Our experience in Galileo

During our first qualifcation match (match #4) we experienced this issue were we had no robot code avaliable on driver station at station blue #2. I wont be getting into the technical aspects of it right now unless anyone is interested however an FTA was called over and he tried rebooting the roborio which wasnt working. I asked if we could go onto the field to redeploy our code real quicky which would have taken a short amount of time but he denied because the field was closed and fair enough.

The day before we were on the field playing a practice match like normal and on the pit literally moments before qual 4 we were working fine. All of these things led us to believe that it was a field fault and we were inclined to ask for a replay. Of course this would just chalk up to be the usual “I cant see what I did wrong so its the fields fault” so they sent CSA to investigate. About 5 different CSA’s and 1 WPILIB dev came over to our pit throughout the day investigating our logs and nothing could be traced back to an issue on our end. When my coach went to the question box to push the matter the FTA/Field Adviser told us that there was nothing wrong on their end and explicitly states it was something wrong with us.

Funnily enough, fast forward a few matches and we are once again on blue side and one of our alliance partners on station 2 (same station as us in match 4) are having issues with their robot code. The same FTA came over to them and did the same procedure they did with us and robot code only came up after like 2 minutes of waiting which prompted the FTA to comment on how strange and unusual this issue was. It seems a bit out there to say that theres nothing wrong with the field and instead pin it on the teams becaue even though I cant speak for our alliance members if they’re anything like us then they probably werent at fault. Especially when you consider galileos less than great FMS reputation for this year with all the matches that had to be stopped and replayed.

In all honesty though after some time had passed we realized that getting a replay was unrealistic so we just left it at that. To put it in the words of another FTA who came up to us when we were in queue for another match, “Sorry about all this, if the ones who work on the base layers of all this cant identify any issues then it probably wasnt on your end but theres just not enough proof to say it was a field fault” which we ultimately have to agree with.

However the more important takeaway from all of this becomes clear when you compare this to match number 30 which we participated in. As I said earlier the FTA didnt allow us to redeploy our code because the field was already closed which is a logical call. However in match 30 team 4481 had the field opened up for them twice, once for a battery swap and another just for some inspection but on what specifically I couldn’t tell you. Please listen when I say that I have no problem at all with something like this being allowed because I’d appreciate it so much if something like this would be done for us, but it wasnt. If the field was allowed to be opened for them why couldn’t that be done for us also? It couldn’t be because galileo was behind because this was during one of the first 5 quals matches. Again this isnt a personal jab at 4481 or any other team that was treated this way and no I dont think its rigged for bigger teams or anything because I really just dont know why we werent given this treatment. If you’re going to be strict and abide by the rules thats fine or if you decide to show leniency thats also perfectly fine but please give that treatment to all the teams. My oach brought this up at the question box and just wanted them to acknowledge that this isnt fair but nobody at the desk could give us a response.

Bad ref calls and the likes are bound to happen at every single competition no matter what but when it gets to this point it feels proper to at least speak up. During qualifxation match 106 we got disabled early on into the match after being run over by 3539 which we thought was fine because they’d get flagged for it with a penalty but nothing. After a hard, clean bumper to bumper hit with 1591 our coach informs our driver to just stop moving because we are literally near all 3 blue robots and we dont want to risk anything for at least 2-3 seconds. We have been in this situation sooooo many times before when if a robot is too close to us and they even slightly mount on top of us literally everything can go wrong and so we didnt want to risk anything. If you look at this video recording of the match: Qualification 106 - 2023 FIRST Championship - Galileo Division - YouTube at 0:58 you can see 3539 run their wheels over one of the corners within our frame perimeter causing us to be dced. After inspecting the damage at our pit we see that in that same corner our electrical was all messed up. Namely our canivore usb was ripped out and one of our power wires for a motor were torn off.

To our surprise the match ended with 25 penalty points awarded to the opposing alliance and 0 for us which ultimately costed us the match. At the question box the head referee said alot of questionable things at last in my opinion. In regards to us being dced the reason why it was no penalty for them because we dced after bumper to bumper contact and no damage was caused to us according to what they saw. Right off the bat I asked him why did he mark us as disconnected after contact with 1591 and he said because we stopped moving. When I asked him to clarify how he knew that it was at that moment we got dced he said he couldnt say for sure. He also claimed that there was no damage done to us at all even after 3539 mounted over us because he couldnt see them actually damage us. Our wires are a bit beneath the top of our chassis so they’re compact and hidden away but their wheel when on top of these wires and as it rotated it stripped away and tore our wires. He told us that he couldnt count this because he didnt know that all of this was going on but 1. we are communicating now as soon as possible what exactly happened and 2. how would you ever be able to officiate any damage done to parts that arent clearly visible on the robot? To which the best answer we got was a simple shrug and that if anything they’d come to the robot right after the match to check for damage which they didnt do because they assumed we had sustained no damage when we did.

Again though the ref wasnt like being rude or anything and he said it could very well be possible that he missed the call so he apologized but honestly the call about us being disabled isnt eve the biggest concern. The opposing alliance was awarded with 25 penalty points with in the end gave them the win and these were 5 counts of G204 violations according to head ref. Now I’ve tried rewatching the match a few times and 100% I agree that I can see at least one G204 infraction on our end but besides that all of our alliance members went to the question box to ask when did those penatlies occur and we got no answer. I know that the refs dont log fouls or anything but the head red said that him and like 4 other refs some of which being other head refs were watching the match and they were all in agreement with those calls. We asked if it was our robot that caused these to which they said yes so we asked again because we were literally disabled and then they said it wasnt us and they couldnt tell us which team it was for specfically which as you can imagine made our whole alliance a bit upset.

At the end of the day refs are just human too and not only can they make mistakes but they also dont have all the answers. Regardless it still cant excuse the unfairness that comes with the different ways that teams are treated or the way that fouls are called expecially in a compettion that is the crystallization of every students hard work. I guess at the end of it this really is just a little vent but can you really blame me for being even a little bit frustrated over this? Its nothing new and theres no fix or anything like that but I wanted to share the experience of my team wondering if anyone feels the same or would respectfully disagree.


I have seen multiple times where poor communication between the refs leads to double and even triple calls on the same single penalty. The “point and pray” method is archaic and relies on refs seeing the penalty while also seeing that another ref saw the same penalty. Realistically FIRST needs to make it clearer for refs on the calling, like have 5 or 6 sections on the field with clear boundaries where each ref is responsible for calling. If a ref isn’t making good calls a head ref can make the decision to move them to another zone, or replace them all together. They may also want to introduce some verbal communication between the refs. For example, if team 4728 commits a penalty the ref would call “4728” or just “blue” while waving their flag. This would mean that all refs are aware that a penalty has been called, and who has called it. Without that they may miss the fact that another ref has already called that same penalty.


Hers what i saw from the match video:

94s, 5427… lifts up 3539? Im personally unsure of what the foul is here
83s, 5427 i assume makes contact with the inside of 3539
74s, 67’s intake makes contact with the inside of 3539 (two refs wave their flags here)
64s, 67 gives inside the blue substation area, and 3539 touches them

I am going to assume that foul #3, despite the bottom right ref trying to make very clear that they were going to record the foul, was entered in twice.


Right, like I’m not brining up any groundbreaking news because the topic of how to improve refereeing has been discussed so many times here on cd and in general but really it feels like the current system has been dragging on for too long. I obviously dont expect any change to happen overnight but teams have been pushing for more fair officiating and providing solutions like yours for quite some time now and I dont know if we’ve seen any of these major developments.

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I agree that these seem to be the calls but besides foul #1 and #4 I geniunely dont know why those were being called. I’ve replayed those instances so many times looking for their intakes portruding into their frame perimeter but I cant see it. And the double flag waving is ridiculuous because if they counted it twice okay thats fine they just messed up but why did they never bother to correct it thats kinda messed up. We could talk specifics about how this call was wrong and how another call was missed but this issue happens everywhere. Its just frustrating when the best answer we can get from refs at a world level competition is “we know it sucks” especially when you cant blame everything on them.


Refs can’t call penalties for damage they don’t see. They have no way to know post match whether damage to your robot was self-inflicted or the result of a penalty unless they see the damage happen. I’m sorry this happened to you, but there’s nothing they could do.

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Yeah I guess this part just ends up being a run of the mill complaint which although justified in our frustration there’s nothing much we can do
Which is why I honestly should have put more focus on the first part of this post. It’s just upsetting knowing that we had no chance of playing a match in champs because we were denied access to the field and then continuing to see the staff show other teams the same level of leniency that could have helped us. I call it unfair because I really don’t know what else to describe it as. If when we bring this up to the FTAs/refs about how the disparate treatment is unfair we just get the silent treatment then how can I assume anything else?

CSA here. The no code was probably not a field issue, nor anything your team did wrong. It’s simply something that happens sometimes (I believe specifically with the RIO 2.0) and normally a reboot fixes it. It’s an intermittent issue that can happen on boot-up, and very occasionally you’ll see it happen across multiple boots in a row, which sounds like happened to you.

As for why other teams were allowed on the field, that wasn’t the only issue you faced. Consider H302:

Teams may not tether to the ROBOT while on the FIELD except in special circumstances (e.g. after Opening Ceremonies, before an immediate MATCH replay, etc.) and with the express permission from the FTA or a REFEREE.

Tethering is simply not an allowed action. While the FTA could’ve granted permission, as I understand it this was not considered a special circumstance and he correctly followed procedure.

As unfortunate as it is from the team side, this doesn’t constitute a field fault and isn’t worthy of a replay.

I do hope this gets figured out for next year.


On the referee panels they display the # of Fouls/Tech Fouls that have been entered on that panel, not match wide. This should be changed

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The Head referee panels do report match wide numbers and are supposed to be a second set of eyes for duplicates/missed entries.


I see, That shows it’s technically possible so it could be added to all.

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Right because it seems as though red was flagged twice for the same penalty and that wasn’t corrected at the end of the match. If that foul wasn’t counted twice then i can’t seem to find any other fouls that would add up to 25 penalty points

Absolutely, all the CSAs we’re very helpful in explaining why we couldn’t get a replay because really there isn’t anything anyone could find to blame the field for. Though i do hope Galileo blue station 2 gets fixed by next year cuz even in playoffs i see thumbs down from whatever team is on that station :sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

I don’t know if it’s just me that’s noticing this, but I’m seeing a lot of teams dead on the field. Like I think a lot more than usual.


From what I’ve seen, the only possible way to convince a ref that damaging contact occurred inside the frame perimeter when they weren’t already 100% sure is to go to a ref and point it out before otherwise touching the robot or starting to move it off the field. If they didn’t see it during the match or maybe 5 seconds after a match, going to the question box won’t be very effective.

Beyond that, reffing is hard, and at world’s there’s little rapport because you don’t have refs that usually work together like in their local region/district. I personally think that they should consider having floating ref crews to help fix that problem.


Sounds like you’re not the only one

These changes you are suggesting already exist. The refs are assigned quadrants, and that is why they rotate throighout the event to balance out the effects of one ref on any particular area.

Being able to swap out refs would require so much additional effort on a volunteer perspective. So many events already struggle to get 5 qualified refs and a head ref so just throwing more at the problem is not really viable imo.

Also, refs already have radios to communicate fouls and calls. Also, games that require manual ref input for auto or endgame (which has been like all of them for many years) takes the refs eyes off the robot interactons and possible fouls.

The head ref is also supposed to be monitoring where the fouls are coming from and the whole field. They can see where each foul is being called.

I understand inconsistent officiating is frustrating, but i think the root cause is not in the systems we have currently


I don’t regard those as effective, to put it midly. At least not the standard ones. There’s a reason you see–even at Champs–two refs who call the same foul pointing at each other afterwards.


How come calls like those are never corrected? In our case we weren’t even able to tell that the refs made a double call until after the match when the video was posted which even then we aren’t allowed to show them any footage so they would have ended up denying anyways

Maybe they don’t know there was a mistake?