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Natchez
12-10-2009, 10:18 PM
You Make The Call (YMTC) is a series of situations where you are the official and make the call. Please reference specific rules when applicable. The results of YMTC are not official and are for educational purposes only.

It's January 13th and Redateam's Principal, Redaprincipal, visits her FIRST team and is surprised when she sees a group of students working around a brand new NI Controller. Redaprincipal is ecstatic, "Wow, I just signed the purchase order today for that controller and you already have it! You guys are incredible!" Redacoach immediately responds, "Well, THAT controller has not arrived yet but since we did not buy a controller last year, our friends from Bluateam, who we've been working with for years, agreed to buy our discounted 2009 controller from NI and give it to us if we agreed to buy our discounted 2010 controller and give it to them. It worked out great for us because we did not have the money in December to buy a controller even if Procurement could have expedited the order over Christmas AND we did not have to dismantle last year's robot, our beloved Redabot; it worked out great for Bluateam because they usually buy several controllers and instead of spending $1,500 for a controller, Bluateam only spent $750." Redaprincipal then leaves the shop with a bounce in her step, "See Y'all Later!" and then mumbles to herself, "I'm going to have these guys teach the rest of the school about coopertition."

Based on the Spirit of FIRST, YOU MAKE THE CALL!

Chris is me
12-10-2009, 10:35 PM
What rule would that be breaking? Under 2009 rules I don't see the problem with it... I just don't get anything controversial about that kind of thing? They both end up using their one discounted controller credit and both end up one controller richer.

Vikesrock
12-10-2009, 10:48 PM
I think the "controversy" here is if this is illegal based on some contract between a team and NI when purchasing a cRIO at discount (Our team has not done this so I don't know what if any paperwork is involved). A similar question would be whether it is taking advantage of NI's generosity even if it is legal.

Chris,

They are not both using a controller credit. The way I read it is that Bluateam already used their 2009 credit and is somehow purchasing an additional controller using Redateam's 2009 credit and giving it to Redateam. Redateam then purchases a controller using their 2010 credit and gives it to Bluateam.

The end result is that Redateam's 2009 credit is used to get Bluateam a $750 cRIO where it would have gone unused otherwise.

Chris is me
12-10-2009, 10:57 PM
Ah, I'll take a better look then.

So there are these credits at work:

BLUE 09 RED 09
BLUE 10 RED 10

Blue's used their 09 credit.

XXXX XX RED 09
BLUE 10 RED 10

So they'd buy Red 09's cRIO in exchange for getting the Red 10 cRio. This is different than what I thought, where Blue would use their Blue 10 slot and give it to Red or something like that, so both teams would end up with one burnt credit and one additional cRio.

I can see the issue here. I don't really know what to say about it, it's clever and within the rules but it is taking advantage of NI and circumventing a discount restriction. Couldn't that be fraud or something?

EricH
12-10-2009, 11:00 PM
You Make The Call (YMTC) is a series of situations where you are the official and make the call. Please reference specific rules when applicable. The results of YMTC are not official and are for educational purposes only.

It's January 13th and Redateam's Principal, Redaprincipal, visits her FIRST team and is surprised when she sees a group of students working around a brand new NI Controller. Redaprincipal is ecstatic, "Wow, I just signed the purchase order today for that controller and you already have it! You guys are incredible!" Redacoach immediately responds, "Well, THAT controller has not arrived yet but since we did not buy a controller last year, our friends from Redateam, who we've been working with for years, agreed to buy our discounted 2009 controller from NI and give it to us if we agreed to buy our discounted 2010 controller and give it to them. It worked out great for us because we did not have the money in December to buy a controller even if Procurement could have expedited the order over Christmas AND we did not have to dismantle last year's robot, our beloved Redabot; it worked out great for Bluateam because they usually buy several controllers and instead of spending $1,500 for a controller, Bluateam only spent $750." Redaprincipal then leaves the shop with a bounce in her step, "See Y'all Later!" and then mumbles to herself, "I'm going to have these guys teach the rest of the school about coopertition."

Based on the Spirit of FIRST, YOU MAKE THE CALL!

I'm confused. So, let me get this straight.

Redateam's friends (not specified) buy Redateam's 2009 discounted controller and give it to Redateam, then Redateam buys the 2010 discounted controller and gives it to Bluateam. Is this correct?

Assuming the bold portion of the quote is meant to be Bluateam, they used Redateam's 2009 discount to buy a discounted controller for Redateam. In exchange, Redateam used their 2010 discount to buy Bluateam's controller.

Redateam did not have the money to buy their 2009 discounted controller, while Bluateam did, but had already used their discount for 2009.

Here's one question that I have: Why doesn't Bluateam have a 2010 discount? (Or are they simply buying a controller with it?)

Second question: What are the 2010 rules going to say?

2009 doesn't really have anything that I can think of offhand; as long as Bluateam and Redateam both use the right (true) cost in their cost accounting, it should be legal and in the FIRST spirit. Redateam is simply using a purchasing agent to get a controller faster; nothing illegal there. In return, Bluateam gets to use Redateam as a purchasing agent; again, nothing illegal. Nothing against the spirit of FIRST, either, that I can see.

However: Bluateam has figured out how to get two controllers for the price of one non-discounted one. Redateam is actually getting a bad deal here, because Bluateam gets (or can get) 2 controllers at $750 each (one given to Redateam) and Redateam gets 1 at $750 (given to Bluateam). I would expect, the next year or the year after, that Bluateam would return the favor to even out the number and cost of controllers.

I think that this is not in the spirit of FIRST, because while Redateam gets their controller faster, Bluateam gets 2 midseason for the price of one non-discounted one. This is a serious ethics call; I almost said violation, but that would depend on your code of ethics.

If anything, Redateam should wind up with two controllers this year, because Bluateam already has two, and Redateam only has one.

Rich Kressly
12-10-2009, 11:22 PM
I think that this is not in the spirit of FIRST, because while Redateam gets their controller faster, Bluateam gets 2 midseason for the price of one non-discounted one. This is a serious ethics call; I almost said violation, but that would depend on your code of ethics.

If anything, Redateam should wind up with two controllers this year, because Bluateam already has two, and Redateam only has one.

I don't get it. If the two teams are OK with it, who are we to say what's fair? You yourself say no current rules are broken then you site potential "ethics" violations?

The last time my team gave away electronic parts at an event I don't remember thinking I needed to get anything in return. "serious call"??? "not in the spirit of FIRST"?????

wow.....

Chris is me
12-10-2009, 11:36 PM
I don't get it. If the two teams are OK with it, who are we to say what's fair? You yourself say no current rules are broken then you site potential "ethics" violations?

The last time my team gave away electronic parts at an event I don't remember thinking I needed to get anything in return. "serious call"??? "not in the spirit of FIRST"?????

wow.....

I think the "ethics" he's citing is not whether each team gets a raw deal or not, but the purchase of more discounted cRIOs than allowed by NI by using another team.

EricH
12-11-2009, 12:04 AM
I don't get it. If the two teams are OK with it, who are we to say what's fair? You yourself say no current rules are broken then you site potential "ethics" violations?

The last time my team gave away electronic parts at an event I don't remember thinking I needed to get anything in return. "serious call"??? "not in the spirit of FIRST"?????

wow.....
The teams are OK with it. NI probably won't be. This is where ethics comes into play.

Let's do some math, from 3 perspectives:

Redateam: 1 controller=1 controller--trade '09 for '10. Fair trade.

NI: 1 '09 controller + 2 '10 controllers between teams = 3 controller discounts between 2 teams in 2 years. (Assuming Bluateam used their '09, that's 4 discounts between 2 teams in 2 years.) Normal business.

Trade Bluateam: 1 controller = 1 controller --same trade.
Real Bluateam: 1 controller ('10) + 1 controller ('09) - 1 controller ('09) + 1 controller ('10) = 2 controllers. Problem: They used discount '09 already. They only have one '10 discount. They have two '10 discount controllers.

From Redateam and NI (with no knowledge of subsequent transfers), this looks OK. From Bluateam, and NI if they know about the transfers (or check the "Redateam" '09 discount), this looks like Bluateam is getting one controller more than they should.

For this to be ethical (from my POV), it should be a straight gift or Redateam pays Bluateam for the '09 purchase.

Redateam simply giving Bluateam a controller, or vice-versa, or Redateam using Bluateam as a purchasing agent--none of these are illegal, in and of themselves. Put together in this way, however, I wouldn't be surprised if NI were to simply drop the discounts after finding out what's up. No charges would stick, except in the court of public opinion, but there is no reason that a system can't be cut off if it's misused.

Natchez
12-11-2009, 12:37 AM
Assuming the bold portion of the quote is meant to be Bluateam, ...
BUSTED! Eric, nice catch ... Redacoach's quote has been corrected.

Sorry ... I really did read, reread, reread, reread ... I should have reread again,
Lucien

AdamHeard
12-11-2009, 01:01 AM
I say anything that is saving teams money during this time is perfectly appropriate.

JesseK
12-11-2009, 08:59 AM
I say anything that is saving teams money during this time is perfectly appropriate.

I wouldn't blanket "anything" as ok, especially not at the expense of a sponsor. Both teams have a 2009 controller, and during the early build season I'm pretty sure the teams can survive on just one controller. I don't think it's that difficult to remove only the cRIO from the old robot and use it for 2010. Bluateam "usually buy several controllers". Well, then they should pay full price rather than taking advantage of the system.

Thus, neither team is going out of its way or sacrificing to help the other -- they're simply using what's already available to them to circumvent the simpler solution. Additionally, unless Bluateam is using all of those controllers to demonstrate old robots during the build season, it's my opinion that this situation is very excessive. Even more, since Bluateam did it this year, they'll probably do it again in the future. Bluateam is taking advantage of the system, Redateam is an accomplice, thus both should be stricken from being allowed to win any awards.

Why should FIRST reward this behavior?

Brandon Holley
12-11-2009, 01:19 PM
The teams are OK with it. NI probably won't be. This is where ethics comes into play.



Honestly how do you know if NI won't be ok with it?? If NI is offering a discount to every team, they should be more than willing to handle the reprocussions if every single team in FIRST orders a discounted controller. That is just my feeling on the situation.

I agree whole heartedly with what Rich stated above as well.

Brando

Chris is me
12-11-2009, 01:45 PM
Honestly how do you know if NI won't be ok with it??

If NI was okay with it, they'd just offer x discounted cRIOs to all FIRST teams and not have a cap in the first place.

JesseK
12-11-2009, 01:55 PM
Honestly how do you know if NI won't be ok with it?? If NI is offering a discount to every team, they should be more than willing to handle the reprocussions if every single team in FIRST orders a discounted controller. That is just my feeling on the situation.

I agree whole heartedly with what Rich stated above as well.

Brando

This is like saying ISPs have to ensure they need to be able to handle the cumulative maximum bandwidths allotted per customer at any given time. It's cost-prohibitive and therefore practically impossible. Hence they (ISPs) estimate a realistic peak usage and account for that when laying the cable.

If NI was okay with it, they'd just offer x discounted cRIOs to all FIRST teams and not have a cap in the first place.

I agree. Also, if word got around to NI that teams were using each other's discounts in order to acquire more cRIOs at a discounted rate, I don't doubt that NI would penalize FIRST. The justification for abusing the discount system simply does not matter.

EricH
12-11-2009, 02:03 PM
Honestly how do you know if NI won't be ok with it?? If NI is offering a discount to every team, they should be more than willing to handle the reprocussions if every single team in FIRST orders a discounted controller. That is just my feeling on the situation.

I agree whole heartedly with what Rich stated above as well.

Brando
An analogy should explain this a bit better.

You work in a store that sells widgets. The store offers a discount on widgets as follows: once per week, each customer in a certain group gets one widget for half price (with a discount coupon). One week, a customer comes in and gets their discount. They return later the same week with a second discount coupon, and say they're buying for another customer (whose coupon it is). The next week, both customers come in and buy a widget apiece using that week's coupon. But, out in the parking lot, you see the customer who the widget bought for them give the widget that they just bought to the other customer. Would you be asking questions?

Sure, NI's probably able to handle everybody getting a discounted controller. If they weren't, I'd expect that they'd have less of a discount. But I'm reasonably sure that they'd reasonably expect that each team buy one discounted one and keep one discounted one, not buy one and give it to another team because they did the same thing with your code.

Rich Kressly
12-11-2009, 02:08 PM
Maybe I'm just VERY slow here...

Can someone please explain to me how someone gets an extra discounted controller in this scenario?

Lucien did you mean to try and find a loophole here? Am I reading this right?

The way I see it you have 2 seasons, 2 teams, and the ability to purchase four total additional CRIOs over those two years, right?

Andrew Schreiber
12-11-2009, 02:11 PM
If NI was okay with it, they'd just offer x discounted cRIOs to all FIRST teams and not have a cap in the first place.

No, they mean completely different things.

Giving one to every FRC team that wants one caps the max number of controllers at the discounted price at the number of teams in a given year (T). Out of T only a percentage of them will buy a new controller in a given year (N). In the absolute worst case N = 1 and NI has to sell T controllers at the discounted rate.

In your world the max number would be XNT where X >= 1.* This is significantly larger number than NT.

Realize that normally N will be significantly less than one. I don't know what it would exactly but I would put a guess at close to .5 if not lower.

This is not a problem for Red and Blue though because Red and Blue both intended on purchasing a controller both years. Look at it as merely a loan, Red has the funds to purchase Blue's CRIO this year and in exchange Blue will purchase Red a new CRIO next year. I see nothing wrong with that aside from my distaste of purchasing things you can't afford. **

Where is the poll option, "Legal, financially irresponsible, but legal"

*
This is an abuse, really the amount would be the sum of all XiNiT where i is the number of CRIOs purchased in a year because less teams will buy multiple new controllers in a year.

**
Aside from things that only make logical sense to finance, a new house for example.

RMiller
12-11-2009, 02:17 PM
Maybe I'm just VERY slow here...

Can someone please explain to me how someone gets an extra discounted controller in this scenario?

Lucien did you mean to try and find a loophole here? Am I reading this right?

The way I see it you have 2 seasons, 2 teams, and the ability to purchase four total additional cRIOs over those two years, right?

I think at issue is that one team ends up with 3 cRIOs at discounted price.

EricH
12-11-2009, 02:17 PM
Maybe I'm just VERY slow here...

Can someone please explain to me how someone gets an extra discounted controller in this scenario?

Lucien did you mean to try and find a loophole here? Am I reading this right?

The way I see it you have 2 seasons, 2 teams, and the ability to purchase four total additional CRIOs over those two years, right?
Correct. But when you look at the actual numbers:

Bluateam buys one in 2009. Redateam and Bluateam both buy one in 2010. Straight purchasing.

Bluateam buys one for Redateam in 2009, traded for Redateam's 2010 controller. Purchasing agent, with fee.

4 controllers, 2 teams, 2 years. Correct total.

Now, here's what each team ends up with, who bought it, and how it ended up in their hands:
Bluateam: 1 2009 (Bluateam), 1 2010 (Bluateam), 1 2010 (Redateam, traded for Redateam's using Bluateam as a purchasing agent in 2009). 3 total cRIOs for Bluateam.
Redateam ends up with 1 2009 (bought by Bluateam using Redateam's discount, and traded for Redateam's 2010). 1 total cRIO for Redateam.

The way NI has it set up, it's supposed to be 2 apiece. There is indeed a loophole here, if you could pull it off.

Andrew Schreiber
12-11-2009, 02:35 PM
Correct. But when you look at the actual numbers:

Bluateam buys one in 2009. Redateam and Bluateam both buy one in 2010. Straight purchasing.

Bluateam buys one for Redateam in 2009, traded for Redateam's 2010 controller. Purchasing agent, with fee.

4 controllers, 2 teams, 2 years. Correct total.

Now, here's what each team ends up with, who bought it, and how it ended up in their hands:
Bluateam: 1 2009 (Bluateam), 1 2010 (Bluateam), 1 2010 (Redateam, traded for Redateam's using Bluateam as a purchasing agent in 2009). 3 total cRIOs for Bluateam.
Redateam ends up with 1 2009 (bought by Bluateam using Redateam's discount, and traded for Redateam's 2010). 1 total cRIO for Redateam.

The way NI has it set up, it's supposed to be 2 apiece. There is indeed a loophole here, if you could pull it off.

Once a team purchases a product it is theirs to do with what they please. If a team wants to buy a CRIO and throw it out of an airplane NI can't stop them. If Redateam wants to give a CRIO to Bluateam that is Redateam's business.

JaneYoung
12-11-2009, 02:48 PM
Once a team purchases a product it is theirs to do with what they please.

Which would be to treat it with respect in the spirit that was intended.

Akash Rastogi
12-11-2009, 03:05 PM
Gotta agree with Mr. K on this one. This is FIRST, not Business Ethics 101. I also echo Andrew's latest post.

Daniel_LaFleur
12-11-2009, 03:23 PM
Once a team purchases a product it is theirs to do with what they please. If a team wants to buy a CRIO and throw it out of an airplane NI can't stop them. If Redateam wants to give a CRIO to Bluateam that is Redateam's business.

I don't believe this is the issue.

I believe the issue is whether or not a team (RedaTeam) has the right to offer their 'one reduced price cRio per year per team offer from NI' to another team (BlueaTeam) that they know has already used their 'one reduced price cRio per year per team from NI' offer.

I do not believe that morally and ethically we should be teaching kids to try and beat the system. Rather, instead, we should be teaching them how to work within the system to the benefit of all.

JM(NS)HO

JaneYoung
12-11-2009, 03:28 PM
I'm wondering if this thread is a way to highlight the fact that more work needs to be done to understand Coopertition and what that means regarding team interactions, business actions and interactions, and the long-term effect of that understanding, misunderstanding, or ways in which loopholes that are found, can be used or exploited.

EricH
12-11-2009, 03:53 PM
Redateam giving a cRIO to Bluateam was never the issue. Bluateam is getting, over 2 years: 1 free KOP cRIO and 3 (not 2) discounted cRIOs. Redateam is effectively being an unauthorized NI distributor at Bluateam's request--Bluateam is buying one extra discounted cRIO from Redateam. If it was given, no strings attached, no problem. Bluateam offers the help to Redateam with an IOU for the price (or not, as they choose), no problem. Bluateam offers the help on the condition that Redateam give Bluateam the current discount, questionable.

Also note that Bluateam seems to be the driving force in the agreement, and the primary beneficiary. This can raise other aspects of this exchange that could also be seen as questionable.

Rich Kressly
12-11-2009, 05:43 PM
I guess this discussion and my ignorance of how on earth this single example of teams helping one another without cheating anyone out of anything is why, in 1989, Prof. Black asked me , "So, you're really gonna do this, huh?"

My original degree was in business management way back in 1989. My last semester we had the business ethics course with Prof. Black. I was already hired by the Sherwin Williams Company and I was due to enter their store management training program upon my graduation. After several class discussions and the first few weeks of class, Black stopped me leaving class and said/asked with a smile while shaking his head, "So, you're really gonna do this, huh?"

I was clueless in 1989, but I was speaking my mind and soul in the class and he knew then what I learned about myself later. I'm not a businessman and I never will be.

I lasted three months in business management. I've been teaching for a little over 16 years. I love what I do and I'm exceedingly thrilled I haven't had to engage in conversations like this in nearly two decades. I do try to maintain a sense of fairness though and I consider myself pretty vigilant about not cheating anyone out of anything.

I don't see a team here that is cutting these kinds of deals with a boatload of teams to become a "distributor" of any kind. I see teams helping one another. If NI and or FIRST were to come forward with an explicit rule about this type of exchange, then I'd certainly abide by a clear and stated rule. Until then, I'll still be ignorant of how this type of logic and thinking is formed. I'm done with this thread now. I think I'm gonna use the time to try and locate Professor Black. I really need to thank him.

JesseK
12-11-2009, 08:12 PM
Rich, perhaps you could look at it from the engineering and procurement perspective of why does Bluateam really need 3 or 4 cRIOs, and why isn't Redateam questioning it? Why can't Redateam just be patient rather than going for instant gratification that borders on the shady side of business? It has nothing to do with cheating and everything to do with abusing a system that has been put in place to help each team equally. The rest of us should have a say in it because if Bluateam and Redateam screw it up, it grossly effects the rest of us.

Just like in general communication, "I'm an engineer" is no longer a valid excuse.

As a side note, the polarization of the poll and the two colors representing each side is irony at its worst :ahh:

Pavan Dave
12-11-2009, 08:32 PM
I agree with Bluateam. However, it is not that great as to deserve a FIRST Award for cooperation, but I must agree that they do use their mentors/parents/teachers/sponsor's lawyering ability to good use.

I agree that it is fair game. Not in the spirit of NI's contract, but still legal 100%. This is the real world. If FIRST ran the real world, you wouldn't have Enron, Freddiemac and all of those other peoples, but its not, and we have them, so might as well get used to them and play by their rules to the extent our morals will let us play them.

Think of each decision that you make as a matter of sleep. If you can sleep at night after this transaction, do it. If you'll have some trouble sleeping at night, don't do it. This will make your decisions in life much easier....Most of the time.


Pavan Davé


.

Daniel_LaFleur
12-11-2009, 08:54 PM
I don't see a team here that is cutting these kinds of deals with a boatload of teams to become a "distributor" of any kind.

... And here is the crux of the problem. While Redateam and Blueateam may not become a distributor, someone else might. I could even envision (*Shudder*) a team using this as a fundraiser ("hey, lets buy up all the cRios' that teams won't be buying ... at the discount ... and sell them on eBay for twice the price").

As I said before, it's about morals and ethics and what we really want to teach these kids.

DonRotolo
12-11-2009, 09:20 PM
Wait a second.

I read that first post 5 times, so someone please tell me what I missed:

Blue buys a cRio and gives it to Red.
Red then buys one and gives it to Blue.

What's the problem?

Eugene Fang
12-11-2009, 09:25 PM
Wait a second.

I read that first post 5 times, so someone please tell me what I missed:

Blue buys a cRio and gives it to Red.
Red then buys one and gives it to Blue.

What's the problem?

It doesn't say that Blue didn't buy one themselves the same year they asked Red to buy one for them.

dlavery
12-13-2009, 01:54 PM
I don't see a team here that is cutting these kinds of deals with a boatload of teams to become a "distributor" of any kind. I see teams helping one another. If NI and or FIRST were to come forward with an explicit rule about this type of exchange, then I'd certainly abide by a clear and stated rule. Until then, I'll still be ignorant of how this type of logic and thinking is formed.

Rich -

Don't worry. You have it exactly right.

Let's be very clear here. There are no rules violations. There are no ethics violations.

First off, any rules regarding use of the cRIO for the 2009 FRC competition are now obsolete and irrelevant. Those rules applied only to the 2009 competition, and not to any future events or activities. So even if there were a 2009 season rule against this practice (which there was not), it is no longer in effect and does not matter. The rules for the 2010 season have (obviously) not yet been published. It is intuitively obvious that neither team can be in violation of the 2010 rules. Ergo, there is no rules violation.

So let's move on to the ethics discussion. The arguments presented so far regarding a violation of some mythical ethics standards are based on assumptions, not facts.

The facts are simple: NI will sell one discounted cRIO unit to each team per year. NI will sell multiple full-price cRIO units to each team per year. NI has not made any statement about their specific motivations for these sales options. NI does not include any post-sales restrictions on the use, reuse, resale, or redistribution of purchased cRIO units other than those found in the standard cRIO Terms Of Sale (http://www.ni.com/pdf/legal/us/termsofsale.pdf). NI has not publicized any statement of prohibition against a team doing anything they want with their cRIO once they have purchased it.

It is important to note that NI has not said "we are making a special offer available so that each FRC team can obtain exactly one additional cRIO unit per year." Nor have they said "we are making these available so that each team will use the additional cRIO exclusively for their own development purposes." If they had, then we might have additional information to explain the desires and motives behind the offer. But such statements have not been made. Without any such statements, we have NO information to support any judgment. Without an ability to form a judgment, no conclusion about a putative ethics violation can be made.

To date, all the arguments against the ethics of this trade have followed the same basic formula: NI has not offered a particular reason for the discount offer. Lacking a stated reason, someone speculates on a possible rationale. Based on that speculation, they then create a mythic set of ethics to accompany the deal. Finally, they superimpose their (misguided?) ethics on NI and insist that their own ethics be recognized as those of NI.

Unfortunately, all of these arguments have the same fundamental weakness: they are based on speculations unsupported by any available facts. Statements like "The way NI has it set up, it's supposed to be…" are without any basis in fact. As such they are meaningless conjectures, with no more value than the unsupported speculations. Any conclusions drawn from them are equally weak. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am loath to accuse anyone of a violation of any ethical or moral standards based on logic this faulty.

-dave




....

JesseK
12-13-2009, 02:24 PM
Ok Dave, I agree my arguments were made upon assumptions. Without guidance from NI or FIRST, you are correct that everyone who argues against this practice is basing it off of misguided logic due to this lack of guidance. Yet perhaps it's simply logic that would rather error on the side of caution.

It's like the rules each year: they're ambiguous to some, but to others there is only one interpretation that removes all doubt of whether or not something is legal. The GDC then reacts to those who need clarification and attempts to eliminate grey areas. Who knows how NI or the 2010 rules will react to this thread's bipolar arguments. Yet if the end result of this scenario would be NI revoking the discount for all of FRC then we all lose and this whole thread is moot. I'm not sure why a team would even risk that type of result, which is the basis of my argument. That's logical to me.

JaneYoung
12-13-2009, 02:30 PM
My question is, why is this action worthy of an award?

EricH
12-13-2009, 04:03 PM
Any time that you don't know something for sure, and you're being asked to make a decision that is somewhat based on that unknown thing, you have three choices. 1: Find out that thing. 2: Make assumptions based on what you do know, and hope that they are correct, or that they are incorrect in your favor. 3: Do nothing, which can have other implications. Hence, we made assumptions based on NI being a company offering a 1-per-customer-per-time-unit discount, which leads through another set of logical assumptions.


As for the 2009 rules being obsolete and irrelevant, at this time, we have no indication of the 2010 game and robot rules, which supersede the 2009 game and robot rules. Should FIRST decide to have a competition right now, they would go by the 2009 rules, as those are still in force for about three more weeks, except where the 2010 rules have been released (which is in very few places). The only other option is to have no rules at all. Therefore, the 2009 rules, wherever the 2010 rules have not been released, remain in full effect. There is no violation of the 2009 rules; nobody other than the GDC knows whether or not there would be one in 2010 (and if any GDC member tells before any official announcements, shame on them.)

Molten
12-13-2009, 08:13 PM
I need a lawyer to understand the original question.:confused:

Rich Kressly
12-14-2009, 06:03 PM
My question is, why is this action worthy of an award?

(I actually did locate Prof. Black, so I'm back reading this thread).

Jane,
I'm speculating here entirely, but I think Lucien simply means that, if you vote for that side of the poll, you think this is a good example of coopertition. All award decisions are of course in the hands of the judges.

Dave,
Thanks for the summation.

Bob Steele
12-15-2009, 10:33 PM
Setting aside all ethical issues. I believe that this is not an example of coopertition. Coopertition in MY belief is selfless... and not done for personal/team gain...teams help other teams simply because its the right thing to do without any regard to gaining any advantage.

In this case the BLUE team is gaining an advantage ... getting 3 cRIO's in two years at discounted price... RED team gets "financing" that allows them to purchase a new cRIO quicker than they could themselves.

Nothing wrong with this... but I simply don't consider it an example of Gracious Professionalism... It is simple business cooperation... not coopertition...

Again this is MY belief... and I don't mean to put words in any one else's mouth.

Good luck to everyone this year!!

AdamHeard
12-16-2009, 12:59 AM
Is a team not allowed to do things for their own gain?

Lil' Lavery
12-16-2009, 09:34 AM
Setting aside all ethical issues. I believe that this is not an example of coopertition. Coopertition in MY belief is selfless... and not done for personal/team gain...teams help other teams simply because its the right thing to do without any regard to gaining any advantage.

In this case the BLUE team is gaining an advantage ... getting 3 cRIO's in two years at discounted price... RED team gets "financing" that allows them to purchase a new cRIO quicker than they could themselves.

Nothing wrong with this... but I simply don't consider it an example of Gracious Professionalism... It is simple business cooperation... not coopertition...

I think you're confusing coopertition and GP with charity.

Marc P.
12-16-2009, 10:20 AM
The argument against Redateam and Bluateam helping each other out seems to be a classic example of "lawyering the rules."

Bottom line is- until there is a rule in writing expressly forbidding trading of control system components, Redateam and Bluateam are free to do whatever they want with their discounted controllers. Speculation otherwise places needless restriction on what teams can do with their money and supplies. It's not the teams' place or responsibility to second guess the reasoning or intention behind donations or discounts, but to be appreciative of the support, and make best use of the parts available. If Redateam's extra controller would sit on the shelf collecting dust for a season, while Bluateam would use it for a practice or learning robot, what's the best use for the part?

It's the choice of each team to do as they wish with their parts, and they're free to do so until an explicitly written rule prohibits it.

Molten
12-16-2009, 12:54 PM
The argument against Redateam and Bluateam helping each other out seems to be a classic example of "lawyering the rules."

I'm not going to take a side in this matter, I honestly don't care what they do whether it is right or wrong. But it would seem that both sides are doing alot of lawyering and finding loopholes or technicalities to support what they want it to be.

Natchez
01-02-2010, 10:16 PM
All, Happy New Year!

Since I'm the troublemaker, I would be remiss if I did not share with the FIRST community my correspondence with NI on this subject.

===== Excerpt of email from me to NI Sales Rep =====
On the subject of discounted cRIOs, does NI have a policy beyond NI's 'Terms and Conditions of Sale' (http://www.ni.com/pdf/legal/us/termsofsale.pdf) concerning what teams may do with the discounted cRIO after they purchase them? I ask because we work with several teams that did not purchase a discounted cRIO in 2009 and we'd like to purchase the discounted cRIOs for them. BUT, if we do purchase them, they will be used in various ways; some will stay with the teams that received the discount but some will go to other teams that desire more cRIOs (damaged cRIO, practice robots, software & sensor development, other robots not related to FIRST, etc.); none will be resold. Please know that I will share your answer with other FIRST community members unless you request that I do not.
##########

===== Response from NI Sales Rep =====
I forwarded your email to the Marketing Manager (Stephanie Brierty) in charge of FIRST. She let me know that it is not possible to purchase a discounted cRIO under a teams name when that team will not be using the cRIO. Teams that would like to purchase one extra cRIO per season for their use may do so at a discount.
##########

From a philosophical standpoint, I am very disappointed with NI's ruling; I would fully agree if NI went as far as to request that the discounted cRIOs only be used for education purposes. From a business standpoint, NI has every right to deny the sale. From a good-will standpoint, not good at all; especially when trying to fill the shoes that IFI left behind.

Batteries are fully charged & ready to go for 2010,
Lucien

EricH
01-02-2010, 11:25 PM
In other words, this entire discussion is now moot, as the YMTC situation could not happen as written.

Note that there is nothing against Redateam donating their 2010 discounted controller to Bluateam, or vice versa.

Greg McKaskle
01-04-2010, 11:32 PM
From a philosophical standpoint, I am very disappointed with NI's ruling; I would fully agree if NI went as far as to request that the discounted cRIOs only be used for education purposes. From a business standpoint, NI has every right to deny the sale. From a good-will standpoint, not good at all; especially when trying to fill the shoes that IFI left behind.

Can you please elaborate on how a discount program for FRC supplies has become a disappointment to you? How do other supplier discount programs work?

As for comparisons to IFI, the article at http://digital.ni.com/worldwide/bwcontent.nsf/web/all/F70C10117567BBF18625742B00737DF5 explains NIs motivations and involvement. Basically, a donation of lots of cRIOs, SW, support, and development. Additionally, there are two different discount programs directly to teams. I don't know enough about previous suppliers to make comparisons.

If your motivation was to aid other teams, I'm not sure why this focusses on a specific supply item. If your team can loan or grant money to other teams, I suspect some will choose to purchase a cRIO, but others would instead buy tools or pay for hotel rooms. If the motivation is to use up all of the discount coupons before they expire, don't worry about it. They don't go sour like cartons of milk, and I'm sure that a cRIO-FRC model controller will find a good home.

Greg McKaskle