A thought about scoring

Ok this comes about as we were running a FLL regional and watching the ref’s score the field and then get “buy in” from each team. They were shown the score as the ref saw it and they ( for the most part) accepted it. When there was a rare discrepancy it was usually a miscounted part that took all of 2 or 3 seconds to either re add or explain.

Whats my point relative to FRC? Scoring.
I can think of at least three times on teams I have coached where the score was just flat out wrong. i.e. we added the numbers, our partners added them, the other teams added them and we all walk back to the pits 'knowing ’ who won only to find out as the next match is starting that a key part was counted for the opponents.
Granted this usually happened in the first few matches of Friday but we all know that ref calls are final, even when they are wrong. And when you only get 8 or 9 runs Every One counts.
(Let me add something here. I think that the folks that volunteer to be a ref are made from special stuff. They are overall great people that are just trying to do the best that is possible. I am just looking for a way to have accurate scores recorded)

So to address the problems that may come up let me keep going here.

  1. There isn’t enough time to get all 6 teams to agree on the score.
    While I actually disagree with this statement a fairly easy fix could be to have each alliance pick one team to have one person represent the alliance to initial the score at the end

  2. There STILL isn’t enough time even with the one rep per alliance idea.
    Well what’s worse? inaccurate information of an extra 25-30 minutes to deal with. I would rather have 8 matches where I knew the score was right than 9 where “ref calls are final” are all I can get in reaction to a complaint.

  3. What if there is a major argument about the score and a team refuses to initial their side?
    Well this is exactly why I want to do this. Over all (last years game not being typical) the score is very straight forward, “7 balls here, 2 robots there…” and a few moments should clear up any misconception. And ultimately the ref call IS final.

I suspect I could come up with more cases but I wanted to get some reaction to the idea. If I am wrong about this I know I can be shown the light. If I am right…well there has to be a first time.

Bottom line is people should not be critical referees (like penalties, fast action scoring, etc) if they have never been a spectator to or participant in an FRC game at a previous event or in a previous year.

For some games it could work - given the timing constraints noted by the OP. For instance in Triple Play, either a tetra was stacked or it wasn’t - once the refs made the determination, all they had to do was count.

Aim High was another thing altogether. I can see the arguments: “No, we got 47 balls in the lower goal, and you only gave us credit for 33.” How in the world is that going to be verified?

FLL scoring is done at the end of the round, when play has ceased, not live real-time like Aim High. FLL also has the luxury (usually) of having multiple fields. The score can be tallied, the field reset, and the next teams can begin setting up while another match is going on at the other field.

As a ref, here are my first thoughts. This is a good idea but I doubt it is workable.

  1. This system relies on the ability of all teams to be completely unbiased and fair. Most are, but there are some who will never admit that their team did anything wrong and were nothing less than perfect. Very rare, but even one team at an event would throw off this system and create problems for everyone. GP is the goal for everyone but human nature sometimes wins.

  2. Most disagreements in scoring are on penalties, not scored objects. Except for Aim High, the previous games were relatively easy to count and were counted after play ended (yes, there were a few judgment calls, such as whether a tetra actually scored or not. But these were rare.) Aim High did have problems counting balls in real time, but how could the teams really count them better than the ball counters sitting right on top on the goals?

  3. Penalties are unfortunately a judgment call most of the time. See point 1. Yes, the refs make mistakes but penalties are often a group call among refs, who saw the whole game and not just one team’s perceptive, which is usually seen through the glass wall and during the heat of battle.

  4. Scores ARE sometimes changed, particularly if the team CALMLY AND POLITELY explains the situation. Particularly if you have proof, such as the scores on the ref sheet don’t match what was inputted in the PC (that has happened). Once two teams came up to us, one of which was disputing a penalty. The other team said he’s right, his team didn’t tip us, we tipped ourselves (or whatever the penalty was, I don’t remember). So we took back the penalty. The stock answer “ref calls are final” is always given if the team loudly and agitatedly argues. Or if it is the mentor arguing, not the students.

(N.B. Scores are very rarely changed at the Championships. Refs are more experienced and stakes are higher.)

  1. It would add time. Say at 3 minutes extra per match, with 12 matches per day this would add over 30 minutes - at least. Wouldn’t you rather have the time to play more matches?

What is the goal of FIRST competition? To win a trophy? Or to learn that life isn’t always fair, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but you have fun either way and you appreciate what is really important in life?

Penalties…hmmm I hadn’t considered those.

Yea, since many matches ride on penalties and when you are busy trying to watch your team you will most likely miss a penalty across the field.
They are like live scoring (like last year) hard to prove one way or the other. (and I don’t see any team being able to argue one way or the other for a live scoring disagreement)

And yet I still feel the idea has some merit.
I am trying to avoid the “We LOST!?” as we walk back to the pit knowing that we won (and for the record there has also been a “we won!?” moment after knowing we lost)
I don’t believe having a ref show the scoring sheets to an alliance rep for an initial would take more than 10 or 15 seconds. While waiting for the refs to score the two seperate alliance reps could be comparing notes and most likely have an agreed on score as the refs approach.

And even though I also ‘sell’ robotics to new parents as not being about scores and winning the reality is that we do score these games and winning has consequences. If we think we can get as excited about the game without keeping score and declaring a top score winner I think we’re wrong. Competition is good for the game.

And “ref scores are final” is an appropriote response to ANY one asking to challange a score. Otherwise the extra “3 minutes” per match suddenly gets longer. There is no mechanism that allows anyone to talk to refs about scores after every match. And once you open the door for some teams to talk to a ref then why can’t every team?

I would like to see a first week regional try something like this idea. and then share the results. Besides the hope that fewer scoring disputs will occur it also allows another aspect of teh game to be introduced, the Alliance rep position, assuming a three team alliance there should be no ties…yea even as I wrote this I realised you could have a three way tie as each team wants its own rep…but this could be a good thing anyway.

Having just been a ref this past weekend at the Southern California Vex event, I figure I have a fresh persective.

On at least two ocassions there were errors in the scoring, and that was just on my field. I have no idea about the other field. In one case I accidentally recorded the wrong team as winning autonomous. It was obvious the blue alliance had won it as they had the only robot that moved and I distinctly remembered that robot with its unique mechanism scoring in Auto. But somehow I recorded it as Red winning Auto. One of the team members asked about the score and I went and double checked. We corrected the error with no fuss. It didn’t change who won but did affect the Ranking Points.

In another case one of the other refs forgot to record who got the Atlas ball, turning what everybody expected to be a very close match into a rout. When the posted the result there were at least two refs running for the scoring table to figure out what happened.

Refs are fallible and I have no problem with respectful questions from teams that have a problem with the score. I think some sort of official appeal system is in order, but it would have to be exercised very shortly after the score is announced. Refs see more matchs than anybody and after a while they sort of blend together…

I bet the refs were worried about that and im glad we had some good refs then, or our match woulda been messed up from that game. If the refs are not qualified for refing jobs then they should not be involved, but i think FIRST would not put in underqualified people for important jobs.

one thing that happened last year was that scoring was also based on camera count on balls in the lower goals. from what i heard and understand, they could only count so many fps and many balls weren’t counted. i heard many teams talking about that problem, such as you stated that one team said they had 47, but the computer was only able to register 33, because if the balls were rolling in too fast (and many teams could dump all their balls at once, like if one team deposited 15 balls, the computer could only count 7 or 8, depending on the speed they were pushed in). they planned this game extremely well this year because in my opnion, it is extremely easy to tally the score, since there is that delay between the automous and the 2 minute round, they can decide on late keepers, and then its a simple one or 2 tubes per leg. the hardest part would be scoring rows and bonus, which still wouldn’t take long.