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Unread 08-06-2018, 10:49 AM
Dan Katzuv Dan Katzuv is offline
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Referee Manual

Hello,
I wanted to know if there's a way to find the Referee Manual of FRC. It's really interesting for me to know what's written there, but I can't find it anywhere of FIRST's website. Can someone help me with that?

Thanks!
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Unread 08-06-2018, 10:56 AM
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Re: Referee Manual

I'm not aware of any published "referee manual" aside from the normal game manual.
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Unread 08-06-2018, 12:55 PM
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Re: Referee Manual

From six years of prior experience there really is no "Training Manual" other than the official rules released each year. Otherwise referees undergo online training and testing specific to each years game, you have to be in the VIMS (Volunteer Information Matching System) and assigned to an event to access the training portal. Supplemental training and reference materials are provided at the discretion of the head referee at any given event and mid-season rules adjustments and training is fed through the head referees 'network' down to the regular referees at the event. I hope I'm not being too 'insider' on this one, but this is how the training works for all referee positions that I have ever signed up for.

If you are interested in volunteering to be a referee, I would suggest studying the game rules thoroughly and signing up through VIMS to volunteer at an event, if you are selected you will receive the links for training shortly after the release of the game and be asked to take a multiple choice test at the end.
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Unread 08-06-2018, 01:05 PM
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Re: Referee Manual

FWIW, VEX has a fantastic series of Referee Training Videos for each game. As FRC continues to add events, I could see this becoming useful to help improve training and consistency across FRC.

https://www.roboticseducation.org/co.../vrc-training/
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Unread 08-06-2018, 03:25 PM
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Re: Referee Manual

Adam Reed is spot on.

Referee training materials are not meant to be released. The materials themselves do not have specific meaning without the discussions in webinars for Head Referees led by the Chief Referee. It's much more than what is printed in slideshows; the real value comes out in the discussions and Q&A for head refs. Head refs then pass this information to the referees at their events.

In addition to training materials and testing for all refs, head refs are invited to New Hampshire for additional on-site training.
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Last edited by GaryVoshol : 08-06-2018 at 03:29 PM.
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Unread 08-06-2018, 11:37 PM
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Re: Referee Manual

I'll agree with all of this, and I'll also note that everything that you learn, discuss, or do while serving as a FRC referee is confidential, and is not to be shared with anyone, especially your own team.

Also, note that the referee test is typically relatively difficult, as compared to team "rules tests" that I've seen. Some years are easier than others.
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Unread 08-07-2018, 06:21 AM
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Re: Referee Manual

Quote:
Originally Posted by jds2001 View Post
I'll agree with all of this, and I'll also note that everything that you learn, discuss, or do while serving as a FRC referee is confidential, and is not to be shared with anyone, especially your own team.
this can't be overstated. One of my team's mentors is a head ref, and he goes out of his way to stick to technical build, and avoid any strategy or game play discussions with the team. He just doesn't want to risk accidentally letting slip something that would give the team an unfair advantage over other teams. He also hasn't been at the same event as our team for years, to avoid the conflict of interest.

Refs really are an under appreciated group of volunteers!
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Unread 08-07-2018, 10:24 AM
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Re: Referee Manual

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryVoshol View Post
Adam Reed is spot on.

Referee training materials are not meant to be released. The materials themselves do not have specific meaning without the discussions in webinars for Head Referees led by the Chief Referee. It's much more than what is printed in slideshows; the real value comes out in the discussions and Q&A for head refs. Head refs then pass this information to the referees at their events.

In addition to training materials and testing for all refs, head refs are invited to New Hampshire for additional on-site training.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jds2001 View Post
I'll agree with all of this, and I'll also note that everything that you learn, discuss, or do while serving as a FRC referee is confidential, and is not to be shared with anyone, especially your own team.

Also, note that the referee test is typically relatively difficult, as compared to team "rules tests" that I've seen. Some years are easier than others.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
this can't be overstated. One of my team's mentors is a head ref, and he goes out of his way to stick to technical build, and avoid any strategy or game play discussions with the team. He just doesn't want to risk accidentally letting slip something that would give the team an unfair advantage over other teams. He also hasn't been at the same event as our team for years, to avoid the conflict of interest.

Refs really are an under appreciated group of volunteers!
I understand referee-ing is not my "thing" that I spend all my time doing (I've just done a few offseasons), but my big question is...

Why? Why the secrecy? It feels very oddly fightclub-ish, "What happens at referee training, stays at referee training". I just don't get it.

The reasons given above for not publishing referee training content don't hold up. If the materials don't make sense outside the context of the webinars, why not record and publish the webinars too? More information transfer to make everyone better, including teams knowing more about how they'll be refereed at events and prospective head refs knowing what it takes to be a head ref, seem like net positives.

Speaking of team's knowing more about how they'll be evaluated, I think pigs will fly before we have a straight-forward Chairman's rubric

Riddle: What do FIRST referee/judge training process and 148's 2018 avatar have in common?

-Mike

PS. Usually critiquing anything related to FIRST Volunteering results in accusations of the critique-er "not appreciating the work volunteers do" or some garbage like that. Let's just not, ok? You can want to see something be better and still appreciate the people doing the work.
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Unread 08-07-2018, 10:40 AM
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Re: Referee Manual

It's fair to ask why FIRST doesn't release more information. I could speculate as to the reasons, but I don't think that would get us anywhere.

As for individual ref's and head ref's... there can be a huge advantage for a team to know how something is going to be called at an event, when other teams do not. Knowing how strict or lax the refs are going to be on anything can inform your strategy, game play, and even robot design. Unless the information is made widely public along official channels, I support individual ref's and head ref's keeping quiet outside of events. Keeping every team on the same level of information about the game helps keep an even playing field.
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Unread 08-07-2018, 11:15 AM
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Re: Referee Manual

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
It's fair to ask why FIRST doesn't release more information. I could speculate as to the reasons, but I don't think that would get us anywhere.

As for individual ref's and head ref's... there can be a huge advantage for a team to know how something is going to be called at an event, when other teams do not. Knowing how strict or lax the refs are going to be on anything can inform your strategy, game play, and even robot design. Unless the information is made widely public along official channels, I support individual ref's and head ref's keeping quiet outside of events. Keeping every team on the same level of information about the game helps keep an even playing field.
Agreed on the individuals. They are following instructions and doing their best in the role.
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Unread 08-07-2018, 11:17 AM
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Re: Referee Manual

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Originally Posted by Michael Corsetto View Post
Riddle: What do FIRST referee/judge training process and 148's 2018 avatar have in common?

They're both super classy?
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Unread 08-07-2018, 11:24 AM
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Re: Referee Manual

The very notion that there needs to be secrecy in refereeing is absurd on its face. If knowing the methodology behind enforcement of rules can be used to circumvent said rules, they aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
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Unread 08-07-2018, 12:02 PM
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Re: Referee Manual

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Reed View Post
From six years of prior experience there really is no "Training Manual" other than the official rules released each year. Otherwise referees undergo online training and testing specific to each years game, you have to be in the VIMS (Volunteer Information Matching System) and assigned to an event to access the training portal.

Well since most erryone wants districts and districts need trained skilled volunteers to make them work, howsabout FIRST publishes (or provides public access to) the online training/testing for referees such that offseason events, for example, can use them to train new and better refs? Offseason events can be the gateway for n00bs to become experienced district/regional referees. Unfortunately, lacking proper training information (and often, time), I know some offseasons tend to "wing it" when it comes to referees, leading to an inconsistent and less-than-authentic competitive experience. When you consider that many drive teams at offseason events are staffed by n00bs, I think it is even more important to encourage consistently thorough refereeing at such events, so rookie drivers won't be blindsided when they get to their first official competition.

I am not the only one to be a proponent of this; in fact, I'm passing the idea along from the person who suggested it during a conversation at WVROX.

Get rid of the (pointless? yeah, pointless) good ol' boys club secrecy and release the information for greater benefit.
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Unread 08-07-2018, 12:37 PM
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Re: Referee Manual

My suspicion is FIRST doesn't make all the referee training material public because it changes throughout the season. If FIRST sees referees making a call wrong at one event they are going to update/clarify things to help the referees get the call right at later events. If it's all public, FIRST can't do that without publicly highlighting the wrong calls.

I am not sure if that's the best idea but I think that's why they do it.
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Unread 08-07-2018, 01:00 PM
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Re: Referee Manual

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
As for individual ref's and head ref's... there can be a huge advantage for a team to know how something is going to be called at an event, when other teams do not. Knowing how strict or lax the refs are going to be on anything can inform your strategy, game play, and even robot design. Unless the information is made widely public along official channels, I support individual ref's and head ref's keeping quiet outside of events. Keeping every team on the same level of information about the game helps keep an even playing field.
This is information the teams have a right to know! They need to know this, in order to properly play the game. I agree refs shouldn't disclose information privately to only certain individuals, but that doesn't have a lot to do with why referee training is widely secretive, or why it should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madison View Post
The very notion that there needs to be secrecy in refereeing is absurd on its face. If knowing the methodology behind enforcement of rules can be used to circumvent said rules, they aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
Just quoting this for emphasis. If documents beyond the rules inform referee decisions, these documents are themselves an extension of the rules, and teams need to know how to play by them. This shouldn't require explanation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatever View Post
My suspicion is FIRST doesn't make all the referee training material public because it changes throughout the season. If FIRST sees referees making a call wrong at one event they are going to update/clarify things to help the referees get the call right at later events. If it's all public, FIRST can't do that without publicly highlighting the wrong calls.

I am not sure if that's the best idea but I think that's why they do it.
Plenty of ways FIRST could publicly state that going forward, things won't be called the way they were at XYZ without throwing XYZ under the bus. FIRST could just say the event highlighted a source of confusion in the rules without definitively stating how the call "should have" gone, for example. Other sports leagues do a good job with this.
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