Gracious Professionalism

I really like the way that teams actually seek out ways to help other teams, to me that is Gracious Professionalism at its best.

Lately there is a movement that alleges that if you don’t 100% support the company line that somehow you are violating the Gracious Professionalism rule.

I think a civil debate can be had without questioning the Gracious Professionalism of individuals on the other side of the debate. This is quickly becoming the equivalent of calling a person a racist or nazi, as it appears to be meant to silence the opposition.

People get in their heads what they think GP means, then they try to apply it to others. That happens all the time, it is human nature, and of course we are dealing with relatively young humans. But, whatever it IS, it’s certainly not a tool for beating people up.

I feel that the term gracious professionalism also seen as GP, has been a tool that others have used to shame members voicing opinions that are controversial. If feel that being GP has little to do with what your opinions on certain topics are, but more about how you discusse those opinions. Several examples I have seen, which I will generalize, have been about cheesecaking and two champs.

For the purposes of this post I will with hold my personal opinions.

In both case of cheesecaking, and two champs, I have seen a member of one side of the argument posy a perfectly valid point expressing concerns involving one of these topics, and one more than one occasion I have seen people call that person out for being unGP. Now IMHO I feel like that is not the proper use of being “GP” . To me being GP is about respecting your community members, expecially when you do not agree with their point of veiw. Calling some one out for being unGP does not make your point more valid and theirs any less. In fact IMHO it makes both parties look bad which is not respectfull to OP and certainly does not look good for the person calling them out.

Please, if some one is truly being disrespectful, personal message them first, and ask them to stop. If that fails then there is a reputation system for a reason. Just don’t use being GP in a way that slanders other people’s opinion which are not offesive.

+1. In my opinion, the lengths some teams go to help others is Gracious Professionalism at its finest. (the Simbot Seminar Series is the first thing that comes to mind, but there are many others)

You are right, some of the FRC community has unfortunately turned to using the term Gracious Professionalism as a blanket statement for attacking anyone or anything they disagree with. Hopefully some day we can steer away from this behavior.

Yes, it can. There are lots and lots of complicated issues where disagreement is both expected and reasonable.

That said, this does not mean that it is never appropriate to point out when you think some other party’s conduct or beliefs are contrary to the principle. I’ve seen people say some pretty nasty and hurtful things before, both here and at competitions, and I think we are all obligated to call out such behavior. Hell, I’ve had my own fair share of slip-ups where I’ve needed a reminder myself, and I think most people who claim otherwise are probably not being entirely honest.

I confess that, personally, I haven’t seen this sort of “inappropriate GP-shaming” nearly to the extent that I’ve seen behavior that warrants reminders about GP.

This is quickly becoming the equivalent of calling a person a racist or nazi, as it appears to be meant to silence the opposition.

As a rule, it is generally not good practice to Godwin a thread in the first post.

I was going to suggest a corollary to that particular law… call it Kamen’s Law, and replace “Nazi references” with “‘Un-GP’ callouts”, sole exception being cases that are, in fact, either not gracious or not professional.

I mean… He hasn’t called anyone a nazi yet. He’s ahead of the curve, going deeper.

While I certainly agree that pointing out some ones slip up is perfectly warranted most of the time. I personally hold the belief that correcting a slip up should be done in a more personal setting rather than in front of a group of teams or in an intent forum. In both cases it would be ideal to talk to the person on an individual leave via pulling them of to the side or personal messaging them respectivly.

I wasn’t, I was pointing out that the term unGP is now being used to that end, which to me is not an appropriate thing to do.

+1. I feel like we are turning into a coolaid drinking organization. I often find myself having to walk away when someone tells me I just dont under stand what FIRST is about and how unGP I am for disagreeing with the direction of FIRST or not believing in 100% student robots.

GP was always explained as behaving as if your grandmother was watching.

Well, I never met my grandmother, but I’m assuming my parents are decent analogs and they asked me “what the heck is FIRST smoking with the 2Champs idea?” Sooooo…

Course, we got a GP award at CMP then ripped someone’s arm off, so I’m not sure I’m the best judge of GPness.

If what you are doing to invite criticism is neither ungracious, nor unprofessional, ignore the critics.

In other words, teach others what it means to be gracious and professional, but use words to do that, only as a last resort. :wink:


At every competition I have been to I have received a card to note a team’s display of outstanding display of GP. So it is definitely a shared values kind of thing. On the other hand, I have never received a card to note a teams display of un-GP.

If your team is competing for most of the judged awards, poor behavior will get your name taken off the white board in the judges secret chamber of deliberation.

Even GP Wookies have been known to do that.

My Dad was the person who taught me Gracious Professionalism. He wasn’t, however, a professional. He was just a person who helped those who could use a hand. If he saw somebody stuck in a ditch, or someone scratching their head next to a car with the hood up, he’d stop to see if he could help.

Occasionally, people would offer to pay him for the help he rendered. He’d simply say, “You help the next guy.” I learned from that.

Our team won a Gracious Professionalism award at a Michigan District Competition this year, and it wasn’t because anyone on our team was trying to win it. It was because almost everyone on our team has had someone who modeled that behavior for them while expecting nothing in return.

The best we can all do for our kids as parents, mentors and world citizens, is to model that behavior always: not to win an award, but because it is the right thing to do.