Wow… This is quite the emotional thread.
I just can’t seem to get too upset about the answer to the Q&A after having read is several times. To me, it basically says, “Yes, keep helping other teams to fix and improve their robots. However, if you are helping the to construct new parts at a competition, the team with the receiving robot needs to be taking the lead in the process and, unless the receiving robot’s team brought in the parts, they need to be COTS. So, if you have a brilliant idea for a can-grabbing mechanism that you’d like to have your alliance members sport, you should bring in all the pieces as COTS parts and show your alliance members how to build it themselves.”
I’m good with this. Clearly, it’s not okay to construct a second robot at home and bring it to competition with the idea of “loaning” it to an alliance member. So, how much robot is it okay to “loan” or “gift”? 50% of a robot? 20%? The line must be drawn somewhere and the Q&A is attempting to draw that line at “If it is on your robot, your team needs to be the one that built it - though accepting assistance is certainly encouraged.”
From my perspective, there just seems to be something wrong with seeking out that third alliance member who is so inept that it would be willing to play dead (as a ramp) or sit on the sidelines during matches so that the other members of the alliance can reap the glories of victory. Instead of focusing on the aspect of helping other teams to “win,” this rules seems to be push us more in the direction of "helping other teams to “learn” by insisting that those other teams are intimately involved in the construction of all aspects of their own robot. This is a good thing. After all, if a team is so inept that an alliance would do better if they were not on the field at all, is it not clear that that team has some things it needs to learn in order to have a better experience in the future?
From another perspective, if I am going to build robot parts in my shop before a competition with the idea of finding a robot to which I could attach them to help my “alliance” to win, am I really trying to help other teams, or am I attempting to use other teams to help myself to win? However, if I am scouting the robots at a competition for a second alliance pick, but not finding the “right” pick, asking a team with a potential robot if they can make a couple of modifications (with help, if needed) seems very different.
Could the Answer be clarified? Yes, it does seem to be a little restrictive for smaller items (assembled gearboxes, for instance). However, I do think it’s on the right track.
As for the game itself, I’ve grown rather fond of it. Yes, I like throwing things at targets better and I agree that it may not be the most spectator-friendly and I do think that thrown pool-noodles weigh too heavily in lower-level events. However, it is a fantastic engineering challenge. Having gone through a build seasons and recognizing just how difficult the tasks are, I really appreciate seeing any team finding success.
As for some of the knocks:
- It encourages you to root for toppling stacks. I disagree. It does not encourage you to root for a stack of toes to fall any more than Ultimate Ascent encouraged you to root for robots to fail to make the 30pt. climb or Rebound Rumble to root against the triple-balance being attempted by the other alliance. We are competitive people. Rooting against the other team is a part of our nature. We use Gracious Professionalism as a tool to learn to be better sports.
- It encourages strong teams to sideline weak robots. Perhaps. I look at it like this: An alliance consists of three robots. All three are supposed to be on the field. Part of being a great robot is the ability to work with weaker partners and helping them to maximize their potential. It is not GP to ask them to sit on the sideline so that you can score more points. Get them on the field and help them to find a way to be actively useful.
- The points for recycling containers are too high when compared with totes. I disagree. The value for the RC’s is awarded for having the ability to manipulate a second, very different object. RC’s only score if placed on top of a tote on teh scoring platform. If an alliance can only manipulate one items, they’ve missed the point of the game.
- Coopertition is annoying. I really like it. It sets a related, but different, standard for qualification and elimination matches. Teams must be able to perform in both games in order to win a competition. Yes, it’s hard. That’s the point.