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    That didn't take long. SAP Rocket has essentially the full board solved and posted on YT. Including some of the more clever solutions some of us have noticed. Let the copy cats get aligned.

    I don't really put the blame on postings like this, and they do have lots of disclaimers at the beginning. I put the responsibility on coaches to steer teams to their own ownership of the season.



    SAP Rocket uses a technique we discussed last year at length (with no real solution), that was incidental interference versus true intentional blocking interference. I think in this case the other team can still park on the bridge (their ramp side), it is only the flags which are blocked - and the text clearly states R30 does not apply when going for flags.

  • #2
    Note that the R30 allowance only states: It is okay and expected for Robots to collide while trying to earn Flag points. The blocking is not done by a Robot and therefore this allowance does not apply. It may still be a valid strategy just not based on this allowance.

    Despite putting disclaimers, the team knows the consequence of this video. They are a Champions winning team - I would expect more from them in terms of setting a good example. I also wish that regional partners would let teams know that this is not necessarily the best way to share/inspire.
    Mentor: Not the Droids You Are Looking For - retired (World Festival Champion's 2018)
    Judge: Western PA, World Festival, Razorback Open, Mountain State
    Head Referee: Western PA Championships

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    • #3
      Originally posted by sseshan View Post
      Note that the R30 allowance only states: It is okay and expected for Robots to collide while trying to earn Flag points. The blocking is not done by a Robot and therefore this allowance does not apply. It may still be a valid strategy just not based on this allowance.

      Despite putting disclaimers, the team knows the consequence of this video. They are a Champions winning team - I would expect more from them in terms of setting a good example. I also wish that regional partners would let teams know that this is not necessarily the best way to share/inspire.
      Well said.

      I don't think we have ever had a good stance and reaction to "interference". Seems like it was "wait till you see it and use best judgment in the context"... Just too many permutations of how interference might occur/evolve and way too many possible outcomes (prevented outcomes), etc.

      And with rats (FF) and solar panels (IO), while there was likely to be offensive interference (to steal a sports word), it seemed to be limited to a predictable action and isolated to a piece of real estate.

      Now I think we can envision both defense and offensive interference strategies for CS. And we have both R30 and the M01 allowance, both (to me) don't have some simple solid text to say yay/nay.


      Personally, I think it should be anything-goes with regards to bridge action. Certainly from a ref standpoint - that is easy to train people on how to rule, and would make something unpredictable and "zanny" for some match endings. Put some excitement into it. Everyone knows this going in. Teams can prepare for it, avoid it, or at least be mentally prepared to accept "whatever happens".

      The only "protection" I would add, is that any "zanny outcome" from bridge action should not de-score any missions beyond M01. So protecting any previous scoring accomplishments for M03/4/5/etc.

      But that is not what we have.


      So what do we think?
      Is the non-robot intentional blocking approach legal?
      How much credence to give to the allowance that references "flag attempts" - could one ever likely be up on the bridge and a ref be able to prove they were not going for flags? In other words, was there any meaning by game designers to specify flags in the allowance?
      Is the text in M01 really an "allowance", or just a reminder this is a mission that is designed/expected to possibly have teams impact each other?
      What about a bot that drives to the top and "anchors" in?
      What about a bot that charges full speed up the bridge with "appearances" of wanting to shove off anything it encounters?
      What about any encroachment of a bot or equipment beyond the flat "square" zone at the top? Can bots/items travel/project down/into the other field? Or is the top flat section a shared DMZ of sorts and there is some "boundary"?

      One possible read of the text now says team A can do just about anything to prevent team B from scoring flag points. Obviously there is some practical limit, you can't drive over to the other field and park in their Launch Area, or have a device that can unplug one of their motors (silly, but an example)...or what?




      Regarding posting of wholesale solutions...yes, the team mentioned above should have more maturity and understanding of what impact video has. I don't mind being proud of your accomplishments and even showing them off, but there are indeed better ways to help/guide those coming up behind you. Or even just to brag, you could do this without spoiling the ending. There is a thought that comes up every year in various YT threads, where "everyone posts solutions" in one form or another throughout the year..."why shouldn't we be first". I get that feeling, esp for kids....but you are right, these were high caliber experienced kids (an at least two coaches) that promoted it forward.

      And like alot of things FLL, there is context. The collective "we" rarely get mad when a clearly inexperienced team posts their solution to the first mission they solve. We applaud and tell them to keep going. We often see these as common solutions and no real secret sauce that such a post is revealing. But on the other hand that same solution posted very early in the season by a power team - or power hungry coach/teacher...it is totally frowned up. I get that it is a mixed message.

      This also comes up in written posts (like this forum) where in order to ask a legit question about scenario A or rule B or score C - one has to describe enough of the proposed "solution", that it too can give away some hints or spoilers. Same true for things like scoring apps that can (almost have to) reveal that yes, you can use the big water from the pump somewhere besides the pump. So, yes, it is a sensitive area and not one easily solved on the publication side. I think most coaches have a better chance to instill to the team to want to discover and own their solutions themselves from the read side.




      And now, FIRST is publishing solutions WITH code. That is worth another thread I think. My real giggle is when some team is at qualifier that used the FIRST code and got the mission to work on their table - and now is doesn't on a different QT table/circumstance....oh the whining that will ensue. I get the direction, I get there is a learning curve, etc. But putting "ANSWERS IN THE BACK OF THE TEACHER'S BOOK" is just what public-education-test-memorization learning looks like...not DISCOVERY and OWNERSHIP, oh and failure too. Rant off.

      What really tales the cake is a post in your Ms. Asha's Facebook group that went something like "we are on NXT and think it is UNFAIR that the post was only a EV3 solution..." Oh my. See what happens when you feed them a little, they only want (expect) more. If they are on NXT they have to be a little bit experienced and could quickly translate the steps. Nope, they wanted to download and run and everything works perfect. I don't even think it is a full solution, just partial code examples, right?. Whatever. I love that FB group, but I don't how your mom has so much patience and class to reply to some of the questions put there. Good job.

      Don't get me started on the step-by-step build guides and need for bag sorting and the like. But Dave you say...not every team can be self-sufficient and has the skills, time, support - to "figure this out on their own" and they can't compete fairly with those that do. My answer is simple. Those good teams you are trying to bring others up to - will always exists and are there often by natural ability, circumstance, and engagement. They are already self sufficient with problem solving and use something like FLL as more practice to hone their craft. The rest of the teams indeed need to catch up and have reasons/opportunity to "figure stuff out" on their own too. Little by little we are taking away any incentive for that team to learn something new, instead just implement/recite what was given to you. And in the meantime, this "gap" we worry about - just got wider, because that naturally self-sufficient self-thinking team...just got better at it. Because they all should have been really "competing" mostly with themselves.

      OK, nobody is still reading this far down...grin. I have been working nights this week, so I am off the charts rambling like a goof. Take care everyone. Send me another Dr. Pepper!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
        I don't think we have ever had a good stance and reaction to "interference". Seems like it was "wait till you see it and use best judgment in the context"... Just too many permutations of how interference might occur/evolve and way too many possible outcomes (prevented outcomes), etc.
        I agree -- too many possible things that could be interpreted as interference; I don't think it's possible to list everything, and it's certainly not practical. I think it's like Justice Stewart's statement on obscenity - "I'll know it when I see it."


        Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
        Now I think we can envision both defense and offensive interference strategies for CS. And we have both R30 and the M01 allowance, both (to me) don't have some simple solid text to say yay/nay.

        Personally, I think it should be anything-goes with regards to bridge action. Certainly from a ref standpoint - that is easy to train people on how to rule, and would make something unpredictable and "zanny" for some match endings. Put some excitement into it. Everyone knows this going in. Teams can prepare for it, avoid it, or at least be mentally prepared to accept "whatever happens".
        I disagree -- the M01 allowance is quite specific -- "It is okay and expected for Robots to collide while trying to earn Flag points." Robot collisions are allowed, but only when trying for the flags. Collisions with any other equipment a team left on the platform or ramp would be interference. That's not hard to teach to refs; they can distinguish between "robot" and "some other equipment."

        Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
        So what do we think?
        a. Is the non-robot intentional blocking approach legal?
        b. How much credence to give to the allowance that references "flag attempts" - could one ever likely be up on the bridge and a ref be able to prove they were not going for flags? In other words, was there any meaning by game designers to specify flags in the allowance?
        c. Is the text in M01 really an "allowance", or just a reminder this is a mission that is designed/expected to possibly have teams impact each other?
        d. What about a bot that drives to the top and "anchors" in?
        e. What about a bot that charges full speed up the bridge with "appearances" of wanting to shove off anything it encounters?
        f. What about any encroachment of a bot or equipment beyond the flat "square" zone at the top? Can bots/items travel/project down/into the other field? Or is the top flat section a shared DMZ of sorts and there is some "boundary"?
        I added the letters to your items so my response is hopefully more clear.
        a. It's not against the rules, but it'd be possible interference since M01 only references robot-robot collisions. If a team used SAP Rocket's approach in my region, any robot that climbs far enough to hit that wall is going to get points for both flags. And if the robot comes off the ramp because of the wall, they'll get the ramp points also. And then I'd have a discussion with the team about not doing that again. Although I'd actually be having that discussion after their practice round, and hopefully it won't come up in the real matches.
        b. I believe the "going for flags" is there to prevent a robot from going down the other side of the ramp. If they're past the flag platform, and interaction with the robot that's supposed to be on that side is interference.
        c. I think it's an allowance. We've had years where it wasn't clear when we should or should not call interference for the shared missions; I think the statement in M01 is helpful.
        d. This is trickier, because the robot has to stay there to get the flag points. So they're still "going for the flags." I don't see this ruling as being any different than the ruling would be when a light robot can't push a heavier bot back far enough to get to one or both flags.
        e. I don't think we can rule on "appearance" based on speed going up the ramp. If the robot has an feature that has no use other than to displace the other robot (like a low wedge to go underneath the other bot) then I think I would ask the team why that's there, and rule based on their answer.
        f. Since the allowance specifies going for the flags, a team that goes past the platform would be interfering with the other bot *if* the other bot goes up the ramp & hits it. I would talk to the team about this too, to find out why they went past the horizontal section. If it's intentional we'll have a discussion about Gracious Professionalism and I'll ask them to change their code to stop on the flag area.

        Originally posted by dna1990 View Post
        OK, nobody is still reading this far down...grin. I have been working nights this week, so I am off the charts rambling like a goof. Take care everyone. Send me another Dr. Pepper!
        Sorry to disappoint you, but I read your entire post.
        Last edited by someonewhobikes; 08-10-2019, 08:29 PM.
        Kansas City Region Head Ref 2014-present
        KC Region coaches and teams can ask FLL robot game rules questions at [email protected]

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        • #5
          I think I agree with all of your lettered responses - although it's early Monday morning and my brain is not fully caffeinated yet.
          FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

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