Following the discussion on threads started by me and oleitersdorf:
A few of the good people responding came up with a generally excepted wording for a letter to be sent to FIRST by teams, in order to show support and unite behind the premise that the rule wording and interpretation regarding C8, G9 and G10 have to change, to prevent this year’s game from becoming ‘dirty’.
I encourage whoever feels like us to join this effort and send the following letter - which establishes a few guidelines and suggestions for a possible solution, to FIRST with their name, team number and role attached.
In addition, I would appreciate it if everyone sending this email would comment on this thread - saying they did so, in order to boost it and keep this initiative going.
FIRST’s email is:
To whom it may concern,
We believe that the current rules for FIRST Deep Space are allowing for certain teams to gain a competitive advantage while violating one of FIRST’s core tenets, Gracious Professionalism. In this instance, a defender from Alliance A (on Alliance B’s side of the field) can force a robot from Alliance B attempting to place in the cargo-bay to cross over to Alliance A’s side, resulting in either G9 (if Alliance B already has a defender on A’s side) or G10 fouls (if the robot being pushed is extended while scoring). We have been victims of or witnessed this event occurring, and have seen the robots being pushed being penalized significantly while the robots pushing are recognizing this strategy as a way of earning quick and easy points. See one of many examples in ISR District 4 Finals 3 here: https://clips.twitch.tv/RacyCoweringChimpanzeeChocolateRain 1.
We believe that C8 should’ve prevented this from occurring; however, due to the wording of the rule (“ Strategies clearly aimed ”) it is hard for REFEREES to distinguish between whether the pushing robot was attempting to push the cargo-placing robot away from the cargo bay (as a legal defensive move) or as an intentional strategy to force fouls. Due to the lack of certainty with regards to the intent of the defending robot, the referees tend to side with the defenders and grant the robot being pushed penalties with accordance to G9/G10. We believe that this rewards robots that do intentionally inflict fouls on the opponent alliance, allowing for robots “to gain by doing others harm”.
This is wrong, this is game breaking, and this encourages behavior in the FRC competition that we believe directly contradicts FIRST’s mission. Upon excessive debate on Chief Delphi, we believe that we may have agreed on specific guidelines for which the game should adhere to in order to be in accordance with the core tenet of Gracious Professionalism:
- Remove the incentive of foul points against the scoring robot for defending robots to push scoring robots across the line.
- Maintain the principle of defense in FIRST Deep Space by still allowing defending robots to push scoring robots away from the scoring positions, perhaps even across the line.
- Minimize the subjectiveness associated with the manner (due to C8’s “ intention ” clause) to allow for more consistent and understandable decisions by REFEREES.
For more consistent and understandable decisions by REFEREES, we have come up with the following proposals (in order of most preferred to least) that adhere to these guidelines and could be implemented to solve the problem. We would appreciate it if you could consider them or implement those your own.
- Revise G9 and G10 to specify that if a robot is forced to cross the line and one of the robots from the alliance forced to cross the line immediately attempts to cross back (as defined by a specific time interval, such as 5 seconds), then no fouls are granted. This wouldn’t result in debatable C8 violations and would remove the incentive for intentionally forcing an opponent robot across the line. In case the scoring robot is pinned across the line by an opponent defending robot and cannot return immediately, then this would be a clearer violation of C8 by the defending robot.
- Revise G9 and G10 to require the robot to be completely beyond the line, not only bumpers. Therefore, if the robot is pushed fully over the line by an opponent defender, it could be clearer that the defending robot was intending to force a foul and not just push the scoring robot away from the cargo bay. Conversely, if a defending robot is only attempting to push the scoring robot away from the cargo bay (as should be allowed with FIRST defense rules), then the scoring robot wouldn’t cross the line completely and no fouls would be caused.
- Instruct the REFEREES to be less hesitant with regards to handing out C8 violations — or at least establish a baseline between them as, as it stands, some referees are extremely hesitant and others extremely decisive with regards to what is considered a C8 violation in this case. This could result in legitimate defensive teams receiving fouls when they’re attempting to push scoring-robots away from the cargo, which is why we would recommend the other two options instead (while this is still a viable option if you don’t want to announce a rule change this late in the season).