Are Queuers necessary?

Now that we are officially in summer CD, its time to ask the big questions. Should bumpers be required? Wasn’t Lunacy just the best? What is Defense anyways? I would like to throw out my own provocative opinion, and you probably already know what it is if you got this far.

I have found the queuers to be rarely helpful and often detrimental. They often imply teams will be penalized if they are not on the field 3 matches prior to the start of their match, suggesting we compete with a broken robot so that their job is easier, or adding other empty threats. Now I am aware they have no actual ability to penalize us, but it can definitely make a stressful situation worse. And for what purpose?

I think that queueing as a system does not need to exist. I am fairly certain it could be replaced by a monitor that displays the match that is currently being queued(or currently played) that I don’t have to squint at. You could put one of those in each corner of the pits and it would be enough information for everyone to get to their match on time.

We have even tested this system out; There were no queuers at worlds. Smaller events are faster paced, but I don’t think anything fundamentally changed with how we kept track of time at worlds. I know our team always judges the time left by “X number of matches until our next one” or “we are queued in 3 matches”, so lets just make it obvious to the pits what match is currently being played.

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I misread the title and thought we were in for a heck of a thread regarding the Texas thing.


You have some good points regarding how queueing is done at events. I don’t really know that we should completely abolish queuers though, since it is helpful to newer teams to know when they need to be in line. Maybe there should be an option to opt-out of queuer visits for veteran teams?

There’s also been a few ideas I like to sort of automate the process, that being giving each team a restaurant pager that goes off when it’s time to queue and SMS alerts for queueing.

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I do agree that there should be more information in the pits in general. I may not have been at worlds to see a system without the queuing people, but I haven’t seen them be a problem that wasn’t caused by our own mistakes. They definitely make sense for practice matches and elims to relay info to the FTA and manage fill ins, but I could see not having them for quals.

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I misread the title and thought we were in for a heck of a thread regarding the Texas thing.

Is it bad that this made me laugh…

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Glad I wasn’t the only one :grimacing:

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Hard disagree. Don’t have time to write up my full thoughts right now, but didn’t want you to think it’s a thumbs down without a comment. Will circle back tonight with my many, many thoughts on this.

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At the events I was at this year, I didn’t see any queuers going around to individual pits (And I know many of the local queuers!). Rather, there were pit announcements every 6-7 minutes “now queueing for match X”, which is always 3 matches out from the one being played. Pretty simple, straight forward, and gets teams moving in the right direction without any undue hassle or confrontations.

In fact, reading the posted job description for Queuer and Lead Queuer, nothing in there says they are responsible for getting teams to the field.

They have a valuable role in pre-staging teams and directing field load-in/out. I wouldn’t want to lose that role.

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Agreed. I worked a few events with poor support for the field load-in/out and ended up assisting with that role as a referee. Queuers are super valuable around the field.

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Disagreed. Majority of the time in the events that we went to, it’s near impossible to hear anything over the announcement at all. As for monitor, that would be nice but that also would be very venue dependent and if your next pit has one of those ‘tall’ pit tent/decoration, you might not be able to read/see the monitor at all. Or the venue is already so small that they don’t have room or can’t run cable everywhere to have at monitor at each corner. Or the venue is so large that the organizer just won’t have enough monitors to cover everywhere.

You just need to let your team know that in general, you can ignore the 1st queue request since you’re 3 matches out. When you are 1 match out (usually by now, this will be your 3rd queue request), one member of your drive team should head out to the queue and stand there to let them know that your team knows that you need to queue but there are still work to be done. [If for some reason, no one from our drive team can go up, then any student can at least go up to the field entry and stand there as a place holder].

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Teams at world also tend do have their poop grouped more than at your average regional or district.
Teams with whose poop is ungrouped tend to need reminders to get in queue.

At OCR we “benefited” from being right next to the pit admin PA speaker, so we always knew who was supposed to be queuing. But after a few hours it becomes background noise, especially when heads are down over the robot. Having a queuer stop by and let us know we were expected in queue was helpful.

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There were no queuers in the pits at Worlds. Each field had their own lead queuer and queuers organizing traffic flow to and from the field itself as well as organizing the chaos of teams behind the bleachers.

I’ll echo what I think is the majority sentiment here. We absolutely need queuers, while also acknowledging that queuers should not be threatening or yelling at teams. I’ll also say that, in my experience, part of that behavior from queuing comes from the queuers getting immense pressure from other field staff to get teams to the field. Far too often they’re the messenger and get caught in the middle.

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This isn’t accurate. There were people in the queuing area making sure teams knew which slot they were in and when the two slots behind the field opened up, because we couldn’t see that from queue.

The issue with the queuing system is not the existence of the queuers, but rather the lack of training for them. Queuers are an important part of making sure teams don’t miss their matches, and keeping the queues organized, and a bit of training on how to deal with teams who want/need to cut it close would go a long way toward giving teams a better experience with them.

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I definitely missed the pit queuers at worlds. At district events and DCMP, it was nice having queuers let us know when we were up soon. At worlds, we had to stress about constantly checking what match it was which was made more annoying by the poor internet at the venue.

I also remember seeing the queuers at worlds as I went onto and off the field for RI duties.

Having worked as queuer, including both Tallahassee and Bayou this year, I don’t want to think about what things would have looked like had we not been there.
Reminders: I agree wholeheartedly (both as a queuer and former pit mentor) that if you can’t get screens visible throughout the pits (which I’ve never seen myself), the ability to subscribe to a broadcast of “Match ## has just started” would be awesome! We didn’t do many pit calls at Tallahassee, but it was a small event with the pits adjacent to the field behind the scoring table. Bayou has a larger field, and due to a fixed wall in the Pontchartrain Center, the corridors aren’t set up to get teams (especially in the back room) quickly to the field. Don Balch was head queuer, and I was his lieutenant on the red side. We would send someone to check on a team if no one had shown up as the previous match started - and my instructions to the person I sent (when I didn’t go myself, which was most of the time) were to inform teams that the match previous to theirs had just started, and that they would be on the red side. Not pressure so much as an alarm clock. If any pressure was applied, it was by the head ref or FTA or possibly lead queuer.

Other bits:

  • During practice matches, queuers manage the filler line and communicate who is actually in each match to the scoring table. This will absolutely NOT take care of itself.
  • The pit announcements don’t happen by magic - the queuing team lets the pits know when to do queuing announcements.
  • Especially during the first day of quals, teams need direction as to where to go - which side to enter, which side to leave, where to put the carts, where the techs and media spaces are. Each event I worked this hear had a different flow!
    • At Tallahassee, teams entered and exited on their own (red or blue) side of the field. Teams entered the field on the far side and exited on the scoring side.
    • At Bayou, teams also entered/exited on their alliance side, but entered the field on the terminal side and left on the hangar side (at the direction of the FTA, and it went smoother!)
    • At Worlds (at least Carver), all teams entered on the red side and exited on the blue side, and there was a rather complicated dance as to how teams got from one side to the other that I only figured out well enough to stay out of the way.
  • Match flow: I wasn’t watching it closely at CMP, but at both regionals I worked, teams needed a reminder to keep things moving throughout the event, especially in the first minute or two after each match ended - mostly with the teams coming off, but sometimes also with the teams going on. Now that I think on it, I seem to recall the queuers coming out at CMP to do this as well.
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Lunacy was without a doubt an example of a perfect FRC game. Each night that I go to sleep, I dream of a game just as amazing as it being a game in a future season. Lunacy gave us a glimpse of some truly beautiful gameplay that is unmatched to any other game ever. Anybody who disagrees is simply incorrect :star_struck:

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Because it seems to be all I do… I suggest you look at it from different perspectives.

What value do queuers bring to you?

What value do queuers bring to field staff?

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I have never run into this phrase before. Having one’s Poop Grouped is my new favorite thing that I will begin saying. Thank you

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There was no queuing at MSC this year or announcements. Just a screen with current match being played. There was folks in the arena putting teams into correct alliance stations but nothing to get them to the arena. I thought it worked well for what it was.

“Well then get your poop grouped, get it all grouped and put it in a back pack, all your poop, so it’s grouped.”
[pause]
“And if you gotta take it some where, take it somewhere, you know, take it to the poop store and sell it, or put it in the poop museum. I don’t care what you do, you just gotta get it grouped.”

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Okay.

Credentials up front: I’ve lead queued and queued a bunch of times and been to 36 FRC events (out of 87 FIRST events) over the years. I’ve also trained a bunch of lead queuers and developed the lead queuing tool.

Queuers are an essential part of the competition, but often undervalued. For background, there are a few roles within a queueing team:

Pit Queuers
These are the folks that walk around the pits telling teams when it’s time to queue for their match.

"Gatekeeper"/Check In (often but not always the Lead Queuer)
The person(s) standing at the entrance of the field area, checking off teams as they arrive, pointing them in the direction they’re supposed to be.

Field side queuers
Helping orchestrate the movement of robots on and off the field. These are the people who will tell you at 30 seconds to start moving towards the field, expedite the loading/unloading of driver stations, guide teams to travel in the correct direction, etc.

The team size can vary, and not all positions are essential. Some of these roles can be combined. Not having pit queuers is acceptable for an event and can run just fine. Many teams like when queuers come to their pit, but it’s an added bonus when volunteer pools allow for it.

Not having a gatekeeper, though, leads to significant confusion. Teams show up without knowing where to go pretty often which can cause all kinds of issues by the field.

Not having at least one or two people field-side creates the potential for delays. Poor queuing is sometimes the cause of delays (though rarely) but successful queuing is often a factor in making up lost time.

Some things queuers do that you may not know about:

  • Making sure teams in the first three matches of each day know before they leave the venue
  • Determining the traffic plan for the event
  • Filling practice matches with robots
  • Taping directional arrows and queuing boxes around the venue
  • Doing everything possible to help teams realize they might miss a match
  • Advocating for teams on the way to their matches so they don’t miss a match
  • Answering what bumper color the team is
  • Answering what alliance station the team is
  • Answering which alliance station is which
  • Answering what match is currently playing
  • Directing students to the appropriate field area volunteers to answer their questions
  • Collecting and sorting teams for alliance selection
  • Keeping track of a bracket during eliminations to help teams who don’t know understand when they need to return and which alliance they’ll be on
  • Directing frantic students where to submit timeout coupons
  • Directing frantic students where to ask for a backup robot
  • Ensuring periodically that the path between the pits and the field is free of any (solvable) hazards
  • Ensuring robots and people don’t crash

And that’s just the stuff in the job responsibility. Experienced queuers do a lot of other work in conjunction with field area key volunteers in the planning of match flow, help inform them of who’s playing in practice matches, and more. They’re the de facto information center for the field area and often the eyes and ears for the field staff as to what’s going on elsewhere in the venue.

I don’t say this is a Lead Queuer that’s trying to overstate the importance of the role. Rather, I’m saying that I no longer have the self respect to do roles in which I feel my time isn’t being well spent or I’m not being utilized to my potential, and I still Lead Queue – so that should tell you about my experience in this role.

Tl;dr – Queuers are responsible for the successful flow of teams to/from matches and on/off the field. Eliminating them is foolish and I’m confident that you’d see some events struggling and other events where field reset and other volunteers have to step in to accomplish the same duties.

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