[FRC Blog] Kickoff and Q&A

Posted on the FRC Blog, 1/9/17: http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2017-kickoff-qa

Kickoff and Q&A

Written by Frank Merrick and Blake Bourque, 2017 JAN 09.


Written by Frank Merrick.

I don’t know about you all, but I had a great time at Kickoff for FIRST® STEAMWORKS™! And I can tell you for sure the FIRST Robotics Competition staff was really looking forward to (mostly) having a genuine day off on Sunday, after, for some of them, weeks of no breaks and at least a few days that extended so far into the next morning that it made little sense to even go to bed.

Here at FIRST, we use some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure community response to the game release. Some of these measures may be a bit subjective, but it seems as if the game has been pretty well received:


We’ll have more about *FIRST *STEAMWORKS later!


*Written by Blake Bourque, FRC Alumnus, and creator, along with Benjamin Carlson, of the new Q&A System for FIRST Robotics Competition.
With the new season upon us, you might be starting to have questions for the game design team. You are in luck. This year, FIRST has a brand new Question and Answer system designed especially for you. The new Q&A system has all the old features and some great new ones!

Much like the old system only one member per team can ask questions. As announced in last week’s blog, Team Authorization Codes are available in the Team Registration System. Once you, or your team’s designated question asker, has your team’s code, head on over to the Q&A system and create an account for yourself. Once you have created an account, navigate to your user dashboard, enter your team number and your authorization code.

If you want to be notified when an answer is published to a question, make sure you are following that question by clicking the grey star, it will turn yellow to indicate that you are following it. You can see a complete list of your followed questions on your user dashboard. Remember, anyone can create an account to follow questions, you only need the team authorization code to ask questions.

After completing this process, you are ready to start asking questions! But remember the Q&A system won’t open for questions until Noon Eastern on Wednesday, January 11th.

A major difference you will notice is that the FIRST STEAMWORKS Game and Season Manual is integrated directly into the Q&A system. This will allow answers by FIRST Staff to link directly to pages and rules in the manual.

I was a long time user of the Q&A system when I started talking with FIRST about a new Q&A system. My introduction to FIRST was as a freshman in High School; FRC Team 2648, Infinite Loop, was just beginning to form for their first competition season. My second year on the team, I was the programming lead and beta tester of the Java version of WPILib. As a Junior and Senior, I acted as the team captain, as we grew to over 40 members. Then it was off to college.

It wasn’t too long before I started to miss the FIRST experience: the excitement, the robots and the community. I learned that the local high school wanted to start an FRC Team. I worked with my friends in the student branch of the IEEE to provide support and mentoring to the team. That team became FRC Team 5122, the RobOTies! After graduating college with a degree in Computer Engineering, I moved to Bedford, Massachusetts and became a Mentor with FRC Team 4909, the Bionics.

It is my sincere hope that this new Q&A system improves everyone’s quest in search of answers. Please remember that there are many other smart competitors asking questions so be sure to search their questions before asking a new one.

I look forward to seeing how teams use the new system and learning from feedback on ways we can improve for next year.

Happy Roboting!

Can this be the thread where we refine our questions to get clear meaningful answers?


In R01 "(~63 mm)" should be "(~6.3 mm)"

chute door