[FRC Blog] New Team Update, Q&A Closing, and Program Surgery


New Team Update, Q&A Closing, and Program Surgery

Oct 03, 2019 Written by Frank Merrick

Retiring Stop Build Day is a little like surgery FIRST Robotics Competition

New Team Update

We’ve released a new team update! You can find it here. Among other changes, you will find we’ve changed rule Ez to accommodate teams that are hosting a FIRST Robotics Competition Event but are not themselves registered for the event. This modification was a direct result of Q&A questions on this topic and is a great example of how thoughtful questions on this topic can help FIRST HQ hone these rules in advance of Kickoff.

Q&A Closing

Speaking of the Q&A, when we opened the Q&A early, we noted that it would only be open for a short time. Questions have slowed to a trickle at this point, so, barring any surge in questions that might lead to additional updates, we plan to close the Q&A system on Friday, October 11. If you have any additional questions on the rules we released early, please get them in now! We will be reopening the Q&A shortly after Kickoff as usual.

Program Surgery

The retirement of Stop Build Day is a significant change for the FRC community. We have lived with Stop Build Day or its prior incarnation Ship Day for decades, and it has served us well. However, as FRC grows and evolves, we must be willing to look at even our longest standing traditions to see if they are still supporting our needs. In the case of Stop Build Day, we realized it wasn’t.

Any major change like this will come with discomfort and challenge. The spirit of Stop Build Day was infused in ways obvious and not-so-obvious in our rules. While we have worked hard to develop updated rules that will support this new paradigm, we know, and the community should expect, that not all will be perfect in this coming season. I would compare this change to going through surgery. We’re doing it because we think we’ll be better off in the long run. In the short term, though, there will be discomfort as we adjust to this new reality. However, I believe in the incredible and deep strength of our community and this program, and I know we will make it through the challenges ahead to come out even stronger on the other side.




I’ll get my defibrillator paddles and extra oxygen. Standby.

Hey, so can I ask what is meant by your question? I thought this answer was pretty clear, I’m curious where you found uncertainty.

I feel like the people answering Q48 got their subsets and supersets mixed up. Logically, a MAJOR MECHANISM should be a subset of a MECHANISM, or a MECHANISM should be a superset of a MAJOR MECHANISM.

Q48 (emphasis mine)

I1 defines MAJOR MECHANISM and I4 lists exceptions for ROBOT re-inspection, would a MAJOR MECHANISM fall into the category of MECHANISM for the purposes of E and F? In other words, is MECHANISM a superset of MAJOR MECHANISM?

Q48 answer

Yes, MAJOR MECHANISM is a superset of MECHANISM.

Heh, I believe this is actually ambiguity between hierarchies. In a class hierarchy, MAJOR MECHANISM is a subtype of MECHANISM. However, in a decomposition hierarchy, a MAJOR MECHANISM can be composed of several MECHANISMS, whereas the inverse is not true (I think), thus, a superset.

This is why SysML has separate generalization and composition relationships…


I’m concurring with the GDC and @CarlosGJ here. Every MAJOR MECHANISM is a MECHANISM. Not every MECHANISM is a MAJOR MECHANISM. Therefore the set of MECHANISMs includes the set of MAJOR MECHANISMs, making MECHANISM a superset of MAJOR MECHANISMs. The bottom line is that any rule which applies to any MECHANISM also applies to any MAJOR MECHANISM.

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To be clear, I’m agreeing with you, and I think this is what the GDC means to say. I’m just pointing out that technically the Q48 interaction goes:



No matter whether you understand what a subset or superset means, it remains that they answered yes to a question and followed up with a logically opposite statement.


A48 has now been updated to say “Yes, all MAJOR MECHANISMS are MECHANISMS.”

I can only speak for those asking it - they were not confused.

I do dislike that the precedent has now been set that Answers to Questions can have their wording changed without anyone being notified…


Yeah that’s not great, has anyone made a way to achieve the q&a on a regular basis? Would be nice to have an easy way to search through all previous years’ q&a at one time, etc and see if there are changes.

Hypothetical time:
Let’s say the Citrus Circuits logo is displayed on our 2020 team shirt and pit display. 1678 is now a team sponsor, and part of our team.
If we attend a regional event in California that 1678 is also attending, and we happen to “borrow” a mechanism (or major mechanism) from them at the event, wouldn’t that be perfectly legal as per I1?

Let’s take this a step further. Let’s say the logo on our pit display is a 1678 sticker, and the logos on our 2020 shirts are 1678 buttons. We still proudly display them in the team sponsor areas, which, according to the above reasoning, made them team members.

Legally, this looks to me like an I1 loophole. It doesn’t pass the eyeball test, but does that legally matter?

We’re doing it because we think we’ll be better off in the long run. In the short term, though, there will be discomfort as we adjust to this new reality.

So is this Frank’s way of telling us that I1 is staying as is?

I believe there was a QA about what constitutes a team and they said it is up to the team except another team couldn’t be. I don’t know which QA it was so it would involve some investigating

It’s Q28.

There is still some wiggle room.

Per the bluebox, yes.

Attempts to exploit loopholes in the definition of MAJOR MECHANISM in order to bypass this requirement are not in the spirit of I1 or the FIRST Robotics Competition.

You admit it’s a loophole, and that you would be exploiting it.

You did have Q49 as a mild tell, in that it was a new answer talking about the old one. Have there been other instances where edited Q&As didn’t get mentioned in a Team Update? It’s not ideal that they didn’t get mentioned in the 0.X updates, but it feels like they have this under control during the normal season.

Edit to add: Also worth noting that the Q48 edit is dated today (10/4), and the most recent update was released on 10/3. So they may yet bring attention to it in another update.

Good to know that the Chief Math Officer of FRC is back on duty.