F4 - Connect (The new way to get help)

Hello everyone!

The F4 team has some great news! In spreading the F4 goal of helping the FRC community, we have developed a new service called F4 Connect. F4 Connect will allow anyone to ask questions, and get them answered by students that are willing to help. This aid will be at a personal level and our team will continue to help the individual until their question/problem is solved. We can help through any means of communication you would like to use and allow people to ask questions anonymously regarding a variety of topics. 1 out of our nearly 60 members will respond by your preferred method of communication. It is that easy.

Here is a link if you would like to ask a question. The service is currently in Beta mode for testing and will be refined through the process. Very soon it will be 100% operational.


We encourage everyone to use this service and send it to anyone in need. We hope we can help this community one answer at a time.

  • Sam

So basically an all-student version of CD…


I’m skeptical.

Why should a student want to use this instead of Chief Delphi… ESPECIALLY for technical questions? There are literally hundreds of Engineers on this forum with THOUSANDS of hours of experience in technical fields.

(The correct answer is they shouldn’t)

Not to mention Chief Delphi will get many responses from all different views. Chief Delphi is unique in the fact that so many people on here have several decades worth of experience and want to share that with new FIRST participants.

I don’t see a benefit in F4 connect over the existing Chief Delphi.

I totally see the point of this F4 Connect program; Although I would have to agree with Bailey.
Chief delphi has professionals in various fields as well as experienced individuals in FIRST

What’s the vetting process for who gets the power to reply? Especially if it’s a private conversation, or a conversation just amongst students, sometimes the wrong information may be given, even if the person giving the advice thinks they’re right.

At least when giving information on CD there are 100 angry Lythegoes with pitchforks waiting impatiently to correct any incorrect advice.

I don’t understand the logic behind cutting out thousands of adults and many other students willing to give advice just so you can be different. As someone who spent four years on CD as a student, there is plenty opportunity to make your student voice heard.

I believe F4 Connect is primarily aimed at non-technical questions related to students. Getting a student’s perspective in addition to an adult’s could be a valuable resource, but I’ll let Sam respond more in-depth as to the reasoning/execution in the morning. Sometimes getting a fellow student to talk about something with you in a small group is more relatable than posting on a forum such as CD, and doesn’t encourage anybody to make burner accounts; more private than threads and less personal/easier than PMs.
I agree technical questions are better suited for CD, and I think F4 is trying to mostly avoid them (although I could be wrong, I’m not too familiar with this myself).

Can’t you basically do this via PM on CD? If a student is looking for an answer from a student’s point of view and doesn’t want it in a large thread setting, it is very easy to know of students that you have personally decided you trust enough to PM directly with a question.

In addition, not only would an adult/mentor’s perspective on non-technical topics still be valuable, but many, I’d argue possibly a majority, of the active user base on CD are not just mentors, but alumni who were once students and most likely went through some kind of situation to what the student would be inquiring about. If the topic is that specific that only current students would understand and be able to help with (I can’t even think of anything that fits that), then as I said before it is very easy to find active well-thought students on the forums here.

What I foresee happening if something like this took off, is that some students would come to know F4 Connect as their main source for advice and council, which I would find concerning. Don’t forget, there’s a reason Dean has always stressed how FRC is about students AND mentors working together.

One of the options for this “F4-Connect” is ‘Technical Questions’.


Please remember-- this program is SO successful because of the unbelievably smart and resourceful mentors. Actively trying to rid them from contributing to our community is not what we should be doing. (I say this as a COLLEGE STUDENT, because I, too, still learn from the more experienced mentors around me)

Hi all. I probably worded some stuff wrong so, I am going to address everyone’s concerns.

Actually no. To start asking questions is not limited to students just answering them is. One large benefit to this program is it allows people to ask questions they would normally have to make a throwaway account for. Its also great for less advanced technical help or as we said it “noob” questions. Basically we are there if a person is too embarrassed to post it here. Lastly we think the personal connection you could gain through something like a skype call and the ability to get follow up help on any issue is valuable and something Chiefdelphi lacks.

Its not about getting our voice heard. That is what the show is there for. What this is about is assisting the community with our knowledge base. We have 60 people. We can/will answer pretty much any question accurately. Currently answering questions is restricted to the F4 Board (Our board of elected officials) but, we will implement some stuff to make sure only qualified people answer questions.

That is because we will answer technical issues. We do realize chiefdelphi is a better alternative for most technical issues but, we do not want to restrict people too much.

I would not be where I am without mentors in this community. But, I think there are some problems where a personal setting with a knowledgeable student is better than a single text based reply from a mentor.

So wait. Is it 60 students answering or is it some subset of that?

It is a subset of the 60 students, which completely depends on the question asked.

Currently there are only 6 people answering questions. The other 54ish people will be involved very soon once we sort out of way of delegating questions while making sure qualified people answer.

What Dikshant said above is the plan we just have to implement it.

Interesting my concern with it would be what happens when someone asks a question that is… outside of the scope of the group I guess.
I always felt mandatory reporter laws have a certain weight to them that I wouldn’t want imposed on a student.

We can/will answer pretty much any question accurately.

That is a very bold statement to make considering how many “professionals” on CD make incorrect statements all the time.

That is actually another interesting point, is this a factual help service or is this more just trying to be like a supporting group.
Just being there for someone in a time of need is great, but bad information can lead to some nasty things. We all know chief delphi isn’t the GDC and delphis interpretation of the manual and the GDCs interpretation are different.

I guess I can kind of get the point of F4 connect if it was strictly students talking to other students about social issues… but then again I really don’t, what if a student gets a wrong advice: Student 1: “Me and my mentor aren’t getting along what do I do?” Student 2: “Oh just make a new team.” Student 1: "Okay!.. "

Except for in a few specific questions, I really don’t see the point of not getting advice from multiple sources including multiple students and multiple mentors…

And definitely not for technical questions. Who cares if you have a pretty simple question, no one is going to say “oh you don’t know how to enable the bot, get out of here”… While CD might be condescending sometimes, there is much more good than bad.

And don’t even get started that you can “answer all questions accurately”. I’m a high school student, I’m going to be a junior in the fall… and I will bet all my money that you can’t. It’s simple logic. We are students, we have only existed for a maximum of 18 or so years. THERE IS NO WAY THAT WE HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCE AS THE MENTORS OF 50 AGE WHO DO THIS FOR A LIVING. (and here come the red dots :smiley: )

Please don’t give advice to a student somewhere that could get him/her in serious trouble or something like that.

Yup, we saw this as a big issue. We wrote up this as a disclaimer which everyone is prompted to agree with.

F4 Connect is a student run group for helping people with questions about robotics. While we are here to help, we do not assume any responsibility for harm or injury caused by the advice given (or lack thereof). By submitting this form you agree that any action taken upon the advice given is at your own risk. Any cases the F4 Connect team thinks are potentially harmful (including, but not limited to: suicide, self harm, criminal problems, etc.) may not be answered, and have potential to be reported to the proper authorities.

We plan on addressing mostly questions regarding team issues. When build season rolls around we will most likely get things like rule interpretation questions which we will probably respond with either a Q and A response or a quote from the manual with no interpretation. When it comes to engineering help we will ensure validity on our end and if no one is qualified to answer a question we will point them in the right direction.

Well first of all we are here to give correct advice. We will never give a preposterous answer like you demonstrated. There are many situations in FRC where people are not comfortable using a message board. Hence the large quantity of anonymous accounts.

Actually people will say hah you do not know how to enable the bot get out of here. I encourage you to read some of the responses to threads early in the season they generally are the most condescending. Some people also have simple questions they do not want tied to their team. Say a team has no idea how to connect the radio. They are a 4 year team but the seniors who started the team graduated. That team does not want to make themselves look bad asking a simple question.

Your last few points particularly are alarming to me. To start just because you do not know something does not mean none of us do you can not generalize high school students and say they will always be less knowledgeable then adults. Next point is even more alarming. There are mentors who have been in FRC for dozens of years yet cant get their team to field a working robot. Are there mentors more knowledgeable then all of us combined absolutely. But there are also plenty who know much less.