Is this really the VEX community we know and love?

Do not reply in this thread unless you have read this WHOLE post.

I have been noticing a pattern lately. Whenever @Sylvie posts a design — any design — several people feel the need to publicly accuse him of stealing/leaking/whatever-word-you-want-to-use another team’s design. For the purposes of this post, said other team shall not be identified and will instead be referred to as Team\,A.

The most recent casualty is this thread, which lasted less than 2 hours before having to be locked (and which has been somewhat cleansed since being locked).

To those that feel the need to post such accusations, or even mere comments to that end, please consider the following (in no particular order):

  • Why do you post such things?

    • Do you think you are helping Team\,A be more competitive by doing so?
    • Do you think you are hurting @Sylvie’s competitiveness?
    • Are you just trying to make an example out of @Sylvie?
  • Are your actions even achieving what they are supposed to achieve?

    • If you think so, can you present actual data to support your belief?
    • Do people who interact with @Sylvie and Team\,A on a regular basis in person agree with your assessment?
  • Are your claims sound?

    • Have you undergone a thorough investigation to verify the correctness of your claims?
    • Does your evidence consist of hearsay or well-established facts?
    • Is it even possible to satisfactorily verify your claims with the evidence available to you?
  • Have you considered all the consequences of your actions?

    • Whether or not you believe you are achieving the intended result, are you inadvertently doing more damage than you realize?
    • Despite your feelings toward @Sylvie and Team\,A, are you doing a service or disservice to the community at large?
    • Would you still post such things if you knew @Sylvie in person, rather than merely through a computer screen?
    • Would your posts reflect positively or negatively on you and your team?
      • …in the eyes of mentors, coaches, and EPs?
      • …in the eyes of judges?
      • …in the eyes of other students and other teams?
    • Would you get kicked out and/or reported to RECF if you said some of the things you said at a tournament?
    • Have you crossed the line into cyberbullying?

I would like to emphasize that, despite any assumptions which will inevitably be made, my personal opinion about the truth of this matter has not been disclosed here or anywhere else. Accordingly, I respectfully ask that responses to this thread put aside ad hominem attacks and instead focus on meaningful discussion.

Finally, I once again request of all readers:

Do not reply in this thread unless you have read this WHOLE post.


Thank you Barin. I sincerely appreciate this.


Finally, someone has said it, I really wish we could just leave people who are brilliant alone. I have looked up to Taran for quite some time, and I just see a lot of harassment coming his way for deciding that he will benefit the vex community by releasing things such as CAD. People like Taran are the reason I hadn’t quit my first year out of frustration of not knowing how to build things. I hope people that accuse Taran and other people like him will finally realize that they aren’t helping any situation and just stop.


Thank you for starting this discussion.

I personally interact with Taran dozens of times every day (not in person, but I feel as if I know him well, certainly far better than anyone accusing him of stealing does) and I can say with certainty that he does not steal designs. His cube lock may have been in part inspired by others, but it was not a copy. Those accusing it of being so haven’t seen a comparison of his cube lock next to others, it was clearly different. His 3 point intake design was not copied either. He saw some robots using these outward curving intakes, and decided to attempt to make a design that did this. He did so without stealing the designs from anyone. accusing his most recent slider of being a copy is so preposterous it was very likely just the discord trolling taran and the forums. nobody can seriously look at two pieces of metal sliding across each other, and call that stealing.

I hate to generalize the discord as being bad, because I know good people there, but to be completely honest the vex discord has some seriously high levels of toxicity, especially towards Taran. What is most likely is that they don’t truly believe Taran is copying, but are accusing him of doing so to be “funny” and to harass and annoy him. I mean, those forum accounts were brand new, made for the sole purpose of trolling the forums. obviously the work of the discord, a place that Taran has attempted to disconnect himself with. I’d especially like to emphasize this point:

because is trolling the vex forum and attacking a valuable member of its community really what these people should be doing? Why waste your time, not to mention the time of Taran, the people trying to actually learn from his helpful posts, and the admins who have to clean up? I think that no, these attacks would not be ok in the eyes of really anybody but the attackers. unfortunately I see no solution. The root of the issue is not a simple conflict, but more of the tendencies of large amounts of people to be a jerk online. It isn’t just an issue with the vex community, but an issue everywhere. So I don’t think it can be solved. But @Sylvie know that all the real members of this community appreciate you and your helpful posts.


I think you are leaving out important context for this situation. Taran has made his own enemies by threatening, and admitting to sending pictures of conversations on discord to people at the RECF. Quite frankly he has stolen ideas from teams, very very slightly modified them without improving functionality, and claimed them as his own ideas. This is frowned upon Especially considering that these designs were created by a popular and extremely competitive member of the vex community. While I don’t support “witch hunting” someone because of their actions at one point, Taran continues to repeat these actions time and time again.

Teams have the right to keep their design secret and yes, it does give you a competitive advantage. Look at Discobots design in Nothing but Net, Pilons passive intake during In the Zone, 169’s angle changing hood during turning point, etc. It would be foolish for those teams to release these designs to everyone because they gave their respective teams a competitive edge over other teams.

There is a reason it is called “Vex Robotics Competition”, there is a reason there is tournaments and a World Championship. Teams are suppose to compete to win. That being said, helping other teams and sharing ideas is perfectly fine, I would just advise that either you have permission to share other peoples ideas, or come up with your own ideas if you want to make them public.


To all those who accuse Taran of stealing, provide some proof. You can’t just say, he stole something, and expect that to be that.

Lets consider his cube lock incident. Before he revealed his cube lock, Taran showed the team he was accused of copying his design. The team acknowledged that the design was different. But later, they accused Taran of stealing.

If taran had copied the lock screw for screw, then yeah, you could call the stealing. But he didn’t. He made a unique design that was mechanically similar, and functionally identical, but not a copy.

As to Taran’s interactions with the recf, they were in response to actual threats made against him.


That time has long passed and those people should move on at this point.

In a game like this many of the ideas are gonna be similar, but just because they are similar does not mean that some one can keep you from sharing it if you want to.

What about the most recent time where he merely put a CAD of a slide, a CAD I know for a fact that he’s been working on for a while. and accusations came rolling in.

Yes, but they don’t have the right to force other teams who have similar designs to do so, even if it was inspired by you. If you want to be secretive then you reap the benefits and the consequences. Yes you get an edge, but in order to be secretive you can’t get advice from others as much or scrimmage, in order to keep your secret safe.

Now back to the main point, many people are accusing Taran with little to no proof whatsoever and a large part of the population are just blindly agreeing, that’s not okay.


I am glad someone has (finally) brought attention to this side of the argument in a meaningful way. This is the sort of discussion I was hoping to have — not the spammy attacks that unfortunately tend to riddle Taran’s threads.

I will be the first one to admit that I do not have all the information about this situation. I never have and never will, and neither will anyone else besides Taran himself.

The point of this thread was to hopefully put an end to the attacks that keep coming for seemingly no apparent reason. When I say “no apparent reason”, I do not mean that the attacks are necessarily unsubstantiated. Rather, what I mean is that there are professional ways to go about dealing with situations like that which is alleged — and such professional methods even have a possibility of achieving meaningful results unlike the attacks that have come.

To summarize what I said already, responding to immaturity with more immaturity is not constructive.

Of course teams have a right to keep their design secret. But that burden falls on the team in question, not on anyone else. It is the team’s responsibility to keep their design away from where others can observe it if secrecy is so important.

And, as @ZackJo pointed out, parallel innovation is a real phenomenon. Unless you or someone else can prove that Taran actually stole the design rather than developing a similar design himself, I personally consider such accusations entirely unfounded.


I don’t think this is a good point, accusations to the RECF are a big deal considering events in the past few years and Taran decided to take it upon himself to be a watchdog for any violations. Even if he has stopped doing this you can’t just tell teams to dismiss that fact that he was trying to get RECF to take action against them.

Alright, here is some evidence that these designs were not Taran’s.

tarzan 2

These are Dm’s between Taran and I (That he has since deleted) about “his” cube lock.

I also have videos of a slider from a team in Tarans region that is from October of 2019 and I know that the team that sent it had it much longer before that. It functioned the exact same as the one Taran posted and was virtually built the same.

I find it hard to believe that this is a case of parallel innovation since Taran only seemed to come up with these concepts and release them after viewing them on other teams in his regions robots.

I think this is a very poor mentality to have regarding someone else’s innovation. Just because you can take someone’s work and idea’s and release to publicly for everyone to see does not mean that you should do it. If you are going to steal a design from someone else I think you should have a certain amount of respect for the creator. If they do not wish to have the design publicly released you should not release it.


Thank you for providing some actual evidence.

I made no comment regarding what one should or should not do. But the fact of the matter is that people are not obliged to honor the creator’s wishes for secrecy.


I don’t think anyone is obligated to keep someone’s design a secret but to not do so if they asked you to would show a lack of sportsmanship.


I want to provide my own opinion about this thread. Firstly, we must understand that all robots within VEX are not considered “owned” by a specific individual or team. Yes, something can be originated by one team, but nobody has a copyright to a specific item. Because there is no such thing as a copyright, it seems like everyone’s response is to insult or belittle those who do take from others who post their new idea to others, or even compete with it. If something is so important and would give such a competitive advantage, it is common sense that if a robot competes, somebody may copy it, somebody may take pictures of it, and some people will share it. I do not care who owns a specific VEX concept, heck it’s not possible to own a concept. But Taran should never be blamed for “copying,” as all of us eventually copy, get inspired by, or get assistance from someone throughout the year, and we build it for our own team. For example, 929U during In The Zone, 202Z, and the list continues all follow similar ideas that would both be in court if there were a patent on the design. But since this is VEX, it is okay to be inspired, and sometimes copy other’s designs. Quite ironically, Taran’s tray design looks exactly like mine 1-2 weeks ago with a tray that slid out from the L-Channel. And I am very certain that we had a surge in linear punchers thanks to 574’s tutorial video on how to make a simple linear puncher during Turning Point. Regardless, am I complaining or harassing Taran? NO, because I know I do the same as well.

If anything, if you’re going to complain about “Copying,” then I better not see you copy other’s designs. Otherwise I might as well label you as hypocritical.


I don’t think you understand the reason people are frustrated. People are not happy with Taran because he continues to post ideas that he blatantly stole from another team in his region and claim them as his own. There is actual evidence, and using some basic observations of when Taran releases things versus when the team he is stealing from has them on the robot and is going to competitions with Taran it is so easy to see. On top of that he has been asked many times to not post that teams design, which he can chose to ignore but you cannot expect people to be happy with him if he chooses to do that.

Attacking Taran is wrong and I do not support it, but the hostility towards him was caused by purely his poor choices to take credit for work that is not his own.


Although I kind of agree with you with the statement of “post ideas that he blatantly stole from another team in his region,” it’s the retaliation behind it. If this were another person with a different reputation, would the community be as bashful? Likely not. If a team who is not competitive and has bad build quality, would the community be as bashful from a design that, due to the team’s poor build quality, cannot be utilized for the majority? Likely not. The only time the community lashes at someone is whenever they are feared. They are feared, so they lash out at those who can make an impact to them. I guess you can call it “social silencing of another for benefit of oneself.”

In addition, the response of

doesn’t seem to fall in-line with what’s said here:

He seemed to have told you where he got the concept from, and what’s funny is that apparantly Taran is the community’s suspect when the message seems clear that someone else copied from the original work, according to the message. If you want to say that ‘what he said may be false,’ I might as well say ‘then what confirms that he copied it from someone in the first place?’

I’m sorry, but as there are tens of thousands of teams who copy, why are we just nit-picking just one person out of the entire pool of people who do? My only conclusion is that the people on discord didn’t like Taran so they harassed him out of the server, and since many teenagers love drama, it seems like some decided to take it to the VEXForum. In addition, that is also why I left the Unofficial VEX Discord, because there’s just too much drama within the server for my tastes. And I sure as hell would not like the drama to come here either.


This is just incorrect. I can think of so many examples of teams being called out for taking credit on designs they did not create, and teams crediting designs that they did not create but made better. In turning point teams taking credit for all roller intakes and getting called out (they were around since nothing but net), I still credit 574 for the puncher design that I used last year despite the changes I made to it such a counter boring the slider trucks and using rubber stoppers, I just slightly modified their design. The issue at hand is that the same problem keeps occurring over and over again with the exact same result. Taran releases a design that is a near clone of a local team, says that it is his own, and denies any opposition. If anyone else in the vex community did this they would be met with similar responses. I remember even you got frustrated when Antichamber revealed a passive intake that you were a part of designing during In the Zone that happened to be the same as 6007 and he credited them with the design. Although this is a different situation since it was actually a case of parallel innovation.

I still think you fail to realize why people are mad. Nobody cared that he copied. People care that he is taking credit for, and releasing other people’s ideas under his name knowing fully that they are not his.


Vex is competitive.

There aren’t any official rules against stealing designs or braking an agreement to not share an idea, but it is a socially agreed standard. In vex however keeping designs secret can be hard, since you need to go to competitions to compete, it is totally unreasonable to expect everyone there to not learn from your design and to not share any of it’s ideas. I think many designs are copies of copies of copies/designed in parallel/inspired from other designs; all in a good way. Everyone is participating in the same game, many of the optimal solutions will be very similar.

At what point are you stealing a design and at what point does it become yours?

  • Is everyone using a tilter stealing that design?
  • Is everyone using a tray stealing that design?
  • Is everyone using intakes made of sprockets and chain stealing that design?
  • Is everyone using a telescopic tray stealing that design?

Also think about this…
The first time someone sees a cube lock, they will be like “that’s a cool design, that could be very useful on my robot”. They aren’t going to just choose to ignore it because they didn’t think of it. And why would someone saying “please don’t use this” design stop them? Why would someone who intentionally or unintentionally shared this design with you, have the power to make you not use it and ignore that it exists. You certainly can’t think of it by yourself now. An it, in this case and many others, is quite broad enough to not be stealing.

As for properly giving credit, it certainly would be great if everyone could say who they got ideas or inspiration from, but at what point does the design become yours. I don’t know TaranMayer’s exact situation, but if you see a robot with a telescopic tray, than design something similar from scratch in CAD, do you have to give credit. How much part did that other team have in this. Did TaranMayer or whoever do absolutely no work on his part and take credit?

Here’s a great example…
Does everyone who watched my very early concept video and then built a tilter have to credit me? (FYI: That video is for the public, and you do not need to credit me, though it would be nice.)


Thanks @Barin for this thread.

The RECF Code of Conduct was recently update (2/26/2020). I would urge all to reread it, and then determine if your actions meet the expectation for participants in the community.

The next point is for teams to understand the intent of VRC - yes, competition is a factor, but not the main one that brings thousands of volunteers, educators, sponsors, school admins… to support this activity. From the opening of the Game Manual:

VEX Robotics Competition
Our world faces a serious problem. It’s a problem that, without explicit and intentional action, will eventually stagnate global progress and lead to a workforce that is unmotivated and ill-equipped to solve its future problems. As the world grows more technologically complex, the challenges we face every day will continue to escalate along with it. A cell phone has more failure modes than a landline. The internals of an electric car are more difficult to comprehend than a V8 combustion engine. Unmanned drone legislation is more nuanced than defining a maximum speed limit.

Dubbed “the STEM problem”, the situation is equally simple to understand, yet difficult to solve. In many cases, the traditional methods of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) will not be enough to adequately prepare students for this complex world. This is often coupled with the unfortunate reality that by the time they reach an age capable of grasping these critical topics, students may have already determined that they are “not cool” or “boring”. Without the skills or passion necessary to approach these problems in an educated manner, you cannot possibly expect to be productive in making forward progress or even sustaining the status quo.

The VEX Robotics Competition exists to solve this problem. Through its uniquely engaging combination of teamwork, problem solving, and scientific discovery, the study of competitive robotics encompasses aspects of STEM. You’re not building VEX EDR robots because your future job will involve tightening shaft collars on a metal bar – you’re executing an engineering design and problem-solving process that resembles the same mindset used by rocket scientists, brain surgeons, and inventors around the world. VEX Robotics Competition Tower Takeover is not just a game that we invented because it is fun to play – it is a vehicle for teaching (and testing) teamwork, perseverance in the face of hardship, and provides a methodology to approach and solve new challenges with confidence.

Contained in this manual are the rules that shape VRC Tower Takeover. These rules are designed to simulate the constraints that will outline any real-world project. They are intended to promote creativity without punishing innovation. They are balanced to promote fair play while encouraging competition.

We encourage you to keep in mind that a VEX Robotics Competition game is more than just a set of game objects worth varying amounts of points. It is an opportunity to hone the life-long skills that will characterize the problem-solving leaders of tomorrow.

Good luck, and we’ll see you on the playing field! Sincerely,

The VEX Robotics Game Design Committee, com- prised of members from the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, Robomatter, DWAB Technology, and VEX Robotics.

VRC exists to help teams learn new teamwork, leadership, and technical skills. What we have seen in terms of conduct described by Barin is not one we expect in the workplace. Let’s be better people.


This post seems rather hypocritical. First you accuse Taran of sending screenshots of Discord chats to the RECF, condemning the idea. Then you send a screenshot of a private conversation. At least what Taran shared was in a public conversation. By the way, he says “I got the concept from”. His robot is obviously not the exact same, hole for hole. Therefore, neither can the lock be. He may have used a similar structure of pieces, but ultimately he would have had to think of a way to implement it on his bot on his own. By no stretch of the imagination is this conclusive proof of holecounting or the like. Really the only difference between what he has been doing and literally every team with a tray bot is that he is being open with the community and sharing ideas. That doesn’t mean that the ideas were completely original, but hear me out. Learning is the goal of VEX. Not competition. Yes, it is in the form of a tournament, competition, etc, but that is to motivate people to learn and work. The skills I have learned, and will continue to learn by competing are infinitely more valuable to me than any of the trophies. Taran was helping people to learn by example.

Popularity and competitiveness? Not the goal of VEX.

As for “parallel innovation” I do not believe that he though of these ideas while living under a rock. Neither do I believe that he cadded it while sitting next to the robot he allegedly “copied”.

The team whose slide his was similar to (as far as I know, please inform me if I’m wrong) has not actually gotten involved with the accusations. All you trolls migrating from the discord are doing the same thing. You think Taran should be able to handle his own problems without going to someone else? Fine. Then so should “Team A”

I agree @Connor. I believe that the competitive teams who have a problem with Taran’s actions are afraid that more people will have the ability to steal their nice, shiny trophies that will eventually get put up on shelves and gather dust. Well, I’ve got news for you. There’s a finite amount of trophies in the world. Boo hoo. There’s no limit to the amount of knowledge and experience that can be shared, and somebody getting more will not detract from you.

And if you just aren’t going to accept that competitiveness is less important than learning, here’s an example of somebody doing both: @LegoMindstormsmaniac. (AKA Jordan from 24C a long time ago) He literally shared his entire bot’s cad all the time, and that didn’t stop him from being one of the best teams at worlds.


24C's Motor Control Value Remapping
Team 24 S^3 CAD Library Inventor 2013
Team 24 Super Sonic Sparks VEX CAD Library
24C 2.0 "The Vacuum" Build Reveal
24C "Omnomnom 2.0" Post-REX Tournament Reveal
24C 2011-2012 "Reveal"
Team 24C Super Sonic Sparks 2011-2012 Gateway Robot Reveal
24C Round Up Code
24A, 24B, and 24C Super Sonic Sparks Robot Revealing

To everyone striving to keep your ideas a secret for fear of losing competitiveness, look to Jordan as an example.

I will now share VEX’s mission statement:

The world faces an unprecedented need for new innovators, thinkers, and problem solving leaders. Our goal is to create engaging, affordable, and powerful solutions that immerse students in STEM through the excitement of building and programming educational robotics kits.

Notice the absence of phrases like “determine who is the best team” or “give shiny awards to the team who scores the most points”

@Sylvie , you are a great guy. Thank you for sharing ideas when seemingly the whole world is telling you to be selfish.


Can you give an example of him explicitly saying that it was his own design? I don’t think he ever claimed not to have taken inspiration from other teams. In the screenshot you posted, he even said that he got the idea from his sister team.


Can you show proof or evidence, because I haven’t seen any post of him doing this. I’m definitely on Taran’s side because no one has shown anything against him. It has all just been claims.