Judging Past Info Question

So ever since the sky came crashing down, obviously answering QnAs are the least of the GDC’s priorities right now. The remaining unanswered questions on the QnA will most likely go unanswered unless asked again next year. However, there was one question on the Judging QnA that was interesting, and I was curious what the forum’s opinion on it is.

Question: Do judges with information from past tournaments get to use that knowledge on teams to help them during judging at the current event? (example situation in the link below)
Link to QnA 573


Do you have an example of information a judge would have from past tournaments that a judge might use? And, in general, do you think it would benefit or not benefit a team to have this information? I have some ideas and examples but would like to hear your opinion first.

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Most obviously, seeing drastic changes in a team’s engineering notebook that are not reflective of simply the time between the tournaments in question.


I agree with @Barin, there have been instances where teams have redone their notebooks and it shows a drastic change but those changes do not align with the time that was between competitions and with their robot as well.

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QnA 573 mentions an example, where a team that shows up with a bad quality journal, perhaps several weeks out of date, and then shows up to a later tournament with everything filled in. The judge would feel that clearly this does not satisfy the chronological requirement of the guidelines, and may decide to dock points.

However, the flipside is that that judge did not judge every team at the current tournament also in the past. Thus, you have one judge with past info on a handful of teams, who may have just been unlucky to go to tournaments with that particular judge twice. Would this be fair to the teams?


I came to the conclusion this season that judges and the state level tournaments should probably judge throughout the season for just those reasons. First, identify ENs that have been rewritten and second track the progress and growth of notebooks throughout the season so that judges don’t think that they’re “too good to be true” once states come.

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How does something like that happen? Are you saying that team keeps two sets of books or something more nefarious like a parent working on it? I guess it’s not against the rules to have multiple sets on ENs. But just keeping one EN is enough work, I can’t imagine a team keeping two! Does that really benefit a team?

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I think this would be hard to do, at least in my region, where the judges at any event are usually brand new to VEX judging and found rather randomly by the EP. Only a handful of volunteers return as judges at multiple events. Ideally, this would be a cool idea, I’m just not sure if it can be implemented.

For your second comment, I think my reply was unclear. The team simply may have been very behind on journal, and then suddenly made an effort to journal all the missing pages between tournaments. This goes against the implication from the Judge Guide that journaling is done during the design process.

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I’m actually leaning towards the judges being directed to disregard all past information they may know about certain teams. It’s more simple and places all teams on equal ground at that particular tournament, and would not rely on fallible judge memory or bias.


That is why you keep your notebooks up to date all the time :tipping_hand_man:

Agree. I’ve been in the judges room and had suspicions or maybe remembered a book being different but unless I’m absolutely positive, I keep it to myself. That being said, a team being significantly behind then catching up would not bother me at all. If they are able to catch up, they might have good notes or a good memory. I judge the book in front of me when I judge.


Whatever the RECF official stance might be, the only way to eliminate such a bias is ignorance, but that is already out of the question for the situation described here.

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I’m surprised how long the RECF were taking to answer that question. They probably aren’t discussing it anymore, but a question asked a week after Q&A 573 was answered in just a few days. I’m curious what they would say, as it isn’t explicitly stated in the Judge Guide that entries have to be made in a certain time frame.

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I think it is perfectly okay for a team to cover lost time if they indicate the day the work was done in the description. The signature and date needs to be for the day of writing.

Oddly, the judges guide has separate bullets for these so maybe they don’t go together.

All Engineering Notebooks should contain these elements:
• Team number on the cover
• Written in ink with errors crossed out using a single line (so errors can be seen)
• Notebook has not been edited
• All pages intact; no pages or parts of pages removed even if they contained errors
• Each page numbered and dated in chronological order
• Each page signed by student author

• Team meeting notes as they relate to the design process
• Pictures, CAD drawings, documents, examples of code, or other material relevant to the design process are glued into the notebook (tape is acceptable, but glue is preferred)