3-Ring Binder Notebooks DQ'd Prior to Judging at State - follow up

This is in response to the answer provided by Tarek Shraibati to my original conversation of the same title.

First of all, thank you for your response.

Please note that nowhere did I suggest or would I ever think that winning Design at a local event guarantees winning at the State event. I simply suggested that the rules, guidelines and acceptable notebook format for the two should be consistent.

You state that all notebooks are to be accepted and evaluated. This did not occur as the judges were instructed to only evaluate bound notebooks. Is the evaluation of a 3-ring binder notebook simply to confirm that it is not bound and thus evaluated to not be acceptable?

I had seen all the links and posts and conversations on this topic on Vex Forum and these don’t clear up the issue, which is that anything official written about notebooks says that bound is “preferred”. Even in your response within the referenced post, you state, “In general it is “preferred” that notebooks be bound…”, just as you state at the bottom of your response to my original correspondence. Nowhere is it stated that bound is “required”. This includes all REC documentation, judges guides, guidance to teams, VEX forum posts, etc. Since 3-ring binder notebooks weren’t even opened and reviewed, the end result was that bound notebooks were “required” in order to be given any consideration. This should have been clearly communicated beforehand so that there was no ambiguity in the rules or in how notebooks were to be judged. Most of us involved with Vex are linear thinkers who don’t do well with ambiguity. The rules need to be clear.

“Preferred” bound means that if two notebooks are deemed equal in quality and content, and one is bound and one is in a 3-ring binder, then the bound notebook wins but if the 3-ring binder notebook is some amount better, it wins. “Required” bound means that even if the 3-ring binder notebook is clearly superior in every way to the bound notebook, the bound notebook still wins because the 3-ring binder notebook is not even considered. This is the reality of what we just experienced.

The fact that the majority of notebooks turned in at the state competition were in the 3-ring binder format confirms that most teams did not know that the bound format was “required”.

Also, our team was interviewed in each qualifying competition throughout the year and, as originally stated, won a Design award (and came in second in Design award voting in two other competitions) based upon the use of a 3-ring binder notebook. This set the precedent that 3-ring binders, while not “preferred” were indeed acceptable and worthy to be judged. In none of the judges interviews during the season did any judge state that we should shift to a bound notebook. My team would have likely hand-copied their 100 pages from their 3-ring binder into a bound notebook prior to the state competition, had they known ahead of time that this was the only way their notebook would have even been read by the judges. This position cost our team (and other teams) a legitimate chance of winning Design and qualifying for Worlds. Our team members spent countless hours on their notebook and in interview preparation, only to find that they weren’t even considered for an interview because they utilized a previously acceptable notebook format that was now deemed unacceptable.

It would be interesting to know if any judged awards from other states went to teams with 3-ring binders.

I do appreciate your response and time in considering my perspective, which I am sure many others share.

This is the Official 2017 VEX Worlds Q & A. Posts on this thread are in answer to questions about processes at the World Championship.

Without having been at the event it is impossible for us to know if the official VRC judging process was followed. We can only reiterate the official judging criteria that we expect judges to follow. These are the same criteria that we will follow at the VEX Worlds event. The judges at Worlds will accept and evaluate all notebooks that meet the prerequisites for the Design award submissions as stated on the presubmitted awards page.