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Unread 04-02-2018, 11:44 AM
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The slippery slope

It seems to me that "strategic" cheating is starting to become acceptable by some. There are even some decent excuses for it. Is it really worth it though?

"You see it all the time in professional sports"
A) Most sports have been around for a long time and have had a chance to level out the game with some cheating included. FRC is a new game every year. Where football typically gets yearly tweaks to the game, FRC gets updated twice a week. How do you balance that when cheating is added in?
B) Do we really want to teach future engineers how to cheat? That kind of stuff has a max penalty of a Red card in FRC (maybe even ejection). Loss of license or jail time in the real world.

"It is strategic to take a 5 pt hit for a 30 pt gain"
So is having an "agreement" (the noodle agreement for example), but that generally gets hashed out in the forum as not true to the league. Again, going back to the first example. The game is already hard enough for the GMC to balance when people try to play by the rules.

"Other teams not taking advantage of the penalty-to-gain is just poor judgment"
Actually its an offshoot of the "Prisoners Dilemma". Everyone would be on equal ground if they followed the rules, but it is more advantageous for some to cheat. The difference here is the higher ethics of some teams is what puts them at a disadvantage and they would rather make that sacrifice.


At what point is there too much cheating if some is tolerated?
Why follow the rules for bag day if it's more strategic not to?
Why not bribe an inspector that you're buddies with?
Why not yank on another robots wire when no one's looking?
Extreme? Yes, but really, where do you stop?


I don't want this to turn into yelling at each other (and I'm certainly not looking to call anyone out), but I fail to see a valid reason for "strategic cheating" in FIRST.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 11:55 AM
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Re: The slippery slope

What sort of "strategic cheating" are you referring to? Do you have examples of what you consider this?
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Unread 04-02-2018, 11:56 AM
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Re: The slippery slope

I agree with the idea that strategic cheating (five point penalty for a 25 point gain) should not be done, but there are some rules in place to prevent this. Many rules explicitly say if they are violated repeatedly the punishment will be escalated. In addition, strategic cheating could fall under a violation of the be a good person rule (C02).
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Unread 04-02-2018, 11:57 AM
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Re: The slippery slope

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Originally Posted by EricLeifermann View Post
What sort of "strategic cheating" are you referring to? Do you have examples of what you consider this?
Mentors touching robots.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:02 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

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Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
Mentors touching robots.
Can you show me on this droid schematic where mentors are allowed to touch?

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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:07 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

Here is an example on my team:

Our scale autonomous mode is designed to drive into the null territory, turn, and deposit the cube onto the scale. On occasion (but not every time), the robot would drive a few inches too far and the bumpers would pass the opposite end of the null territory, causing a foul.

We knew this was a risk but knew that making major changes to the autonomous mode could result in risking the perfect success of our scale cube delivery. Without another opportunity to test it on the practice field, our options were to disable that particular autonomous altogether, or run it knowing there was a chance the line could be passed again. We opted to keep and use it, realizing the potential of a 5 point foul was less significant than points earned from having an early scale advantage.

Does this fall into the category of "strategic cheating"??
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:10 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

OP is confused. "Cheating" includes acts like, lying about Bag and Tag, or yanking your opponents' wires out while they aren't looking. It does NOT include choosing to risk a known penalty (such as for "launching" cubes in autonomous) in order to attempt to score points. This is not cheating, it is accepting the rules as they are and playing within the risks implied by the rules.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:12 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fields View Post
It seems to me that "strategic" cheating is starting to become acceptable by some. There are even some decent excuses for it. Is it really worth it though?

"You see it all the time in professional sports"
A) Most sports have been around for a long time and have had a chance to level out the game with some cheating included. FRC is a new game every year. Where football typically gets yearly tweaks to the game, FRC gets updated twice a week. How do you balance that when cheating is added in?
B) Do we really want to teach future engineers how to cheat? That kind of stuff has a max penalty of a Red card in FRC (maybe even ejection). Loss of license or jail time in the real world.

"It is strategic to take a 5 pt hit for a 30 pt gain"
So is having an "agreement" (the noodle agreement for example), but that generally gets hashed out in the forum as not true to the league. Again, going back to the first example. The game is already hard enough for the GMC to balance when people try to play by the rules.

"Other teams not taking advantage of the penalty-to-gain is just poor judgment"
Actually its an offshoot of the "Prisoners Dilemma". Everyone would be on equal ground if they followed the rules, but it is more advantageous for some to cheat. The difference here is the higher ethics of some teams is what puts them at a disadvantage and they would rather make that sacrifice.


At what point is there too much cheating if some is tolerated?
Why follow the rules for bag day if it's more strategic not to?
Why not bribe an inspector that you're buddies with?
Why not yank on another robots wire when no one's looking?
Extreme? Yes, but really, where do you stop?


I don't want this to turn into yelling at each other (and I'm certainly not looking to call anyone out), but I fail to see a valid reason for "strategic cheating" in FIRST.
It's my belief that the rules are there to make the game play as the GDC wants the game to play, and the severity of the punishment for breaking the rule is indicative of how much they don't want you to break that rule.

Therefore, breaking the rules is ALWAYS a strategic decision (as is deciding not to break the rules is). Many threads here have argued that the punishment for breaking rules is too harsh (785 points in penalties), others (I'm guessing you) don't believe it's harsh enough.

FIRST GDC has a very difficult job of balancing the rules with the penalties for breaking the rules. I, for one, believe they have done a fairly good job at this.

I don't believe you will ever get away from "Strategic cheating" until the penalty for breaking the rules becomes too high.

JM(NS)HO
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:14 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

Quote:
Originally Posted by seg9585 View Post
Here is an example on my team:

Our scale autonomous mode is designed to drive into the null territory, turn, and deposit the cube onto the scale. On occasion (but not every time), the robot would drive a few inches too far and the bumpers would pass the opposite end of the null territory, causing a foul.
In my opinion this is not strategic cheating, in my mind strategic cheating is actively fouling for an advantage. If this is simply an unintentional discrepancy in your auto, I would not call this strategic cheating.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:18 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

My favorite is when teams that sandbag can't be called out because it would be "ungracious". Honestly, taking penalties for gain pales in comparison to sandbagging to win.
The penalty-for-control conundrum is really only relevant this year. I don't think FIRST will make another game that's time-based without time-based penalties.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:22 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

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Originally Posted by asid61 View Post
I don't think FIRST will make another game that's time-based without time-based penalties.
I'll take that bet.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:24 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

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I'll take that bet.
Yeah but HQ has proven that they learn from their mistakes.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:40 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

Quote:
Originally Posted by asid61 View Post
My favorite is when teams that sandbag can't be called out because it would be "ungracious". Honestly, taking penalties for gain pales in comparison to sandbagging to win.
This doesn't happen very often, does it? I mean, everyone jokes about 973 sandbagging (probably referencing Galileo 2011) but I'd be concerned if anyone was serious about it...
Quote:
Originally Posted by asid61 View Post
The penalty-for-control conundrum is really only relevant this year. I don't think FIRST will make another game that's time-based without time-based penalties.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marshall View Post
I'll take that bet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
Yeah but HQ has proven that they learn from their mistakes.
The one-two punch has entered this thread. I won't say much other than that (1) points based on time-based ownership is this year's "interesting scoring gimmick", just like last year's diminishing returns, and it'll probably be a long time before they do the same gimmick again, and (2) when they do something like this, they're not perfect in predicting what's going to happen. Whatever. FIRST Power Up so far has gotten very high ratings from the masses, regardless of any of the relatively small moral panics created.

Find the threads about messing with coop bridge balances in 2012 or 6v0 in 2010 for some real fun.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:41 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

Quote:
Originally Posted by notmattlythgoe View Post
Yeah but HQ has proven that they learn from their mistakes.
Yeah, unlike Marshall.

Contributing more value -

The time based scoring was an interesting mix up and I'd honestly be shocked if they don't bring it around in the near future. I just hope they do so in contexts where it makes sense. (this year is a good context, maybe last year woulda been less so)

I'd really like to see a mixture of completion and time based tasks, it would help level out some of the blow outs we see this year but also force real choices.
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Unread 04-02-2018, 12:43 PM
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Re: The slippery slope

Let's give a more concrete example of a hypothetical autonomous mode which deliberately breaks a rule because the benefit is larger than the penalty.

This is the rule:
A04. Stay out of your opponentís side of the FIELD. During AUTO, no part of a ROBOTíS BUMPERS may pass from the NULL TERRITORY to the opponentís side of the FIELD.
Violation: FOUL. If contact is made with an opponent ROBOT in their side of the FIELD (either direct contact or transitive contact through a POWER CUBE), TECH FOUL. Violations of this rule are likely to escalate rapidly to YELLOW or RED CARDS.

The autonomous mode is simple. In autonomous, if the scale lights on your side, drive forward and score into the scale. If the scale lights on the opposite side, drive forward and prevent your opponent from scoring into the scale.

Since most matches (not all) are decided by who wins the scale in autonomous, is it cheating, or is it smart strategy to interfere with your opponents scale autonomous, and accept the 25 point technical foul?

Assume that this auto mode is never used until after a first loss in the final elimination matches of your second regional, not having won your first. Using it is possibly preventing your alliance from being eliminated. You would only use it once, so no way for the penalty to escalate to a red card. No one but you, the programmer, would ever know what you did.

Do you save you alliance from likely elimination by breaking the rule, or do you follow the rule and end your season?
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