Are all teams treated equally? and Roebling SF 2-3


I believe that the height rule was purely for safety reasons, but I don’t think it was very well enforced, and the “spirit” of the rule was somewhat lost.


The why is “climbed” is defined in the scoring section. “climbing” for purposes of the yellow card is defined as part of G12. I am not sure if I would make the same call, but as Mike describes it, the right people made the decision.
I like to think that the decisions made at that level would be the same regardless who it affected.



Are you from 6443 or another team on the alliance? This was not clear from your initial posts.

I think it’s only natural to want to see rulings fall in your favor, and can sympathize with that.

6443 was one of my favorite teams on Carver, fwiw. We enjoyed playing with them in quals and watching them climb every. single. match. Fantastic team.



i am the strategy mentor for 6443. We had a great tournament and love playing with everyone. Our alliance partners were fantastic. I was merely asking within the spirit of this thread if the interpretations would have been the same. Any time people are involved, biases do come into play.


Sorry if someone already answered this, but I watched Roebling SF 2-3 on stream as it happened and had no clue what the penalties were for either. And from what I can see, the ref that supposedly followed 1771 and assessed 6 penalties was off-screen. I watched the entire match and all I can really see is the hatch descore that happened at the beginning. Does anyone here at all know what happened?

1 Like

'1. Yes, but the violation listed makes it the Head Ref’s responsibility/call to disengage from anyone else: “One student, one Head REFEREE. A team may only send one (1) pre-college student from its DRIVE TEAM to address the Head REFEREE. Violation: The Head REFEREE will not address additional, non-compliant team members or peripheral conversations.” I don’t believe there’s any published rule that prevents head refs from consulting whoever they want, and from Mike’s and others descriptions 1678 seems as on the money as ever.

Myself I’d like to see a rule ensuring equal representation. e.g. C9 would add that if the head ref decides to consult more than one member of the alliance, the other alliance has a right to have an equal number of pre-college and total people of their choice present and can delay continuation of the discussion (for some reasonable time) to allow for arrival. That said, I’ll reinforce thay 1678 doesn’t appear to have done anything illegal in having the discussion as allowed by the head ref, particularly given Mike’s 6th note.

'2. I find it interesting that the GDC chose not to/neglected to define CLIMB as a glossary term. It’s also inconsistently capitalized throughout (as opposed to DISQUALIFIED which is capitalized in all word forms). That said, it’s not capitalized in G12 or in G14 despite being capitalized in G13. I could see from that decision (or omission) that the intent, while confusing, was indeed meant to be to convey only active climbing.

Open to interpretation, it is indeed the Head and Chief Refs’ decision, but I might pitch in to buy the latter and the GDC a thesaurus for next season. G12 is also already a main culprit in the rules inconsistency discussion this year already. On the other side, I should only hope my drive team can make so convincing an argument as 1678 & co may have achieved for this. Please don’t take this sarcastically as I mean it in all seriousness; I’ve coached Einstein with Mike and 1678 myself, and they look as on their game as ever this year on and off the field.

See the previously linked thread for extensive discussion of the Roebling penalties. link


Here is a really good question which may have been the source of the ~15 minute delay…

Assuming for this discussion that 1678 lifted two other robots for the triple Hab3 climb which caused both of the other robots to exceed the 6’6" height restriction.

Do the rules stipulate that there should be one yellow card on 1678 for causing this?


one yellow card for each of their alliance partners who actually went over the line?


I believe they would have been the same.

1 Like

Then I accept everyone’s point of view. Thank you all for your input.


Stop it you’re being too reasonable for Chief Delphi.


Meanwhile Roebling alliance 5 called a timeout before QF 2-2 and made absolutely sure we followed the rules by having all 3 robots enter the field before the timeout ended. If there was extra time available we would have gladly accepted it. The alliance captain checked with the head referee as was told we needed all robots on the field within the allocated time frame.

Couldn’t agree more about 3v0 being undesirable however inconsistently applied rules are also undesirable.


Having been on the other side of this situation and other similar calls throughout the season I think that the situation was well handled. Having been on the “winning side” of a red card call in F3 during a week 2 event I can say that no team wants to win on a red card. This was not a normal situation and there were students and mentors involved on both sides of the conversation and I think that was for good reason given the severity of the situation. Overall it was a great time playing with 6443, 7426 and 2811 throughout all of elems.

I think this is an interesting question. Not because I think some teams would necessarily be favored over each other but instead of how each side of the argument was presented to the Head Ref and the rules expertise of some of the powerhouse teams. Having not been a part of the conversation with the blue alliance I don’t know the turn of events or how the ruling of the call changed throughout the discussion. But, having watched the facial expressions throughout the conversation, I believe that the original call was going to be a red card which was changed once the argument that 7179 wasn’t in the act of climbing was made. If the situation had been flipped (somehow we had a triple climb) and the red alliance had the same situation explained I don’t think we would have come up with the not climbing argument (even though given that the rules are so vague on climbing is a pretty good argument).

Overall, I think we can all agree that G12 is not a rule that cannot be fairly ruled given the viewpoint and position that the refs have (Q&A 437) and this is really where the issue stems from. Having talked to 1678 before and after this call I believe that, even though having it called on them multiple times, never violated G12 once.

1 Like

3476 wasn’t “a few seconds late”, they were around 4-5 minutes late. We were the 4th bot on that alliance and were pretty distressed about it, but I do understand the rationale. 1-2 minutes, OK, let them on. But this was way more than how late 1414 had been earlier in the season. 1072 tried to make it on the field about 2-3 minutes after the timeout ended (as 3476 was taking too much time) but were denied entry for reasons that I haven’t asked about (I’m sure they were legit).
I think event staff and volunteers try and treat all teams equally. I’m sure the ones who are more favorable towards certain teams are outweighed by others who see the same teams in a negative light.
One area that all teams are not treated equally, however, is by other teams. If 148 comes up to you in 2018 and asks you to rivet a piece of velcro to your robot, you’re not about to say “no thanks, buddy”. If 72xx asks you to do the same, pretty good odds of a refusal. Same thing happened with buddy climbs last year and this year.
This thread’s takeaway is probably just that people want to see more transparency for some of these ridiculous foul calls. Where is my video review!?


Hmmm gotcha. I was watching multiple streams at a time and may have lost track of time then. It definitely did not seem this long while watching.

1 Like

Purely speculative answer here as I have not competed in a four team alliance event in 2019, but for four team alliances in years past the alliance captain has been required to give the FTA a piece of paper indicating which 3 robots will be in the upcoming match and what drivers station they occupy. It’s likely that slip had already been turned in before 1072 attempted to enter the field.

1 Like

i know Ontario got really good and equally timeout rule, usually give a bit more theoretical time to weak teams, fair to other teams, and relatively strict rule to top teams. Usually when u beg for a little more time with reasonable reason and situation, FTA won’t kick u out immediately. Like Ontario!


Everyone wants consistency, both within an event and from event-to-event.
Everyone want the rules to be applied uniformly to all teams.
Everyone wants teams to all have a great experience.

However, sometimes these desires compete against one another. It’s the unfortunate reality of any competition. I would love it if every event were perfectly consistent, but I don’t want that consistency to come at the expense of the team experience.

I’m going to first point out an example pretty far removed from the subject of rules to illustrate my point. Championship Closing Ceremonies. As FIRST adjusted to hosting two Championship events, they attempted to make the two events as consistent as possible. In 2017 that meant hosting the entirety of Einstein in the “closing ceremony location” at both events (which still happened to be the Dome in St. Louis, but was Minute Maid Park in Houston). The result of that was the notorious wait times and sun delays in Houston at MMP. In 2018, they attempted to correct for this by only playing the Einstein finals at the closing ceremony location (MMP in Houston, Ford Field in Detroit), and pretty rigidly defining the schedules that both closing ceremonies would follow. They followed this to the letter, including showing the same videos and some of the same speeches during the Closing Ceremony two weeks in a row. Most egregiously they showed the same “Theme Reveal” video in Detroit that they showed in Houston, and just pretended like much of the audience hadn’t already been exposed to it on livestream and the internet for the past week.

This is an example of consistency trumping the team experience. The details and nuances of both events were ignored in favor of making the experience consistent rather than optimized for their context. Similarly, the same framework of thought can be applied to the discussions in this thread. We all support uniformity in applying the time-out rules and all other rules. But we shouldn’t prioritize that uniformity above the experience of the teams involved, and have to recognize that there is context and nuance to each scenario that may dictate differing actions. We shouldn’t ignore that context and nuance. Following rules perfectly to the letter without paying attention to that context and nuance is how teams end up with two yellow cards for climbing down from the airship in the semi-finals. That very objective call following of the rules had some very well respected members of this community calling for a volunteer to never be allowed to volunteer again*. Sometimes subjective decisions will have to be made.

*Personally, I’m very happy that volunteer has continued to participate, and was rewarded with the Volunteer of the Year Award this past weekend.

I think all of us would be happy if the gates never had to be closed on a team. Not just in the playoffs, but in qualifications as well. But we know this isn’t a goal that’s achievable in reality. Teams know this when they opt to stay in their pits to make a time consuming repair in the qualification rounds. Teams know this when they opt for back-up bots in the playoffs. We know there is a reasonable limit that can be applied. How far they can push that reasonable limit is going to be governed by that context and nuance. Is the other alliance on the field? Is the field supervisor on the field fixing a game element? Is the event already significantly behind schedule? Is the event facing an incoming snowstorm? Have there already been a bunch of field delays? Etc etc etc

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater in the pursuit of consistency.


In our 2nd semifinals match of 2017, an opponent made an action that was a penalty. Our driver aware of the issue went to the question box, and asked why it was not called. After brief discussion, the referee told him, “I saw it happen but didnt call it.” This led to us losing a second match, thus ending our playoffs journey.
Fast forward to the drive team and mentors gathering in the pit. They were outraged by what the ref said. I was on pit crew and as it was also my freshman year, it didnt occur to me that our season was over.


This thread is starting to feel like that “first royalty” thread that popped up a few years ago


I really really hate this thread because it is 1 sided stories mixed in with mountains of speculation with a lot of bias mixed in.

A team’s season isn’t ended because they were 1 minute late. Okay, do we know why they were late? If you don’t know why they were late I don’t think you can make the statement that they were given extra time to work on the robot or that this improved their performance without making a ton of assumptions here. Furthermore, are you really going to advocate that a team’s season should be over because they were 1 minute late for an unknown reason? That just seems incredibly unreasonable especially since you have no clue why they were late.

Also, if you look in the other thread they found that the reason the fouls were being called was because of the air tank and let me say what others have said, you should be talking to the head referee. Now I don’t want to make any assumptions as to whether you did or didn’t but from your post it really sounds like you didn’t so @martin417 Did any student on your alliance ask the head ref in the question box where the penalties came from and if you did what did they say?

So we don’t know why they were late or that it improved their performance in the match and there are other cases where teams have gotten a bit of extra time along with there being a reason for those 27 foul points so to answer the question in the title of this thread, yes teams are treated equally because there’s nowhere near enough evidence to say they aren’t.