Demographic of CD

I’m really curious as to who actually uses CD. Most users do specify what they are for their team, however knowing what the general demographic is important.

Personally, I feel it is more beneficial for students to discuss the topics here than mentors. If student’s aren’t involved with the discussions, the discussions here shouldn’t be effecting the outcome of the team(s).

I’d love to hear what you have to say.

We must put a stop to mentor-built Chief Delphi threads.

I think CD is a valuable place for both students and mentors to discuss and learn from each other. There’s a lot of knowledgeable people around these boards, and I don’t think we shouldn’t stop letting them contribute because of an arbitrary age boundary

I agree, but lately I mostly see mentors. It worries me, as a past student, that mentors will try and put their ideas onto the team. It’s only valuable when discussions happen with students AND mentors. Not just mentors.

In my OPINION, I believe it’s because a lot of student’s on a lot of frc teams (generalizing here) aren’t “passionate” enough to spend hours and hours browsing a frc forumn, or trying to network, spending time on chats, looking at resources, etc etc etc in addition to the time they already dedicate to their team.

And even the student’s that I have seen that are “passionate” enough to do that, generally don’t start doing so until their sophomore or even junior year. That first year or two is just spent trying to figure out what frc is, and how to manage it with the rest of their lives.

(I’m basing this OPINION based off of seeing other student’s from my own team, and several other teams).

This is fairly typical for the off-season, students will typically be more active during the build and competition seasons.

I think putting ideas onto a team is more of a culture thing than a demographic thing. You’ll get the same on any online forum, regardless of the age demographic.

Don’t forget that most students have been on summer vacation and haven’t been constantly refreshing CD like I have been for the past 3 months. Most mentors, on the other hand, are still following their standard work routine without that daily or weekly dose of FRC, so CD is a subpar but existing place to find that as many teams aren’t meeting or working intensively on projects over the summer.

Being part of a team that has changed adult leadership twice times since I joined and has never had more than three mentors at any given time, I am always asking questions to and trying to learn from people on CD (mentors and students alike) as many of them are smarter than I am.

I would not be the designer or team leader I am today without help from mentors and students from other teams, many of whom I am familiar with and gained the courage to reach out to through CD.

To be honest, it would probably be better to do a poll like this during the season. I would like to do a post like this again during build season to see how it changes.

I think this very elegantly sums up my experiences as well (was having trouble putting it to text). I have seen this countless times (myself included) throughout my time in FRC so far.

I think I disagree with both of your points here. Please don’t take this as I don’t think that students should be involved with discussions on Chief Delphi-- I started as a student on these forums, and learned a ton from both reading and participating in discussions here. I partially owe my continued involvement in robotics to having a year-round outlet to discuss robotics, which kept me invested year-round, and has continued to be, despite some issues, a great place to see varying students and mentors’ opinions on all sorts of topics and designs.

I’m not sure exactly how you intended to come off with your first statement-- “it is more beneficial for students to discuss topics here than mentors,” as it is somewhat ambiguous how this is worded. It is possible we agree and possible that we disagree, so to clarify this I will explain my thoughts.

I think that the most productive discussions on Chief Delphi involve a mix of new and experienced viewpoints. Often this means students and mentors both participating. New viewpoints are necessary because they introduce questions that may not be considered, or may be assumed by experienced folks, and experienced viewpoints help to temper and refine new ideas. Additionally, the involvement of experienced viewpoints also helps new people learn more and get up to the state of the art faster. Obviously this is a bit of a simplistic view, but I’m a firm belief in having many diverse viewpoints when solving problems in general. In the terms of FRC in general and Chief Delphi in particular, this often means students and mentors participating, to the benefit of both.

As far as “discussions here not effecting the outcome of the team(s)” without the involvement of students, I am very curious as to why you feel this would be a good thing, if it were, hypothetically, possible to enforce. In my mind, if a discussion happens to only have mentors participating, and one of those mentors can take something away to help their team, that is a very, very good thing, and I struggle to see how it may not be. Obviously I’m not a big fan of someone unilaterally imposing rules on their team, because a team is ultimately a partnership of all the people involved, students and mentors both. However, there is a LOT that goes into a team beyond what is visible to a student, and I know that as a student I often found myself unable to find a way to meaningfully contribute to a discussion about mentoring on here, among other topics. As I’ve moved into participating in FIRST past being a student, I’ve found that many of the core problems people see in FIRST are more effectively dealt with or avoided with good mentoring, and that many of these issues can be very difficult to properly diagnose or address from the viewpoint of a student, for a variety of reasons unrelated to the capability, maturity, or experience levels of said students. Could you explain this viewpoint more?

One of the core parts of Chief Delphi, and what makes it special, is that it has been around for around two decades, and some of the people still posting have been here since the beginning, or close to it. This aggregation, as students become mentors or volunteers and continue to stay involved, is part of what makes CD special. While FIRST has grown, it has not grown at a pace that students who take to CD can outnumber or even equal mentors who have taken to CD. In order to reach an equilibrium of posts, one would need to either reduce mentor involvement or increase student involvement. I am all for increasing student involvement-- and while I know it isn’t always the case, I would hope that more veteran members of our Chief Delphi consider the radically different perspective of a new student on CD when responding to those posts. However, I would generally be opposed to suggesting that mentors need to be less involved with these forums.

Also, I would note that there are some people (and I am not among them) who would consider themselves both a young alumni and a professional engineer :slight_smile:

I don’t see anything wrong with mentors spreading ideas to their team. Ultimately FIRST is about inspiring AND teaching students about engineering. If mentors discuss a topic on CD and then spread the information to their students, the students learn. In fact, they learn more, because they have experienced engineers teaching them with more perspective than they might’ve had on their own. Yeah, maybe mostly mentors talk in CD, but it’s not like the discussion stays with the mentors, it quickly trickles down to the students. FIRST discussion is always beneficial, whether it be between students, mentors, or both. I’m sure I wouldn’t have much of the engineering knowledge I have without mentor ideas and discussion.

This is my opinion, as a student. Yes, there are often discussions on CD that occur mostly between mentors. Is that a problem? Most definitely not. Just because I’m not talking in the discussion doesn’t mean I’m not gaining anything from it.

Just my presence on CD has greatly impacted my understand of FRC. Being able to listen on a consistent basis to mentors who understand “How to FRC” is one the greatest resources I have ever found. Listening to mentors discuss a game strategy or a new design helps me better understand what they’re talking about. If I have a question I’ll ask it, but more often than not I’m content just to listen.

How do I vote if I’m a young adult student alum who is basically an engineer (software developer)?

+1. One of my coaches told me that I was one of the first students she had seen that was doing stuff with robotics outside of team practice to a major extent, that meaning posting on CD, communicating with other teams, and spending summer pre-scouting for off-season events.

Also, I guess I’m an extreme outlier by what you’ve seen in “passionate” students because I joined CD in September of my freshman year, and lurked for a bit before that. I am PASSIONATE!

I did do a year of FTC prior, so there’s that. But still.

In my personal beliefs, the intention of FIRST is for the students to do the work, design, ext. I feel the roll of mentors is to make sure the students do all the needed tasks to have a robot in six weeks. I do not agree with mentors making parts / designs / ideas for the robot. That isn’t what they are there for, they are there to simply make sure no one gets hurt and to teach the students how to do what is needed to be done to get their robot made before the events.

That’s how it was done on my FTC team when I was a student, and that is how I am going to mentor that same team. This is also how I WISH it was done on my FRC team.

But, this is one person’s opinion.

I’m not professionally an engineer, but that’s my function on the team, so it was an easy pick.

As to the student/mentor bit, I feel that the mix is entirely appropriate (not that more students and other underrepresented groups wouldn’t be even better). From a technical standpoint, CD is another way to mentor - to provide guidance to each other in the fields we each know; that’s going to need years of experience in many cases. For a lot of opinions about how teams or the league are run, the variety of viewpoints is what makes it worthwhile - students, technical mentors, NTMs, male, female, white, black, yellow, rich, poor, rookies, veterans, and old-timers.

Here is FIRST’s vision and mission.

There’s a bit of a cultural divide that shows through here. I have no desire to get into a discussion on this topic because I do not believe the mission statement of FIRST clearly supports or discourages the involvement of mentors in making parts, helping with design, or contributing ideas to their team. I also think that it is disingenuous to say the intention of FIRST is that the students do all the work, even if you frame it as an opinion, as it is clearly not based in fact. The strength of this program is that it allows teams to function in a way that is best for them, which may mean more or less mentor involvement.

I’d also say that this is a recurring topic on this forum, and you may wish to read some of the previous threads on it in order to broaden your perspective.

You’ve already been dosed with the FIRST mission statement (twice!), so I won’t send that to you again. What I am going to do is explain that there’s some slight differences between FTC and FRC in HOW they work with that mission statement.

FTC, as I recall, is supposed to be entirely students doing the work. (So is FLL.) Mentors are there to guide and teach and generally help the students but the students are the driving force and do the work. So what you saw there was exactly how it is supposed to be done… in FTC (and FLL).

FRC, on the other hand, has two limits on what mentors can do: they can’t operate the robot or be the human player during the matches, and they can’t go to the question box to talk to the head referee. Everywhere else, mentors are fair game to do the work. YES, that means that a bunch of engineers can design and build the robot and only have a drive team of students at the event.* It also means that there can be NO mentors at all except as necessary for paperwork/administration and the students do all the work.**

But most teams strike a balance. Some are mentor-driven, some are student-driven, some are 50-50. In this case, I would say that sometimes the best way to teach is to show a student how to do something, then have them do it. I might show you how to properly drill a hole, or drive a screw, or show you how to select the proper length of screw–but then you need to pick that up and run with it, and train another student while you’re at it. (Your first year as a mentor is your second year on the team. Just so you’re aware.) Sometimes, stuff absolutely has to be done by a mentor (safety/liability concerns). Other times, a mentor is simply the only one that knows how and no student wants to learn.

My personal favorite tool for the students is the elbow. If I feel a student’s elbow (or shoulder) pushing me out of the way, the only question I’ll ask is if they understand what’s going on, and then I’ll get out of the way.

*Anybody actually knows of a team where that was actually the case, and I mean personal first-hand knowledge of their build practices not hearing from somebody who heard from somebody who might have seen them at one competition, I’ll give you $20 if you can catch me at an FRC event.

**Anybody who tries to pass off one of those teams as a team from the last note, pay up, $5. I’ll still come out ahead.

What if I’m an adult mentor who is not and engineer?
Do I sign in as other?