Behind the Glass Mic'd Match | 2056 OP Robotics | IRI Q59 | Ref Question Box

Would have only tied the Quals WR according to TBA: 2022 Insights - The Blue Alliance

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Tyler brings up several good points.

One thing I also want to remind everyone is we don’t need to wait for HQ to make changes to improve the situation at off-season events. The individual event organizers (and I’m sure many would listen to input from the teams attending their events) can make these changes.

For TRI we have two rule changes that would improve this specific situation.

H202. Be reasonable with the Head Referee.
Most situations will likely only require one or two people to talk with the Head Referee but we aren’t going to institute a rule that doesn’t allow other members of the drive team (including adult drive coaches) to provide information or listen to the conversations. Please be mindful that the Head Referee makes the final decision on calls but may be advised by other referees and the Event Director (replaces HQ at off-season events). Also please remember that C1 is a rule and the referee may give YELLOW or RED CARDS for any interactions that deem to be egregious. We are all working for the inspiration of our students. Be polite, reasonable, and respectful and we will all have a great event.

The original H202 causes more issues than it solves and is often not enforced to the letter of the rule. We trust our volunteers and our teams to be reasonable and act in good faith to get to the best outcome for everyone involved.


4. Video Review

Given that the technology allows (video system doesn’t go down, etc.), there will be a video review process.

  • Each Alliance is allowed one challenge/review in the playoffs. The alliance captain will be provided a video review coupon in addition to their timeout coupon.
  • Video review coupons must be given to the head ref during the same time periods in which timeout coupons are allowed following the match to be reviewed.
  • Only match-affecting calls and yellow/red cards can be reviewed.
  • The score or lack of score being reviewed must be significant enough to affect the outcome of the match. The Head Referee can choose not to review any call that they do not believe will change the outcome of the match.
  • Video evidence must be indisputable to change a call. The point is to receive credit for an obviously missed score, not to debate further a close call that a referee already used their best judgment on. The Head Referee’s decision is final after a review.
  • Only the event-provided video will be used by the Head Referee during a video review. Referees will not review any other video footage, including camcorders, phones, or tablets not provided by the event.
  • The Head Referee, at their discretion, may choose to review any ruling throughout the event. Please do not ask for a video review at any time other than giving the referee your alliance’s video review coupon during the playoffs. All other requests will not be granted.

Both have been implemented for multiple years, and both have improved the team experience and the ref experience (from talking to the volunteers and our post-event team surveys)


Do you only allow review in eliminations?

This is great!

I have some questions:

  1. How does the HR access the event provided video for the review? Is this something that is available at the scoring table? Does the HR have the ability to control the playback (i.e. pause and rewind to view the segment in question)? Does the team need to provide the HR with a rough idea of where in the match the disputed scoring condition occurred?

  2. Is there a reason why this is not allowed during qualifications? If this was allowed during qualifications, would the awarding of an additional RP be considered to “affect the outcome of the match” and therefore be sufficient cause for review? Could there be a limited usage during quals (i.e. endgame only)? Could each team be given one video review coupon for quals and then each alliance be given one coupon for eliminations?

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  • The Head Referee, at their discretion, may choose to review any ruling throughout the event. Please do not ask for a video review at any time other than giving the referee your alliance’s video review coupon during the playoffs. All other requests will not be granted.

There aren’t coupons during qualifications, but the HR can use the review tool at their discretion. Our head ref used it once during quals this year, I believe (it may have happened more than that, and I just didn’t notice).

It’s pretty straightforward, they just walk over to the AV table (right behind the scoring table) and use the youtube playback feature. They can pause, rewind, etc. We have a local recording they could use as well but the youtube features make it easy enough. The same can be done on most of the twitch automatic archives that events have as well. This could also be done with a laptop on the scoring table as long as it has access to youtube/twitch.

The idea is that the head ref can decide when to use it in qualifications. I try to specifically make the HR aware that going to video when a team questions a call that possibly can be made clear with video is the right thing to do. There is no specific reason that events couldn’t experiment with qualification coupons or any other method to have teams request video review during qualifications. We haven’t had an issue at TRI that has made us want to make those additions in the multiple years we have been using this. Ideally, both the referees and the teams should want to get the calls correct as often as possible.


We’re getting into the territory of a split thread…but
…no, it would not. The consent and release form covers FIRST to record, not anyone at the event. I suppose if FIRST wanted to record every question box interaction and make it available, they could. However, I don’t think that’s a super viable option compared to a student walking up with a cell phone.

Also worth noting that the intent of the C&R is clearly for marketing/fundraising purposes and while this might technically be within their rights, it’s potentially deceptive and grey area.

This is the last official statement FIRST has made about recording volunteers at events that I know of. I asked this in 2019 Q&A.

I do think this needs to be explicit in the rules. I believe all volunteers should expect their photo to be taken or to have a video (with audio) of them taken at any point when near/in the arena.



I’m not sure how I feel about this. Much like the QA response, I hadn’t considered this much before your brought it up. I don’t know that all volunteers should be subject to recording, especially those that are not in key, decision making roles. I’m all for accountability, but being recorded is something a lot of people are uncomfortable with. And I don’t think that a random ref (not the HR), for example, should be the subject of a Chief Delphi thread. Accountability should totally happen in public, but giving high school students and mentors carte blanche to record any volunteer at an event, and do anything with this recording, seems like a recipe for some unfortunate misunderstandings (even without the rabbit hole of edited videos).

I agree with HQ on this – it merits further review. I’d love to see their thinking on this, even if they came to the conclusion that they want to leave stuff as is.

We give teams media badges to record footage. I think volunteers should expect to be recorded and understand that what they are saying/doing is capable of showing up on someone’s camera+microphone.

Otherwise, we’d need to have very explicit rules on what can and can’t be recorded, and I don’t know how you do that well. Are there penalties for pointing your camera at specific volunteers?


I think there’s a difference between happening upon getting volunteers in your footage and actively filming a full conversation with them. But, like I said, is agree this needs to be clarified in the rules.

There’s a difference between having an expectation that you might be caught in the background of a video and someone might overhear what you say and having an expectation that all your conversations will be fully recorded.

I’m not totally against this, but I’m not sure it’s a black and white no-brainer.

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The idea that filming interactions with vols is in some capacity needed is absolutely wild to me. These arent police interactions.

I can see recording audio when talking to HR’s at least. After one or two telephone style relays, its unlikely you get the full gist of what the HR said.

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Audio is also easier to manipulate. I think highly of many members of the FIRST community, but in every group of this size, there will be some bad actors. Just think we need to be careful about how such rules are implemented.

It would also be interesting to see how the law applies. Since some states (and countries) require both parties to consent, FIRST would need to do some lawyering in the release forms to get this consent in advance – and I don’t know that this would pass muster in practice. And, I’m sure there are some countries where FIRST happens that laws are even stricter.

Time for a split thread, yet?

There have been some very good technical solutions proposed here, I’m hoping that HQ peruses this thread to consider them. FRC is a highly technical undertaking, and where technology permits an improvement on human judgment it should be used, unless prohibitively expensive, hard to implement etc. etc. etc.

I’d like to instead highlight the undesirable outcomes this might produce for a team. For some teams the difference between getting that point, ranking higher could be the difference between snagging a really nice sponsorship cheque or instead getting a “better luck next year” handshake. In this particular case it also made the difference between ranking first versus second, which also could have resulted in a vastly different elimination round outcome - in most cases it would have.

Imagine a team that pulls themselves to the top tier of competition (after some years of not being a top contender) by good design, practice, driving and strategy and then loses the #1 ranking deciding match in this fashion, it’d be crushing and really unfair to their efforts, especially if it also skewed the alliance they were able to assemble and potentially cost the team a regional, district or worst case worlds win.

ALL teams should be able to expect fair and consistent outcomes based on their play within the rules as written, given the amount of money and effort they put into a season, especially when the case is as cut and dried as this one is.

Edit: This in no way is to criticize the officiating, the IRI refereeing was extremely good, absolutely top-notch in my estimation, but as @Holtzman pointed out, the days are extremely long and arduous, especially for the refs and other key volunteers who get precious little break time and they are human as we all are. I’m simply suggesting that the FIRST community should make use of technology to be able to confirm calls that an alliance feels were not correct.