Difficulty in contacting teams

I don’t know if other teams have had this problem, but it is very difficult to find contact information on other teams. Many rookie teams don’t know the welcoming attitude of the community that they are joining, and how much other teams would be willing to help them. But without being able to contact them, it is very difficult to help.

I understand this is a privacy issue, but in an organization where helping other teams is a foundation part of the organization, you would think that FIRST headquarters would be able to make a database to make it easy for teams to contact each other. My thought is a database accessible by team leads in TIMS, to mitigate privacy concerns. But by no means is this fully thought out.

Does the CD community have thoughts on this? Reasons for keeping this information private? Anyone have an easy way of contacting these teams?

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firstinspires.org has web sites and social media links for teams, mirrored on theblualliance.com. It’s far from certain to make contact, but at least there are some threads you can pull. And if all that fails, try googling frc####; you never know.

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I think more teams need to be aware of Chief Delphi. Visiting this site once a day would be very valuable to most rookie teams.

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Any time I’ve needed to contact a team with no available information or lack of response, I’ve gone through my Senior Mentor. They can’t give out contact information without a team’s permission, but they should be able to forward your email.

Contact your local senior mentor and ask them to put you in touch with the rookie teams.

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This is useful, but not super helpful for contacting rookie teams, who are less likely to have websites.

How do you suggest contacting teams to get them on Chief Delphi? And also, it’s usually low resource and rookie teams that are least likely to have social media links on firstinspires and tba.

The senior mentors is a good idea for now. But it would be nice to make the process as easy as possible on teams, without having to go through a middle man.

If you’re trying to contact a specific team, try reaching out to your local RD or Senior Mentor. They have access to contact info for teams - even if they can’t just hand it over, they can help you get connected.

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I think some teams don’t even know this exists. It has a really weird name. Maybe a letter about it with their rookie kits? It’s very true that new teams aren’t likely to have social media on TBA.

This is definitely a good solution for right now. But I guess I’m trying to get at a bigger structural solution. My main question is, can we make a way for teams to easily get into contact with each other, without having to go through a middleman and without privacy concerns?

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The problem with that is that FIRST actually runs their own official forums. They’re pretty dead, but still technically a competitor to CD nonetheless. Of course, it might not hurt for the mods to ask at some point.

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We went down this rabbithole when trying to get the first round of teams on FullCircle a few months ago. One of the ways that we had some (but not a ton) of success was finding which school hosts the team, and then emailing/calling through there. Sometimes you’ll make it through!

It’s certainly a problem though. IIRC it’s been proposed to include stuff about CD, TBA, etc in the KOP, but from what I understand FIRST doesn’t want to tie themselves directly to one of these things.

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this is the spot where i complain that a ton of teams do not have any FSM as it is up to the local RD to request one. and some RDs have no intention to request one.

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Ok, we have Senior Mentors in a lot of places. https://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/first-senior-mentor-program/current-senior-mentors

But if your area doesn’t have one, reach out to me with a PM and I will hook you up!

I agree it is a structural issue because there are also many RD’s and FSM’s I’ve heard about who seem a little out of touch with the needs of their teams. On the other hand, some FSM’s are extremely involved and are constantly checking in on various teams.

Could a solution be to petition FIRST and your regional directors ask for more FSM’s who are voted on by area teams?

By the way, if you do not know who your regional director(s) or Senior Mentor(s) are in your area, you can always check the FIRST website.

FIRST > About > Contact Us > right side of page “Find Regional Contacts” > Select A Program (FRC) > Select an Area > Contacts displayed.

While there may be multiple personnel in your state/province/territory it is best to try and contact the one closest in proximity to you, and in some cases there may not be a contact and FIRST HQ (1-800-871-8326) will be your best option.

The OP’s point is that the FIRST online resources are inadequate. I’ve had the same problem. The teams that we would like to help the most are the least likely to have a reliable online presence. No amount of searching will reveal a useful contact point in that case. Instead FIRST should post its official contact point database–it probably doesn’t even need to include the names of the individuals.

There are 6 FSMs in California, and it doesn’t list which region they cover. Doesn’t help to contact someone in San Diego to find a team in Vallejo.

If privacy is an issue. Maybe FIRST could implement a system where team contacts can log into TIMS and send there own email address to the primary contact of any other team without knowing the contact info. Then if the contacted team is interested in giving out their info they can.

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This becomes more difficult when you take into account the impact of GDPR. As an international organization, it’s something FIRST needs to be aware of, and can easily lead to issues for them. Maintaining tight control over contact information and how it’s used is a critical part of privacy laws. Just imagine how a released contact list could be abused. We’ve seen a few new companies spring up in the past few weeks, marketing parts to teams here on CD. I imagine those companies have ties into the community and could easily get their hands on such a list if it was at all available. At that point we would all get an unsolicited, mass-market email from them - the exact sort of thing that GDPR is trying to prevent. And FIRST would then be on the hook for any relevant fines from the misuse of personal data.