[FRC BLOG] This isn't a Robot, Housing, and Throwing Things

In my opinion, the programs are super useful for the members of the public who have are interested in STEM but have no experience with FIRST. They help explain what is going on. If there are fewer programs available and they are hard to find, it would do little to reduce the paper airplanes but make it harder for the totally new people to find them. This could result in more confused members of the public, and, they would be less likely to create new teams, which is the real goal here right?

That’s just my 2 cents.

Especially when they bring top men from the Air Force up on stage who ask everyone to do it.

This is probably true, and while I applaud FRC taking a firm position on this (finally - there’s nothing worse than when people don’t know the official policy), I think it would have been better (both in terms of chance of success and people’s enjoyment) to have channeled the “tradition” into an officially sanctioned “paper airplane contest” of some sort (preferably one that does not result in award ceremony participants and robots being showered with projectiles).

First off, videos like that give me the warm fuzzies… even more so when the underrepresented Upper Peninsula in Michigan is in the opening shot (#Bravebots)


As a coach and a volunteer I will certainly be reinforcing it. Im sure it will go out in emails to the coaches, and it should certainly be something they reinforce within their own teams. I might just have a copy of the rule saved to my phone to show to teams who may not believe it. Its a serious issue and I think if all adults speak to their teams about it we can eliminate it. In a similar note, to the quote below, I hope FIRST puts out another reminder about this. It needs to be self policing (or adult policing) but I find more often than not, the adults are the problem with it. Maybe some people can pull their heads from their bots and read the rules :yikes: :rolleyes: ::rtm::

I’m glad to see there won’t be any more paper plane throwing allowed. I’d love to see how it’s going to be enforced (just saying it’s bad and should be team enforced is a limp-wristed approach).

So where is this rule going to be published? There’s no more Admin Manual. It’ll be buried somewhere on the website.

Agreed, but I don’t really see how else they can enforce it. With so many people in the stands, are they going to have guards policing for airplanes/other “things”? That seems a little absurd as well.

Maybe mentors can step up, set a good example, and make sure their team isn’t doing it. Besides ejecting people from the building there is no punishment/penalty that FIRST can impose on a team at that point in the season.

As a team, we’ve had a no paper airplane (or extreme littering as I like to call it) rule for a few years with no issues.

*I’ll never forget seeing a kid dump a paper box of used scouting forms over the railing while an adult on their team just watched and laughed. No remorse either when confronted…

It seems like that rule goes against your team name. :slight_smile:

That’s what I was saying though. There’s really not another way to enforce the rule, but as Ed said:

Unfortunately, I believe that this will be just another unenforceable, penalty-less rule issued by FIRST (just like the no saving seats rule) with no one given the responsibility of enforcing it.

Personally, I believe that FIRST is going about this the wrong way. I think they should encourage the paper airplane … make it a contest at the champs … and give them a spot to do this (maybe that will encourage them to do it at the designated spot rather than during Deans speech :ahh: )


I actually think that–should it actually be necessary–this one is enforceable, and has some teeth.

Enforceable: If it’s noticed that there are paper airplanes (etc.) in the air, someone notes where they’re coming from. It is then announced over the PA that “Will the team(s) in Section XYZ please stop throwing paper airplanes and clean up the mess” down here. (Team numbers used if they can be determined from long range.) Send a couple crowd-control volunteers (or venue staff) up there.

The Teeth: If a second announcement is needed, invoke the Civility Rule (last year’s T6). After that… well, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen that rule be enforced past the discussion stage, because usually the discussion clears it up.

That might be a bit drastic, but it should work…

While I believe you are right that is could be enforced, I do not believe it* will *be enforced.

… and if they could have used T6 before, and chose not to, what makes you believe that they *will *use T6 now? (… mumbles something about expecting a different result from the same action…)

FIRST has never enforced, nor had punishment for, rules in the stands. I do not believe they will start now. Hence my suggestion of giving those that would fly paper airplanes a place to do it without disturbing the others.

If they truly wanted to enforce the rules in the stands, then I believe they should start with sending the Chairman’s award judges out into the stands and see who is breaking the rules that have ‘no penalty’ (such as saving seats) and disqualifying those that do break the rules from winning chairman’s.

again JMHO

A half a dozen people with binoculars, plus a few carefully pointed video cameras should allow for enforcement. if Frank is reading this thread, I really urge him to think about and publicize some mechanism for enforcement so folks take it more seriously.

In addition to my worry of whether and how HQ will attempt to enforce the rule, I’m also concerned with the difficulty of actually determining origin. This would depend heavily on the lighting at the time and how many people are still throwing. Having been on the receiving end of some absolutely unreal “extreme littering” events on Einstein before, it’s downright overwhelming in the dark. And from the stands in the dark, particularly with the critical mass of “everyone’s doing it”, I expect it feels pretty invincible to the participants. The number of crowd controllers it’d take wouldn’t be as many as for saving seats, but it wouldn’t be a trivial commitment if teams ignore it as much as they do saving seats. (I hope the visibility of airplanes would stop that, but I’ve been hoping that for a long time.) On the other hand, if those crowd controllers are judges, the ratio might drop some…

In addition to announcing and enforcing the rule, I still suggest some carrot with this ostensible stick. In addition to the logistical difficulties of that stick, I’ve found very little that compares to taking kids who’ve run on full afterburner for days and just had awesome, life-changing runs at key positions in qual/elim matches…and then boxing them into seats for hours to squint down at long speeches and scattered matches. For a number of personalities/temperaments I’ve worked with over the years, everything seems boring at that point. I’ve seen kids who would normally play video games or chat for hours go absolutely stir crazy. Sanctioning a specific event that lets people walk off some energy and try a paper airplane contest would seem nice. And perhaps more importantly, let us know when it is, so we know how long we can walk around without missing anything even if we don’t go to the contest. (Schedule control and announcing has gotten better lately, but I always want to throw this in.)

There was a paper airplane that flew across Einstein during a match, and missed falling on the field by only a few feet of elevation: https://youtu.be/4d2VW_mkJ3c?t=54

While I certainly am aware of the difference between having a rule and enforcing a rule, this is a definite “phase change”. FIRST has for the first time, (as far as I am aware) outlawed throwing paper airplanes (and other things). Assuming that the word gets out (meaning that, in addition to the blog, they provide suitable signage or other warning so that everyone who attends events will have seen), this will probably eliminate about 80-90% of the airplanes, before any active enforcement. If FIRST can find a good corps of enforcers to give first offenders a stern warning, and escort second offenders from the premises, this will very quickly become a “we’ve always done it this way” rule.

How about we rely on peer pressure?
If a paper airplane is spotted, everything stops. Speeches stop or matches are stopped and are replayed.
This will lengthen the time everyone is in the stands and no one wants that :rolleyes:
You can’t throw a plane without someone noticing and that person will be asked to stop by his/her peers.

It is all enforceable if mentors would be mentors and take responsibility for their team members. Now I am not saying that all mentors don’t take responsibility but we have all seen it first hand, where either the mentor/s are either oblivious to what is going on around them, or they just don’t think it is their job to monitor the students. I can tell you with absolute certainty that stuff like that won’t fly on the team I am a part of.