a team who has come very close to earning their ticket a pass to CMPs, the spot is given to a wild card team based on the whims of HQ.

Caleb Sykes
10-31-2013, 07:31 PM
@Allison
Am I interpreting this spreadsheet correctly to mean that no Michigan rookies made it to the State Tournament this year? And only 1 rookie last year? Because if so, this is most likely what FIRST HQ is trying to remedy.

Robotmmm
10-31-2013, 07:31 PM
Instead of rewarding rookies for existing and hoping that will inspire them why don't we try this:

Encourage rookie teams to attend District Champs as spectators.

Hold events for them:

-Give some short seminars on several topics. Maybe a few mentors can cover this.

-Let veteran teams volunteer to adopt a few students from a rookie team for the duration of the competition so they can be in their pits and learn.

-Let them bring their robots and have them set up in a special "Rookie Section". Teams can then send students to the rookie's pits to go over their robots with them and suggest improvements.

These are just off the top of my head, but I think there are so many more ways we can inspire rookies that are much more beneficial then throwing them some points just because they exist.

Karthik
10-31-2013, 07:36 PM
@Allison
Am I interpreting this spreadsheet correctly to mean that no Michigan rookies made it to the State Tournament this year? And only 1 rookie last year? Because if so, this is most likely what FIRST HQ is trying to remedy.

This is correct. There were zero rookies at MSC last year.

Francis-134
10-31-2013, 07:38 PM
We will have to see how the rookie points pan out.

In my opinion, the rookie points are...different? FIRST has an obvious problem, which is the fact that the team attrition rate is extremely high. Objectively speaking, seeing a couple hundred teams die every year is bad (is it as bad as other programs? I have no idea, but objectively, losing ~150 teams a year or MORE is not a good thing).

So far, FIRST has tried to provide money, offer resources for mentors, and offer resources for teams, and it has not worked as well as it needs to. I welcome the change, and think that it's good to seem them try something at all. There may be better solutions, the number of points may be too many, but at this point, I'm willing to let them try SOMETHING to make the rookie/second year teams gain some traction.

I am also very happy to see the top award in FIRST reward a team with a trip to the DCMP. It really is a no brainer. If a team is truly the best that FIRST has to offer, why can't they play at their regions highest stage?

I am a little disappointed at the number of points for judged awards. I might have valued them a little higher, but overall, I am happy with the point system.

EricH
10-31-2013, 07:50 PM
It builds on my opinion that the culture of FIRST has changed drastically over the past 5-10 years. It's less about robots/engineering/competitions, and more about education, spreading the word, and getting more teams involved. While this may get FIRST out to the public, it's making sacrifices to competitive teams. I haven't seen this part addressed yet.

FIRST is NOT about robots, engineering, or competitions. Never has been, never will be. FIRST has always been about Inspiration... and about Recognition of Science and Technology. (Sound familiar? It should...)

The competition is just a vehicle. Robotics is just the type of vehicle. FIRST could have chosen R/C aircraft, popsicle stick towers, or any other sort of competition as their competition choice. And the reason for choosing a competition is to lure in the general public and get them interested--it's a lot easier to get folks to a sporting event than a science fair, no?

The culture of FIRST has not gone away from competition. In fact, to some folks, it has gone a little too far TOWARDS competition and away from the inspiration and outreach.


Which, I think, is why the point system is the way it is. Not to lure rookies to DCMPs to get their tails stomped, but to lure them there to be inspired by the robots that are doing the stomping, possibly including their own. Not to elevate winning (some would say that winning the event is valued too high--if you win out of the last pick, you get 2* record + 1 for picking position + 30 points for match wins in series, compared to 10 points and an autobid for DCA) but to give recognition to both the teams that win the event and the teams that started a journey to win the most prestigious award FRC has.

The committee had probably the #1 hardest job in FRC, because they had to balance the competition aspect with the outreach aspect, and still keep as many people as possible happy. IMO, there are a couple of items that may need tweaking (exact point values for DCA, rookie bonuses, and/or awards come to mind), but I think overall they did a pretty decent job.

PayneTrain
10-31-2013, 07:55 PM
I just feel like floating this idea out there.

What if instead of giving rookies bonus points for their existence, you have them compete for a DCMP bid in a separate pool for a certain number of guaranteed rookie spots? You leave 5 slots for rookies and another 5 for second years that have to go to them, then leave the other 40+ remaining slots up for grabs by any team (because chairman's). That solves the problem of risking no rookies at CMP, and takes away the bonus of existence.


The committee had probably the #1 hardest job in FRC, because they had to balance the competition aspect with the outreach aspect, and still keep as many people as possible happy. IMO, there are a couple of items that may need tweaking (exact point values for DCA, rookie bonuses, and/or awards come to mind), but I think overall they did a pretty decent job.

I certainly don't envy the job. Those who have put any significant time in this program know the names of most people who factored into this decision, if not all. Why is that? They are some of the best, most experienced leaders this program has to offer. Woodie Flowers Award Winners, major faces and minds in their own district systems (including one whose name could be likened to an FRC messiah, delivering unto us the original district system and saving us from the regional structure), regional directors, and of course the head honcho of FRC. This is a handful of flagship leadership to steer the direction of FIRST's flagship program. I appreciate any difficult decisions they make, including the prediction they likely all made that we would pick at it the second it went online. Thanks for all the hard work guys.

Allison K
10-31-2013, 08:13 PM
@Allison
Am I interpreting this spreadsheet correctly to mean that no Michigan rookies made it to the State Tournament this year? And only 1 rookie last year? Because if so, this is most likely what FIRST HQ is trying to remedy.

That would be my guess as well, and I understand the rational. If I sounded incensed or angry I didn't intend to. I'm just surprised, given the fairly large proportion of veteran teams who also haven't had the opportunity to attend. The rookie/second year points also surprised me as the impact on the overall makeup of district champs is dependent on a factor that varies from year to year (the proportion of rookies and second year teams vs. 3rd year or older). As of now Michigan has 242 teams, of which 49 are rookies and 23 are second year teams, so it's a change that's giving almost 1/3 of the teams a boost.

Jscout11
10-31-2013, 08:20 PM
This is extremely disappointing. Until FIRST allows cross-district registration, this villainizes successful district teams that want to travel. The teams at the regional they attend will be upset with them for eating up a spot, and the teams in their district will be upset with them for eating up a spot. This just seems like a lose-lose way of limiting the number of teams per district that qualify for champs.

I completely agree with this, from the perspective of a team who won both a regional and district event last year. Teams were already not too pleased that we took away possible points from other non-qualified teams by winning in districts when we were already qualified for St Louis (or taking a district chairman's slot for that matter). Hypothetically, with the new system, we would have not only taken away points from other teams, we would have also taken away a spot from the district as a whole (while subsequently taking away a spot from wherever we competed). I agree that the proportions from each region have to have some balance, but my issue is with the fact that teams in the district really have no control over the teams that may possibly win awards at other events, but are punished for it anyway. If a team at a regional happens to lose to a district team, they should "suffer the consequences" so to speak, and not the teams who were not even there.

It's already become much harder for districts teams to travel, and while I can respect the work that went into this system and support a lot of it, I feel like this is only making that specific issue worse.

dtengineering
10-31-2013, 10:16 PM
@Allison
Am I interpreting this spreadsheet correctly to mean that no Michigan rookies made it to the State Tournament this year? And only 1 rookie last year? Because if so, this is most likely what FIRST HQ is trying to remedy.

It will be interesting to see how the rookie "bonus" points work out in the Pacific Northwest this year. The district has grown massively since 2008 and rookie teams regularly hold down key positions as Captains and highly picked alliance members at regional events. This may be different from the more established districts back east, where there are dozens of highly competitive, established teams.

In VRC we have found that having a "B" division at the provincial championships has been very helpful for developing teams*. It makes total sense that a district would want to hold one or two "non-championship" events, where the teams who did not advance to the state championship would have the opportunity to win matches and experience being an alliance captain or high seed.

Jason

* Teams that competed in the BC Championships "A" division last year actually had a higher win percentage at VRC Worlds than they did at the BCIT. Developing teams were quite happy to play in "B" Division and not face world champions and runners-up.

KrazyCarl92
10-31-2013, 11:33 PM
I think this point structure is pretty darn awesome. This team of respected mentors and volunteers had a very difficult job and clearly had to make some compromises individually to reach consensus as a group. Sure it's not what I would've come up with, but I trust that they did the proper analysis with all of the implications of this point structure. I don't expect it to be perfect in its first year, that would be an unreasonable expectation.

It seems like there is some misunderstanding of the rookie point bonus. Some people have been assuming that the rookie point bonus will apply to each event somehow or be multiplied by the DCMP 3x multiplier. Based on my interpretation it is as follows:

Take all of the other points, ignoring the rookie bonus, throughout the entire season...then add 10. If a rookie team would have earned 90 points without the rookie bonus, they earn 100 points. It's not like those points would be tacked on for 2 districts and then 3x for the DCMP to give 140 points, that is nowhere in the document.

Grim Tuesday
11-01-2013, 01:31 AM
Since the rookie point boost seems to be such a sticking point, why not make the point boost like this:

Haven't attended DCMP in 4 years/Rookie: 10 pts
Haven't attended DCMP in 3 years/2nd year: 5 pts


While I agree in principle with the notion that the points should provide a District Championship with the best robots, there are many teams in desperate need of a culture shock. Maybe with the 'culture shock' coming in form of more teams coming to District Championships, we can eliminate the CMP Waitlist and then have enough slots at CMP to get rid of the other very objectionable part about district slots being eaten.

People have long predicted the inevitable change to a FIRST-wide District system. I think this is the last year we will see regionals as we know them and right now we are experiencing exactly the growing pains everyone predicted: Teams without districts are experiencing difficulties and the standardization of the district systems is beginning to occur. I can't wait to see it get perfected!

Tristan Lall
11-01-2013, 02:27 AM
This looks reasonable to me.


I'd agree the team age point bonus could stand to be clarified. The statement "Points earned at District Championships will be multiplied by three and then added to points earned at District events, to determine the final season points total for the Team." implies either that points earned independently of the events (i.e. team age points) don't count, or that team age points are earned at events (and thus count repeatedly). The first would be silly, and the second perhaps a bit excessive. Fortunately, FIRST has plenty of time to amend the formula to state that it's a one-time bonus, applied at the beginning of the season.

But even if the team age bonus is per-event, it's only a little excessive. The team age bonus is basically a subsidy that benefits the teams that have the highest rate of failure-induced dissolution (and consequently set bad examples for everyone who sees the teams disband and develops a poor impression of the FRC program), and distributes the harm evenly and lightly across the rest of the field. It seems like an equitable compromise to me, given that the alternative (letting the teams fail) could easily be more harmful overall.

Sure, there will be a few teams on the margin who, if there hadn't been a team age bonus, would have qualified, and who will instead sit out. But that's fine, because there needs to be a systematic way of recognizing that there is value in having a few teams participate in the higher-level events, even if they're not really the best on the field. Just as the points for awards are a recognition of FIRST's view that the game and the team's off-field activities are not wholly separable, there's a fair argument to be made that the team age is intrinsically a characteristic that should be considered in selecting who advances. Granted, all of this dilutes the purity of the competition, but it's not as if that dilution hasn't been the status quo for many years (with awards factoring into qualification for the Championship). If that dilution were of greater magnitude, I'd be pretty annoyed too—but I don't think it's that bad on balance.


As for the fact that winning a regional outside your district claws back a Championship slot from the rest of the teams in the district, it's not perfect, but it properly addresses the larger issue of a district team qualifying at a regional (i.e. outside of its district) and thus diminishing the opportunities for the regional teams who don't have the additional opportunity to qualify through the district process. In other words, it avoids hurting the teams outside any district, and—provided that you're as competitive at the regional as you are in your district, which is admittedly far from guaranteed—your slot at the regional is kind of like a replacement for the slot you'd have been likely to win at your district championship. Were that to be the case, the clawback would be reasonable, because you've already qualified and therefore don't need the district championship slot. (And it doesn't harm anyone else either, because they couldn't have won the slot that you were going to otherwise win.)

Michael Sperber
11-01-2013, 08:19 AM
I think Carl hit the nail right on the head:
This team of respected mentors and volunteers had a very difficult job and clearly had to make some compromises individually to reach consensus as a group.

The key here is compromise. I can't speak for the distinguised committee that developed this model, but I am fairly confident that not everyone got everything they were asking for. They negotiated, they compromised and they came up with a model that they were all comfortable with releasing.

The other thing we all need to keep in mind is what Frank said in his announcement (emphasis added):
While this system will be used by all Districts in 2014, it is not set in stone. Our intention is to periodically review the system, making improvements for later years as we see the need. Itís our additional intent that every year, all Districts will use the standard points ranking system that is in place for that year. This will help facilitate the potential introduction of inter-District play, which we intend to develop for the 2015 season.

Kims Robot
11-01-2013, 09:21 AM
And while that's something that comes down to the teams in the community being willing to help out the rookies around them, and not something HQ or any district can decide -- it's a better solution long-term.

I think this is a great point, though there are still going to be those rookie teams who push away help and insist upon "doing it themselves" (and struggle immensely as a result). But a lot of teams could be bolstered by closer and better mentoring by seasoned mentors or teams that really work closely with them, on not only building a robot but building their team (and DONT just let them go after their first year). But lets face it, the rookie teams that sustain these days are mostly the ones that form with experienced mentors, or very very close "sister" teams.

Many people are getting up in arms about the rookie & second year points... I need to see a model before I agree/disagree. I do agree that it is a little strange that NO rookies attended MSC last year, and there is some need of remedy there (IMO, it shouldnt be all rookies, but at least a few should be good enough rookies to make it in - with 11 RAS teams, NONE were good enough to move on to DCMP??)... how did MSC award RAS??

Anyways, one point that I think A LOT of people may not be considering is yeah, the age points bonus may seem big, BUT, how many of those teams are going to be able to come up with the extra $4,000 it takes to register for the District Championship??? or even if they get help from FIRST or the Districts to do that, how many are going to be able to quickly coordinate and pay for travel after week 5 or 6 to get to a week 7 event? I don't think this is going to dilute the pool as much as people may think.

After letting this settle in, I think I'm fairly happy with the result, and I certainly trust many of the names on that list (know most but not all of them), and I am glad to hear that this was run through the MSC & MAR data. I'm certain all of this will make sense against the data.

What I am more interested in are the questions that are not touched on in this document & blog:
1. How many World CMP slots is each District going to get?
2. How do Legacy/HoF teams play into the number of slots? What if a Legacy/HoF wins an outside regional slot?
3. What auto-qualifies a team for World CMP from DCMP? Chairmans is noted in the document, but does that mean 0-EI and 0-RAS auto-qualify (even though at regionals EI & RAS have auto-qualified teams in past years).
4. How many of each award do District Championships get to give out (CA, EI, RAS, WF, DL come to mind).
I posted those in the comments.

Rosiebotboss
11-01-2013, 09:52 AM
What I am more interested in are the questions that are not touched on in this document & blog:
1. How many World CMP slots is each District going to get?
2. How do Legacy/HoF teams play into the number of slots? What if a Legacy/HoF wins an outside regional slot?
3. What auto-qualifies a team for World CMP from DCMP? Chairmans is noted in the document, but does that mean 0-EI and 0-RAS auto-qualify (even though at regionals EI & RAS have auto-qualified teams in past years).
4. How many of each award do District Championships get to give out (CA, EI, RAS, WF, DL come to mind).
I posted those in the comments.

I, along with a very distinguished list of seasoned mentors in NE led by Jess, was on the team in NE that worked out the points model that we sent up to HQ. We spent a lot of hours discussing these very points. Given the points model we now have, the next discussion, and I was hoping Frank would release this info now.

I will also tell you, there was compromise. Some of the things we sent up are in the list,some are not. Some are tweaked. I will not get into a discussion of what was changed or what was not. But I will tell you we put together a prett extensize spreadsheet with 5 different iterations of a points model, 1 using MAR, 1 using FiM and 3 differnt NE models. Bottom line is this, the only teams that were affected were the bottom 8-10 (assuming a pool of 60 DCMP qualifiers). In one iteration with points for judged awards for example, some teams got into District Champs. In another iteration a different set of teams got in. Rookie points/no rookie point bonus, for a majority of teams, the top 80%, it will not make a difference, they will remain. We used my own team as the guinea pig. We are a 2 time Chairmans award winner, mulitple KPCB, never won a Regional nor were a finalist. In some models we were in, in others we were not. We have taken on the task of changing and improving our on field performance and not risking the INSPIRATION that happens to get us to DCMP. (Not an easy task!) So by going to the district model, it has helped us to raise our game and the incentive to make a better program.

Cudos to the distinguished list of people that worked long hours to come up with a points model that is pretty darn good.

GBK
11-01-2013, 09:55 AM
I want to start by saying thank you to everyone on the team that worked so hard on this project. It is not perfect but is a great start so something that is badly needed.
I keep reading about limited slots at CMP and teams veteran team not making it to District Championships.
I feel that teams within a district should be allowed to compete at a regional, however if they are competing at that regional prior to playing their qualification events within their district, they are gaining not only additional out of bag time, but practice and experience that the other teams in the district are not getting. If they win that regional, they are also taking away a slot from CMP that a team from within that region. What a district team does outside their district should have no impact either positive or negative on the other teams in their district.
If you disagree with that, you will likely disagree with my next statement as well.
CMP Limited slots. CMP is something that every student in FIRST should have the chance to experience. It should also be a competition of the best of the best. The low number of qualification matches at CMP is a big concern for many of us. There should be more teams at CMP not less. There are a few ways to do that. I think Einstein should start out with 8 alliances. To do that more divisions are required, that means more teams. To make room for more teams, separating the FTC and Lego programs from CMP would make more room for teams. In Michigan FTC has been moved to a middle school program. Based on what I have witnessed this is something that also needs to be followed by other districts. This is a different subject but that program also needs to grow, and is very limited in growth partly due to being so limited in numbers at CMP. My final note is teams attending and competing at CMP based on their past performance. It is great to have these inspirational teams at CMP but I do not feel anyone should have an automatic slot to compete based on their past performance.
FIRST is growing at a rapid pace and that is great, but with growth at that rate comes growing pains. If FIRST continues to grow at this rate, and I for one hope it does, we are going to be living with growing pains for a long time to come.

Siri
11-01-2013, 09:56 AM
In the future, I wonder what would happen if a regional-winning district team opened up a wildcard slot at the regional and also didn't eat a district slot (was still skipped over in the CMP advancement points list). One downside is that the number of teams qualifying for CMP is slightly less predictable, but relative to the other unpredictable factors with regional advancement, this might be manageable until everywhere has district-points style advancement.

I'm sure there are other downsides. Potentially big ones--this is a quarter-baked idea at this point (closer to <1/6yr-baked, considering the committee's work). Still, it'd be nice [EDIT*: NOT] to villanize the only method of cross-area pollination for teams "stuck" in an--overall incredibly, incredibly awesome--system that impedes some valuable experiences (travel & working with diverse teams).


Thank you to the committee. I think it's hard to overstate the enormity of this achievement, even as smaller changes continue to be reviewed. (Personally, I'd also like to see rookie points considered in this category, but I'm happy to trust the committee that this is at least among the best first attempts we could have hoped for.) I have a few other questions, but I'm sure they'll be answered with the characteristic good grace.

*ahem...oops.

Jessica Boucher
11-01-2013, 10:55 AM
This may be the one and only time where the satire Facebook page "Tem 254: Teh Chezy Pofs (https://www.facebook.com/Tem254TehChezyPofs)" gets credit for the best take on the rookie bonus.

"i help out my rookiez, gotta raise dat new talent. play FRC like bruce lee, not an mma fighter. #honor"

As crazy as that sounds, the heart of the matter is our rookies are our future, and we should be encouraging them to do their best. The bonus helps make those dreams happen.

That being said....rookies, you've gotta work. 10 points isn't going to get you to the District CMP on your own. You've got to be smart, play hard, show some GP, earn a trophy, be the best FIRST team you can be with the tools you have. This isn't a golden ticket - it's a golden opportunity. It's up to you to earn it.

Hallry
11-01-2013, 12:30 PM
FYI, Frank has posted an update on the FRC Blog that he will be addressing comments and questions regarding the new standard district point structure next week. (Thread for update: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1299677)

Jim Zondag
11-01-2013, 12:44 PM
I would love to hear Jim Zondag (or any of the Michigan district folks) chime in on the merit of the Rookie and 2nd year team points.

Great dialog:
I worked on this committee for most of the summer with all of the members listed in Frank's Blog. This was a very interesting, challenging, and fulfilling experience. We had representation from many regions of country, and numerous very experienced FRC mentors and leaders. This was much like our original FiM development in 2008 only bigger: We started with a diverse group of leaders with differing backgrounds and priorities, we combined everyone's input into an action plan, and then we did a lot of analytics on every aspect of all the various proposals using many years of District and League wide FRC back history as a reference. The result is the system as it was presented in Frank's Blog. It is a derivation of the system we have been using in FiM/MAR for the past 5 years. IMHO and by my analyses, the changes are improvements to the original design and will improve the overall FRC competition experience for everyone.

To comment on a couple of points:
Rookie Bonus: I like this item and it is a great addition to the overall district promotion system. As big as FRC has become, we still have a long way to go to reach the penetration levels of mainstream sports. Growth needs to remain a priority and sustainability remains a big concern. League studies show that FRC teams are most likely to fold in their early years of existence. Providing young teams with improved opportunity for success is important to the long term health of FRC. Many young teams will tell you that the hardest year in the FRC actually the 2nd year. There are many advantages for 1st year teams but in year 2, you are just like everyone else. We collectively decided to soften this transition by spreading this initial opportunity over 2 years.

Operationally, the 10 point rookie bonus equates to about a 15% competitive opportunity for rookies in their first year for a 200+ team population like we have here in MI. Other new district regions will be similar in size. This bonus is significant, but not huge. Rookies still have to perform well in order to capitalize on this opportunity. Last year, no Rookies made it to the Michigan Championship. With the modifications, 3 would have made it (5%). All 3 of these team were also Rookie All Stars.
All 3 made Elims at both districts were very close to making the cut to MSC even without these adjustments. Historically, FRC had a fixed rookie promotional opportunity to CMP of about 17% for RAS. The district opportunity we are providing is less than that, in that it still requires young teams to perform at above average competitive levels in order to advance.

Compromises: While there were are few compromises made in this process, most of them were pretty minor. The main thing I saw through my experience on this committee was a growth of understanding by the various team members as to how a District system works. Initially, there were large difference in opinion amongst some of the team members but this gradually changed as we all worked together on this project. The big differences are that focus must shift somewhat when you move from a system in which most teams play only one event to a system in which all teams play at least two events. Accomplishments which are notable in the original context are not necessarily so in the new context due to the much larger number of instances. This can be hard to see from the outside. With Districts We are now playing a season, so individual event accomplishments are less important than . It took some time for everyone to come to a full understanding of this, and in the end, I did not feel that any of the committee members felt that we had made significant compromises for the sake of consensus. I think everyone on the committee is quite happy with the result and have a better understanding of what it expect as they transition to District play.

To echo Frank's point, this is an Iteration of the District promotional design: it is not the first and will not likely be be the last. As our sport grows and evolves, the dedicated people who work to make the FRC what it is will continue to adapt to the new challenges which will come with future growth and success.
I have been glad to have been part of this so far.

Travis Hoffman
11-01-2013, 04:33 PM
This will likely be an unpopular opinion, but I'm ok with a district slot being taken when a team wins at a regional. I'm in Indiana, sitting on the outside of districts, but we're possibly headed for district play in 2015. Here's my reasoning:

The number of bids a district gets to the championship is supposed to be proportional to the number of teams it has within the district. District teams are allowed to play outside their district in a regional. Non-district teams are not permitted to play in a district event. Essentially, the opportunity exists for a district team to "steal" a non-district slot and in the past there was no reciprocal arrangement. This method ensures a more even distribution of teams. Note: teams from districts are still be eligible for the Championship through the waitlist, just like non-district teams. It is practially impossible to create a completely "fair" system, but I feel like this system is more fair than the previous policy.

+1 vote for this sentiment

Bob Steele
11-01-2013, 04:48 PM
Thank you to everyone that worked on this monumental task
Great first cut at it.

I have a question though...

It is apparent that the point categories are for each event.
This means that if a team wins the "???" judged team award at a district event it will receive 5 points.

When determining the total score for that team let's assume it goes to District Championship and wins the award again.

For the purposes of determining rank in the district that would yield a total of
5 points for the district and 3 X 5 points for a total of 20 points.

I think this is fairly straight forward.

The document does not detail how the rookie/2nd year team points are handled in this way. I can only assume that a rookie team will recieve 10 points for each district event for a total of 20 points and then if they qualify for District championships they will recieve 3 X 10 for a total of 50 points towards their District ranking for CMP.

I don't think this was intended... but I see nothing that says that is not what is to be done.

Do rookies get a 10 point bonus once? or for each district event that they attend...

Do they get the triple 10 point bonus if they are at district CMP?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Has it been clarified somewhere that I don't know about?

thanks

Brandon Holley
11-01-2013, 04:53 PM
Do rookies get a 10 point bonus once? or for each district event that they attend...

Do they get the triple 10 point bonus if they are at district CMP?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Has it been clarified somewhere that I don't know about?

thanks

Good question Bob. I interpreted the point structure completely differently upon first read in that rookies got 10 points once and that was it. However, re-reading it it slightly less clear now.

Maybe someone can clarify?

-Brando

EricDrost
11-01-2013, 05:37 PM
EWCPCast will be discussing this topic on Wednesday, 11/6 at 9PM EST with special guests Jim Zondag and Jon Jack. Be sure to tune in!

Thread link here: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1299712

Jay O'Donnell
11-01-2013, 05:47 PM
I'm prefacing my thought on this by saying that I'm glad we have dedicated men and women making the districts what they are, but I just have a singular complaint. My team is fairly average here in New England. The past two seasons we would've been on the bubble of making it into DCMP if New England was a district yet. My worry is that if we have a similar season this upcoming year, a rookie team that would normally be 9 points below us all of a sudden has our spot at DCMP because of the 10 point bonus. Other than that, no complaints from me.

IKE
11-01-2013, 06:12 PM
I'm prefacing my thought on this by saying that I'm glad we have dedicated men and women making the districts what they are, but I just have a singular complaint. My team is fairly average here in New England. The past two seasons we would've been on the bubble of making it into DCMP if New England was a district yet. My worry is that if we have a similar season this upcoming year, a rookie team that would normally be 9 points below us all of a sudden has our spot at DCMP because of the 10 point bonus. Other than that, no complaints from me.

The goods news is, there are things you can do about this. If you plan the work and work the plan, you will very likely make it to the district championship.

connor.worley
11-01-2013, 06:14 PM
The goods news is, there are things you can do about this. If you plan the work and work the plan, you will very likely make it to the district championship.

Spotlighted.

Jay O'Donnell
11-01-2013, 06:17 PM
The goods news is, there are things you can do about this. If you plan the work and work the plan, you will very likely make it to the district championship.

Sorry if I was sound negative in that, not the intent :p believe me that's our plan.

Bob Steele
11-01-2013, 06:36 PM
I think one of the biggest plus factors for the District system is the District Championship.

For many teams, the World Championship is a dream... perhaps not because of the winning that a team has to do against terrific odds to get there but more because of the cost. A little team from Washington has to first win and then come up with thousands of dollars to register...get hotels...and travel....

Having a DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIP is a much more attainable goal... travel and costs are much less... (you still have a $4000 entrance fee) but it is attainable and something that every team can work for with a reasonable chance of success. If 60 teams or so out of 150 can make it to the District event that is a less than 1 in 3 chance to go.

What are the chances of that team going to Worlds?

400 chances in 3000 teams or so... roughly
1 chance in 7+

longer odds
Being a District Championship team is a big deal.
A team gets to compete twice before the District CMP

This is pretty nice...

All or nothing is the way of Regionals...
One regional... 5 spots (for non-rookies)
A 60 team regional gives you a less than 1 in 10 chance to go...

Just sayin'
We will work out the details....
Districts is a great deal for teams....
It promotes hope... hard work can make things happen... have a bad district and you have another chance....

It really is a better system... for everyone...

DonRotolo
11-01-2013, 09:32 PM
Nothing I can say that hasn't been said, but I think they came up with a good system. We were all 'scared' of districts until we experienced them...now we think they're great. I see a similar path for these new rules.

Best of all, in 2015 we can go to other districts! :D

DELurker
11-02-2013, 09:25 AM
OK, my turn to chime in... yay!

The point system is, at it's core, the same as the one used in MAR last year, with a few exceptions. Of course, I've got a little bit of stick-in-the-mud syndrome over a few of the changes and I really like some others:

Elimination Round Performance
Teams on Alliances winning a particular playoff series
[e.g.: An Alliance winning a particular Quarter Final best two of three match series]
5 points for every match won in which a Teamís robot participated, only for the Alliance that wins the series
Having been in the role of a Backup team who was confused over the points awarded, this is a great clarification to how points are awarded when a backup team enters the fray. It could possibly be phrased better, but that's just me.

Team Age
10 points for Rookie Teams
5 points for second-year Teams
Basically, Rookies get an equivalent number of points to either two judged awards or becoming semifinalists. It's not a big boost, but it does add up. Looking at MAR for last year, by my calculations, the lowest point total team that participated in MAR CMP had either 42 or 39 points (not counting Chairman's & EI). Giving rookies 20 points (2 DE x 10 each) would have popped 4-5 more rookies into the MAR CMP. That's about 10% of the field being advanced up through the Rookie points alone (assuming no year two teams bump them). I like the points, but I think they may be too high.

Regional Participation
District Teams do not earn points for their actions at any Regionals they may attend, but are still eligible for Team awards at those events, and any benefits that may go along with winning those awards, such as earning their way to the FIRST Championship. However, if a District Team does earn a slot at the FIRST Championship while attending a Regional event, that slot does count against the total Championship allocation the District is receiving for the season. (emphasis mine)
Not a big fan. So, basically, teams going into MAR CMP will know it's a win-or-go-home event. Let's see... 6 point-bids in 2013, with an average of 2-3 going away because of District teams winning outside Regionals. It becomes just a Regional now, with both the winners and finalists going to World's. Other Districts with more teams might be different, but this one line really gives the shaft to the MAR CMP event. If this is the case, then I recommend that MAR expand by co-opting Maryland before they form a district with DC and northern VA.

To be honest, I think a better way to do this particular item would be to just ban teams from going to outside Regionals.

GBK
11-02-2013, 08:35 PM
To be honest, I think a better way to do this particular item would be to just ban teams from going to outside Regionals.

Unless there are some changes between now and then, once everyone is in the district model, this will not be an issue.

Jscout11
11-02-2013, 08:57 PM
To be honest, I think a better way to do this particular item would be to just ban teams from going to outside Regionals.

This would severely limit the diversity of teams that district teams would see before St Louis, so I don't really agree with this course of action. It's already tough enough for District teams to get into regionals anyway. This year, we'll most likely be sitting on the waitlist of our planned regional for a while.

Hallry
11-02-2013, 09:24 PM
I've been lurking on this thread since the start but here's my first comment in it so far:

To be honest, I think a better way to do this particular item would be to just ban teams from going to outside Regionals.
This would severely limit the diversity of teams that district teams would see before St Louis, so I don't really agree with this course of action. It's already tough enough for District teams to get into regionals anyway. This year, we'll most likely be sitting on the waitlist of our planned regional for a while.

If something like this had to be done, why not give district teams the option of attending a Regional OR their District Championships, instead of banning them from traveling at all? (If they don't attend their District championships, they won't qualify for World Champs through their district system)

Ernst
11-02-2013, 09:29 PM
This would severely limit the diversity of teams that district teams would see before St Louis

How many district teams actually compete at Regionals? It can't be too many given the extra time commitment and the extra costs for registration and travel.

Barring district teams from Regionals would inconvenience the few teams that attend them, but you could argue that barring non-district teams from district events is comparable, if not worse.

Jscout11
11-02-2013, 09:37 PM
If something like this had to be done, why not give district teams the option of attending a Regional OR their District Championships, instead of banning them from traveling at all? (If they don't attend their District championships, they won't qualify for World Champs through their district system)

But then all the points accumulated in the districts are essentially lost, and the team would be basically restricted to one event that they can qualify from and the two district events are basically pointless. And I don't think any of the traveling teams in the district system would want to opt out of districts entirely for a second regional. Regardless, once interdistrict travel comes into play, most of these issues should go away.

Hallry
11-02-2013, 09:55 PM
But then all the points accumulated in the districts are essentially lost, and the team would be basically restricted to one event that they can qualify from and the two district events are basically pointless. And I don't think any of the traveling teams in the district system would want to opt out of districts entirely for a second regional. Regardless, once interdistrict travel comes into play, most of these issues should go away.

Exactly. Either they can try to qualify for St. Louis through their District Championship OR try to qualify through an outside regional. Then it wouldn't be possible for them to use up two spots, which this whole issue is really about.

And I disagree, the two district events would not be at all pointless. Where better to get great driver practice and find ways to improve your robot than at competitions to 'warm up' for your World Championship qualifying event, especially if your performance at the districts wouldn't matter?

I can almost see it...there...on the horizon...

Jscout11
11-02-2013, 10:23 PM
Exactly. Either they can try to qualify for St. Louis through their District Championship OR try to qualify through an outside regional. Then it wouldn't be possible for them to use up two spots, which this whole issue is really about.

And I disagree, the two district events would not be at all pointless. Where better to get great driver practice and find ways to improve your robot than at competitions to 'warm up' for your World Championship qualifying event, especially if your performance at the districts wouldn't matter?

I can almost see it...there...on the horizon...

Meant to say pointless in terms of qualifying. I definitely can get behind the driver practice/robot improvement side of things, but then what about if your regional does not come after the districts, but before like ours did. It would be pretty terrible to compete at two events with no chance of advancing further.

How many district teams actually compete at Regionals? It can't be too many given the extra time commitment and the extra costs for registration and travel.

Barring district teams from Regionals would inconvenience the few teams that attend them, but you could argue that barring non-district teams from district events is comparable, if not worse.

Off the top of my head, the MAR teams that traveled in 2013 were:
11, 25, 87, 341, 365, 2016, and I think 1676 was wait listed for NYC.
Some of these teams have expressed some interest in traveling again next year.

Not sure about Michigan besides from 245 who was also at Palmetto. And I know some other teams from NE and PNW traveled outside of their general area last year as well.

Yes, regional teams do not get the added benefit that a district system brings, but they are much less limited in terms of where they have to compete and when (no MAR events Week 2 or Week 6, and only one each on Weeks 4 + 5).

I may be biased as a travel ban would affect my team, but I still believe that there are better courses of action than an all out travel ban.

Brandon_L
11-02-2013, 11:58 PM
Honestly, the system works in the sense that only X MAR teams, Y Michigan teams, ect, will be at CMP regardless of where they earn their slot. I agree with this. For a couple years there is the possibility of teams going outside district systems and winning, thus 'cutting in line' so to speak in the district rankings to swap a spot away. But that problem will go away in time as everyone moves to districts.

I'm honestly more concerned about this rookie 10pt rule.

And the fact that when inter-district play is allowed, who wants to travel to some random highschool gym.

Jscout11
11-03-2013, 12:17 AM
And the fact that when inter-district play is allowed, who wants to travel to some random highschool gym.

Personally I'd love the chance to go to Michigan or back up to Boston, and with the interdistrict play district teams can keep it to just districts without limiting themselves to a few events with a lot of the same teams if they are willing to travel. This year is kind of just an off year caused by the transition to districts, so I see it as a necessary compromise.

BrendanB
11-03-2013, 12:36 AM
And the fact that when inter-district play is allowed, who wants to travel to some random highschool gym.

I think it depends on where you are located. I don't know how many teams would jump to travel a long distance to play in another district but for teams where the border meets it is nice. With New England going to the district model there were several teams in upper New York who always competed in New England events who had to find new "home" events.

If for example when Canada goes to the district model and potentially New York down the road I can see a lot of inter-district play between MAR-NY-NE-CAN. Other areas like PNW-CAN, PNW-CA, MI-CAN, etc might also see more border play.

Nemo
11-03-2013, 07:44 AM
Overall I'm very happy to see that there's a common points system for districts. As has been noted, people should take a step back and realize that inter-district play is the big payoff here. People have been talking about the problem of being locked into your districts for years, and knowing that FIRST wants to open that up in 2015 is great news. I'm assuming we'll eventually make our way into a district system, and I'm very happy to know that we'll still be able to choose which direction we travel and switch it up from year to year.

Giving rookies a slight point advantage without handing them a free pass seems like the right move. And I like the small second year team bonus. All this does is make it a bit more likely that some rookies will appear in the district championship events. Overall, it's a much better system than automatically qualifying a rookie at every event and ending up with 1/6 rookies at the next level of competition, regardless of how well those rookies competed.

DELurker
11-03-2013, 08:12 AM
Unless there are some changes between now and then, once everyone is in the district model, this will not be an issue.

Absolutely true. However, that's several years down the road.

EricDrost
11-03-2013, 10:34 AM
And I don't think any of the traveling teams in the district system would want to opt out of district[ championships] entirely for a second regional.

Just going to point out that teams like 341 and 365 wouldn't care if they lost their district points from their two districts. Ryan's suggested system would work just fine for them, just not the teams like 11, 2016, etc.

Jscout11
11-03-2013, 01:33 PM
Just going to point out that teams like 341 and 365 wouldn't care if they lost their district points from their two districts. Ryan's suggested system would work just fine for them, just not the teams like 11, 2016, etc.

Yeah i realize that, but I think HOF teams and the like are exceptions and not the rule.

MikeE
11-03-2013, 03:35 PM
Let's put the Rookie/2nd year team bonus in perspective with some numbers.

If we ignore the age bonus, the average points total (i.e. expected points if we don't assign priors) for a "standard" sized district event of 40 teams is 25.3pts per team. In other words an average of 51.3 points from two standard district events.

In that context an age bonus of 5/10pts per event seems too large, so let's assume the age bonus is a once-per-season bonus. Now confirmed by Don below.

Note that the size of the event also impacts the average points per team. While the qualification match points awarded at an event are proportional to the number of teams attending, the other components are fixed per event so do not vary based on the number of teams. There are always 8 alliances (i.e. 24 teams get alliance selection points), always 4 alliances scoring elimination match points, and always* Chariman's, EI + 11 other awards (+ up to 2 rookie awards).
So at a smaller event the fixed points are distributed across fewer teams leading to higher average points/team.

In 2013 Michigan events were all either 39 or 40 teams, but 2013 MAR events ranged from 31 teams at Lenape-Seneca up to 43 teams at Bridgewater-Raritan. Under the new unified model the average points at a 31 team event is 29.2, whereas at a 43 team event it's only 24.4.

Therefore a team attending the two largest 2013 MAR events (37 & 43 teams) would expect an average of 50.8pts and a team attending the two smallest (31 & 33 teams) would expect an average of 57.3pts. That's 6.5 points difference/13% advantage to the team at smaller events, more than the 2nd year age bonus.

So all else being equal, teams should attend smaller districts.

Or perhaps a better conclusion is that district events should be as close as possible to the same size.

* in reality some awards are occasionally skipped at events (e.g. Judges award)

DonRotolo
11-03-2013, 06:46 PM
In that context an age bonus of 5/10pts per event seems too large, so let's assume the age bonus is a once-per-season bonus.
I'm sure Frank will clarify this particular point in the next few days.
I spoke with Ed Petrillo of MAR at Ramp Riot yesterday - he was on the committee - and he verified that the 10/5 points was a total for the season, not per event. So the theoretical minimum any rookie team can have going into DCMP is 10.

GaryVoshol
11-03-2013, 07:02 PM
And the fact that when inter-district play is allowed, who wants to travel to some random highschool gym.
I don't know, there's quite a few teams that apply to travel to some random HS gym in Indiana every summer.

Brandon_L
11-03-2013, 07:21 PM
I don't know, there's quite a few teams that apply to travel to some random HS gym in Indiana every summer.

To play with the best of the best.

Others mentioned district border hopping which would make sense, especially in the packed MAR/NY/NE area. I was more looking at travel as in, 25 going to Hawaii or Daisy going to Vegas.

dodar
11-03-2013, 07:25 PM
To play with the best of the best.

Others mentioned district border hopping which would make sense, especially in the packed MAR/NY/NE area. I was more looking at travel as in, 25 going to Hawaii or Daisy going to Vegas.

They'd go to that district for the same reason they'd go to the Las Vegas/Hawaii Regional now. The only thing that would change would be the number of teams going, the length of the district, and the cost.

DELurker
11-04-2013, 06:42 AM
I spoke with Ed Petrillo of MAR at Ramp Riot yesterday - he was on the committee - and he verified that the 10/5 points was a total for the season, not per event. So the theoretical minimum any rookie team can have going into DCMP is 10.

At 5/10 points total for the season for a 2nd Year/Rookie, that sounds much better. Thanks for talking to Ed and getting more information for us.

thefro526
11-04-2013, 09:32 AM
Just going to point out that teams like 341 and 365 wouldn't care if they lost their district points from their two districts. Ryan's suggested system would work just fine for them, just not the teams like 11, 2016, etc.

I'm not entirely sure if 'Wouldn't Care' would be true here - 'would be less affected' might be a better way to say it.

If we're forced to opt out of going to District Championships just because we wanted to travel elsewhere, then something's wrong. What's the point of us even playing in the District System to begin with if we're going to be forced out of it's Championship? It seems that people are viewing the District Championship as another step towards the World Championship rather than being it's own Championship with it's own worth and prestige.

IMO, it actually makes MORE sense for a Team that competes outside of the District to also compete at it's Championship. I know this goes against common thinking, but look at it like this: A Team chooses to compete outside of MAR like 11, 2016, 1676, 25, etc. None of these teams have an Autobid into the CMP at this point, but all are worthy of representing the District more often than not. One/Any of these teams could win an outside event which would then Qualify them for the World Championship - meaning that they remove one spot from the system. Now if that same team chooses to compete at the DCMP and wins, or is up there in points - guess what? They still have only used one spot, meaning that the spot that they earned based on their District Performance will now trickle down to the next team.

I guess the way I see it, a district team is only going to use one spot* no matter how often, or where they play. There will be the issue of 'poaching' a spot should the team travel, as they're going to suck a spot out of an event that should have gone to someone from that event, but it's an issue that isn't easily fixed. In any case, a district team that chooses to compete outside and then at it's Championship is doing little to no injustice in my book, considering that historically, any team that will go to an outside regional and win will more than likely qualify through the District Championship anyway.

*Now there is the interesting issue of HoF, Original and Sustaining, and Previous Year World Champion Teams. No one has been able to conclusively state that these teams will not 'black hole' a spot or a series of spots should they chose to travel outside of their district and or win their District Championship. As far as I can tell, any team pre-qualified for the CMP prior to the competition season still 'black holes' their first CMP spot earned in that season. From their, the wildcard system comes into play at the regional level since the team has 'qualified at a previous event'.

DonRotolo
11-04-2013, 07:52 PM
*Now there is the interesting issue of HoF, Original and Sustaining, and Previous Year World Champion Teams. No one has been able to conclusively state that these teams will not 'black hole' a spot or a series of spots should they chose to travel outside of their district and or win their District Championship. As far as I can tell, any team pre-qualified for the CMP prior to the competition season still 'black holes' their first CMP spot earned in that season. From their, the wildcard system comes into play at the regional level since the team has 'qualified at a previous event'.
You know, I asked Ed Petrillo about that, too, and I was told that a HoF team uses up a spot when they win at their district CMP, but not if they do not win there. I got the impression that their winning at a regional would not affect the number of district slots, but I may be wrong there.

Tom Line
11-04-2013, 08:26 PM
Honestly, the system works in the sense that only X MAR teams, Y Michigan teams, ect, will be at CMP regardless of where they earn their slot. I agree with this. For a couple years there is the possibility of teams going outside district systems and winning, thus 'cutting in line' so to speak in the district rankings to swap a spot away. But that problem will go away in time as everyone moves to districts.

I'm honestly more concerned about this rookie 10pt rule.

And the fact that when inter-district play is allowed, who wants to travel to some random highschool gym.

I know I speak for our team when I say that we would love to play against teams that are local that we don't play against right now. 2056, 1114, 111, 71, and a host of other phenomenal teams are located geographically just outside our district system.

The whole 'school gym' issue is very overblown. It's about playing good teams. High level competitive competition is far more exciting than arena style seating. Believe me, I'm not thinking about the building we're in when we're playing the likes of 469, 33, 67, etc.

quad
11-04-2013, 09:17 PM
As a FYI, Frank as answered some of the questions that were posed in comments posted on the FRC Blog (http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/blog-New-FRC-Standard-District-Points-Ranking-System-2014)

Steven Donow
11-04-2013, 09:44 PM
As a FYI, Frank as answered some of the questions that were posed in comments posted on the FRC Blog (http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/blog-New-FRC-Standard-District-Points-Ranking-System-2014)

Here are the responses:
Correct, earning the Chairman's Award at a 3rd event still earns the bye.

Just a standing 5 or 10 points for the season, not per event.
(in response to Rookie/2nd year points)

District teams don't earn ranking points at Regionals.

We'll have an update on this shortly.
(in response to #'s of slots for Districts)

The cutoff to the District Championship and the FIRST Championship is dynamically determined by the number of slots available and the spread of points earned by teams in the system. It's not set in advance.

thefro526
11-05-2013, 10:08 AM
You know, I asked Ed Petrillo about that, too, and I was told that a HoF team uses up a spot when they win at their district CMP, but not if they do not win there. I got the impression that their winning at a regional would not affect the number of district slots, but I may be wrong there.

Don, this has been my understanding as well, that should an HoF/OgS/WC win their District Championship, they will be 'awarded' one of the spots allotted for winners of that event.

Now, as far as what those teams do at outside events, I'm under the impression that they're treated exactly as anyone else - and the way the wild card system worked in 2013 also backs this up.

District Teams do not earn points for their actions at any Regionals they may attend, but are still eligible for Team awards at those events, and any benefits that may go along with winning those awards, such as earning their way to the FIRST Championship. However, if a District Team does earn a slot at the FIRST Championship while attending a Regional event, that slot does count against the total Championship allocation the District is receiving for the season.

According to the verbiage there, any team from a district system that earns a Championship spot at an outside event will 'remove' that spot from their District's count. Without being told specifically otherwise, I'm left to believe that this will hold true for 'historic' qualifiers as well, especially considering the way the wildcard system worked in regards to these teams last year.



If a team who wins a Regional in 2013 – in other words, if a team who is a member of the Winning Alliance – has already qualified for Championship at an earlier Regional in 2013, a ‘Wild Card’ slot is created at the Regional which they just won.

Note that only performance in the 2013 FRC season is considered in creating and awarding Wild Card slots. Championship status based on pre-qualification (Original and Sustaining Teams, Hall of Fame Teams, 2012 FIRST Championship Winners, etc.) has no bearing on this system.



Again, the wildcard excerpt is from last year's rules, so it may be changed this year, although I doubt that it'll change all that much.

The real shame here is that it puts a lot of teams in a bad spot here, regardless of their status of being a 'historic qualifier'. It seems that with the way that things are moving, most teams are forced to make a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't decision' in regards to competing outside of their District.

It seems that a lot of what we're beginning to talk about, specifically Championship Spots, and Advancing to the the next 'level' of play, are all the growing pains that we're experiencing as we're crossing the threshold where the traditional Championship Qualification Methods no longer work. Just playing the numbers game here, but as of right now, the qualification spots (traditional) break down something like this: ~100 Teams From the (4) District Systems, ~330 Teams From Traditional Regionals (6 Teams @ ~55 Events?), ~20-25 Historic Qualifiers for a total of 450 Teams, Maximum... Obviously, this math can't work (the Championship would be far too big) so it seems like someone, somewhere, is counting on teams making spots disappear either by 'double qualifying' or 're-qualifying'. In the case of historic qualifiers, it may be that we need to regard this as more of a safety net for an off year rather than a 'defacto' qualification.

Carol
11-05-2013, 02:57 PM
If we're forced to opt out of going to District Championships just because we wanted to travel elsewhere, then something's wrong..

Maybe I read it wrong, but where does it say a team CANNOT go to it's District Championship if it has competed at an outside Regional? To me it says that if you go to an outside Regional and qualify there for World Champs, then your district qualifies one less team for World Champs. You would still have to attend two district events in order to get enough points to qualify for the district champs, but if a team has the money and time to attend two districts, one outside regional, and district champs, go for it.

thefro526
11-05-2013, 03:19 PM
Maybe I read it wrong, but where does it say a team CANNOT go to it's District Championship if it has competed at an outside Regional? To me it says that if you go to an outside Regional and qualify there for World Champs, then your district qualifies one less team for World Champs. You would still have to attend two district events in order to get enough points to qualify for the district champs, but if a team has the money and time to attend two districts, one outside regional, and district champs, go for it.

Carol, you're correct, as things are now, a Team can travel anywhere that their resources and schedule allows (if there are event openings) regardless of their involvement in the district system.

My comment was directed at an idea suggested a page or two back (scattered discussion throughout posts 79-97), specifically saying that a it might be wise for there to be a way to 'opt out of the District Championship' if a team wanted to go to an outside regional.

Citrus Dad
03-11-2014, 08:26 PM
Here's my thoughts on how the District scoring should be changed as its implemented more widely:

- Losses in elimination rounds should count against a team, say -1.
- Also, later wins should gain more wait, beyond simply 5 more points. This will give a bigger distinction for teams that make it to the finals, more than just 5 more points. Winning an overall event should be worth much more than winning 100% of the matches (e.g. 24 points for going 12-0 vs 30 points for winning the Regional.) Probably should aim for winning the regional to be worth 48 points instead (double winning the qualifying rounds). Scoring 6 points for quarters, 8 points for semis and 10 points for finals would do that.
- Finally, you should normalize on a non-integer basis as a percentage. It's more difficult to win more matches in a longer tourney because of the abuse of the robots, but the current scaling doesn't give full credit for that.

dodar
03-11-2014, 08:28 PM
Here's my thoughts on how the District scoring should be changed as its implemented more widely:

- Losses in elimination rounds should count against a team, say -1.
- Also, later wins should gain more wait, beyond simply 5 more points. This will give a bigger distinction for teams that make it to the finals, more than just 5 more points. Winning an overall event should be worth much more than winning 100% of the matches (e.g. 24 points for going 12-0 vs 30 points for winning the Regional.) Probably should aim for winning the regional to be worth 48 points instead (double winning the qualifying rounds). Scoring 6 points for quarters, 8 points for semis and 10 points for finals would do that.
- Finally, you should normalize on a non-integer basis as a percentage. It's more difficult to win more matches in a longer tourney because of the abuse of the robots, but the current scaling doesn't give full credit for that.

So you believe a team could make the eliminations and end up lower than a team that didnt?

AdamHeard
03-11-2014, 08:30 PM
So you believe a team could make the eliminations and end up lower than a team that didnt?

that's what draft points cover.

PVCpirate
03-11-2014, 09:39 PM
Here's my thoughts on how the District scoring should be changed as its implemented more widely:

- Losses in elimination rounds should count against a team, say -1.
- Also, later wins should gain more wait, beyond simply 5 more points. This will give a bigger distinction for teams that make it to the finals, more than just 5 more points. Winning an overall event should be worth much more than winning 100% of the matches (e.g. 24 points for going 12-0 vs 30 points for winning the Regional.) Probably should aim for winning the regional to be worth 48 points instead (double winning the qualifying rounds). Scoring 6 points for quarters, 8 points for semis and 10 points for finals would do that.
- Finally, you should normalize on a non-integer basis as a percentage. It's more difficult to win more matches in a longer tourney because of the abuse of the robots, but the current scaling doesn't give full credit for that.

For the elims losses, I think a similar effect could be obtained by allowing alliances that take their opponents to 3 matches but lose to get the 5 points for winning one match. It's still in an alliance's best interest to sweep, but no negative points to worry about.

Draft points mean that the alliance captain and first pick of an alliance score between 39 and 46 points from winning an elimination tournament. Knowing that, I don't agree that there needs to be more points for advancing in the tournament.

For your last point, are you talking about eliminations or qualification? Every team gets 12 qualification matches at a district event, regardless of number of teams.

Citrus Dad
03-12-2014, 01:44 AM
So you believe a team could make the eliminations and end up lower than a team that didnt?

As Adam pointed out, draft points will cover at least one loss and most likely two. Only the last team drafted might end up with negative points--however, they are drafted by the No. 1 Alliance Captain, so the odds are much less that they are going to lose two matches in the first round (and they'll almost certainly get at least one win worth 5 points.) A No. 1 alliance that goes down to No. 8 in two matches deserves to get negative points...

Citrus Dad
03-12-2014, 01:57 AM
The issue I'm addressing is not boosting the rating of the teams that extend the round, but rather penalizing the teams that fail to sweep it quickly. If you look at the "rankings" recently posted, they're crowded at the top. Yet teams that swept through the eliminations (yes, we were one of those) get no bonus for avoiding all losses, while teams that might have gone to 3 matches in every round get the same number of points. That doesn't reflect the relative strengths of the different alliances within their regionals. An alternative solution would be to give the total points for the wins in that round (e.g., 5 points each for a total of 10) but divide it by the number of matches played in the round, so a sweep would be worth 10 points, and 2 out of 3 would be worth only 6.7 points.

I think that winning the elimination rounds should be worth MUCH more than a high qualifying position. The point of the Regionals/Districts is to win the overall competition. The top qualifier does not go to Championships for a reason--those are only preliminary matches. In fact with the current weighting I can see how a team that might have won a District one week might find it advantageous to play through the qualifying round to get sufficient points and then just sandbag the eliminations to save their robot. In addition, but awarding so many points for just being drafted high, this makes the situation even more likely. You need to include the draft position points under "qualifying rounds", not in "elimination rounds." The points need to be set up to encourage competition throughout by given the lions share of points at the end, not midway through. An Alliance captain can get 47 points at the end of the draft. Why should they earn more than a No. 8 seed that goes through and wins the District? Thinking about this, I think the elimination rounds need even higher point scores than what I proposed originally--probably should target an additional 100 points for winning the whole thing. That could be 6 points for quarter wins, 12 points for semis, and 32 points for finals.

I was commenting in the context of regionals. However, I'm not sure that there's a guarantee that all districts will have the same format. That may have to change depending on geography. For example, California may not have enough venues to run such small district competitions.

For the elims losses, I think a similar effect could be obtained by allowing alliances that take their opponents to 3 matches but lose to get the 5 points for winning one match. It's still in an alliance's best interest to sweep, but no negative points to worry about.

Draft points mean that the alliance captain and first pick of an alliance score between 39 and 46 points from winning an elimination tournament. Knowing that, I don't agree that there needs to be more points for advancing in the tournament.

For your last point, are you talking about eliminations or qualification? Every team gets 12 qualification matches at a district event, regardless of number of teams.

Lil' Lavery
03-12-2014, 02:15 AM
You're evaluating the district ranking system from the completely wrong perspective. The point of the ranking system isn't to assess who's #1. The ranking system is designed to have value at the cut-off for the district championship, and there's where the point allocation matters most. Instead of attempting to further validate your own team's achievements based on what you determine to be important or difficult, how about you review the extensive documentation explaining the logic behind the ranking system?

Penalizing losses in the eliminations, beyond the implicit penalty of not earning +5 points for a win, is silly. It would actually be advantageous for a team about to get blown out to "break" and call in a back-up robot. Likewise, it would remove incentive for teams to remain unbagged to become back-up robots, knowing the odds are they will receive -1 or -2 points.

Rewarding sweeps and increasing bonuses for elimination success will further boost the 2nd round selections of powerhouse alliances, while both explicitly and implicitly penalizing the teams drafted ahead of them to lower seeded alliances. Considering these will be the teams vying for the district championship cutoff, these are the points that matter. You're making it even more difficult for the mid-tier teams to advance, which is the exact opposite of the intended effect of district competitions.

The point about teams "sandbagging" after winning a district is nothing short of ridiculous. If a team has already won a district and drafted high in their elimination tournament at their second event, they're going to be in the hunt for one of the top points spots (and earning a bid to Championship) heading into their district championship. They're going to want as many of the potential 30 elimination advancement points as they can get.

And California has plenty of high schools, no? There will be plenty of venues for 40-team districts.

I'm not saying the current system is perfect, but these suggestions take it in the opposite direction. I doubt you'd find many, if anyone, who's actually played in the district format who'd support them.

A No. 1 alliance that goes down to No. 8 in two matches deserves to get negative points...
As a member of a team who's been on both sides of a #8 sweeping a #1 at district events, hell no they don't.

Jon Jack
03-12-2014, 03:40 AM
Sean is 100% correct about the approach. Most people immediately think that ranking system is supposed to determine who the best overall team is. In reality that is irrelevant. The best teams will always float to the top of the ranking system and being ranked #1 vs. #6 means nothing except for bragging rights - they're both advancing. The actual purpose of the point system is to determine the cut off of who advances and who doesn't advance.

In a league of any size the best teams always standout. Think about college football or basketball rankings. How many times do you see people arguing that the #25 team should really be the #1 team? You don't. Usually the conversation is about how the #5 team was "robbed" by not being #1. The problem is that once you get down in the middle of the pack things are harder to sort. This point system is a solution that objectively sorts out those teams in the middle. One of the things we carefully considered was how to not over-reward the top end since that could have negative effects on the middle tier. We felt it was more important to reward consistent play over winning just one event and missing elims at another.

Just to clarify one thing - you get 5 points per elimination win IF you win the round. Rewarding teams for taking an elimination matchup to a third match or penalizing teams for not sweeping is a dangerous proposition. In this situation you now have a system with a variable number of total points. This shifts the cut off around a lot, which makes it harder for teams to predict the likelihood they'll advance. If teams near the cut off have to wait until after week 6 to know for sure that they're advancing that leaves them a few days to secure transportation and hotel rooms for their district championship.

Citrus Dad
03-13-2014, 01:21 AM
First don't call this a ranking system if it's a actually a qualificationsystem. And don't post world "rankings" of they aren't intended to be so.
That said the current scoring will not give you enough differentiation. And you haven't thought through the incentives enough. Thinking about incentives is my day job. Again it's the elimination round where the action is. Qualifications is the prelude.
Best as I can tell most of the discussion has been about awards not competition.

cadandcookies
03-13-2014, 01:50 AM
First don't call this a ranking system if it's a actually a qualificationsystem. And don't post world "rankings" of they aren't intended to be so.
That said the current scoring will not give you enough differentiation. And you haven't thought through the incentives enough. Thinking about incentives is my day job. Again it's the elimination round where the action is. Qualifications is the prelude.
Best as I can tell most of the discussion has been about awards not competition.

You do realize that a good deal of very smart people who have been in FIRST in some cases since the beginning came up with and probably argued all of you points in the process of inventing the district ranking system, right? There's a thread from this fall that I can't find right now because I'm on mobile that goes into a lot of depth on the changes and adjustments made to ranking teams in Districts.

And it is a ranking system, it's just a ranking system designed for the middle of the bell curve more than the edges. Which is how it needs to be. I'm not sure how much you've read on districts and the logic that has gone into creating and running the involved systems, but it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the underlying logic a bit more before you start accusing people of not having thought things through enough.

That being said, I do applaud you for actually coming up with some possible changes instead of just complaining (even if I disagree with your proposals).

Jim Zondag
03-13-2014, 02:41 AM
The actual purpose of the point system is to determine the cut off of who advances and who doesn't advance.

Jon is exactly right here. The purpose of these systems is to perform the difficult sort at the entry boundary to the next tier. The District system must sort the combined input from hundreds of teams playing 2 events each and determine who will advance. The same system is then used again at the regional championship level to determine who will advance to the world championship. While being on the top is great for bragging rights, it is functionally irrelevant: the only thing that really matters is 'who is in and who is out?'. The system is designed to take in 4 inputs from standard measurable items present at all FRC events: QP W/L/T results, Alliance Selection position, Elimination match tier reached, and Judged Awards received. These items are game independent and are portable from year to year regardless of the game design. Succeed at achievement in these 4 areas, and your team will rank higher than those who achieve less. Simple: do good things, get noticed, move forward.

While this is still new to most of the FRC, we are in our 6th year of deployment of this system in Michigan. The adjustments made in 2014 are fairly minor tweaks to original 2009 design. There is not really any problem with properly incentivising teams here.

If someone wants to post "worldranks" or the like, just relax have fun with the math. No one number can truly tell us how good any team actually is, but it is fun to try to find one which can. :)

"Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so." -
Galileo

GaryVoshol
03-13-2014, 06:38 AM
To add to Jim's points, it's not hard to pick out the top teams who should advance. Even with 15 districts this year, I'm sure there will be general consensus that these 10 or 15 teams absolutely deserve to be at MSC. (Yes, sometimes circumstances could gang up on a "good" team and they don't qualify, but that's rare.)

The hard part is deciding who's in 60th place and gets to go, and who's 61st and is staying home. (Adjust numbers accordingly depending on how many advance, how many auto-advancers, declines, etc.)

Judges in FLL have the same quandary when they are deciding who advances from qualifiers. The top 2-4 teams are obvious. But who is 8, 9, 10? And who is 11 and doesn't advance?

Nemo
03-13-2014, 08:13 AM
I agree with leaving it the way it is to put the focus on getting the best separation among the teams on the bubble of qualifying or not.

I did think it was an interesting idea to split the elimination round points a bit for teams that take one of the matches. If the split was 8 / 2 in a 2-1 series instead of 10 / 0 for a 2-0 series, that wouldn't seem unreasonable to me.

Jessica Boucher
03-13-2014, 12:17 PM
Jim's also missing the age incentive, but all the points made earlier are still valid.

That being said, I think it is great that the model is being questioned, so keep questioning! That's why we went through the whole process of creating our own model in NE in the first place: to iterate on what we thought was good and improve in places that we thought needed it. Because of this, we were able to get to a model that felt more unified and represented all of FRC.

I think the biggest reason why we must sort is when it comes to invitations to the DCMP and the CMP. Teams may decline to either event, and thus the invitation list can get very deep. As Jim said: Do good things, advance.

Andrew Schreiber
03-13-2014, 01:22 PM
First don't call this a ranking system if it's a actually a qualificationsystem. And don't post world "rankings" of they aren't intended to be so.
That said the current scoring will not give you enough differentiation. And you haven't thought through the incentives enough. Thinking about incentives is my day job. Again it's the elimination round where the action is. Qualifications is the prelude.
Best as I can tell most of the discussion has been about awards not competition.

It IS a ranking system. But is a ranking system not geared around determining who is #1. It was primarily optimized about the boundary points with questionable accuracy about the edges (first and last ranks).

Joe Ross
03-14-2014, 04:06 PM
You're evaluating the district ranking system from the completely wrong perspective. The point of the ranking system isn't to assess who's #1. The ranking system is designed to have value at the cut-off for the district championship, and there's where the point allocation matters most. Instead of attempting to further validate your own team's achievements based on what you determine to be important or difficult, how about you review the extensive documentation explaining the logic behind the ranking system?

Moving to a graduated level of points for elimination victories does not affect the top of the top, it affects the middle to lower top. The top in any district will have won their first two districts. At that point, the differentiation comes from qualification wins and awards. What it does change is it provides differentiation between a team that is a finalist at both districts vs a team that wins 1 district and is semifinalist at their other. Which is better? What about a team that is semifinalist at both events, vs Finalist and Quarter Finalist?