PSA to Anyone Who Uses the BlueVolt Training System

Good Evening

I am writing this to give a quick PSA to anyone who uses a preferred name or, has changed their legal name after creating a BlueVolt account for FTC Training. I have already contacted FIRST about it but, I have no clue how long it’ll take to fix it or if it will ever get fixed.

The BlueVolt training system from what I can understand, will only gather your legal name from the FIRST Dashboard, it does not care if you have set a preferred name or anything like that. Even if you change it within the BlueVolt system, it does not stick and will not process that it is a valid change after you close the tab out. The only way to have it show up properly on the BlueVolt system is to change your legal name within the FIRST Dashboard (which is not really possible for people who haven’t done the legal name change process yet).

Now here’s the catch, the training certification PDFs are immediately generated after you complete the training, meaning that any training you completed to any type of name change within the BlueVolt system will automatically have your dead name on it. There is no way that I know of to regenerate the PDFs or anything like that. This means that once you complete the training, whatever name is on the BlueVolt account is stuck to it.

Unfortunately, there is no fix for this that I know of at the moment. FIRST said they passed it along and they will be looking into it but have not given me a definitive timeline for when it’ll be fixed.

For anyone who has to use BlueVolt and has a preferred name:

You can temporarily change your name on the BlueVolt website but it will not stick once you close out the tab. However, any training you do with the name change will stick to the PDF and the PDF will not change even after BlueVolt resyncs with the FIRST Dashboard. If you have any prior training that you have done with your dead name, I am sorry, but right now it’s stuck there on the PDF.

I will be continuing to monitor if FIRST does make changes to the BlueVolt system and update this thread as needed.

Thank you all and hope you have a good rest of your season.

-Nova R. (Your Local Themby of Chaos)

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The preferred name field in the FIRST Dashboard is a pretty new change. There are a lot of parts of the system that don’t see it yet.

Last season, it was implemented on the frontend (volunteers could enter it on their profile) but it didn’t appear in many placed on the backend (VCs and PDPs could only see the preferred name in a few specific reports). The preferred name now prints in pretty much every type of report in VMS.

The development of these features has been pretty quick. You might be the first person to get this on their radar. I’m optimistic that it’ll be fixed relatively soon now that they know, while acknowledging that this stuff never happens immediately.

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I wouldn’t get my hopes up to fix the problem, far too many computer systems have a similar issue… hell, even my local hospital that’s supposed to be super trans friendly and has a supposedly top in the state gender clinic needed my deadname, birth sex, and middle name to check me in to the er the other day :person_facepalming: (and the receptionist was slightly hard of hearing so i had to hear my deadname loudly and slowly spelled out multiple times :smiling_face_with_tear:) idk why the system is programmed to need to know what’s in my pants to verify my identity but it seems like computers in general just got set up to use “legal name (preferred name)” instead of “name (name on legal paperwork)”

I would love if first figured out how to fix this but they’d be one of the first ones sadly. (Although maybe im just still salty about announcing to the whole waiting room that im trans while i was trying to focus on getting myself the medical care i needed)

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I have plenty of updates with it overall being positive but some negative information. Let’s dive right into it.

On December 14th, I finally got an update from the FIRST DEI team after I went 2 weeks with no response from a follow-up email I sent (I had to poke someone to get a response). As of the information I have, there is an outstanding IT ticket for this issue and they are working on it. The last update I got from the DEI team was on December 21st, saying that the update is complex and they may not have another update until mid-January.

Unfortunately, any previous certificates will still show the previous name on it. There is no mechanism to update the certificates with a new name on it. I am hoping that something is done about this since some certificates do last more than one year and won’t be able to have a new one generated with a new name.

TL;DR, FIRST is working on a fix, there is no estimated time for when it will be completed, and, any previous certificates will still have any previous legal name on them. I should get another update on this issue in mid-January.

Thank you all and have a good leading week up to kickoff.

-Nova (Your Local Themby of Chaos)

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Just wanted to share that the preferred name now appears in the Dean’s List Judging Portal, so judges will see this field for the first time when reviewing submissions.

I made this request last year after seeing some submissions where the essay would reference one name and the title of the submission (as generated by the student’s profile) would show another name. Not wanting to unintentionally deadname students (as, unfortunately, judging partners of mine have done in the past), I shared this with HQ. Their response last season was positive – one resembling “we can’t do it in the middle of the season but makes sense.”

I encourage folks to keep reporting areas where systems can be made more inclusive.

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Does this fix apply to the woodie flowers award as well?

Woodie Flowers is judges by a panel at HQ, not by judges at local events, so I don’t know the answer to this.

Howdy everyone, I can finally write an update (thank you build season for taking all my time and mental capacity). I did get information from FIRST itself and it sounds like the issue is resolved for the most part. However, some issues within the system sound like constraints with the system itself that they cannot change easily.

FIRST did say that on January 10th, all their systems for BlueVolt switched over to using the preferred name of a person for BlueVolt finally and it should be visible. I double-checked this on my end too to be sure that it went through, and it did along with the certificates are now printed with someone’s preferred name. I do have some constraints that come directly from FIRST with the system:

  • Any courses that were completed before the work will not display preferred names (meaning that certificates that were already made cannot be changed).

    • Courses cannot be retaken to try to get around this.
  • The preferred name is only viewable on certificates from courses completed from this point forward (any time past January 10th if you had a preferred name on there and completed a course).

I am thrilled and grateful to see FIRST is making progress with systems like this (and other systems pointed out above in this thread like the Dean’s List Judging Portal) and continually making sure that we have FIRST be an inclusive place for all.

Thank you all and have a good rest of your build season and competitions!

  • Nova R. (Your Local Themby of Chaos)
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