C8, G9, G10 - Rule change request letter to FIRST


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:

  1. Remove the incentive of foul points against the scoring robot for defending robots to push scoring robots across the line.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).

Great idea to summarize it here, but could you quickly edit the post to fix the formatting? I think you should add numbers (1. 2. 3.) to both the suggested guidelines and the suggested solutions, and add another line between for more consistent and understandable decisions by REFEREES. and In addition, we have come up with the to make clear that they are two separate paragraphs.

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Not it isn’t. Don’t get pushed across the line if you already have a defender on the opposing alliance’s side. This was a known rule from the moment kickoff occurred. I’m sure one of the first things in the manual that caught most teams’ eyes was the fact that you can only have one robot on the opposing side of the field. Every team had the opportunity to build a drivetrain that would enable them to avoid being pushed to the opposite side of the field. Every drive team has the option of spinning out of a defender’s pushing to avoid going across the center line.


I’m pretty sure they read chief.


Every ref has the option of actually enforcing C8 and penalizing the team doing the pushing.


FIRST Destination: Deep Space*


Except for the fact that C8 should’ve protected from exactly this occurring… Everyone read the rule book, everyone knew about the one defender rule, not everyone thought that people in the FIRST community would start to intentionally violate C8 (which is happening in certain cases) and that referees would provide them with more points instead of fouls.

We had this extensive discussion yesterday on the other threads, if you disagree with the compromise that we’ve reached then just don’t send the email yourself. Please don’t turn this thread into a war zone, I’d like to keep it just as a place for us to keep track of how many teams are sending the emails. If you really want to, you could continue the discussion on the other threads and I’ll be happy to counter you there.


Can you delete the “and in addition” (emphasis added) - it appears to just be a typo. Once that’s fixed I’ll send out the message and I encourage others to start doing the same.


I still don’t get how the blue box of G18 can say this:

For example, a Red ROBOT parked such that a Blue ROBOT is against its Blue ROCKET and the Red CARGO SHIP LINE (while the opponent’s partner is already on defense per G9) could be considered pinning because the opponent ROBOT cannot cross the Red CARGO SHIP LINE without violating G9.

And yet just pushing robots over is a foul on the robot getting pushed. It’s not consistent.


When available, check final match at Great Northern Regional. I believe they were calling this situation appropriately. I had been following all of the threads about this issue the last couple days. there were very few fouls I saw that were called against the team that had one robot playing defense and another of their alliance pushed into zone also for foul.
Let me know if anyone can check this match and see if I am missing something.


I understand your concerns (they’re the same as mine), which is why we’ve come up in the past day with various proposed solutions for how the rules could be clarified (or the REFEREES trained) in order to allow for these rulings to be more consistent. You can help the effort by sending out the email to FIRST from your team.


I’ll check the match once it’s available, but what you’re describing now is exactly the problem: the rulings are very subjective which is why in some districts C8 is enforced rigourously and pushing robots are not awarded (such as what you’re describing) while in other districts the referees have never issued a C8 violation even though there are many obvious (in my opinion) cases that call for them. This would be fixed by either clears rules (solutions 1 & 2) or a message to referees to establish a baseline (solution 3). I would appreciate it if you could send the letter to try and end this problem.


One other thing that I think you need to be aware of:

If you sent the letter as-written, you will likely come across as not having read G10. The request to change G10 is unnecessary–read G10, and you’ll see that that was already addressed. (Suggestion 2)

The last thing you want to do is come across as not knowing the rules when you’re suggesting a change to the rules. If the referees are calling it differently from the rule–and you know for a fact that they are, with video evidence if possible, and it’s not a judgement call–then there’s this thing called the Non-Medical Incident Form, or you could email frcteams. Won’t necessarily make any changes to the rules–but there are other things that may happen.


Yep, G9 states “break the plane defined…by the cargo ship line”
And G10 says “are completely beyond its opponent’s cargo ship line”
So changing G10 is not required.

I haven’t seen the matches where people have claimed they were called on both. Does anyone know if the refs have been calling this wrong, or did a robot get pushed completely past the line and c8 just wasn’t called?


This does not remove the incentive to force an opponent across the line.

If your sole incentive is fouls then yes this works.

However, this is an excellent choke-hold strategy for defense and offense. If you can force their best scorer to your side, then you are also forcing their best defender to stay on their side.
If the GDC thought of this early on, then I don’t see this changing their mind. In actuality, if they do add a 5s count (which I still think should happen), they will say the burden falls on the pushed robots teammate to get back if the pushed robot can’t.

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I can’t say that I agree with either of your ideas here. I think allowing defense to stifle creativity in drive-train construction and design goes against the principles of FIRST. Specifically, students wouldn’t have the opportunity to experiment with and learn about new systems. Furthermore, designing to avoid being pushed is fruitless. Even making a drive-train out of 8 or 10 pneumatic wheels wouldn’t save you. Ultimately, the game is played on carpet, and anything you design can be pushed if an opposing robot T-bones it with speed.
I can see what you mean by “spinning out” but it doesn’t work in this case. The reaction time required to move and prepare for a spin maneuver is immense. I’d like to ad that once the robot is being pushed, it is very difficult to get the traction required to move and “spin out”. In almost every case, if the defender intends to push your robot across the line then they will have an easy time of doing so.

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It’s not he principles of FIRST that are in violation here, but rather the fact that this is still a COMPETITION. I do truly believe that there is always good reason to have fancy and advanced drivetrains, but if we have rules that protect the drivetrain itself, then we are doing the competition a disservice. If we play a game where there is no trade off or risk for building a more complex drivetrain, then that leaves no room at all for experimentation either, because a meta forms and then we end up with hundreds of identical drivetrains that have no strategic advantage or disadvantage; thus going against the principles of FIRST in itself.

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I think the principles of FIRST may partially be in violation but not as much as the letter suggests. In the other thread there was an example of a team who would repeatedly push teams over and cause them to get a foul however C8 was never called because C8 is a fairly ambiguous rule. This opens up room for abuse of the rule which goes against FIRST’s principals.
However the more important issue is if the rules of the game are fair and they create a good competition. For fairness I don’t see how it’s fair for me to get a foul while I’m trying to score but I’m being defended. For what kind of competition it creates I think it creates one with a bunch of unnecessary fouls which have a huge swing and often times people might not even know why they are getting those fouls against them. The fact that we are just having this conversation now shows that your average team probably wouldn’t be aware that this is an issue.
Along with all this I can see a situation in which during the finals of a dcmp or cmp somebody is playing defense and shoves the other team over. They didn’t intent for the other team to get the foul but they got it anyways and they win because of that 1 foul. CD blows up and this team who didn’t do anything wrong is put in a bad light because of an unfair rule.


Real talk. Those in favor of overhauling C8, G9, G10 not expect this kind of play style to emerge?


What if FRC designed the game to be more exciting in Eliminations?

Defense and few protected zones seems to be pointing to that conclusion. Actual elimination events point to that conclusion. NO rocket foul in t-20 in eliminations point to that conclusion.

Why would any team want to “change the rules” in week 4 so defense is even more constricted than one bot with no extensions and not in hab zone contact lest fouls?

The rules are the rules and I envision at each event different ref crews will do thier best to read , understand, discusss and collaborate on making the correct calls.

Its like car driving , speed limit is 70 in CA you go 70 you are a danger so most go slightly above but less than 80…this serves to keep cars at a reasonable speed.

C8 is like that up to the officers interpretation and some do ticket at 71 others at 81 . Remember C8 reqiures intent and no possibility of escape. Did the pushed team get themselves into a precarious situation in the first place?

IMO teams should from day one know that defense was a thing and designed thier drivetrains to account for it, its the teams design fault if they can be easily pushed or cant avoid the contact. They had six weeks to prepare for this game.

If anyone is banking on a ref team to call a foul a certain way or asking FRC to change rules at the midpoint you are doing it wrong. IMO