Clean Play Bonus/Award

So I posted a question a while back on the merits of breaking the rules strategically and some of the conundrums on it.
The Slippery Slope

Rather than saying “cheating” in the post, I should have said the “strategic acceptance of penalties”. It made for an interesting discussion as some teams do see it as cheating and others do not.

What are peoples thoughts on a clean play award and or bonus?

**I will start with the bonus **
At the end of a match, an alliance with NO (read no not least) penalties against them will receive either a rank point or *substantial *bonus to their score.
This will call for an alliance to have a good strategy and skilled drivers. Not incurring any penalties would be very difficult but doable. The 5 point loss 30 point gain is still viable, but now teams have a large incentive to not incur penalties.

Next item is the award
Fully implementing this on may be difficult, but we find ways.
Similar to the Quality award that in part goes to the robot with few failures, the “Insert Name Here” award would go to the team that was able to play with the least amount of incurred penalties. This part of the discussion is not so much on how to implement it (though that can be included) but is that something worth awarding?

Is the penalty of a penalty not disincentive enough to be a good driver? Just seems like giving a bonus for no penalties (or fewer penalties) just changes the value of a foul/tech foul and when it’s actually assigned (somewhat instantaneously vs. as a delayed foul of sorts.)

How often do you think teams are intentionally incurring penalties? I don’t think we ever intended to take a penalty yet we got many. Is this actually an issue? I have seen no evidence of rampant cheating in FRC.

This sounds great in theory, but you would have to make sure penalties are extremely well-defined and can’t be abused. All penalties are judgement calls by the refs (humans), so EVERY call they make will be scrutinized. I can see this happening if FIRST implements video replays, but that has its own list of issues.

Just back in 2016 Worlds was decided by a penalty that was highly controversial. Imagine having every match with penalties having that much weight. That would be Hell for the refs.

I think this idea is great in concept, but will never work out as well as it could. There are other ways for breaking rules to be discouraged. This year was an outlier because of the time-based scoring. When you get games where both alliances can achieve the point ceiling, getting one penalty will cost the match.

Ditto. Many penalties are on accident. In 2018, many penalties came from teams just trying to play offense (which I have a separate gripe about).

I don’t see any reasonable value in this proposal. Couldn’t the award go to a team that no-shows for half their matches and sits in a corner the other half? That’s a pretty good way to ensure you don’t get any penalties.

-Mike

How often do you think teams are intentionally incurring penalties? I don’t think we ever intended to take a penalty yet we got many. Is this actually an issue? I have seen no evidence of rampant cheating in FRC.

Look at the link I provided in the first post. There are a number of people who do see it as strategic.

This sounds great in theory, but you would have to make sure penalties are extremely well-defined and can’t be abused. All penalties are judgement calls by the refs (humans), so EVERY call they make will be scrutinized. I can see this happening if FIRST implements video replays, but that has its own list of issues.

This was also discussed in the link. The thing is, there are sports that have been going on for far longer than FIRST has been around. Those sports still have yearly tweaks to the rules to try and balance them. Now try to balance a game that’s only around for a year at a time. The rules are easy to and do get exploited from time to time. I don’t see how a judgment call from a ref would change the chance of the bonus from one match to the next unless the ref is favoriting a team (which would be a separate problem)

Is the penalty of a penalty not disincentive enough to be a good driver?

It does seem redundant, but a positive reward is almost always more effective than discipline. And again, check the link. People do not see incurring penalties as being a bad driver.

I don’t see any reasonable value in this proposal. Couldn’t the award go to a team that no-shows for half their matches and sits in a corner the other half? That’s a pretty good way to ensure you don’t get any penalties.

This is a good way to ensure your robot doesn’t break, but that won’t win you the Quality award either. Don’t get too caught up in the how this early in the discussion but the why.

Strategically taking penalties is obviously strategic. I don’t disagree with you there. My question is, do you have any evidence that a large number of teams are strategically taking penalties?

No need for a bonus, just need to size the penalties appropriately. I don’t like the award, there are quite a few teams that never draw a penalty yet would be at the mercy of the match schedule.

HARD evidence? No, I cannot speak to the intent of every penalty. This thread does make a strong case that *some *teams are doing it.
Autonomous Herding
It is actually an interesting read. Some teams that get called out are saying it was by accident, and I’m more inclined to believe them than not. But there are some interesting responses in there.

Anyway, how much more will you be careful if there is an actual incentive? Right now, carelessness might mean a -5 pts to your total score, big deal.

I agree with this. It’s one thing to not pull any penalties yourself but stopping alliance partners or preventing them from getting forced into a penalty is much harder. If they tracked penalty points on a team basis you might find a tie for 0 very likely too. How would that tie be broken? Also, would it be awarded based on number of penalties or on point value? How would cards be handled?

We lost 1st seed on Darwin and were knocked out of elims due to penalties. I would of really loved not to get those penalties. We couldn’t of predicted our scale auto would incur a launching foul for the first time ever.

Perhaps I have an unpopular opinion here but I actually agree with the OP. Many teams take risks that are likely to result in penalties. While this is not cheating it is a line that some teams do not want to cross. While I dont think cheating is rampant in FRC I do think that intentionally taking risks that may result in penalties is rampant in FRC. Some of this is on the GDC but I do think that an incentive for clean play would prevent many teams from taking these risks. The stick is not working so why not try a carrot?

The ridiculously large amount of penalties and matches decided by penalties is an indicator that this is a serious issue. The teams do have a responsibility to follow the rules and we can not just blame the GDC. This issue is not game specific. This also has a negative effect on the overall spectator experience which FIRST seems to care about.

I propose a X point bonus for an alliance that has a clean match. That would be more fair than a ranking point.

I don’t think reducing the amount of matches decided by penalties is an unpopular opinion at all. However OPs suggestion is to basically add another penalty for getting penalties that is substantial enough to decide matches and/or ranking.

The award would just be easily ignored.

The fact of the matter is, teams aren’t intentionally taking penalties 99.9% of the time yet they still get them. That’s the real problem.

Then you create a greater incentive to try and lead your opponents into fouling so that they don’t get those points, even if it means fouling yourself and making sure nobody gets the points. Teams would start scouting for ways to draw fouls from teams, and lawyering the rules even more to figure out how to do it legally if the point bonus was large enough. I know I would.

If you have an issue with the value of fouls as incentives in a game, you should take it up with the GDC, since at its core it’s a game design issue.

That is why I propose a point based bonus instead of an award or a ranking point. I edited my last post but I want to clarify this more.

Rewarding a clean match would add a positive and unique strategic dynamic to game play.

For those opposed to this what is the down side of rewarding a clean match with points?

This is one of my biggest complaints about the game. They never should have designed a game that it was so easy to generate a foul for just trying to do a normal scoring action.

This award puts too much pressure on the refs in FRC. Refs miss penalties. Refs call penalties that didn’t happen. This stuff is usual, and I think anyone with a reasonable view that our refs are volunteers doing there best understands that this won’t change in FRC.

At champs, I watched a human player reach through the exchange tunnel, almost into the field, at least three times to grab cubes that weren’t coming in via the rollers since they were still mostly in the field. None of those got called. But this team would still be in the running for a “Clean Play Bonus/Award”? No thanks.

Like I said, our refs are volunteers. They will miss calls. Most of the time, fouls do not impact the match results, so it often isn’t a huge deal if they miss calls. This award puts too much pressure on refs to get 100% right 100% of the time.

This award will not fix or incentivize anything. Most of the time, penalties are outside the team’s reasonable control, unless they sit in the corner and don’t move all match. And sometimes, you can still get penalties when you sit dead in a corner all match :confused:

-Mike

Not totally following the “add another penalty for getting penalties” logic. This would only kick in if the opposing team had no penalties which mean they really have to focus. It would not be a zero to winning bonus but could be an endgame value worth.

The award is more than just a banner. Teams actually care about earning the awards and they have an overarching effect on the season. The GP award can be easily ignored, so why do they still have it?

So… why have penalties at all?

Refs do miss calls, and it does cost a win whether in FIRST or professional. I’m not trying to rag on the refs, but this feels like a theory point to not have refs at all.

I’m really at a loss for why it’s presented as cheating, deception, the worst thing in the world, etc. for a team to take a risk that may result in a penalty. The consequences for a mistake, accident, or reckless action are well defined. Let teams take that risk and live with the consequences. Isn’t that life?