2018 Event Partner Summit

Given that BO1 may put the more prepared teams in a disadvantage, I strongly believe it should be reevaluated if BO1 is better than BO3. Not to mention teams may be eliminated as a result of something they are not in control (EX: VEXNet disconnection, field control failure). People of the community have also used math and statistics to prove BO1 will put the better teams in a less favorable position. However, the current BO1 system does allow more teams into the playoffs, and also less oppourtunities for delays and less time being spent, which may be beneficial to event hosts

The question is, is it worth the trade of more teams and less time spent for putting the more prepared team at a disadvantage? Especially for the most prestigious events such as worlds and signature events where it is the final event. In other words champions of the champions.

Alternatively, worlds and signature events could run a different setup (BO3) to ensure the better and more prepared team to advance.

Thank you @DanMantz for posting about whats happening. Although I haven’t read ALL the threads, and I honestly don’t know how I feel about the changes (our team has bigger, local issues its dealing with), there sure is frustration about the changes, and it seems from what I have read some of it comes from a feeling that the voices haven’t been heard.

I’m looking forward to the output and further explanations.

Thank you Dan for asking the community.

My biggest frustration with the new skills situation is associated with girl powered. Regardless of how people felt about it when it came out, I always felt skills was the best girl powered initiative rec had, even though it was not necessarily meant to be one. What I mean is, we have a girls only team this year for the first time, we have had plenty of mixed teams in the past, and I told them the best way to prove themselves regardless of gender, race, etc… was to focus on skills since it is completely under their control and the results are their responsibility. Everything else in vex has either randomness, alliance selection, or judging associated with it. All things that are out of the control of the students. Randomness is what it is, and is fine in the tournament context, but judging and alliance selection can both have built in bias of different types even if we wish they didn’t.

The new skills initiative no longer guarantees the reward of state or world level invitations. I think that sends the wrong message.

I think anyone who has payed attention to the discussion between the Best of 1 and Best of 3 systems can see the copious advantages of implementation of Best of 1 at the local level. This system will make time management for Event Partners significantly easier, but more importantly, keeps the introductory-level teams who do not usually make eliminations more engaged.

At any competition, you see people leaving the tournament immediately after qualifications. These are people from teams who did not make eliminations and recognize that they do not have a good shot at winning a judged award, or parents of teams who were eliminated. As one of the slides shown in the Event Partner Summit pointed out, Best of 1 will greatly shorten the duration of eliminations. This should encourage people to stick around a little longer to catch the finals, which should theoretically be the most exciting part of the tournament. Watching finals is also an opportunity for introductory-level teams to see what better teams are doing and reflect on how they can learn from them. At the end of the day, all teams pay the same entry fee, and from a financial standpoint, it is more fair for the beginner teams to not miss out on participating in such a big part of the tournament timewise, and Best of 1 will make that less.

However, even with that example and whatever other positives the REC Foundation, the GDC, and Vex community can come up with, the Best of 1 system inherently disadvantages teams playing at the highest level. To back that up, just look at the numerous other threads on this topic, specifically the one proving that the mathematical probability of the better alliance losing a Best of 1 match is higher than Best of 3.

I would really like the REC Foundation and GDC to consider implementing the Best of 1 system at the local level, but reverting to the traditional Best of 3 system for at Worlds. The point of a World Championship is to determine who the best teams are and crown them World Champions. Using a system that inherently introduces an element of randomness (Best of 1) is undeniably detrimental to that. There are plenty of examples of this from 2018 Worlds to support this. There were quite a few disqualifications in eliminations this year, and many of them determined who made the Round Robin in some way. I, as well as many others in the Vex community, do not believe that all of the teams in the Round Robin were truly the best teams in the world, and we attribute this to the randomness of Best of 1. I implore Vex to consider implementing Best of 3 at Worlds, a tournament that has so much on the line, and a tournament that means a lot to so many people. I, personally, am impartial on the implementation of Best of 1 for States, Regionals, and Signature Events, as these are all run by local Event Partners. However, Vex Worlds is run by people who have done it 11 times now, all but 1 under the Best of 3 system, and are experienced enough to manage the duration of the eliminations.

To everyone who claims that Best of 1 favors the most consistent team, I firmly believe that there is only a little truth in that. Say an alliance of 2 really high performing teams who went undefeated in qualifiers has a bad match and loses to a lower alliance. Whether it is because of a disqualification, bad driving or mechanical failures, that is besides the point. So many times has the winning alliance performed poorly in their next match and lost. Who is really the more consistent alliance here? The alliance of robots who went undefeated in qualifiers and had one bad match in eliminations? Or the alliance of robots who went 5-5, got a lucky match up in eliminations, and then blew it immediately after? I would also like to reiterate the QCC2 vs AURA match up that I mentioned a long time ago and someone brought up again the other day. QCC2’s autonomous did nearly the exact same thing 3 times in a row, the only exception being that they slightly knocked one cube the wrong way in the first match. AURA’s autonomous, on the other hand, not to discredit them at all, only worked in the first match, and then never completely again. For those who do not know, QCC2 ended up defeating AURA 2 matches to 1 after losing the first match. Again, who was more consistent here? The team who’s autonomous almost worked 3 times? Or the team who’s autonomous only worked once, but won the first match? Although I’m sure if you ask any of the members of QCC2 or AURA, they would give a different story or accept inconsistency.

Long story short, and seeing as this was a thread intended for EP Summit questions, is Best of 3 at worlds something that Vex has/will consider?

Hi Dan - firstly, I am very appreciative that your team is seeking feedback and comments from the community.

  1. Bo1
    Think I rather choose to look at Bo1 as a package in totality, rather than just Bo1 alone.

To me, the entire package includes = Bo1 + 2-team alliance + 16 seeded teams

If the only way to have 2-team alliance and 16 seeded teams is to have Bo1 (which I understand the rationales behind it) , then I will go with Bo1.

But I think what many people in the forum (and discord) feel is that 2-team alliance and 16 seeded teams can co-exist with Bo3 in a hybrid system.
And I feel that all those proposals have merits and is definitely worth discussing and considering.

  1. Removing Worlds qualifications via skills

I am only referring to worlds qualifications via global skills ranking in my discussions.

Don’t think anyone will deny all the good things that comes with skills challenge.
And I honestly cannot see how does removing qualifications via skills helps to fulfil the mission and vision of RECF.

I have quoted the mission and vision statements (emphasis mine).
I believe you must have already read through threads mentioning all the good things (both tangibles and intangibles) of having skills challenge.
And the benefits of qualifications via skills checked all the boxes for - increase student interest, involvements, affordable, experience failure, persevere, etc.

If the issue with qualifications via skills are the so-called bad behaviours, then a tighter monitoring system will solve most of the problems.

Signature events have another set of issues as well.
The removing of worlds qualifications plus signature events will affect small and medium regions badly.

In fact, signature events will only benefit those that are able to afford to fly to other regions for another chance to qualify for worlds. So I am not sure how this will fit into the mission statement of affordability.

Ok… got to run to the class.
Once again - thanks for listening.

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I do not know what will be addressed by the panel ahead of the Q&A, but it would be helpful if the GDC clarified a few statements their members made in the past so the forum can better understand the GDC’s reasoning. I also have a few of traditional questions at the end.

Clarification 1, this not a test.

Paul later Stated.

Emphasis added.

I assume what happened here is bo1 was intended to be a permanent change from VEX Worlds 2018 and beyond, assuming bo1 wasn’t a complete flop at worlds. In that regard, worlds was a test of bo1, but the GDC was confident it would work out well.

I think the confusion came from Paul responding to the criticism of “Why is bo1 being beta tested at worlds?”, the wording of his first post made it appear the GDC was saying “We will use worlds to test bo1, and based on feedback, we may or may not implement it next season.” After Paul’s second comment, it gave the impression the GDC was saying “Feedback from worlds will not be considered, this is a permanent change.” It appeared the decision to keep bo1 had been made before Vex Worlds 2018 even started.

To be clear, I’m not saying this was the GDC/Paul’s intent, but rather the impression that was given on the forum. I think what would have been helpful is if there were a few questions about bo1 on the worlds feedback survey. Surveying teams who experienced bo1 first-hand would have given great data.

In short, can you clarify if Vex Worlds 2018 was meant to test bo1? If so, in what capacity was it a test? Was there a possibility of it not being implemented for the 2018-19 season based on feedback? How was this feedback collected?

Clarification 2, data supports bo1.

In an email exchange with Unionjackjz1 and Paul, the following was stated by Paul:

Grant also touched on feedback from the community at large.

There is a gap in data available to the public about bo1 compared to the data the GDC has. That makes sense, the GDC isn’t going to release a spreadsheet every time a new decision is made public (though, that would be kind of cool!). The tension arises when a bold claim of “my data and feedback say otherwise”, presumably stating a majority of people are in favor of bo1. This causes tension because the only publicly available data about bo1 shows 88.7% of competitors that have experienced bo1 prefer bo3. The data the GDC collected may very well show 88.7% people actually prefer bo1, but the public does not know.

In general, the GDC does not need to share data that informed their decisions, but it would be helpful if the GDC could share the feedback/data they have received about bo1. The public data suggests consensus among top competitors, but what about the other 99% of competitors?

In short, could the GDC share the data they have about support for bo1 in an effort to better inform the forum about the entire vex community’s thoughts?

Traditional questions:

  1. Is the GDC open to changing back to a best of 3 system next season based on feedback for the 2018-19 season? If so, how would this feedback be collected?

  2. Would you consider using a different elimination bracket in VEX U for the reasons stated in this thread? It is a different program from VRC and could theoretically have a completely different elimination system.

  3. For the Judges Award, can a small space be added to the script for the judges to write why a team is receiving the Judges Award? The Judges Award is meant to award a team for their unique efforts not defined by the traditional awards. It always bothers me at events when a team receives the Judges Award, but the audience doesn’t know what the unique recognition is for! As someone who has been an FLL judge for a few years, I know it takes less than 5 minutes for the judges to write 2-3 sentences on why the team won.

Thank you to Paul, Grant, Dan, RECF, and VEX for creating a program that engages in a dialogue with their community. The RECF and VEX are great examples of what it means to listen to customer feedback. You all are awesome!

I would like to point out that the 88.7% statistic does not mean that 88.7% of all teams who experienced bo1 prefer bo3. The 88.7% is only counting the teams who took the time to give an answer in the survey, AND were not undecided.

There are two reasons why the percentage of bo3 supporters is probably lower than 88.7%:

  1. I believe bo3 supporters are more likely to vote than bo1 supporters or undecided people. If you prefer bo3, you’d want to voice your opinion in the poll, since this might help bring back bo3. If you prefer bo1, you may feel bo1 is here to stay anyway, so you might not take the time to vote (although many still would). If your team is undecided, you may not feel like taking the time to collect your team’s opinions, or to vote in the poll.

  2. In my opinion, undecided voters should count as being evenly split between bo3 and bo1. This wouldn’t affect the results much, though, since even if undecided voters are counted as bo1 voters, bo3 still gets 81.5% among voters.

Either way, though, more than half (57.3%) of the teams who experienced bo1 in an official VRC event prefer bo3.

Dan, thank you very much for the post!

To clarify, I emailed Paul and collected the data regarding bo1. At the time, my account was suspended, so I asked my friend Jess to “ghost write” the post for me. Sorry for the confusion.

I was also asked by Paul not to share the contents of private emails because it’s unprofessional and violates his trust. If everyone could stop quoting the data and feedback, that might help civil dialogue evolve.

B-Kidney, thank you for your feedback about my survey! While I disagree with your post, the big thing to note is even if literally every undecided or unresponsive team preferred bo1 (incredibly unlikely), there would still be a majority of teams supporting bo3.

And about bo1 at worlds, Paul doesn’t think the objective of worlds is to find the best robot. While I strongly disagree with this sentiment as do most teams actually attending worlds, it’s going to be hard to advocate for a bo3 world championship if the goal is not in fact to find the best robot. If the winner doesn’t matter, a fair elimination system isn’t important.

@TriDragon that’s an incredibly good point. Even if there is sexism that keeps all boys or mixed teams from selecting all girls teams in alliance selection (which I’ve never observed but I’m willing to admit the possibility of), skills is objective. Removing it only increases the gender gap if there is existing sexism within the vex community.

I do not believe these two conditions are equivalent.

If I collected a list of the 100 teams that learned the most from their time in VEX. That are the most prepared to go off into robotics or engineering and have gotten the most possible out of this program. Those teams are the same ones that love the competition and feel so passionate about getting better that they spend 20-30 hours a week trying to get better. They are the same ones on the forum and other platforms being disappointed in the push to make events not about finding “the best robot”. Do you think as a competition we should be trying to make the average team more like those 100 teams or make those 100 teams more like the average team?

Shouldn’t we ask those 100 teams what made them so passionate? Shouldn’t the “program oversight committee” be made up of those 100 teams who will decide if a new change would have made them more or less passionate.

Tabor, it may be better to take this 100 teams and define the next generation VEX Unlimited league - it is an opportunity for the elite to step up and fill a void. The mission of RECF and VEX is not about those “100” teams… but the 10K+ others.

If you want to help out our events, then maybe you can experience the other side of the equation and give back to the community that generates those elite teams.

    Hello, I’m Qaiz Mohamed from team 5225A. I competed last year in the 2017-2018 VEX Robotics competition; In The Zone and thought that I would share my opinions on the bo1 situation from the point of view of a team that competed with relative success.

Although I understand the reasons that a bo1 tournament system was piloted at worlds and how in some ways bo1 can be better than bo3, I, along with many of the VEX competitors, strongly believe that a bo3 system is for one, more exciting to watch, and also provides for more competitive matches as competitions draw to a close. The best of 3 system also removes some of the luck required in a best of 1 tournament. For example, a hardware or software failure (whether it be the robot or the field) in a best of 1 tournament would very likely mean that all of a seasons work could be for nothing due to an unforeseen issue. 

At VEX Worlds 2018 in our quarter finals match, we defeated the opposing alliance by only 4 points (2 cones). This was a matchup between two very strong alliances which could have gone either way. The bo3 system would have ensured that the team who moved on was the stronger and more consistent team and I could not imagine how losing to the world champions by such a slim margin would feel.

There was a statement made during the summit with regards to stronger teams being the more favoured to win in a bo1 series. However, this statement would be more true in a bo3 scenario where it requires more strategy and consistency to win, having to perform well in at least two matches. 

We would like to provide a compromise for a 12 alliance system where the top 4 teams get a by past the round of 16 into the quarter finals. The round of 16 would be best of 1, with the quarter finals and up being best of 3. This should help keep times down while still allowing an adequate number of teams into eliminations and providing bo3 for the most important matches.

     For me along with many others, taking part in competitions such as VEX allows me to improve many fundamental skills while competing and doing something I love. I understand that this competition wouldn't exist without the generous contributions of all the EPs, but the competition also wouldn't be even close to where it is now without many of the teams who compete, and I think that I can speak of a huge portion of the VEX community when I ask you to listen to the competitors taking part in the VEX Robotics Competition and to treat their opinions with some respect, or at least to have direct conversations with some of the teams to discuss such huge changes to a game that we all compete in. We all want successful and competitive seasons of VEX and would just like to share our ideas on the system that we all take part in and we would all like to help create a fun and competitive environment.

To summarize, I, along with a significant amount of the VEX community believe that best of three tournaments ensure that the most well crafted robots achieve success and allows for more entertaining tournaments to watch for the audience.

	~ Qaiz Mohamed | Lead Builder on Team 5225A

Has the RECF considered that the competitive viability of the Vex Robotics Competition is an extremely important factor in engaging students? Why do we play the same sports as professional sportspeople? Why are competitive video games so widely enjoyed? To be competitive is a fundamental part of human nature, and people find it incredibly engaging. I think not caring about having the best team win (which Paul has stated several times) is the epitome of depleting the competitive integrity of the “competition”, and making these comments publicly was a mistake.

I would propose that retaining the perceived competitiveness of the program is more conducive to achieving the RECF mission statement than making events slightly easier to run or adding one more qualification match at each event. In my experience mentoring, the team members get passionate when they are competitive and passionate high schoolers make passionate engineers.

And yet…

Why is it that the GDC doesn’t care about competitiveness if they are making videos about teaching students in a competitive environment?

You can care about competitiveness and competition without making it all about who wins in the end.

If what is recorded in the notes from EP Summit is accurate (EP Summit Notes - Google Docs), then I will need to address this issue about it is Singapore’s fault that we have not been growing.
At best, this statement is just half-truth.

  1. Singapore’s population is not huge

The actual citizen is only 3.44mil.

And even if you look at the non-residents – only 4% of the non-residents are school-going age.
The rest are just here to work and make a living that’s all.

  1. We do not have many high schools in Singapore

This is partly due to the small population in Singapore and also partly due to our school system.

We operate in a 4+2 system – in US terms, it means 4 years of MS and 2 years of HS.
Just by looking at the 2 year HS system, think all of you can imagine how difficult it is to set up a Vex team in the HS.

Currently we have 16 junior colleges (or HS in the US context). And come 2019, it will be reduced to 12 (dropping in school-going population).

And to be 100% transparent, we do have what we call Integrated Programme (IP) schools. These schools merged the 4+2 years into one seamless 6-year programme. And these schools can choose to take part in HS too.

But one thing to note is that some of these IP schools will eventually merged into the same junior college. Eg. Raffles Girls and Raffles Institution (are both recognised as individual IP schools) will merged to Raffles Institution (College). So all these 3 schools are essentially the same entity. And it is a similar situation for some other IP schools as well.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, the number of HS (including the IP schools) is just 22 schools (and will be dropped to 18 in 2019).

Out of these 22 schools, we have HS teams in 8 schools (or about 36%). Used to be more, but due to the impending merger, some schools have closed down the club.

  1. Vex in Singapore was growing for a period
    It is not true at all to say that Vex did not grow at all in 8 years.
    It was growing…. And we peaked at around 2013…. With 71 teams for SingVex.

But after that, due to a combinations of reasons – reduced in worlds spots allocation (even though we were growing… just not at the same pace in terms of absolute numbers), changed in Ministry’s policies, etc, schools started to cut back in their participation in Vex.

End of the day, the issues regarding skills are much bigger and far-reaching than just the impacts on Singapore.
We have mentioned many times, it basically affects ALL regions, with the smaller regions suffering more.

And I think 7682 has put it nicely…

I am not sure if this is the correct message that RECF wants to put out to the masses – it doesn’t matter if you are doing the right or wrong things, we will look after you as long as you have the numbers (or bringing in the business).

I agree, but there HAS to be a push towards the best team winning. There are many teams out there who consistently finish well at worlds, and try their hardest every year to try and win. For the RECF to explicitly state that they are not seeking to find the best robot is severely undermining everything that those teams are working towards.

Is it?

RECF’s putting on the robotics competition as a way to inspire and motivate people to participate in STEM and find the fun in STEM activities. They find that competition is the best way to see it. But we’re acting as if its a crime that from a program standpoint, they’re not super invested into always seeing the “best” team win.

I don’t see it as awful if they mention their purpose isn’t to seek out the best robot. By that point of worlds, seeing the high bar of competitive robots and seeing them all give their best is them sort of realizing their goal. More importantly, is that their participants enjoy the experience overall.

Yes, a lot of the RECF comes from a competitive robotics background, but they don’t necessarily, and honestly for good purposes, don’t focus on having the best robot win.

They leave that to the competitors, the students.

@DanMantz Since there wasn’t enough time to answer most of questions in this thread, will there be an official response to the questions here in addition to the 50(?) notecards remaining from the summit? I understand some questions will need to be combined, (as stated on the stream).