Is it possible to report on volunteers during events?

Interesting. I’d be curious to see how your bumpers were constructed myself, that sounds like a rather unusual case and I’d be interested to know what made them think you needed a total rebuild.

The NMIR form goes straight to FIRST HQ so location shouldn’t matter. That said, your district (FIRST Israel) may also have a form of their own on their website you may want to fill out in addition to the NMIR.

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Knowing the staff at FIRST Israel, I’m sure that they would love to hear your story and do what they can to help. The team experience is very important to the staff and volunteers at FIRST Israel, and I imagine they would want to know if any teams feel they didn’t get the best experience possible. If you don’t know how to contact them, you can send me a PM and I should be able to put you in contact with them.

That being said, I also know the volunteers in question here. I’m sure that they followed the rules to the best of their ability and weren’t unduly preferential to any team. I expect that this was likely a misunderstanding and at worst a miscommunication. In the heat of the moment it can be hard for a head ref or LRI to explain the intricacies of their decisions. I would assume that is the source of this confusion.

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Most Head Referees I’ve interacted with will not accept the time out card until after the match right before your match. So if you played QF1-1, you’d have to submit the card after QF4-1, right before QF1-2. Maybe that was the case then? Regardless, I think the Head Ref should have been more clear as to why he didn’t accept the time out.


This is a bad way of viewing things. Timeouts should be consistently implemented. I’ve needed and used timeouts before, and I try to have my coach request the timeout at the earliest time we think we’d need it.


Regardless of what happened and if they were right or not, if you have an issue with someone that doesn’t require immediate attention then submit a NMIR. If you need to talk to someone right away, get the volunteer coordinator atleast, they’ll usually be in charge of most volunteers or they’ll get you someone to talk to who will help you out

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This is actually the rule.

T3. If an ALLIANCE wishes to use their TIMEOUT, the ALLIANCE CAPTAIN must submit their TIMEOUT coupon to the Head REFEREE within two (2) minutes of the ARENA reset signal preceding their MATCH. If there is no preceding MATCH, the TIMEOUT coupon must be submitted no later than two (2) minutes before the scheduled MATCH time. The TIMEOUT will begin two (2) minutes after the ARENA reset signal (i.e. at the end of the TEAM TIMEOUT Coupon Window depicted in Figure 12-4)

When using a timeout, you should have your alliance captain in the question box as soon as the match before yours ends. Most of the head refs I know will then stand there with the captain right until the 2 minute mark, just to make sure they have as much time as possible for someone to run up and say “we don’t need it!”.

I’m more interested in the bumper issue, as there seems to be more confusion around them. Do you have pictures of what they looked like (on the robot!) before the changes? It’s possible there were multiple issues, or it could have been poor communication (in which case they need to know about it, because communication is 90% of the LRI’s job!), or they were trying to address the issues one at a time (in which case they should have at least explained everything up front and walked through a plan with you!).

I’ve had to make teams rebuild their bumpers from the ground up before, but I really try to avoid it, if at all possible. I look, as much as possible, for the smallest amount of work that will make them, and keep them, legal. The worst part is when an inspector already passed a team with something that shouldn’t have passed, and I have to deliver the bad news that the ref’s noticed something from 20 feet away that my inspector missed with his nose inches away, and because of it the team now has limited time to get it fixed instead of half of the practice day.

We’ve seen everything - wood backing that’s 1"x4", 3 pool noodles stacked, 3.5" pool noodles that were cut on a bandsaw to 2.5" square, pool noodles that were melted when the numbers were ironed on after assembly, corner coverage that’s not sufficient, bumpers that were built too big and have a huge gap between them and the frame, team numbers that don’t meet the spec, team logo used within the team number, reversible bumpers that show huge patches of the wrong color, reversible bumpers that have black “end caps” to avoid showing the wrong color or dealing with reversing around the edge, bumpers with no fabric on the exposed ends, just pool noodles, bumpers that are significantly outside of the zone, bumpers that are modified from the supplied cross section (cut out on the top to allow a mechanism to move, wood backing that goes across a gap between the noodles, bumper cover that spans a gap between the noodles/wood). Many of these issues lead to significant rework by teams that’s just unavoidable at that point.


Unfortunately, it sounds like you tried to submit the timeout coupon during a time when it was not valid. I would recommend doing a thorough reading of the rules before submitting the form.

For the bumper issue, I’m sorry to say I don’t think it will be effective if you only provide as much information as you have in this thread. From what you have told us so far, the inspectors may very way have had a good reason to think that your bumpers were outside of the rules. Another inspector passing them does not invalidate what they other inspectors might have seen. If you can provide a more thorough description in the NMIR, you may be able to get the result you are looking for.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree with you, it SHOULD be consistently implemented. From a point of practicality though, given that the rules are NOT consistently implemented, it makes more sense for a drive team to just assume going in that you won’t have the extra ~3 minutes and plan accordingly.

If it comes down to a situation where you have the choice of either competing with a robot that mostly works or not competing and subjecting your alliance to a 2 v 3, I’ll take the first option any day.

At the end, I believe the LRIs just tried to do their job, I understand if our bumpers aren’t legal, But the problem is they changed their versions, one LRI told us to change our bumpers while the other said they are fine.
About the timeout - perhaps our team was wrong when we tried to submit the timeout coupon, but the head referee didn’t told us why we don’t get a timeout.

We arrived to the event with illegal bumpers - that’s 100% true.
The only problem was the inspection of the bumpers, in previous event when we had bumper issue we fixed it immediately after the inspector told what to do.
In the event i’m talking about, the LRIs inspected our bumpers, at first they told us that the size of the bumpers wasn’t good, after we fixed it, they told us the number wasn’t good (the same numbers from before) and after we fixed that, they changed their versions of the rules in a few issues, according to them. The LRIs couldn’t agree on what issues and while one told us the bumpers are OK, the other said they weren’t.

I know I’ve seen multiple LRIs at events, but I was under the impression that only one of them is actually assigned the Key role, and any other LRIs at the event are merely normal inspectors wearing vests. I would think only the assigned LRI would be making final decisions like that. I’m only referring to regionals and district events here, not district or regular championships.

I can’t speak for every event, but the one’s I’ve been at there’s been “The” LRI, and then everyone else. When I’m not “The” LRI, I can still help clarify things for inspectors without as much experience, but I defer to “The” LRI and make sure to call them over for anything they need to be aware of/have the final say on. We often end up with multiple LRI’s at events here in MN - we have 5 events and 5 LRI’s, but all of our teams do two events. So, we’re all used to working together :slight_smile:

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This resembles my experience inspecting in New England.

Here in FIRST Israel, we had at the Israel District Championship two LRIs with vests, and also regular yellow-hat inspectors.
In our event, I was under the impression that both LRIs have the final say together.

FIRST Israel has on multiple occasions had multiple LRIs for a single event, where they both share the LRI responsibility. I haven’t seen it happen, but I assume if they disagree then they would step to the side, deliberate, and come back with a common opinion. I can’t imagine that one would knowingly override the other.

As to why they do it this way, I can’t say. We sometimes do stuff differently here just because. There aren’t a ton of Israelis active on here, but maybe someone who’s been here longer than I can chime in with a better reason (I’ve only been here since 2017).

Not sure how there is inconsistency since the Head Ref tablet has two countdowns on it during Playoffs (can’t remember if it shows on the others). One is the timer for a Timeout coupon and the other is the timer for the Backup Robot coupon. Both of those are triggered when the field turns green. If there is still time on either of those counters for what you are trying to turn in, there is no ambiguity that it is to be accepted. Those rules are concrete set with a couple of graphics in the manual to show what the wording means.

The situation that has come up regarding when to close the gates after a timeout (coupon or field) is the ONLY place I see any issue and that is being discussed in another thread.

The only time I’ve known there were two LRIs in house, this was definitely the case. The only time I’m aware of where the “other” LRI was “the” LRI was in a matter regarding a team “the” LRI worked closely with. (The issue was an insufficiently available main breaker.)

The other 4 just have time left. HR has time left, plus both coupon timers.

Everyone, there are some events where vested LRIs are asked to wear their vests the there still is only one LRI at the event. As to the issues in Israel, it is very possible that the LRI and Head Ref discussed issues with the bumpers and decided on a course of action that seemed to be disjointed but was in fact intended to keep the team playing with non-compliant bumpers while the issues were being fixed. It is also possible that the LRI called me or asked for a rules clarification after the inspection was started. It is aslo possible that your inspector missed the issues and the LRI saw them later. I am sorry for the method that was used but it sounds like you finished the event with bumpers that satisfied all of the key volunteers.

About the vests, in that event we had two LRIs - according to their vests AND tag.
In the end, we competed in the event normally. We understand that sometimes we are wrong about what we do as team (in this case, the bumpers) and we respect all volunteers at events, but unfortunately for us, we didn’t receive the “gracious professionalism” treatment from the LRIs and the head referee as expected. As a student, I expect from all volunteers to act in their most professional behavior and to explain all teams if there are some issues with their robot (which wasn’t our case).