2019 REC Foundation Event Partner Summit

Wow… I really didn’t know you have such a negative opinion of me…

In this thread, I have merely asked about if anything is mentioned about how the additional spots are being distributed and my comment about hoping that some form of performance matrix is being introduced.
Did I say anything about singapore be given more spots in this thread?

I have never question about the current formula of allocating spots by growth or number of teams. It is plain common sense - the more registered teams, the more spots should be given.

There are a few things that I lobbied for… but definitely nothing against this.
Common topics that I have talked abt -

  1. having multi-pathway to worlds, instead of just going by number of teams.
    You can argue that signature events is just doing that now. But I would say that signature events is a good platform to experience mini-worlds, but it is not a fair or good way as an alternative avenue to get a spot to worlds. It is really a case of if you can afford it, you will get more opportunities. I don’t think anyone will say that this is considered as equitable or fair approach.

And of course, this multi-pathway issue will naturally leads to the removal of worlds qualifications via global skills ranking.
And this is not just affecting the small regions, NZ is affected too… which means it is affecting mid-size region as well?

  1. having too little spots for a region is a vicious cycle, it will not encourage growth.
    This is where I Hope recf will try to have a better understanding of the unique local context that are not allowing the region to growth.

As someone mentioned in this thread, there is no one size fits all solution… and I admit, it is unlikely that they can do much over this area.
There is a sweet (number of) spot to find… which is difficult - not too little to discourage growth, but yet not too much that it won’t be fair to other regions.
This is difficult, in fact, almost impossible.
Have I complained about why only 3 HS spots for my region ? No.
but yes, I talked a lot abt the removal of alternative pathway to worlds.
I have never asked recf to tear their formula away.

  1. and this lead to the 3rd issue…
    so far, I have always asked that the formula to be reviewed.
    But I really don’t think it is wrong of me to say that. Unless we are saying that the formula is perfect and it is a sacred cow and untouchable (and I always thought that it is part of engineering to keep reviewing the current practice and try to make it better. No? )

And this is the area that I am talking about - hoping that a form of performance matrix be factored in (especially now there is no more worlds qualifications via global skills ranking).

Some time back, I mentioned about looking at region ranking during worlds, eg. Top 5 regions get maybe 2;spots more and then the next 5 get maybe 1 spot more for the coming year. (The number of teams and rankings are just examples).
Of course, these bonus spots will be reset the following year.
This will give teams that additional sense of fighting and representing the region, and not just their team of school.

@Dave_Flowerday - I would really like to know how have anything that I mentioned are being unfair or negative or how have it agitated you?

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Im not saying they start inspecting every robot based on mechanical function, that would be extremely stupid, as there isn’t an easy way to objectively judge how good a robot will do. This could be done much easier by looking at worlds and saying oh hey, lookie there, China teams made up half of the worlds final matches maybe China should have some more worlds spots, Singapore seems to get into RR most years or atleast very close despite their small amount of worlds spots, california teams tend to overrepresent worlds elimination matches, maybe these regions ought to have more spots so more “deserving” (that being hard working, experienced, and high ranking) teams will be able to get to worlds.

Can you guys just acknowledge that side of the conversation isn’t ridiculous or off-base. That is all im trying to achieve, im not trying to argue for that point of view, so stop trying to act like I am. Im not suggesting anything RECF ought to change, im just trying to state the situation as it is. There shouldn’t be anything in this post to have to debate about

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Another idea I’m going to throw out is to have most signature events after state worlds spots are determined. Many teams only have the funding for one big event every year and this creates a problem for teams that want to go to signature events but may or may not qualify for worlds.

Something that I will agree with.

At least make it a post-states/nationals event… for those teams that couldn’t make it to worlds, but yet an opportunity to experience a high level and high quality event.

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Did I ever ask for spots to be denied to anyone else? Could my opinion not be that we could add just a little extra spots for us?
You just talked about perspective - you haven’t fairly gotten mines before coming at me. The only one responding “negatively” is yourself. I have never had someone respond to my suggestions the way you have. So I get that you don’t see what I’m saying that way, but that’s how it looks to me.
The only thing I am saying is that there should be more opportunities for us smaller regions to have more chances than we currently have. Is that unfair to ask for?

There is an inherent contradiction here, right? There are a number of spots and they are given out geographically. “Extra” spots for you does mean less spots for others, even if teams in your region are inherently better.

The spots are given out geographically. They used to do top skills teams to give regions with better bots more spots, but they did away with that. I would actually like to hear a little more about the reasoning behind that decision, but their main point is that the RECF just wants to do it geographically.

When they say it’s not about the best bot they really mean it. Your arguments about teams deserving spots are valid. My IQ teams have played with teams that could barely drive their bots. It can be frustrating that your kids get to play with a team at worlds that wouldn’t have even made it to your regional tournament.

But, it’s geographical. That’s it.

This forum is a place you can share. You made the initial statement that the RECF formula does not correctly find the best teams. And you’re right. But it’s not all about that. And, the “best” teams from each region do make it to WORLDS.

But you can do something, do everything you can to form more teams. Start a non profit. get sponsors. Talk to your schools. Have your kids mentor other kids. I’m going to have close to 30 teams this year.

As they say, be the change. The game is geographical teams. Play the game.

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Like I’ve stated before, I understand the current system. I know that it’s not actually possible to get more slots - just wishing it could be a little different.

And it’s not about only the best bots for myself or my program either - it’s the experience that I want for my students is all. I know my program isn’t one of the “best in the world” right now. But just to get the opportunity to experience and learn from these other programs from around the globe is something I know that is invaluable.

And what you are saying is nice and all, but you’re also making it sound way easier than it could ever possibly be here on our islands. Our islands are already very economically challenged so finding resources are VERY difficult. On the island of Molokai where we are from, it is literally impossible to, “help form teams”, especially because of population. We do what we can mentoring IQ teams on our island, but that is all we can do. We come from an island of only 8,000 people and extremely limited resources (most of our funds come from non-local sources). Any of us who aren’t on the main island of Hawaii (Oahu) are forced to spend thousands to compete in regional level competitions. We are looking at $1000-$2000 for each time we travel up to 3-4 times BEFORE our state championship not including equipment costs and whatnot. I run the ONLY VRC team on the island of Molokai so we have no choice but to travel to everyone else.

So yes, we do our best at being the change. But it’s hard to understand unless you experience the situation we’re in. And I’m not trying to make too big of a deal of it if it seems that way. I’m glad we even have the opportunity to participate in something like VRC. But it would be nice for my students to have just a slightly better chance of experiencing something that may change their futures (many of them have never left the state before) or even bring jobs back to our island.

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I do not have a negative opinion of you.

You have regularly campaigned for smaller regions (obviously including Singapore) to be allocated more spots. In this thread you have commented several times about how the new spots will be allocated. I do not believe it is unreasonable to connect your comments in this thread regarding how spots will be allocated and how you hope they are performance-based to your past comments on this topic.

Furthermore, I mentioned both you and Edwin, and Edwin did say something about more spots for Singapore and Hawaii.

There’s quite a few posts that you have made over the past 2 years that I would interpret as “complaining about only 3 HS spots” for your region. Perhaps you don’t see it that way, but based on conversations I’ve had I’m not the only one who thinks so.

More spots for your region means proportionally fewer spots for another region. So yes, I do think that’s unfair to ask for. I’m sorry if that’s not something you like to hear.

That is a very big claim to make, and one I cannot agree with without some proof. In my opinion, you cannot objectively compare robots in one region to those in another unless they compete head-to-head somehow. It’s clearly not feasible for all Singapore robots to compete directly against every US (or any other large countries) robot, so there is no objective way to say that the average Singapore team is better.

Even if you could get general agreement that “Singapore teams are better on average” and thus decide they need more spots, how would you compare other regions where maybe it’s not so clear-cut? You have to establish something that can be applied relatively objectively to the whole world, not a few cherry-picked samples where the answer might be more obvious.

And further, even if it were true that Singapore has better teams, so what? In all manner of international competitions, it is typical to have smaller events that advance some teams to larger events and on and on until a World Championship is reached. In all of those cases it is very likely that some World-caliber teams are eliminated in the process - that’s just the nature of it. Unless you can find some way for all teams in the world to play against each other directly to know a full, complete ranking of best to worst, this will always happen.

It’s very, very likely that many runner-up alliances in many regions could beat the winners of other regions, yet those runners-up may not qualify to Worlds. I would say this is unfortunate, but not necessarily unfair.

I want to be clear: I have no teams and thus I am not trying to protect spots for “my region” (since I have no region). I just get offended when I see what I perceive to be some looking for special treatment.

In my ideal view, every VEX team would be able to experience Worlds. FRC tried to do that for a while by guaranteeing that each team got to go to Worlds at least once every 4 years (if they wanted), but that proved unsustainable. VEX has learned lessons from FRC and is also growing much faster, thus they didn’t make the mistake of promising each team they could go once in a while. VEX, instead, has accepted the reality that most teams won’t get to go to Worlds, and is trying to address it other ways, like with Signature Events and encouraging teams to make States their goal rather than Worlds.

And with that I’ve broken my promise to myself again to refrain from engaging on the public forums here, so I’ll bow out now.

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Dave_Flowerday by no means do you need to respond to this as you are forum fasting (essentially) I would hate to be breaking your commitment. But you must have this post:

Through this I hope everyone can see that certain regions are much better than others. Im not trying to make a case for China or Singapore, if they did get more worlds spots my region (TN) would probably end up losing some spots. There are objective ways to measure that some regions are better than others through their worlds rankings. I dont want an alleged inability to measure a region’s caliber to put you guys off.

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Should we switch to a system that doesn’t proportionally represent each region, but rather allocates spots based on past performances, what would happen to the smaller regions that aren’t as “high caliber?” They would lose their spots, and huge learning opportunities for their teams that would improve their performance. As long as every region is represented proportionally, I don’t think the system is unfair, as all teams have roughly the same chance to participate at worlds.

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Regions like DC would never make Worlds if we based it on performance.

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I do agree with this, we have a long history here.

I do also realize that it feels inherently unfair that the median bot in some regions is better than the best bot in other regions, and that this is not taken into consideration. And, if you are just looking for the best bot, it is a bit unfair. That’s a feature, not a bug.

If all regions took robot skills seriously, this would be a reasonable way to look at it. However, they don’t. In Florida VRC, less than half of the teams even ran skills at all last year. So, unless all teams give it a “college try,” it’s not a good way to do it.

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Most, not all, but most smaller regions tend to be where the higher caliber teams come from, since the same organizations have been doing vex for so long in those locations, and never lose student interest and give schools in that area a special club most in that area wouldn’t be able to participate in otherwise. If I remember correctly 8059 has been in vex since round up leading to their mentors to be more experienced and producing some of the best teams in Vex as a result. I dont think it is unfair to give the higher performing teams their spot at worlds.

Do I personally think this would be the best way to let more higher performing teams into worlds, no I dont, but I do not see it as unreasonable. I think the reintroduction of a worlds skill bracket would be a better option, but nothing alone would solve this apparent issue

I honestly think that if they were going to bring back skills, they would have to select more teams. Top 25 or 35? It’s such a small basket and I think that created some of the problems. They would have to go with at least 120 (Top 1%) or more to discourage some of the crazy behaviors.

It does feel “fair” to do this, but again that’s up to the RECF to decide what’s “fair.” Top 25 or 35 had to cause more problems than they solved or they wouldn’t have gotten rid of it.

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Just to clarify, I don’t think anyone here is saying poorly-performing regions should get zero spots, or even that performance should be the main factor (although there are probably many people who feel this way).

I like the idea of a system where most spots are given out by region, but a few spots are given to regions who performed unusually well compared to the number of spots they were given.

For example, a certain number of extra spots could be given to each of the top 3 regions by win percentage at Worlds (excluding teams who got in through the wait list, and perhaps teams who got in through non-performance-related judged awards). If all the teams who made it to Worlds from that region are really good, the ones who just missed Worlds are probably really good, too.

I agree that if a region has only a few spots, this could slow growth. The harder it is to get to Worlds from your region, the less likely it is that a new team would be able to beat an established team for a spot, especially if there are some schools who dominate year after year.

[Edit: Also, the fewer VEX-aged students or schools there are in a region or subregion, the fewer chances you have to find someone who is willing to start a team, especially if your location is geographically isolated.]

Edited to add:
I loved the World Skills Top 35/15, and I know it affected far more than the teams who qualified for Worlds through it, or even the 50 teams (35+15) who had it as a backup.

Every team in the world had a carrot dangling in front of them: if they got a high enough Skills score, they would be able to go to Worlds, no matter what happened in their region. (Not every team had the resources to try for such a high score, but a lot of them did.)

A lot of teams got much better Skills scores in practice sessions than at official events, so there are a lot of teams who weren’t that close to the top 35 in the end, but would have made it in if they’d gotten lucky.

77321J, for example, who ended up 76th in ITZ, got a 188 in practice a few times (104 driver, 84 programming), which would have put us in the top 35 (probably 33rd along all grade levels, and 29th or higher among just high school teams).

The top 35 was probably our biggest motivation for putting so much focus on Skills (especially in December, when the theoretical maximum of our Skills route would have put us #1 in the world).

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Maybe one way to reward teams that do well at worlds is to give additional spots to regions whose teams make it to division semis, kind of like how world champions qualify for next year

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Sure, but who do you take those spots away from? This plan could only create success in some regions at the cost of others. The only truly fair way to distribute the worlds spots is by proportionally representing every region.

This would be based off of the new divisions for worlds this year adding a a large amount of additional worlds spots so smaller, not as good regions would experience little change but small, competitive regions would gain a few

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The system already rewards better regions by reserving spots for World Champions winners (Excellence, TC, and Skills in each division). So the “best teams” are already accounted for in the spot allocation.

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My preference would be to reward the competitive regions based on depth, not just the number of teams at the very top. So if a region’s worst team at Worlds still did really well, the teams who just missed out on Worlds are likely to be really good, too.

If a region merely had a team that won Worlds, that might be a region like California which already has a lot of spots. It would be nice for them to get an extra spot, but it’s not that important, since the added team would only be the 30th-best or so.

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