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Unread 11-08-2011, 12:38 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
So, to get this straight: If I am helping another team- I should make their robot a haphazard version of my own and make sure they aren't as successful as my team will (or hopes to) be? Why are they not deserving of winning with me?

What would be the point of helping another team at all then if I don't plan on helping them reach success?

Your issue doesn't even seem to be with collaboration, it seems to be with being too helpful of a mentor team. Most teams don't force themselves on a rookie team, the rookie team asks for as much help as they think they want/need.
Definition of success should be taken into consideration here too...there are unique learning experiences for students and mentors on a rookie team that could conceivably be lost with too much help from a mentoring team. That's not to say that the situation is necessarily bad, but there are pros and cons both ways.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 01:05 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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Originally Posted by ajd View Post
Definition of success should be taken into consideration here too...there are unique learning experiences for students and mentors on a rookie team that could conceivably be lost with too much help from a mentoring team. That's not to say that the situation is necessarily bad, but there are pros and cons both ways.
Which is why I wrote in my post: "Most teams don't force themselves on a rookie team, the rookie team asks for as much help as they think they want/need."
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Unread 11-08-2011, 01:46 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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Originally Posted by Akash Rastogi View Post
Which is why I wrote in my post: "Most teams don't force themselves on a rookie team, the rookie team asks for as much help as they think they want/need."
Sorry - I hope that didn't come off as an attack on what you were saying. I just wanted to emphasize a point that I thought could use more attention.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 05:31 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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Originally Posted by ajd View Post
Sorry - I hope that didn't come off as an attack on what you were saying. I just wanted to emphasize a point that I thought could use more attention.
Nope, totally fine. And yes you are correct with defining success in different ways, I was just referring to the point brought up about winning regionals and trophies and blue banners.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 09:36 AM
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Smile Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

I guess you should have both teams talk and see what both teams want to do. It may be easier to have the same bot but it will have advantages, like more people will know how to drive it if your driver cannot drive. My old team, our rookie year had a older sister team, and we had two totally different bots. It helped use, but they didnt do as well. Yet, our teams were so close, we cheered each other on, and we always helped each other. Best thing to do is a team vote.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 09:37 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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Originally Posted by SuperNerd256 View Post
What we all seem to agree on is that in the scenario where a veteran team and a rookie team collaborate make 2 identical robots, one of the teams is going to be missing out on some much needed experience, and unfortunately that's going to be the rookie team.
I don't agree with that at all. Strike the "missing out" and "much needed" and "unfortunately" parts.

In fact, remove everything after the first comma and replace it with "someone is going to get seriously inspired, and in many cases it'll be both teams -- the veterans by exposing the rookies to good practices and by having a complete mentoring experience, and the rookies by seeing what can be done and by participating in a well-managed process."
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Unread 11-08-2011, 09:55 AM
Andrew Schreiber Andrew Schreiber is offline
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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Originally Posted by SuperNerd256 View Post
What we all seem to agree on is that in the scenario where a veteran team and a rookie team collaborate make 2 identical robots, one of the teams is going to be missing out on some much needed experience, and unfortunately that's going to be the rookie team.
No. Not at all. I agree with that about as much as I agree that putting a power drill to my temple would be a good idea.

In fact, I'll say the opposite. In the scenario of a rookie team being mentored by a powerhouse... They learn how the powerhouse is run, what the design process used is, how they approach sponsors. They learn how to emulate this powerhouse. They don't miss out, they don't miss experience. They get an awesome chance to see how a good team should be run.

Also, I cannot agree with Alan more.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 10:52 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

I think that, as with most things, there are good and bad ways to do this kind of collaboration. A powerhouse team could leave the rookies bored by doing everything, not taking the time to explain and teach, and essentially using the rookies as window dressing (and perhaps fodder for their Chairman's Award presentation). It could be done so badly that instead of being inspired, the rookies get bored of watching the powerhouse's well-oiled machine and don't even last the six weeks, instead moving on to activities wherein they can actually participate and contribute.

I find this situation unlikely in the extreme, because I do not believe that the mentors who get involved in FIRST (on either team -- the powerhouse or the rookies) would allow it to happen. Instead, they would use their boundless mentory goodness to ensure that whatever arrangement is reached and however things work between the teams, they are mutually beneficial to each -- however those teams decide to define the term "mutually beneficial".
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Unread 11-08-2011, 11:02 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

This situation is a little different here than most veteran team/rookie team collaborations. 1510 and 2898 would share many of the same mentors and the same shop space. Students would, I assume, split into two groups if they were to build two different robots but it's not like one group is necessarily less experienced than another or that poor little 2898 needs the help of it's older brother. These are very capable students and mentors. They'd spin off another robot in order to give more students key roles as the team is getting pretty big.

My point early in this thread is I think it would have more impact to build two different robots so that more students can get their hands dirty in the design process. Otherwise, all you're doing is spending $10K for eight more students to have more fun at the competition (drive team and pit crew) and you get the "fun" of assembling another robot just like the previous two. The lasting impact of FIRST happens during build season, not at the competitions.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 11:11 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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Originally Posted by Dale View Post
My point early in this thread is I think it would have more impact to build two different robots so that more students can get their hands dirty in the design process. Otherwise, all you're doing is spending $10K for eight more students to have more fun at the competition (drive team and pit crew) and you get the "fun" of assembling another robot just like the previous two. The lasting impact of FIRST happens during build season, not at the competitions.
I don't think this is true. Students still get their hands dirty in the design process. Making two different designs means nothing if one is superior to the other because logically, the best aspects of both designs from both teams would be merged into one if you build twins. The final product would possibly be an iteration of both teams' ideas.

Also, I completely agree with Alan's post. Well said.
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Last edited by Akash Rastogi : 11-08-2011 at 11:20 AM.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 11:21 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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Originally Posted by sst.thad View Post
Some members on our team see this as being unethical, and think that other teams would hate us if we did this because it would make us look too competitive.
What's the point of competing if you're not going to be competitive? I'd say go for it, I like the idea of two teams coming together and devising something that just one team may not have been able to come up with alone. If you guys are able to successfully collaborate and create something outstanding, I'd say the more power too you! Also, I agree with Alan's post. Very well said.

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Last edited by davepowers : 11-08-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 11:51 AM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

It's not unethical. Other teams wouldn't hate you for including more students into FIRST and allowing more students to compete in FRC while fostering their STEM interests in an environment geared towards our age group specifically. More so, if you don't have the resources then do the right thing for the students.

On 2471 we build 2 robots and bag one and then use one the other for practice and spare parts. You could argue that this is unethical but it has been extremely beneficial in refining our design process and allowing our growing team to get 2x the building experience, distribute more leadership roles and anticipate successes and failures in regards to our robot.

That being said, for the local Bunnybot competition this year, we have enough resources to build 2 robots but they're not identical. Two students who have demonstrated ample leadership skills each presented a robot design and both were supported by our mentors. Thus, we're currently in the process of creating two different robots and, again, giving more students the chance to work on a robot. In doing so, we're allowing more room for error yet ample growth as a team as our students work to meet deadlines and troubleshoot different problems individual to each robot.

Personally, there's more of a safety net insured if two teams work side by side to create two identical robots to enter into the same competition. However, there's something about taking chances, trying different ideas, experimenting with different technologies and building off of one another instead of simply copy and pasting.

I wouldn't hate 1510 if you held your competitive edge and made two identical robots. I would however hate it if you pushed your team to the edge and didn't enjoy your build season like you should.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 12:58 PM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

As long as the relationship between the teams is and stays a true collaboration, I see no problem. If the relationship ever devolves to one where one team has any sort of control over the other (e.g. the first team designs the robot for the second team), basically any situation where "collaboration" does not describe the relationship of the teams, then some students are missing out on important aspects of the FIRST experience and I have a problem with the situation. I think this is a very slippery slope, especially when teams are sharing workspaces and/or one is not yet fully developed, but if proper precautions are taken, this relationship can certainly be beneficial.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 01:20 PM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

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What we all seem to agree on ...
Who all? Not me.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 01:52 PM
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Re: Ethics of 2 teams building 2 identical robots

In a good collaboration, no one should be missing out on their chance to design the robot. For a good example, let's look at the 2006 Niagara FIRST triplets. While I wasn't in FIRST in 2006, I've heard and talked about the Niagara FIRST triplets quite a bit. By my understanding, this collaboration did not go something like this:
1114: Hey 1503, 1680, here's the robot design. Get cracking!

Instead, it went something like this:
1114, 1503, 1680: Let's all work together! We'll design different parts of the robots individually, and then discuss our designs all together. That way, we all get a chance to "get our hands dirty" and we all get a superior product.

In the OP's case, collaboration is easier: they'll actually be in the same school. Remember, the more ideas you have, the better robot you'll build. The chances of stumbling on that "gamebreaking" or competitive design only increases with the number of people you have thinking about it (ie, look at the spread of the pinch rollers in 2010. They popped up most prominently as a result of the 148/217/1114, and 254/968 collaborations. The Pinch roller was generally accepted to be the best form of ball control that year).
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