A simple form to capture your thoughts on tech foul penalties

I have re-read the entire thread on penalty system and created a simple Google Form for you to voice your opinion. Should take less than 30 seconds to complete. It’s not limited to point value changes.

Would appreciate your thoughts.

I will post an anonymous summary before EOD tomorrow (Wednesday) on this thread here.


Thanks for all the candid and professional commentary here.

  • Many of you have expressed clear preferences on how to handle tech fouls. If you can take 10 seconds to fill out the form, it would be great.
  • If you don’t mind, please help spread the word to gather thoughts from students/mentors/volunteers who may not read CD regularly.

I have collected 24 feedbacks since last night. 19 Yes (changes required, different types) and 5 No (no changes) Will provide summary updates as I progress.

Thanks again for taking the time. It’s time for me to go back to my day job.

Disclaimer: this issue has not affected 610 too much one way or the other. We have a relatively experienced group and should be able to handle different types of rules.

However, I really feel for new and old teams who get to play only once a year: 1468 teams (53.0%). Imagine you are not a regular participant at champs, spent 6 weeks of sweat building a good robot, worked hard to fund raise to play about 10-15 matches; ended up losing important matches because of 50pt G40, G28 or others that are inconsequential, unintentional fouls that have little safety implications? The stats are clear. ONE tech foul would swing the results of 59% of final matches.

It’s not too late to prevent FIRST from losing students/mentors who otherwise would have loved this game and continue to love this thing called #omgrobots.


Yes (Need changes) = 35; No (No changes required) = 11;

Breakdown of suggested changes:

9 - “Violation: FOUL. If continuous or repeated violations, TECHNICAL FOUL.”.
7 - Introduce two levels of important fouls (20-30 pts) and full 50 pts for “flagrant foul”
7 - Allow refs to issue warnings if the offending action is inconsequential from a safety and match result viewpoint
4 - Switch to time-based penalty (drive team to step away from controls for 5-10 seconds). i.e. Points must be scored.
4 - Re-classify what’s considered a technical foul
2 - Use yellow card / red card system instead of 50 pts tech fouls
2 - Others (pls use remarks field)

Breakdown of why no changes:

8 - Read the rules ; deal with it.
1 - Not fair to Week 1 and 2 teams
2 - Others

Thank you for using an intelligent and quantifiable method to track this. I hope the results are sent to [email protected]


Here is a list of direct 50 points technical fouls (no warnings required, without a lower value penalty for first time offence. In fairness, refs are mostly friendly and are trying to do their job the best they can.)

G5: BALL improperly staged before the start of the match (e.g. not touching robots)
G12: POSSESS their opponent’s BALLS (intentional or not)
G14: Strategies aimed solely at forcing the opposing ALLIANCE to violate a rule
G15: Contact with opponents’ robot during AUTO
G16: Touching operator console during AUTO
G19: Leave parts on the field intentionally
G25: Robots blockade the FIELD in an attempt to stop the flow of the MATCH
G26: Robots intentionally fall down or tip over to block the FIELD
G26-1: Break the planes of the openings of the opponent’s LOW GOAL in an attempt to impede opponent SCORING in that GOAL.
G27: destruction or inhibition of ROBOTS
G28: Initiating deliberate or damaging contact with an opponent ROBOT on or inside the vertical extension of its FRAME PERIMETER
G29: pin an opponent ROBOT for more than 5 seconds
G31: HP inhibiting robots
G32: HP deflecting opponent’s ball
G33: HP retrieve ball when the pedestal is not lit
G36: HP throwing the ball across the truss directly
G37: Ball not inbounded from the side (over the guard rail)
G40: HP body parts crossing over yellow line (vertical plan) or guard rail
G41: Touch robot or ball in contact with robot during match
G42: Non-drivers operating the robot

I will post the final counts by the end of this week.

[Yes: I will share summary stats and remarks with FRC properly by the end of the week.]

I think this would carry a lot more weight if it wasn’t being presented in such a noticeably biased way.

Also, some of those listed are able to be and will be allowed to be corrected. Like G5, I have never been to a competition where a ref didn’t allow us the chance to move something to comply with starting configuration.

At Kettering, once the gates were up and everyone was off the field, Drive Teams were not being allowed back onto the field, I do believe this lead to a case of an illegal starting configuration(However, I could be remembering incorrectly).

This decision came about because a match was almost started when someone jumped over a gate to go fix their robot. If the FTA hadn’t been paying attention, Auton would of started with them on the field.(They jumped over the gate during the 3-2-1-Go countdown).

That should have been a yellow card.

Agreed. But, yes, I am a passionate human.

And yes, there are many ways to alleviate this. I am hoping for some actions. No doubt.

Thanks for the feedback and removed my personal opinion.

Why does G41 even exist as a technical foul if G40 already exists as a technical foul? If G41 were more severe (yellow card, red card), or if G40 were less severe (foul), then it would make perfect sense.

My vote: do away with G40 entirely and let G41 keep everyone safe (which it would).

G41 is great because:
a) it is not confusing in the slightest
b) it is easy to explain to spectators if it is called in a match (same as (a) really)
c) it is easy to train HPs not to do (same as (a) again)
d) it is easy for the referees to call (no imaginary planes)
e) essentially all dangerous situations involving the interaction between HPs and robots are avoided with this rule
f) it does not occur nearly as frequently as G40, which means that, if G40 were eliminated, more match outcomes would be decided by robots, and not by frivolous HP mistakes
g) it is easy for the refs to see, which means that, if G40 were eliminated, the refs could spend more time watching important things (robot POSSESSIONs, their touch screens, the pedestal that won’t light up, etc…)
h) it is a safer rule for the refs, because they wouldn’t have to stick their heads out into the field to watch for it like they often do when watching for G40 (I can’t find a good video right now, but I have seen this happen on more than one occasion)

tl;dr G40 is too harsh, and G41 is a much better rule overall. However, it will never serve its logical purpose while G40 is also a technical foul.

Sorry for somewhat hijacking this thread. :o

Well, since we’re there, we already have a major case of selection bias just inherently in it being an opt-in survey, aside from the possibility of inherent “CD-bias.”

That being said, I think it’s a very interesting poll and hope FIRST takes some notice.

Unfortunately, the best way to alleviate this problem was absent from the survey. I feel like the simplest and best way to solve the problem of technical fouls and fouls being worth too much is by reducing how many points they are worth.

argh… I should have made a separate option instead of lumping it into (1)… let me add it.

**One of the speakers on GameSense last night (I think it’s Evan Morrison) enlightened me. **

Some of the 50 points penalties may not be a representation of the severity of the offence itself (which I think many of us (including me) were struggling with).

They could represent the potential loss of an opportunity to score a 50 points cycle by the other alliance. It may just be an unfortunate thing that they carry the same label as tech fouls and weight as other safety related fouls.

Please note this as you input your opinion. I made the form editable so that you can modify your opinion. If you need help, just PM me.

THANKS GAMESENSE. You have made a difference already.

Yes (Need changes) = 59; No (No changes required) = 18;

Breakdown of suggested changes:

14 - “Violation: FOUL. If continuous or repeated violations, TECHNICAL FOUL.”.
13 - Introduce two levels of important fouls (20-30 pts) and full 50 pts for “flagrant foul”
14 - Allow refs to issue warnings if the offending action is inconsequential from a safety and match result viewpoint
5 - Switch to time-based penalty (drive team to step away from controls for 5-10 seconds). i.e. Points must be scored.
8 - Re-classify what’s considered a technical foul
3 - Use yellow card / red card system instead of 50 pts tech fouls
2 - Others (pls use remarks field)

Breakdown of why no changes:

13 - Read the rules ; deal with it.
1 - Not fair to Week 1 and 2 teams
4 - Others

[thanks for sharing your thoughts!]
[if you like to see the updated stats in real time, you can get the data from this link.]

A quick reminder: you can share your suggestions on the tech foul system this year (specific adjustments or no adjustments needed) using this form here.

Thanks for all of those who have voiced their thoughts. I will be compiling statistics on the influence of tech fouls once more for week 3 to give you a sense on how we are doing. (would anyone have a link to detailed match data for 2013 Ultimate Ascent? If so, I can run some stats on week 3 as well.)

If you are interested in seeing how others have suggested, you can follow the real time stats using this link.

Thanks so much.

Details will be sent to [email protected] later tonight as input to GDC.

I figured I would take a crack at which of these I think needs a change:

G12: FOUL. If continuous or strategic, TECHNICAL FOUL.
G29: FOUL. If lasting for more than 8 seconds, or opponent ROBOT is possessing a BALL, TECHNICAL FOUL.
G40: FOUL.

I was actually kind of surprised, I figured the list would be a lot longer.

I’m actually quite fine with the way G29 is. It’s not really possible to pin for 5 seconds accidentally unless your robot dies, in which case it doesn’t matter if it’s 5 or 8 seconds.

Final statistics, together with a simple deck has been sent to [email protected].

Signing off on this thread.

Good night.