Rant about the elimination of Skills Only Events.

  1. 2 months ago

    During the good ole days when we had Skills Only events that actually counted for something, some of the higher-performing teams would win their state slots early in the season, then step aside and let others play in subsequent tournaments. Those who had won their state slots would often focus on skills-only robots, help run subsequent tournaments, and wait for Skills Only events to strut their stuff later on. But now I worry that might have changed.

    Here's the problem as I see it: Because Vex did away with official Skills Only events, even teams that have already secured their state slots feel pressured to sign up for all the tournaments they can just so they can run their skills. And they might just show up at tournaments with zero interest in the tournament game itself. The uncertainty surrounding V5 performance and parts availability adds to this pressure. Furthermore, there is the change made a year or so ago: for skills scores to count, the scores for both driver and programming must be achieved at the same tournament. So that somewhat doubles up the demand for skills field usage at any tournament. The "best of one" policy has shortened the number of hours that tournaments run but it also tends to shorten the number of hours students can line up to use the Skills Field since the awards must be announced by the end of the tournament, etc.

    In short, I foresee a "pile up" of teams wanting to attend tournaments just to get their 2 or 3 chances to run their skills. Never mind that Skills Only events were a different kind of experience for the kids and that they were events that were less pressured and de-emphasized the 3-D video game aspect of this particular robotics education platform.

    I think the loss of Skills Only events is verging on tragic.

  2. sazrocks

    Oct 21 Arizona 2114V

    I agree. Skills only events were also a nice way for organizations to get their feet wet at hosting an event. My org did a skills event last year and probably would have done another this year, then maybe even a tournament after that, but now it is unlikely that we will host any event.

  3. Barin

    Oct 21 Arizona

    Also, some organizations want to host events but don't really have the space/resources to host full tournaments. Skills-only made a lot of sense for them.

    Now, either they host a lower-caliber and/or excessively small tournament or don't host at all.

  4. sankeydd

    Oct 21 Event Partner

    A team can attend a tournament but only do skills. They can just not check in when the match list is printed. Then they are still on the team list and can run their skills. I'm not sure if this is kosher or not. I would check with your recf representative and the event partner, but this is within the capability of the software.

  5. Barin

    Oct 21 Arizona

    @sankeydd A team can attend a tournament but only do skills. They can just not check in when the match list is printed. Then they are still on the team list and can run their skills. I'm not sure if this is kosher or not. I would check with your recf representative and the event partner, but this is within the capability of the software.

    This still takes away spots at that tournament for other teams, since any teams that do this still have to register in RobotEvents.

    Also, I can't imagine most EPs would take kindly to this sort of behavior.

  6. lacsap

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Massachusetts 9791[a-z]

    @sankeydd A team can attend a tournament but only do skills. They can just not check in when the match list is printed. Then they are still on the team list and can run their skills. I'm not sure if this is kosher or not. I would check with your recf representative and the event partner, but this is within the capability of the software.

    Sage advice to ask the RECF RSM with the process of giving duplicate spots at an event to the highest ranked teams. So definitely a good question to put on the EP Q&A on RobotEvents.com

  7. sankeydd

    Oct 21 Event Partner

    As an event partner this is exactly how VEXU teams work. They come and do their skills and then they help out with the event. If you had a high school team that wanted to volunteer and run a couple of skills you could add them to the event after it was full if it was arranged ahead of time with the EP.

    What I meant by not checking in is simply what you would have to do in tournament manager. I'm not suggesting that they just not show up until after the list was made.

    this way they could do their skills event Partners will get help with their events and it wouldn't take the spots from other teams like the OP said.

  8. lacsap

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Massachusetts 9791[a-z]

    @sankeydd this way they could do their skills event Partners will get help with their events and it wouldn't take the spots from other teams like the OP said.

    I think it is good to have people who want to do skills only to establish regional ranking. My concerned would be that they may get into state/regional/national at the expense of a team who went through the whole day competition in the tournament. It would cause "you took a spot away from us" syndrome.

  9. Gear Geeks

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Virginia, USA 8044

    @sankeydd A team can attend a tournament but only do skills. They can just not check in when the match list is printed. Then they are still on the team list and can run their skills. I'm not sure if this is kosher or not. I would check with your recf representative and the event partner, but this is within the capability of the software.

    This is a great question for the Q&A. Without any further guidance, as an EP, I would not let a team do this. Any team that does not check in by the cut off is not participating in the tournament. That being said, last year, I called teams and had a few that were running late and was flexible for them. So I'm not ruthless. And I would not look too kindly on a team that showed up, got on the match list, then only did skills. That should be against the rules.

  10. sankeydd

    Oct 21 Event Partner

    @lacsap I think it is good to have people who want to do skills only to establish regional ranking. My concerned would be that they may get into state/regional/national at the expense of a team who went through the whole day competition in the tournament. It would cause "you took a spot away from us" syndrome.

    Do you mean that they would take the skills award for the day (assuming that qualified for states)? Yes, that would be an issue as they would be competing against the other teams at the event.

    However, forcing a team to do qualifications that don't want to would be worse...

    I guess I would only let a team do this if they had already secured a states spot. So, if they won again then that spot would eventually be filled form the state skills list...

    Yeah, this is a bit messy...

    Again, logistically you could put the scores in at the end of the day after awards were assigned so the "skills only" team wouldn't be competing against the rest of the teams, but I can't imagine the RECF being OK with that as the #1 team at the event could be different than the skills winner.

    However, it seems appropriate to make some accommodation given the problem that the OP presented.

    It seems like a creative solution is warranted, and this solution would be helpful to EP's and teams at the event.

  11. Gear Geeks

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Virginia, USA 8044

    I just posted a question on the EP Q&A.

  12. OscarMNOVA12

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Northern VA and Pittsburgh MASON, 12, 22172

    If a team didn't compete in the tournament, only did Skills, and then qualified for states because of skills/double quals, I'd be upset. Because then all I have to do is make a skills bot, post that score, then bounce.

  13. sankeydd

    Oct 21 Event Partner

    Thanks. After reading through the rules they don't say anything about which teams are included on the match list. It's actually kind of weird. You think that everything is in there, but the manual only mentions that a match list exists. If teams were allowed to do this there wouldn't be a rule change.

    Also, the EP Q&A isn't public and I don't know that the responses there are official. I would think that the regular Q&A would be a better place, but I don't think we have fleshed this out yet.

  14. Gear Geeks

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Virginia, USA 8044

    I'm not sure what the difference between the tge official Q&A and EP Q&A is. It seems that this issue has less to do with the rule book and more on the conduct of a tournament. Thats why i posted if there. But your points @sankeydd are valid.

  15. lacsap

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Massachusetts 9791[a-z]

    @sankeydd Thanks. After reading through the rules they don't say anything about which teams are included on the match list. It's actually kind of weird. You think that everything is in there, but the manual only mentions that a match list exists. If teams were allowed to do this there wouldn't be a rule change.

    Also, the EP Q&A isn't public and I don't know that the responses there are official. I would think that the regular Q&A would be a better place, but I don't think we have fleshed this out yet.

    Responses are official RECF decisions are official guidance to EPs when they get a nice green check mark.

    There are a number of such decisions there of concerns EPs have without creating a big tension. Nothing controversial - more about consistent tournament formats venue to venue.

  16. sankeydd

    Oct 21 Event Partner

    @lacsap Responses are official RECF decisions are official guidance to EPs when they get a nice green check mark.

    There are a number of such decisions there of concerns EPs have without creating a big tension. Nothing controversial - more about consistent tournament formats venue to venue.

    Most of the "official" answers are from Jim Crane, but a couple are from event partners. When I asked what the purpose of the Q&A is, Jim Crane indicated that it is not for official answers. I guess I'm not sure what the difference is between that Q&A and the EP section of this forum.

    Alas, I have derailed this thread. If I have any additional thoughts I will do so elsewhere.

  17. lacsap

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Massachusetts 9791[a-z]

    @sankeydd Most of the "official" answers are from Jim Crane, but a couple are from event partners. When I asked what the purpose of the Q&A is, Jim Crane indicated that it is not for official answers. I guess I'm not sure what the difference is between that Q&A and the EP section of this forum.

    Alas, I have derailed this thread. If I have any additional thoughts I will do so elsewhere.

    Alas, I think RECF did not think through their EP Q&A. VEXforum is just a playground now - no "official" answers here either.:)

  18. ncswalso

    Oct 21 Event Partner Neilburg, Saskatchewan, Canada 306

    I am impressed by the REC Foundation’s new Code of Conduct. In my opinion, I think it would cover this issue.

    https://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2018/05/rec-foundation-code-of-conduct.pdf

    The Code of Conduct requires teams todisplay “good sportsmanship, which includes supporting your alliance partners.” A violation of the Code of Conduct could result in disqualification.

  19. Gear Geeks

    Oct 21 Event Partner, V5 Beta Tester Virginia, USA 8044

    @ncswalso I am impressed by the REC Foundation’s new Code of Conduct. In my opinion, I think it would cover this issue.

    https://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2018/05/rec-foundation-code-of-conduct.pdf

    The Code of Conduct requires teams todisplay “good sportsmanship, which includes supporting your alliance partners.” A violation of the Code of Conduct could result in disqualification.

    Great point!

  20. @ncswalso ....
    The Code of Conduct requires teams to display “good sportsmanship, which includes supporting your alliance partners.” A violation of the Code of Conduct could result in disqualification.

    So the team shows up to the match at the last second, pretends to try, gingerly derps around on the field so they don't damage their finely-tuned skills-only robot, then gets back in the skills line asap.

    Of course, events can limit the number of skills runs the kids are allowed to do, but that will just make the "pile up" problem even worse.

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