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View Poll Results: What best describes your situation and opinion?
My team builds a practice robot(s) and I am against no-bag 114 20.07%
My team builds a practice robot(s) and I am for no-bag 342 60.21%
My team does not build a practice robot and I am against no-bag 33 5.81%
My team does not build a practice robot and I am for no-bag 79 13.91%
Voters: 568. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 11-15-2018, 04:58 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Quote:
Originally Posted by hrench View Post
So I think the CD-divergence from the regular FRC population is Really evident here.

According to your poll, only like 13-15 percent of teams Don't build a practice robot.

I would submit that this is exactly upside down compared to the real population.

Is there any real data on this?
This is CD. Of course the poll is unscientific and self-selecting. I went into this knowing that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderTheOK View Post
You forgot an option for teams that build two practice bots.
I put an s in parenthesis next to "robot" to cover that scenario.
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Unread 11-15-2018, 05:11 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Lil' Lavery View Post
Strong disagree with conducting it exactly as written. First off, the two questions can be separated easily when using a true polling service, rather than CD. Next off, there's definitely a lot of grey area when it comes to what type of "practice bot" teams make, and that should be reflected in the polling. Lumping it together doesn't allow for meaningful conclusions to be drawn.



Per the FIRST broadcast, they stated that their polls indicated that approximately 50% of teams build "some kind of second robot." The grey area for defining a second robot is notable, but the data is still clearly different than what is being reflected in this poll.
Two questions with two options results in the exact buckets in this pole... how does the make a difference?

Stratifying out by 4 or 5 definitions of practice bot given the small number of likely responses (what's the response rate for FRC surveys? I'm betting sub 2k responses) it will result in too many buckets to draw any meaningful conclusions.
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Unread 11-15-2018, 07:25 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Katie_UPS View Post
This is CD. Of course the poll is unscientific and self-selecting. I went into this knowing that.
Somebody was really expecting something different???

It's very interesting to see the breakdowns. The % of practice bots was particularly eye opening. That illustrates why removing the bag doesn't really help the top teams much--it didn't mean much to them. As much as the larger population of FRC teams might think, this really, really, really isn't about the top teams trying to gain a further advantage. It's about trying to help the lower performing teams without crippling the better performing programs. It doesn't help to pull programs DOWN if our real goal is improving educational outcomes. We need to figure out how to lift UP programs.
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Unread 11-15-2018, 07:49 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Jonathan Norris View Post
FIRST said in their blog post announcing the change that about 50% of teams build a practice bot.

For many reasons, mostly specific to the functioning of our team / school, 610 doesn't build practice bots. But we also schedule our build season to try and get ~1-2 weeks of full driver practice before bagging the robot. We probably drive our competition bot more than almost any other team, we've learned over the years that you need to design your robots to be robust over the long term and keep an eye on gearbox / drivetrain / motor wear.

Maybe we can put together some documentation on our lessons learned over the years not building practice bots, while also putting lots of miles on our competition robot.
Jonathan,

I would be very interested to see this documentation. There is not a lot out there with regards to wear and tear on robots. I'd love to see a best practices for wear prevention particularly with drivetrains.

Thanks,

Drew
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Unread 11-15-2018, 08:47 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Katie_UPS View Post
But in all seriousness, practice-bot status is very thinly veiled way of measuring "how much [iterative] work do you do after bag day." If you only have a drive train but your programmers spend hours working on auton, then I would say "yes." If you have a copy of a mechanism that you use to improve its functionality, then also counts as a "yes."
I would consider 3946's 2014 "Woody" robot a practice robot, though the only things we really iterated on it was driving and repairing. It was built as a prototype, and had almost entirely wooden structural members, had shaft-through-hole-drilled-in-wood where Buzz had bearings, but it was way better drive practice than nothing.

Having said that, 3946 has built, or at least attempted to build, a practice robot each year from 2014 to 2018. (Rookie year was 2012). I would say that I lean very slightly towards being in favor of the change. I'm definitely with Sean that (as Yogi Berra might have said), we won't know for sure until we find out.

Added: Since 2015, 3946 attempted to have one robot working around week 4*, and iterated on the other, swapping drive** vs development robots as needed until bag, then sharing the practice robot between the two functions until competition. I expect that they'll continue to do the same except for the need to share a robot at no extra cost, though they might also cut robot costs by about a third*** and only do one robot, and start sharing about two weeks earlier.

* Successful 3 times out of 4 in this; overreached in 2018.

** The drive robot was also the programming (autonomous) test platform.

*** Including spares of most parts
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Unread 11-16-2018, 06:39 AM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by waialua359 View Post
FIRST should do this poll as an exit survey for 2019. Exactly as you have written it.
Agreed - Katie is great at the big picture stuff then expresses her focus so that everyone gets it!

The new rule makes our season a little easier. We will still build 2-3 robots but do not have to devote resources towards 30lb related issues and Thursdays (or district unbag windows) at each event.

Newer or under-performing teams will benefit ONLY if they manage time wisely. I'm hoping to see more scrimmaging and veteran teams leveraging the new in-season opportunity to help younger or troubled teams.
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Unread 11-16-2018, 08:23 AM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

My opinion on the bag/no bag rule has very little to do with the practice robot, and very much to do with the quality of life of my family.

My wife is essentially a single mom for six weeks. Under the current rules, she knows that two days after Presidents' Day, she gets her husband back and the kids get their daddy back.

Come 2020, I can't guarantee the same deal without some major sacrifice to the team's performance at (especially later) competitions.

Trading a 3-day-a-week build for eight weeks for a 4-day-a-week build for six weeks, even if the total amount of days are even, is not a trade my family would like to make*. ** ***

*I realize this is a completely false dichotomy; I'm merely using it for illustrative purposes. Change the numbers around, make the build season a sliding scale, the point remains the same.

**However, we will make the trade, because we believe in the power of this program more than we dislike the rule change.

***I also realize I am an outlier in the FRC world. I'm neither a former FRC student, nor an emptynester parent of a former FRC student. Those who have been raised in the FRC sphere have a different worldview than those who have attempted to adjust their lives to fit.
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Unread 11-16-2018, 12:44 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
My opinion on the bag/no bag rule has very little to do with the practice robot, and very much to do with the quality of life of my family.
[...]

Trading a 3-day-a-week build for eight weeks for a 4-day-a-week build for six weeks, even if the total amount of days are even, is not a trade my family would like to make.
I could see where that is your perspective, but this is exactly why I'm asking about practice bots - you see it as trading 4 days a week for 6 weeks to 3 days a week for 8 weeks.

In my world, there is no trade. Removing bag days removes the scramble before bag day but otherwise everything else stays the same.

I don't think there is a right or wrong way to feel about this, but I think that its hard to have conversations where we understand each other without explicitly stating our base assumptions. The practice robot is an easy way to identify our assumptions.

My base assumption is that my team meets at a regular frequency throughout the entire season (January to April). With my assumption, bag day is an event that multiplies the cost of building a robot and makes my team very busy for the first few hours or every event.

As I understand it, your assumption is that your team meets at a regular frequency for 6 weeks - so it makes sense that, from your perspective, no-bag is demanding more of your time with no real cost savings. Maybe I'm completely off - but I'm trying to understand.
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Unread 11-16-2018, 12:54 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
***I also realize I am an outlier in the FRC world. I'm neither a former FRC student, nor an emptynester parent of a former FRC student. Those who have been raised in the FRC sphere have a different worldview than those who have attempted to adjust their lives to fit.
I think you're far less of an outlier than you realize. There are plenty of mentors in your situation who feel the same way you do, despite their lack of a presence on this website. You have a very important perspective that I think is being ignored my many.

Overall I like this change, I'm just worried about the teams and individuals who may be left behind.
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Unread 11-16-2018, 01:18 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Taylor View Post



***I also realize I am an outlier in the FRC world. I'm neither a former FRC student, nor an emptynester parent of a former FRC student. Those who have been raised in the FRC sphere have a different worldview than those who have attempted to adjust their lives to fit.
I joined as an adult in 2003 and have chosen to increase resources toward FRC and decrease or end resources toward other activities over the years, not because I love robots (I don't) but because I believe in the power of this program to alter the course of many young lives for the better.

One could argue that FRC participation was a factor in the dissolution of my marriage a couple of years ago. Not a major factor, not the only factor, not a deciding factor, but it was one of the commitments I made that meant I wasn't at home on some days in the winter. Who knows? But i have been one of those people who coached a team mostly on my own, and did fall training, built second robots, and continued iterating and competing through Champs. So maybe this change will actually decrease my time commitments some. I'd like to get married again and not ruin it (though my beau is also a robotics coach and understands the issues).
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Unread 11-16-2018, 01:28 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
My opinion on the bag/no bag rule has very little to do with the practice robot, and very much to do with the quality of life of my family.

My wife is essentially a single mom for six weeks. Under the current rules, she knows that two days after Presidents' Day, she gets her husband back and the kids get their daddy back.

Come 2020, I can't guarantee the same deal without some major sacrifice to the team's performance at (especially later) competitions.

Trading a 3-day-a-week build for eight weeks for a 4-day-a-week build for six weeks, even if the total amount of days are even, is not a trade my family would like to make*. ** ***

*I realize this is a completely false dichotomy; I'm merely using it for illustrative purposes. Change the numbers around, make the build season a sliding scale, the point remains the same.

**However, we will make the trade, because we believe in the power of this program more than we dislike the rule change.

***I also realize I am an outlier in the FRC world. I'm neither a former FRC student, nor an emptynester parent of a former FRC student. Those who have been raised in the FRC sphere have a different worldview than those who have attempted to adjust their lives to fit.
Thank you for clearly explaining what others such as myself are going to have to try and prepare for.
Several years ago, Tyler from 2056 made a point that I thought was another concern as well. It takes really good discipline to stay healthy by eating right and getting as much sleep as possible. On our team, because of the stress of the build season, we eat out a lot consuming unhealthy food with prolonged periods of a lack of sleep. Our students would joke at each other how they gained weight during build season.
This is something I need to make sure we personally address with our team in 2019 and beyond.
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Unread 11-16-2018, 04:44 PM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Karthik View Post
I think you're far less of an outlier than you realize. There are plenty of mentors in your situation who feel the same way you do, despite their lack of a presence on this website. You have a very important perspective that I think is being ignored my many.

Overall I like this change, I'm just worried about the teams and individuals who may be left behind.
We have dichotomous "stories" for FRC that we have not yet reconciled and are at the core of discussion on this issue. One story that has been promoted by FIRST is that a team can devote 6 weeks to build season and one (or 2 if you want) competitive weekend, and be able to compete to win. The Bag Day was the key piece in that story. The other told by successful teams is that a student can become immersed in what is a fairly complete STEM career education process, with a program that runs virtually the entire school year (if not longer). (This conflict similarly arises in interscholastic sports where the successful teams universally have year round programs.)

The issue is trade off the FRC community faces between these stories. The competitive gap continues between the top and bottom teams and we know that the lack of success for the bottom tier teams has led to problems with their sustainability. Mentor stress is also one of the causes of that sustainability problem, but it's not clear which factor is more important. We also know that for the students on teams that continued to work through Bag Day that the educational benefits are tremendous and that many of them become more dedicated to activities that advance their education. So we're ill advised to rein them back because we are likely to lose much of the inspiration that drives FRC. (We already have that problem with the way that 2Champs is currently set up.)

I don't see the gap between the top and bottom tier teams increasing, because nothing will really change for the top teams, so the question is what will happen to the rookies and underresourced teams? I don't think its a question of whether they will be left behind, but rather how does this affect their sustainability. But that question is really a bigger issue that FRC needs to face in any case. Maybe this change will make it more apparent that we need to figure that out now.
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Unread 11-19-2018, 11:29 AM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
My opinion on the bag/no bag rule has very little to do with the practice robot, and very much to do with the quality of life of my family.

Come 2020, I can't guarantee the same deal without some major sacrifice to the team's performance at (especially later) competitions.
As a student, this so much. I'm graduating this year, but 2020 seniors are going to have a really hard time balancing FRC, school, and jobs. I already have to cut back my commitment this year, and I'd have to cut it back more if the build season was longer. After bag day, we take a full week/weekend off to recoup and focus on our lives before heading back in (we 3D print a lot so we can get some pretty major mechanisms in our 30 pounds. Case in point- our whole shooter/feeder in 2017). Sure, we could take time off (we already have to take breaks for exams), but we can take time off before nobag too, the penalty is still the same. I've spent anywhere from 30 to 45 hours a week working either at our build space, or CADing at home for three years, and all of a sudden FIRST is asking for students to commit up to twice the work to stay competitive. I'm burnt out after 6 weeks. I can't imagine how bad it would be after up to 12.


My opinions (especially on this topic) do not represent the views of my team.
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Unread 11-19-2018, 11:47 AM
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

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Originally Posted by EveryLittleBit View Post
As a student, this so much. I'm graduating this year, but 2020 seniors are going to have a really hard time balancing FRC, school, and jobs. I already have to cut back my commitment this year, and I'd have to cut it back more if the build season was longer. After bag day, we take a full week/weekend off to recoup and focus on our lives before heading back in (we 3D print a lot so we can get some pretty major mechanisms in our 30 pounds. Case in point- our whole shooter/feeder in 2017). Sure, we could take time off (we already have to take breaks for exams), but we can take time off before nobag too, the penalty is still the same. I've spent anywhere from 30 to 45 hours a week working either at our build space, or CADing at home for three years, and all of a sudden FIRST is asking for students to commit up to twice the work to stay competitive. I'm burnt out after 6 weeks. I can't imagine how bad it would be after up to 12.


My opinions (especially on this topic) do not represent the views of my team.
You already stated that your team works after bag day, so I'm not sure where the "double" time is coming from. Other than the weekend/week you were taking off after bag day, what extra time is being "added"?

30-45 hours a week is already pushing it on the amount of time you should be spending.

Every year we have a discussion with our students and mentors about priorities, this is what we tell them the correct list is:
1. Yourself
2. Family/friends
3. School
4. Robotics

Quote:
all of a sudden FIRST is asking for students to commit up to twice the work to stay competitive
There were already teams using this time, you're not falling behind any more than you were before.

Last edited by notmattlythgoe : 11-19-2018 at 11:52 AM.
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Unread 11-19-2018, 03:38 PM
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EveryLittleBit EveryLittleBit is offline
PLA Professional
AKA: Kevin M
FRC #2702 (Rebels)
Team Role: Student
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Rookie Year: 2016
Location: Kitchener
Posts: 13
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Re: Poll : The Bag and You

Quote:
Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
30-45 hours a week is already pushing it on the amount of time you should be spending.
Yeah, I'm definitely a bit of an edge case As I mentioned, I'm taking a bit of a step back this year to focus on school.


Quote:
Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
Other than the weekend/week you were taking off after bag day, what extra time is being "added"?
While 2702 works in a slightly reduced capacity after bag, many other teams (especially teams without a practice bot) work in a much more reduced capacity after bag. As well, there's actually only so much work you can do on a practice bot. At least for us, we sometimes have to substitute components for others, or omit entire mechanisms. The time to port over mechanisms and code can't really be more than six hours, so your changes can't be to complex. With a full bot, this is simply not the case. You could re-build your entire robot! I don't think 2x time is unreasonable at all, because build season always gets intense as time goes on, and more time would seem to translate to more intensity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
There were already teams using this time, you're not falling behind any more than you were before.
I'm going to have to disagree on this one. For many teams, the 30lb/6hr allowance is more of an issue than time in between comps, as bigger teams can (and increasingly will) cycle team members in and out, or just have less duties on each student, reducing stress on individual students. This probably won't affect most teams but the small teams are really going to struggle. Burnout is real, especially for teenagers. It's simply not possible for the same set of people to maintain the full build season workload for up to 12 weeks. Small teams are going to lose time to burnout, while big teams escape relatively unscathed.

Last edited by EveryLittleBit : 11-19-2018 at 03:45 PM.
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