Its getting to be RIDICULOUS!

I posted an alternate solution with an example for those who need to vent before the kickoff happened:

Now, when you’re ready to work on solving problems and move forward … that’s what CD is all about.

I think this all goes back to the “think before you post” concept. Its OK to be displeased with FIRST because that’s how they know to improve certain aspects of their organization. However, it’s in the method and context that one notes they are displeased that matters:

  • Find appropriate thread to note the problem.
  • Post the problem frankly; try to avoid using emotion or personality.
  • Framing the request as constructive criticism would be best.

There are two people involved in a communication: the writer and the reader. Many readers here are complying with build-season stress and might misunderstand a writer’s message as overly negative. It’s up to the writer to post ideas and criticisms as clearly as possible.


I see your point and I agree. BUT… …it is possible to point in a better direction without getting flamed.

If you read my history of posts (not really recommended as brevity is not my strong point :wink: there are a LOT of “FIRST has really screwed up here” posts.

Even so, I try to temper things and to remain as contructive as I can given the points I feel need to get made.

As to humor and negativity, *( and got away with it without a single negative reputation point coming my way. A body of work that is generally positive and contructive plus humor builds up good will.

Joe J.*

My first FRC was the best thing that ever happened to excepting one thing: and that was my first ever solo flight as an airplane pilot.

this is a GREAT thread.

I suspect I’m a lot older (but maybe not wiser) than most people posting on ChiefDelphi. I very much liked Dave Laverty’s response, especially

My only request is that everyone provides their feedback (“complaints”? “whines”? “kvetches”?) in a CONSTRUCTIVE manner without personal attacks, diatribes, massive flames, late-night rants, or tantrums. Talk to FIRST the way you would like someone to talk to you. You can disagree, but be courteous. If we all act like adults, then FIRST will be able to respond to us as adults, and we will all help build a better program. But definitely keep the feedback coming!

Some thoughts about “real world” FIRST:

  1. Be thankful that we all have a GOOD, robust set of written rules and guidelines. Much of what you do in the “real world” has no rules. You have to look yourself int he mirror and make them up as you live; knowing that what you do WILL come back to haunt you sooner or later.
  2. If you don’t like it where you sit today, change it! We are the most “empowered” people in the entire world. We have a voice, we have a unified (somewhat) democratic, capitalistic society. We CAN change things CONSTRUCTIVELY.

So, with that said, I’d like to challenge every member in this forum (BTW; my first year ever in FRC) to do the following:

  1. Put something constructive and positive in your chat signature; there’s way too much garbage (or worse)
  2. BEFORE you post, count to ten before you press the “submit reply” key and put yourself in the place of the thousands of readers
  3. Read the FRC manual from the back to the front (twice)

LASTLY, take a deep breath and HAVE fun…the real business world is nowhere near as much fun as FIRST

I agree, it’s hard to find a technology competition as good as FIRST.

I would just ask that you consider the following two points.

There is a world of difference between true “constructive criticism” and “coming here to vent.” The former makes an observation about an issue in a manner that is intended to educate, enlighten, inform, and lead to a solution. It is designed to respect both the seriousness of the issues, and the dignity of the other party. Done properly, it results in a problem being recognized and acknowledged as an issue worthy of discussion, and hopefully of resolution.

The latter does nothing but expose others to the content of someone’s spleen, and frequently results in an ugly, smelly mess. The only person to walk away from the experience with any satisfaction is the venter, while the “ventee” and all innocent bystanders have the feeling of being crapped upon. Personally, I find it very difficult to make any effort at all to see someone else’s point of view if they start the conversation by doing this to me. I have always found that this is the least effective manner available to get a problem resolved.

On the second point, we must remember that it is very difficult for others to discern when reading a text narrative if the author is typing the message with tongue planted firmly in cheek, flailing madly at the keyboard in emotional distress, or even sitting around in their underwear while typing, unless the author makes it abundantly clear. If we are having fun with a topic, that is perfectly acceptable - as long as it is very clear to those on the other end of the forum that that is what is occurring. Properly expressing humor, or sarcasm, or serious concern, through just the use of the written word is difficult. Authors must remember that they cannot make use of vocal intonations, facial expressions, verbal cadence, or any of a huge number of verbal and non-verbal cues that we use to communicate emotion and tone. As authors of a message, it is our job to ensure that the proper message gets through to the reader. If the average reader cannot identify wondrous prose as a great example of fine wit, and instead decodes the narrative as bilious babble, then is the fault with the reader or the author?


FIRST does many many wonderful things. It has inspired, motivated, and changed the lives of many adults and students for the better. For me, the FIRST experience has transcended above all of the other extracurriculars I’ve ever been involved in. In fact, I don’t even consider FIRST to be an extracurricular anymore; it is a way of life.

However, as with any aspect of life, FIRST grows and changes. FIRST’s mission has always been to inspire young people to have a greater appreciation and understanding of science and technology. So far, they have been quite successful in that mission. But in continuing to provide these wonderful opportunities, FIRST must try to implement better methods of doing so. Just as we try to improve our robots every season, FIRST tries to improve the experience that it gives to us every year.

In designing robots, we make hypotheses about what mechanical, electrical, or coding system will work the best. We use all our knowledge of these disciplines to help us take an educated guess at what will give us the desired results. But we can never really know what the outcome will be, until we test the robot in competition. Sometimes robots will perform beautifully, and do what they were expected to do without a hitch. But other times (and we have all experienced this), our design hypothesis turns out to be flawed, and we must start back at square one to reflect on what went wrong …and consequently redesign.

Analogous to this is the ‘design’ of FIRST itself. All of the dedicated individuals who are a part of FIRST want to make it even better than it already is. They come up with a ‘hypothesis’ for success, just as we come up with a ‘hypothesis’ for our robot design. FIRST tries to improve yearly, and often FIRST is successful. But other times, FIRST may make an incorrect hypothesis, and things may not turn out as smoothly as we would all like them to be.

When a team’s robot turns out to have an unsuccessful design, one thing I never see at competitions are people being negative toward that team; no booing, no ridiculing, no negative comments. This is because of the spirit of gracious professionalism: an underlying element of the FIRST experience. I see people willing to reach out to the teams who have been unsuccessful. People who understand what it means to be constructive and give advice to improve their robot ‘hypotheses’. People who recognize the importance of making the FIRST Robotics Competition more dynamic, inspiring, …and fun. People who we should try to emulate.

If only more people could have the same attitude toward FIRST as they do toward their fellow teams!
Just like we give constructive feedback to those who are less experienced at robot design, we should be giving constructive feedback to FIRST! Just as it is unacceptable to be negative and demeaning to the less outstanding teams at a competition, it is unacceptable to be negative and demeaning to FIRST when they turn out to be wrong.

We all know that nothing gets done when all you do is trash talk another team. We should also realize that we will not help to improve FIRST by dismissing something as “stupid” or “bad” without offering a better solution. It is time we start applying the principles of GP found at competitions …to our own conduct outside the competition. Be constructive! Offer input that will help FIRST improve! Let them know what they are doing wrong in a respectful manner; that way they will be even more willing to listen to you. This is what we do when we help each other… so lets start doing this when we want to help FIRST!

– Jaine

Personally the one thing that I hate is that some of the critisism has been really misguided. Smeone said that the competition is an old rehash of other competitions and no self respecting engnineer would want to reinvent the wheel. This is fairly scary because I can cite about a million reasons why this isn’t true and is a gross misrepresentation of the field.

I definitely agree, it is getting rediculous. I’ll be honest, there are many things that I believe have gone wrong, but does that mean I should EXPECT that it gets fixed immediately, or blast FIRST for it, no. For I fully understand, that even though that FIRST is a 14+ year old organization, the number really doesn’t matter. FIRST has been and will continue to be a work in progress as all other things in life are.


Thanks for opening the door for criticism, just as long as you aren’t the only one taking it. :slight_smile:

My team has come to the general consensus that FIRST’s holy grail, Gracious Professionalism, has been literally put to the side in this year’s game. The rules proove it.

[quote=Rules - Section 4 <G25>] <G25> Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over, or entanglement of ROBOTS are not
in the spirit of FIRST Robotics Competition and are not allowed. However, Triple Play is a highly interactive
contact game. Some tipping, entanglement, and damage may occur as a part of normal game play. If the
tipping, entanglement, or damage occurs where it is not a part of normal game play, at the referee’s discretion,
the offending team/ROBOT may be disqualified from that match. Repeated offenses could result in a
team/ROBOT being disqualified from the remainder of the Regional or Championship competition.
Examples of normal game play interaction include:
•Pushing low on another ROBOT.
•Blocking or pushing on a TETRA that is in possession of an opposing ROBOT.
•Establishing ROBOT position to block access to a GOAL by an opposing ROBOT.
•Using an arm or gripper to prevent an opposing ROBOT from placing a TETRA on a GOAL.[/quote]

It is in the opinion of myself and other members of my team, that even pushing low, blocking, etc. is a bit questionable. As an example, at nationals last year in a Curie Division qualifying match, there was a robot (who I will not reveal any information about) that kept on pushing us to the point we were driven out of bounds. Sure they were pushing low, not ramming, but the point is this: ‘pushing low on another robot’ has very broad meaning, such as the example above. Try and get even more specific. Your video showing a sample match for this game is a great example of how the above could happen.

I really hope that this doesn’t repeat anything, or sound a bit weak, but these are just the thoughts of my team and I. Thanks.

since im no vetran to FIRST ive been afraid to say anything. But $@#$@#$@#$@#, you people should be greatful, first has changed my life in so many ways, i could write a book on it. While i agree with a few, IMHO this is not the most chalanging year. BE GREATFUL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU DIDNT TAKE PART IN THE GREAT ORGANIZATION.

Let me preface this by saying that I have an enormous amount of respect for FIRST, the organization. They put in tremendous effort and pull off an amzing feat every year. I can’t thank them enough for creating a system like this.

Now that that’s said–

It is preposterous to declare a moratorium on constructive criticsm. While I think there are individuals who do little but whine and think unreasonable thoughts of FIRST, I think there is a greater number of individuals who spot problems or holes in the game and attempt to bring these to the attention of FIRST. They cannot work within the system, so it is their duty to bring concerns to the attention of the people in the system. I can’t make a law, but I can bring my case to my congressman.

I’ve noticed that threads and posts have been deleted–threads or posts that seem to question or–god forbid!–criticize the FIRST organization. And I ask this: how do you expect the problems of FIRST (and make no mistake that there are problems) to be addressed and solved if they are not brought to the attention of FIRST.

Look, I’ve managed quite a few things in my high school career. Nothing on the scale of FIRST, but enough to know a bit about organization and people management. One of the key things you need, as a manager, is other people to do small tasks for you. One of those tasks is quality control. And the best way to do quality control is to have other people bring complaints to you. You listen to the complaints, assess them, and take all measures possible to serve them, if that service would also serve the greater good. You do not silence them, or cow them by berating them about the head with tantrums of how busy you are.

Sometimes, I think the latter is happening a bit on the CD forums, and in the FIRST world in general. Not all the time, but sometimes. And I would urge those who seek to strangle all reasonable criticism to stop: you are doing a greater disservice than you may know.


Thank you Petey.

I think the “criticism of the critics” posts need to stop. Its a waste of time. Stop worrying about your reputations and what other people think about FIRST! Get back to building your robot!

I feel I need to defend Mr. Pettit against some of the attacks made on him. Mr. Pettit has spent five years now in FIRST and he has poured blood, sweat, and tears into it. He has spent thousands of hours running both a FIRST and Lego League team in addition to helping organize this year’s Arizona Kickoff. When ASU couldn’t host the event, Mr. Pettit stepped up and convinced our school to allow us to use our blackbox theater and classrooms to host the Kickoff and seminars. I can safely say without the work of Mr. Pettit and the Arizona Regional Planning Committee there would not have been an Arizona Kickoff. If Mr. Pettit didn’t love FIRST, he wouldn’t participate. I don’t think anybody has any right whatsoever to question Mr. Pettit’s dedication to FIRST or likewise accuse him of being “ungrateful” towards FIRST. Quite frankly, some of the behavior I have seen on this forum towards people who criticize FIRST is bordering on McCarthyism.

Is Mr. Pettit blunt? You bet he is! He doesn’t have time to dance around the issue or sugarcoat things. None of us do. Mr. Pettit doesn’t have the time to sit there and say “Gee, will this offend any of the zealots on CD?”. Mr. Pettit’s bluntness gets things done too. When Pettit says to me, “Hey, you’re screwing up, shape up!” I shape up really quick. Other people would subtly attack the issue hoping things would change. Blunt doesn’t automatically me you are cruel or mean, it just means you get to the point quicker. More people in FIRST need to be like Mr. Pettit if you ask me.

The sprockets thread was over and done with in my opinion when the solutions to the problem were posted. There was absolutely no need for the comments following the post made by Mr. Neun. The comments like “GO OUT AND BUY A 16MM DRILL BIT BLAH BLAH” where completely unnecessary and I think an apology is owed to those teams who dared post criticism on the matter.

In closing, criticism (or “whining” as particular posters would say) is what changes things. Those on this forum who believe there should be a ban on criticism all together are wrong and in my opinion dangerous. If they would have had their way, we wouldn’t have any gotten this year’s tranny kit because it was criticism of the poor quality of previous years’ drive system that led to those changes. I hope that our criticism of the sprocket problem will convince FIRST to rethink how they issue sprockets in the kit. Remember guys, we spent 6 grand on this kit, I think we have every right to scrutinize what is in the kit.

I am done. I am going to take my own advice and go back to actually caring about important things.

First off, I have to make one point here before I begin my say in this. FIRST is purely for educational purposes. This program is to educate students in a variety of fields, ranging from engineering to business. It is like a big business, there will be criticism on how it is run, but guys, like it’s been said before, think about it. 100 volunteers versus about 1200 teams. That’s quite a big ratio. 1 volunteer per 12 teams.
These volunteers are working extremely hard in helping us all and serving us as quickly as we can. We should not be complaining about anything, considering FIRST has teams in other countries to worry about along with all the teams in the United States and Canada.
Notice how I emphasize volunteers. They are volunteering their time to help all of our students, and mentors, learn and get the best experience out of this. FIRST is an amazing program, and sometimes there are setbacks. It’s a part of what the real world is like. This stuff happens. All we have to do is make the best of it and find how to come up with the best solution possible to solve our dilemma.
If you want to vent about it, put it in a journal or diary or just punch a wall. But just know that it won’t solve anything.

I am not going to make this long, because i had just worte the whole thing, then when i pressed submit, i was logged out, ugggg.

Okay, first off. When i wrote this thread, it was in response to the threads posted in the season of 2004. For example the thread, “Is First Moving backwards”

The title itself is attacking FIRST. If you want to make constructive criticism, you politley make your point across and suggest ways in which whatever you thought was wrong could have been done better. You have to respect those that will disagree with you. If someone “Flames” at you, you cannot flame back, what is the point in that? You are never going to please everyone, so please do not hold back your opinions because you are afraid people will not agree. If everyone did that…i don’t think Chief Delphi would be this big.

There is a world of difference between true “constructive criticism” and “coming here to vent.” The former makes an observation about an issue in a manner that is intended to educate, enlighten, inform, and lead to a solution. It is designed to respect both the seriousness of the issues, and the dignity of the other party. Done properly, it results in a problem being recognized and acknowledged as an issue worthy of discussion, and hopefully of resolution.

Mr. Lavery ALWAYS says it best. You must respect the ‘other party’. If they give a reaction you don’t like, just calmly defend your opinion, that is all you can do. And if you are going to post on Chief Delphi please keep an open mind to the fact that you may not always be right. And, before you decide you don’t like that something that FIRST does, think about why they did it. How the way they did it benefits FIRST.

I know full well that in order for an organization, or a team, to improve upon itself, it needs constructive criticism. If someone outright tells you that what you did was wrong, and they didn’t even look into the reason as to why it might be benficial to the team or organization AND they don’t even give a suggestion an dhow they think it could have been better, you tend to not want to listen. My family was big part of running Beach Cities Robotics for two years, and we heard a lot of complaining. And we hear a lot of constructive criticism, the second, we tended to listen to with more heart, and with more open minds then the out right complaining.

So here is my Constructive Criticism on Constructive Criticism.

  1. Do exactly as Mr. Lavery says.

  2. Respect the party that may not agree with you, and keep them in mind.

  3. Do not ‘flame’ back at them when they ‘flame’ at you.

  4. Suggest ways in which you thought the thing that was done poorly could have been done better.

  5. Choose an apropriate title. Ex. I could have used a better title on this thread, with less emotion and more…Gracious Proffesionalism than i did.

Which brings me to my next point:

  1. When you are trying to make a point, try not to use emotion. The first thing we learned in school is that when writing a persuasive essay, you cannot use emotion to get your point across. You need facts.

  2. Keep an open mind to others opinion about your opinion, they might point out things you didn’t realize. Always keep an open mind on Chief Delphi.

  3. On CD be as proffesional as you can about any post you make. It will come across better to everyone earning you respect.

I had some other ideas, but i forgot them. Just keep in mind, that everything that FIRST does has a reason, and it might not make things easier on you, but FIRST might do things to make things better for the FIRST organization so it can keep on growing, or things might be done to benefit teams that are less fortuant then yourselves.

  1. LOOK AT DATES, i started this thread a year ago.
  1. And if you disagree with someone else’s opinion, do onto others what you would have them do onto you. React to them the way you would want them to react to you if they didn’t like one of your opinions. Giving them bad rep and telling them not to make any more of those kind of threads is not the appropriate way to react, just because you don’t agree with it. Only moderators have the right to do that.

I agree with everyone on that note. This is my second year on FIRST and even though the game is more difficult why should people complain. FIRST is doing all they can to keep vetern teams in the mix and bring aboard new teams to compile the frenzy were all in. I can understand the change in the Chairmans award submission, but it is all done to get more teams into the hall of fame and more teams to participate. Just try to look at it from FIRST’s point of view. They want all the teams they can get because they love to see the dedication put in by teams and parents, but the students is what really gets them going. Seeing the students is why they do these things. Don’t get down because of the changes, it’s done to prepare us for the future ahead of us and that’s why I continue to strive. Everyone just think of how FIRST would feel if you complained to them bout the game and other stuff, just don’t do it. It’s not worth the time to complain to them, just do as you always do, do your best!!! :smiley:

There are only 2 words to say about FIRST and there are no need for others

FIRST ROCKS :smiley:

don’t we all have robots to build? don’t we have chairman’s submissions to work on? or at least some website desigining? something? whining and complaining about what FIRST is “doing wrong” or what they “should do” doesnt solve anything in the middle of build season. There is indeed a time and a place for constructive criticism-and that is during the off season when FIRST asks for input-asks you how they can be betetr in the future. For now, lets all go work on debugging some autonomous code and get ready to compete. :slight_smile:

I’m with you all. FIRST is GREAT for all that they do.

My only complaint is that they review the rules before the kickoff. Some of them actually said 2006 on them.