Is this really the VEX community we know and love?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

Examples

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.

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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.

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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.

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Welp, this is an interesting situation. Basically, tl;dr both sides are wrong in some way.

In my conversations with Taran, he seems to be a nice and bright kid who genuinely loves the competition. He even helped some teams I was on in the past with parts and funding. I don’t think you can really deny that he’s a pretty alright person. However, I can agree with Zach | 929U in that Taran did (and to an extent still does) make himself out to be a bad guy when publicly talking to other teams. he has jokingly and not-jokingly mentioned reporting certain individuals over (albeit a bit edgy) jokes and has before actually sent conversations that people had online to RECF in an attempt to get the team reprimanded. Now, this isn’t actually wrong per say, but this is just context as to why some people don’t really like him.

As for the situation at hand, we can look at it from a competitive sense first. Taran has pretty close interaction with Team A and he definitely shows it. Now, I’m not saying any of these things are wrong per say, but in the lens of Team A (A highly competitive team with a really good shot of winning the World Championship), what Taran has done is a bit much. He

  • Has gone up to their robot on numerous occasions with a camera (without permission) and taken photos with some of those being circulated in his own private sphere

  • Shared a video of Team A’s skills run and didn’t take it down until public pressure forced him to

  • Posted a video of a mechanism that, although isn’t revolutionary, was almost an exact copy of Team A’s mechanism aside from the holes being slightly farther apart.

I’m not including the most recent slider incident since that was blown out of proportions by the community. It’s just a slider, regardless of how similar it is to Team A’s (numerous people have similar concepts). But, you get the jist. Going off what Zach | 929U said, Taran has done numerous things to make this team lose their competitive edge in this competition.

Now, in Taran’s defense, most of what he has done isn’t technically wrong and this has basically become a witch hunt. Don’t get me wrong, as a competitor I don’t enjoy seeing a team’s secrets get divulged for the world because I wouldn’t want that to happen to me. I’m simply arguing that the response to it was a bit extreme. For example, in reference to bullet C, Team A had a not so professional response to the whole situation that was bordering on some RECF rules (Will not mention what was actually said). Although the way Team A handled this situation with Taran for the most part was mature, they kind of let themselves go at that point. In terms of the community, Taran essentially could not talk in a public channel without others criticizing him, making fun of him, or preventing him from sharing his opinions in a productive manner. I understand and respect Taran’s decision to leave the Discord after what happened to him daily on there. it got so repetitive and toxic that I saw it as cyber bullying. Now, keep in mind that most comments towards Taran were calm and civilized and that this was a select few vocal individuals that took it too far. To sum up my argument for Taran, he didn’t actually break any guidelines and the responses to him got to the point where you could say they broke the Ethos of the competition.

I made this post just to get my opinion of this out here and so that it could help some others understand my point of view (Although, most people already have their firm opinions on this topic). I’m not endorsing any hate towards any side. Taran is a pretty ok dude.

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I have a couple things to say here. I held off on posting last night, but this needs to be said.

Let’s start from the top.

I was new to discord, and not aware that that stuff happens regularly. There was a single individual where issues extended beyond that, and DRow took care of it. I have literally never emailed the RECF.

A couple of points here

  1. Never has an idea been stolen. Only innovated upon. I would never steal any designs. Of course, it is very hard to prove either side of this. That’s why in the real world engineering notebooks have real witnesses and can be used in a court of law to prove when an idea was invented.

  2. In every instance where I have taken inspiration from someone, I have credited them. The description in my cube lock video mentioned a team I saw something a bit different but sorta similar work on. In my Intake thread, I said,

My tray slider was legit just something I CADed and posted. I have done the same with 2 other designs of tray sliders. There was no need to credit anyone, as it was a design that I worked on during that day, using principles I used on my cascade lift last year, such as spacer sliders.

  1. The phrase “stolen ideas from teams, very very slightly modified them without improving functionality, and claimed them as his own ideas.” could be used to describe every single team this year with a complex-style traybot. Meta designs are constantly evolving. No competent team makes their robot without a good knowledge and understanding of robots that have already been made and documented. If anyone doesn’t want mechanisms on their robot available as public knowledge, they shouldn’t take them to events.

  2. Designs I have released have not been the most complicated. The cube lock was a simple 4-bar linkage. The 3-point intake was a triangle. The tray was just a spacer slider. Team\,A does not own the concept of triangles. That would be dumb. I refer readers of this post to this Wikipedia entry.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll

  3. Every single damn time I post a design, whatever it be, I am accused of stealing or leeking Team\,A. If I were to post a tutorial on how to build a good chassis, I’d be willing to bet that a not insignificant number of people would suddenly be of the mind that Team\,A owns the concept of wheels.

A few more points here.

  1. This was 100% taken out-of-context. When I revealed to the VTOW discord server my design for a cube lock, it was stated that it was overly-complicated and not good. To a number of people, I sent that text blob about my sister team. I stretched the truth to make it appear as if my design was a better one than it actually was, because people were much more likely to trust Team\,A 's design than my own. As someone complaining about me taking screenshots out of context, this is quite hypocritical of you.

  2. I sent these in DMs so that that wouldn’t be public. I did NOT want my faulty statements in any sort of public record, because of their incorrect nature. I did not want to confuse anyone in an instance such as this one as to what the truth actually was. Note the use of a wink emoji, which I used to indicate that the text I had written wasn’t what the actual truth was. The full matter of the story is this. I CAD hundreds of designs. I have no friends or life outside of robotics. This 4-bar piece was one of them. I had my doubts about if it would work or not. After like 5 of my other designs had failed, I noticed my sister team did something similar to one of my designs. While yes, I would not have built this if they had not built their similar concept, they didn’t give me the idea of this design. This leads into my next point

  3. That was a DM. Generally speaking, it’s not cool to do stuff like that publicly, especially when you know for a fact that what I said in said DM wasn’t to be taken out of the context surrounding it.

  4. The reason that my messages have been “since deleted” is that after you and your friends made me not feel safe still being on Discord, I used a script to clean up everything. I got rid of all of my messages in VTOW and DMs to all offending persons, including yourself.

  5. Barin explicitly requested that Team\,A remain unnamed. I am abiding by his wishes. I request that you blur out the team numbers and names in that image.


VEX is competitive. If someone does something that makes your robot no longer at the cutting edge of the meta, if you’re as great and amazing as you claim, go innovate more. If your robot would no longer be amazing if someone else saw it, you should not take it to a place where others can see it.


In case I haven’t hammered the point home yet, after the season is over, I would be more than happy to share my library of pictures of Team\,A's robot, to prove that I couldn’t have stolen anything. My only pictures are from a match in November against my former team. They are crappy side-angle shots. You can’t discern anything from them


I will also point out that the team leader from Team\,A said to me in a private message that the designs weren’t the same, right before I published my video.


This has all been an incredible force of stress in my life, and it making me strongly consider if I want to compete in VRC at all in the future, let alone if anyone would want to be on the same team as myself. I hope that the situation at least a small bit clearer now.

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I think the harassment that Taran receives isn’t appropriate or deserved. But it is understandable. Taran has done multiple things that would make him develop enemies in VEX. And your post leaves all of this out. Hes not an angel, but neither is anyone harassing him. Im not gonna waste my time writing a long post like I did in the cube lock one, but can we please just stop these SCA vs VTOTW things, they are annoying

Also @Zach_929U and @NightsRosario’s arguements are the best. They bring in both perspectives which is what we should be looking at no matter whose side we are on.

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Firstly I think the context behind each situation needs to be understood. Taran was sending screenshots to get people removed from Vex. Also Joey, I do not think that you can say that Taran was not trying to send conversations in direct messages. I have no other way to prove that Taran cloned other peoples designs without posting screenshots. There is no hatred for Taran fueling me posting this but I think that more of the context of why people are angry should be made public. All you guys are doing currently is taking Tarans word that he created these concepts.

I cannot post these without you guys calling me a hypocrite. Quite frankly I cannot give you an example either since Taran deleted all of his messages. I specifically remember him saying that he has had these things designed for months before he saw the team that he allegedly cloned. This to me sounds like he is taking credit for the design.

I really do not think you are reading my post. The reason people are mad is because he is taking credit for others work. It is more plain to see if you have seen team A’s robot before it went to public competitions. Unfortunately I do not have permission (I asked) to post things on their robot as evidence. You are just going to have to take my word that people are not frustrated because they do not like Taran.

The issue, once again, is not you sharing ideas. Its you sharing others ideas and taking credit/not giving credit for them. You said you credited a team for the cube lock video you posted but I think that you know, and you admitted that it was took from Team A.

This literally is the context, There were no more messages sent that day, there was no discussion about it somewhere else. You just sent that video to me then the conversation was over.

Excuse me? I have only talked to you maybe 5 times before and almost never on Vtotw. I do not understand how I was a part of you leaving the server. I cannot speak for some of my friends though, and I condemn there actions taken towards you.

This is the goal of the company Vex, this does not mean that most competitors share the same goals. While vex is not all about winning, it is an aspect of competing every year that I think teams should strive for. There would be no intensive to innovate and push for better and better designs if there wasn’t a way to prove that your design is amazing. Winning competitions are that proof.

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Its definitely not SCA vs VTOW, I am on both but we b chill, it’s just some people who are in VTOW like harassing Taran and, because we know him, we stand up for him

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This is just vex though. At this point almost every single design in a copy of a copy of a copy. Should we just stop making all reveals and match plays so we don’t give away ideas? That’s where this mentality leads. Be secretive has its own consequences and it is up to you to deal with them not others.

That is incorrect. He was sending screenshots only because people were taking things to far. He had no intentions of removing people from vex, only telling on people who have been taking things to far, which can be scene as not so great, but not worthy of this level of attack.

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@ZackJo Please stop with identifying people by name. It’s not the intent of this thread. Same goes for everyone else.

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This is not true, the screen shot in question was spread throughout the discord (not by Taran) and someone high up in the RECF was made aware of it (again not Taran) and thought something should be done

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If someone gets teams season dqed and published unoriginal videos it’d be hard to trust them. I agree that bullying someone online through a forum isn’t a good solution to dealing with stolen ideas, but if ideas are taken and elaborated on it’d be fine imo. Posting copied ideas as your own is wrong. If someone were to do that but cited inspiration from a source, or perhaps got permission from the creator before posting I see nothing wrong with that (only saying this to prevent future incidences of “toxicity”). Just treat others how you’d wanna be treated for ez happy vex fun times. Also use common sense before you post it’ll raise your iq by 10 points I guarantee it.

@DRow time for lock and people take break from internet?

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I agree. This thread should be locked (not permanently!) For at least a few hours.
(@)DanMantz, has this reached the necessity of reviewing the thread?

Edit: removed ping and changed request

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They litteraly gave credit to their inspiration lul