Petition to end the shouting of ROBOT

It seems like this sort of a thread is becoming an annual thing for me. So, here we go for 2013…

This week, 696 is here at the Inland Empire regional having a wonderful time at this new event, but there’s one thing that really grinds my gears. First, let me say that I have the utmost respect for our safety inspectors. These are all qualified folks who are trying to look out for our best interests, but at this event, I take serious issue with one of the mandated practices they have imposed on all competing teams.

The safety inspectors are *requiring *all teams to loudly yell “ROBOT!” any time they are moving their robot within the pit area and to or from the field. There are several issues with the practice of yelling “ROBOT!”:

  1. It’s not necessary
  2. It’s arrogant
  3. It’s obnoxious
  4. It’s rude
  5. It creates excessive noise
  6. It startles bystanders
  7. It turns off the general public
  8. It starts a chain reaction of other teams yelling for no apparent reason
  9. With repetition, it becomes white noise and loses all meaning
  10. It does little to make anyone safer in any way, and may even create a hazard
  11. It gives teams a false sense of entitlement that others will drop everything to move out of their way.
  12. It’s safety theater

Aside from my issues with teams yelling “ROBOT!”, it’s not right for any FIRST volunteer event or official to *require *my students to verbally say something they are strongly opposed to saying. At least three times already today, my team was called out for not yelling “ROBOT!” when they are moving the robot. (Mind you, we received the #1 Pit Safety recognition at Long Beach in 2012 and 2013, without yelling of any sort).

Some of you may ask, “Well how can you move a robot safely without yelling ‘ROBOT!’ ?” It’s simple. We’re never in a rush, we look where we’re going, and if for some reason we do encounter some impediment to our travel (which happens only rarely), we politely and in a reasonable volume say “excuse me” followed by a “thanks.”

So, who is ready to end this absurd practice of yelling “ROBOT!” ?


:raises hand:

I always thought that you could yell robot only if it was preceded by Excuse Me/Us. I think the only time yelling ROBOT! by itself is ok is if you are in need to get to a match immediately; otherwise, be polite about it.

We have a megaphone that we say, “Exuse us, robot coming through.” or “Please hold up, robot coming through.”

? Is this a new requirement?

Last year at Chesapeake I spoke to the green shirts and asked them to talk to teams on their rounds and request they put a person in front of their robot during movement through the pits, to tap people on the shoulder, etc. No shouting of robot. I think it worked well.

Last weekend in Boston I was wearing a blue shirt. While in the pits during interviews, I would politely grab someone on the team coming through and ask teams to NOT yell this. They always apologized.

Quite surprising that this is being mandated at IE. I feel I heard much less of it this year at Long Beach (a positive trend), will see if that holds up at other events. I’ve certainly instructed my own team to never do this.

It’s not so much the act of yelling ROBOT but the other behaviors that inevitably accompany it, as OP has clearly pointed out.

There was a team at a regional this year that had 2 people walk in front of the robot holding caution tape between them with blinking lights alternating yelling “ROBOT IN TRANSIT!” every 2 seconds.

You guys wouldn’t make it through a regional in Israel. Working in the pit area is like standing in a heavy metal concert for 3 days straight :stuck_out_tongue:

For all it’s worth, I support this suggestion

My respnose when I hear someone yell “ROBOT!!” is “Yes it is a robot”

raises hand to support NOT yelling ROBOT

And yet some of our students still do it. We gotta throw this into the behavior contract or something. Is this in the team handbook?


I caused a bit of a kerfuffle recently when I attempted to get my team to refrain from participating in this nonsense.

It helps nobody and undermines any credibility the safety advisors might have.

I absolutely hate it when people yell “ROBOT!”

Do you walk in front of cars and yell “PEDESTRIAN!”? Do you walk in front of a train and yell “COMMUTER!”?

Whatever happened to “Excuse me!” or “Pardon me!”? :confused:

I think it’s more like a bus driving through Times Square on NYE with a megaphone blaring “BUS!”, but I get your point. :wink:

I mostly agree, the yelling without niceties attached should stop. I don’t mind if a safety captain wants to escort (you know, one of the kids in the orange vest and hard hat) us through the pits, but there’s a polite way and a rude way of doing that.

:Raises hand in support:

The pits are plenty loud. Any extra noise just doesn’t help the problem

I personally find the yelling of ROBOT as tradition. its not hurting anyone, and it gets the job done faster than quietly asking everyone to move. If you tried to get through the pits of GSR by quietly asking every single person to move, it would take 10 minutes to get through. Its just one of those things that makes a competition what it is.

100% in support, yelling robot is obnoxious. We’ve found that just telling people,
“Excuse us” in an indoor voice works, and usually people are more polite to you. We had no problem at our last regional doing this, and we got from point A>B as fast as if we were yelling “ROBOT”.

Similar to what someone above posted, our team has sometimes taken to sarcastically yelling “human” as we transport the robot to and from matches XD

My question for you is how do you fix the issue? As a member of the drive-team as both a student and now coach I can tell you it can be incredibly difficult making it through the mass of people milling about in front of pits. Some of these people can be incredibly clueless as to what is going on around them and sometimes it takes a loud shout to snap them out of their daydream or pull them out of the text they are sending. While yelling “robot” does get annoying and and sometimes comes across as rude, it gets the job done and gets the robot to the match on time.

I also support this. It’s easy to excited shouting “robot” but it’s just as easy to say “excuse me” as you move through the pit with your robot.

I strongly disagree with this statement. I have been in the most packed concert mosh pits and “excuse me” still works. You don’t have to say “excuse me” quietly, often you have yell it at a regional. When its noisy (like queuing for a match), I think most people expect you to be yelling. If someone wont move because you said “excuse me,” they are not going to moving if you say “robot.” If an indoor voice works, why not use an indoor voice?

Excessive car horn honking in New York got banned for the same reasons. Certainly it was not a tradition that added to the New York atmosphere.

I hate “ROBOT!”

I fell over laughing at 2 kids at the end of the day Saturday at Wisconsin. One was riding on the cart, paddling with a broom while the other pushed, yelling “ROWBOAT!”

People on my team also sometimes yell HUMAN at each other in jest when trying to get into our pit to do something :stuck_out_tongue: