"Read the rules!" ...can it be said enough?

It happens every year and I’d like to suggest a change. Well first, I’ll reiterate what happens every year for rookies…vet’s skip this part…

Every year dozens, probably hundreds of FIRSTers log into the forums and go nuts because they think something is crazy in the rules and they didn’t get part X in their kit. They beg and plea for help. The ask questions that can be answer most effectively by quoting the rule book. They clog the forums with amazingly redundant problems that aren’t problems. No one is saying those who do that are themselves a problem or anything, but I am here to plea my case - it’s frustrating! :slight_smile:

Ok, so what if when I type into my humble browser…‘chiefdelphi.com’ I get a slightly different page? A welcome page that makes users read and agree to a concise agreement…they will read the rules, word by word, front to back, before asking a question in the forum. I’m not convinced it will make a difference, but I think putting this idea out there will at least encourage people to read the manual first or come up with a solution. Brandon…any ideas?

Alright, I’ll yell a little more, but I’ll be more concise. You NEED to read the entire manual, especially if you intend on asking people questions in this busy forum.

Let’s get the biggest one out of the way right now! :slight_smile: When you are missing a part from your kit, you will follow the procedure outlined in the manual to request the missing part from FIRST. Settle down, read the manual, and THEN come here to ask questions or chit-chat.

Finallaly, I urge everyone, rookies and veterans alike, to go read every bit of those sections now available. Most important is probably communications section - so that you know how to ask FIRST when you have a substantial question.

I completely agree about reading the rules. That is cruicial, not just for the smooth functioning of the boards, but for the smooth functioning of every FIRST team.

As for the missing kit parts, I would suggest one consolidated thread where everyone can vent. This would at least allow rookie teams to know that they are not alone.


We would all agree that everyone should read the rules BUT participating in FIRST is often very overwhelming, especially for rookies, and folks ask these “needless” questions because when overwhelmed with questions, it is very comforting to ask other people for an answer.

I think that reaching out to these folks is much more productive than yelling at them. As a college student, I would hope that you appreciate this the most. I’d bet that 99.9% of the questions that you have concerning your studies is in your text books or can be easily derived from information in those books but where would you be without your professors. In theory, we do not need teachers in this world because we have the written word, but in reality, teachers are one of the most valuable resources, if not the most valuable resource, we have.

Have a great year,

Reading that, I didn’t know what to think - to be offended or ashamed or what - because what you said I already know and believe. I’m probably not being clear. I’m not upset and I’m glad to help anyone anytime. However, what I’m suggesting is that we somehow detour the kind of traffic on this site that so many of us get frustrated with. Yes, it is comforting and this is not a cold group of people here, by far. But I answered many threads last year in a very short period of time - each one asking how they can get replacement parts. With all these questions and cocerns, I want nothing more than to soothe fellow FIRSTers, but wouldn’t you agree that if they actually sat down and read the manual, that would take care of the problem before it happened?

CD is essential to rookies, so don’t think for a minute that any one of you should ever shy away from getting help here. What I am saying is that these repeat simple questions about the rules are a problem we can and should avoid. Maybe I should be shot down on this one, but I’m not against helping rookied by any means.

Humoring people who ask question’s that the answers to are easily found in the rules has nothing to do with helping rookies.

Every year I consider myself well versed on the rules of the game. I’ve been in FIRST 4 years, this is my 5th, and I haven’t know about this year’s game for the last 4, so it’s not like I have some advantage when it comes to rookies… Understanding of the game comes from reading the rules… rookie or not, it doesn’t really matter.

Basically, being a rookie isn’t an excuse for not reading the rules.

Nonetheless, even for vets like thyselves, venting is an extremely important part of social interaction. Perhaps this calls for a message in the Announcements section, but we do need at least one central venting forum.

What’s furthermore is that you don’t have to respond to every single thread. If copy/pasting from the manual becomes a tedious activity, you are free to bloody well stop. Until someone comes along and says, “OMG these treads are stealing my gigabytes!” it’s no skin off your nose to simply let your eye jump over them and on to the one asking which aluminium-shaving-based lubricant is best for use with 10-series 80/20.

While it’d be nice for a change if everyone read the rules, I don’t think that’s needed, at all.

Many rookie teams, and even freshmen on vetern teams, may not understand how FIRST works. I know the first year I participated (2002) I didn’t go all out to learn the rules until a few weeks in, after reading Chiefdelphi and realizing, “wow, all these smart people seem to know the entire manual by heart, that seems like a smart thing to do.”

If someone comes on the forum and asks a simple question, something that can be answered by copying a few lines from a PDF, what’s the big deal? If several people ask the same simple question, well, yeah, then you can get mad because Bradon has told people to search, oh, about thirty times when they register :-p.

I think the best thing to do is impress upon people the importance of learning the rules, and hope that they learn quickly. If someone refuses to learn the rules, because “someone else on my team does that,” well, we can’t force them to make their own lives easier. In any case, I’d much rather have a question that can be answered quickly in black and white then some long, several hundred post thread about the legalities of some stupid little detail.

So what happens if they click this agreement and ask a question like, “Hey! Are we having alliances this year? How many teams are on each side?!” Should they be banned from the board for (obviously) not reading the game description for this year? I think not.

If you’re convinced it won’t make a difference, why go through all the trouble? If that page were the first thing I saw when I was a new member here, I would’ve thought, “Oh man, I have to read the WHOLE thing before I can even ask a question?? This sucks - I’ll just guess the answer and hope I get it right.” We’re here to help others; not turn them away because they missed something in the manual.

I do agree that people should look for the answer themselves before asking for help. But sometimes, even after reading the whole manual, you’ll have a question. Like Ian said,

why do we have to read the rules if we break them its our own fault, who really cares if you read the rules go you more power to ya, i personally am not going to. i kno the genral idea of what we have to do and thats all i need to kno. I dont have time to read the rules im a teenager im only 15 im too busy hanging with my friends and going to the mall to read 400 page book of rules, we all need to chill out, if your concerned about reading the rules you read them if everybody else doesnt like i said before its thier own $@#$@#$@#$@# fault

The rules are there to provide a standard. If you don’t read them, you do not know what might break them. If you break them, there are consequences. Those consequences involve your entire team, not just you.

That is why you have to read the rules.

Those consequences could also affect your alliance, your sponsors, your school and the competition as a whole.

Emma, maybe you should skip the mall for a day or two to read over the rules. You don’t have to memorize them, but having an understanding beyond, “Oh, we have to build a robot to do this specific thing. Neat.” is a good thing.

You wouldn’t join a soccer team knowing only, “OK, I have to kick the ball into the net across the field,” would you? I hope not.

So, explain to my why, if you have all that time to go to the mall and hang out with your friends, you don’t have time to read a short list of rules? The important sections of the rulebook (dealing with things like safety, the kit, and game rules) are only about 50 pages long. And guess what? Reading and understanding the rules is an important part of FIRST. A big part of Gracious Professionalism is competing fairly, and playing by the rules.

Plus, If you don’t understand the rules, you don’t fully understand the game. In addition, there are consequences for not following some rules (like wearing safety glasses in the pits, or countless on-the-field actions). I seriously doubt your team would take “I was too busy going to the mall” as a good excuse.

Finally (and this goes to many people on the forums), the use of proper spelling and grammar is encouraged on these forums. When in a situation like FIRST, where you’re interacting with engineers and business professionals, professional writing makes you sound more intelligent, more mature, and more competent. It’s hard to respect someone who posts in IM-speak. And, most importantly of all… no swearing, even if it does get filtered out. It’s classless, and unprofessional.

Can we make this thread a poll?? Cause… my vote would be a big… **NO. **It can’t be said enough.

Even if you don’t have time to read all the rules, at least familiarize yourself with the Table of Contents in each manual section, so that when someone on your team does ask a question, you will know about where to look for an answer.

I have already answered a question for a person here on CD that was basically easy enough to figure out where it was in the manual just by a quick glance at A) The Manual Title, and B) The Table of Contents of that Manual.
Please don’t waste peoples time by posting a thread you yourself can very well find the answer to.

In industry, it it not always about reading, and memorizing a thousand facts, and answers, but knowing where to look for those answers.

If you are too busy at the mall to read the WHOLE manual, at least make an effort, and read the table of contents.

Ok folks, there is really no need to argue about this. Since when are we starting to get so touchy about giving advice to people that we have to argue about it? Just imagine you are giving a rookie workshop trying to prepared these students for a competition they’ve never seen before. See what you would tell them in order to help them avoid learning things the hardway.

Take a look at the following points and see if you agree with me:

  1. There is a tremendous amount of useful information in the manual that will benefit any FIRST participant if they have time to read through it. Although it is not necessary, it is highly recommended to read the manual because it explain the competition very well and have lots of useful technical advice regarding the robot. Familiarizing with the rules will only help clear confusions in the future, and help teams understand the competition better.

  2. It is no big deal if people don’t understand the rule and decided to ask a question in the Chief Delphi Forum. A lot of people will be more than willing to supply answers very quickly. However, the answers should have the goals to a) provide a useful respond, b) teach the person how to use the manual in the area they have question about, c) point the person to the right direction if further clarification from FIRST is necessary. The key here is to help them learn how to solve problems, and not just helping them to get by until the next question.

Certainly all of you have gone through the rookie phase when you first join the competition. You should understand how hectic it is when you are doing this for the first time. We should encourage rookies to seek help from this wonderful discussion forum. At the same time, we should give them the best answers we can to ensure their survival and success in this program, and teaching them to use the manual to their advantage is one of the best answers you can give.

Sorry, but there’s no need to have that big block quote…you guys get that I’m responding to Ken above…

I agree with what you said Ken, and I have to say you said it well. To respond to others generally I’d like to point out that some of you seem to be a little touchy because you might be assuming I (or others) mean that we should be cold and harsh and that we should yell at those who ask these simple questions or yell at anyone who asks any question from the manual. That’s just ridiculous (I mean, I’m agreeing that such behavior would be ridiculous) and that’s not what we’re about.

If you really want to understand my argument, look at my posts to the forum the first few weeks of the last season. Many were on threads like “I’m Missing Stuff!” or “Missing Parts” or “Stop Posting Needless Stuff.” My point is that every year many of us are bothered by repeat posts for simple problems and I am thinking we might try to fix this somehow. That post about how I’m convinced it won’t work (so why try?) was confusing. I’m not convinced it won’t work but I’m convinced it would have to be incredibly short. Something like “read the manual first, please, and then perform a search on the forums before posting.” If they can’t read as much as that, then they won’t enjoy reading one of my posts :slight_smile: But I’m not hyping this idea…it’s just an idea.

To be clear, again - I don’t mind answering those posts I’m whining about. If you look at my replies, I politely reference the manual promptly after their post. They had an answer and were on their way. Good. Glad to help. But what we can do to encourage people to read the manual…I don’t know. I just agree that it’s the right way to start off the season and am frustrated looking for a solution.