Inspector Hats

The inspector hats are neon green (or yellow if you prefer), and serve the purpose of identifying Robot Inspectors. Teams can quickly and easily see who inspectors are and where they are. What happens when a team uses the same color baseball hat as a part of their team apparel? A lot of confusion… it becomes much harder for teams to find inspectors.

Typically when I’m working with teams I tell them, look for the people with the bright hats. That statement is nullified when teams have virtually identical hats. So should there be a rule stating that team apparel can’t impersonate the apparel of a volunteer? Same goes for bright orange CSA hats.

I’m personally undecided on this issue. I want teams to have their freedom of expression, but creates a nuisance at the event.

*A team at the event I’m at has bright yellow/green hats. This isn’t meant to be an attack on them, I think it’s awesome that they are trying to create a brand for themselves.

I love the idea of naming a team “The Robot Inspectors”. Creative chaos makes me giggle.

On the flip side, it is nice to be able to spot the inspectors when needed. It might be a simple matter of talking it over with the team and letting them know they are causing some confusion. I think there are two things they can do about it, change/alter their uniform or ensure they are aware of the confusion and they are educating others to look for the right people. Either way, we can’t go about banning teams from wearing hats.

I think a lot of the confusion will be minimal as people quickly realize that there are people other than inspectors/csa with neon/orange hats. There are other items to identify volunteers such as their t-shirt and badge which they are supposed to wear.

I’ve had some minor confusion where I’ve mistaken people for volunteers briefly because they have red text with a white t-shirt. There’s no real harm except minor confusion so I don’t really support a rule to regulate hats or similar items.

Maybe ask the teams to not wear the hats in the Pits. That’s where teams need to be able to quickly find an RI or CSA.

The harm is it makes it harder for a team to quickly find an RI or CSA. If you see a Yellow Hat across the room, trek across the crowds, only to find out the person is not an RI, that is a waste of time if you are in a rush.

Maybe go 254-style and have the CSA’s and RI’s hang a 20 foot pole above their heads that has a flag saying “RI”/“CSA”? </sarcasm>

In my experience, the only time I’ve had this happen to me was when I was still a freshman and someone asked me to find a CSA and they told me “CSAs are the guys with the orange hats” so I just went around the pits and poked people that were wearing orange hats and all of them were really confused because I didn’t even know what i was looking for :stuck_out_tongue: (neither did I ever find one because they were all at the field)

Enforcability is an issue, though.

I always thought it would be funny for a team to dress their pit scouts in royal blue polos. I know no one would mistake a high school student for a judge, but it would certainly cause some double-takes.

A team here in the Kansas City area has some shirts that look a little like the head ref shirts at a glance. It sometimes catches me off guard when I glance at their drive team on the field.

Teams can be dealt with relatively easily. The bigger problem comes when spectators - who are free to roam the pits - come in wearing neon hats. It was very confusing seeing a few orange hats wading through the pits when looking for our CSA to help a team.

People wearing blue polos, and this year red polos too, are also confusing to lots of teams.

You should never be in that much of a rush that a 30 second detour completely wrecks your schedule.

FYI, there was an incident in 2007 where a team intentionally chose uniforms almost identical to referees. They were forced to changed uniforms at their event.

Obviously not the same circumstances here (and that thread did not end well), but there is a certain degree of precedent established. Teams should employ some common sense in their uniform selection to avoid causing confusion when compared to the volunteers.

I believe MORT, FRC Team 11, wears shirts that are identical to the head ref shirts. As a freshmen at my first competition I thought there were a lot of head refs before someone explained it to me :stuck_out_tongue:

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The team being referenced is Team Driven, 1730.

They’re yellow. Preference doesn’t enter into it.

*A team at the event I’m at has bright yellow/green hats. This isn’t meant to be an attack on them, I think it’s awesome that they are trying to create a brand for themselves.

If the team’s hats are bright yellow-green, and not the same color as the RI hats, I don’t see the problem. If they are the same yellow, then I’d say someone showed poor judgement in picking them, but I won’t try to justify banning teams from using a particular color.

They’re pretty much identical. Fortunately their shirts are a more traditional non-dayglo yellow that one wouldn’t be able to confuse for the white volunteer shirts.

I literally ran into the team in question immediately this morning and laughed about how confused some people would be. Hopefully they’ll pick a different color (not neon orange…) next year.

I wasn’t going to name names, Calvin. :wink:

I suppose if the CSAs or inspectors start wearing silver cowboy hats, GKC would get REALLY confusing.

Until you find yourself in that situation. It is not just one 30 second detour. It is a detour for each false hat until you find the right hat.

They’re not the same shirt - just the same color pattern. Head Ref Carol always makes a note of it at Mt. Olive… “No, I’m not from 11, they just liked my outfit so much they copied it”, etc…

I think wearing the same colors in the same locations as a volunteer isn’t the biggest deal in the world - are we really going to ban yellow/orange hats, white t-shirts with color prints, and blue polos? It’s not realistic to rule over the entire garment/color combo.

If you’re wearing blue polos with the FIRST logo embroidered on the left pocket instead of your team’s logo, then yes, you probably need to be asked to change your team’s look.

As Sean said, it’s a common-sense thing.

I agree there is confusion, from now on robot inspectors shall were a baguette.

FYI, MORT is pretty easy to distinguish from the head referees. I never even made that connection until this thread. The MORT logo on the front breast and giant text on the back of MORT’s shirts make them pretty obviously not refs.

RI’s and CSA’s are different from other volunteers. Teams look for them when they are in need.

Who is going to look for a Head Ref? If you want him/her, then you stand the the ? Box. If you are the FTA/Ref/Score Keeper/etc. looking for the HR, then you kind of know where to look, and a bunch of Mort people won’t confuse you that much.

Judges … Why should having a Judge around affect how a team acts? I can see if you are impersonating one for nefarious purposes. But, if you happen to look like one, and don’t take advantage of it …

Update: The team in question had the hats donated by a sponsor. The sponsor was obviously not aware of the conflict. We’ve been working around the confusion and people are pretty much used to it. It is still annoying, but there are plenty of things that are more annoying at an FRC Regional.

I’m glad nobody rushed to condem without having the full story, good job Chief Delphi!